[REVIEW] F-Zero – Super Nintendo

It’s 1991, you’ve just opened the box to your brand new SNES and are looking at a selection of launch games to play. Sure you have the usual mascot fair, but that racer on the shelf is tempting you like nothing else could…
It may not seem like it now, but F-Zero was an incredible game when it launched. Sure racing games on the NES, and other machines used quiet a few tricks in the graphics department to give the appearance of blazing fast speed and the illusion of 3D, but they all followed the same style, cut down and mimicked from the arcade.. F-Zero offered something different, something beautiful, a true 3D plane using the Super Nintendo’s Mode 7 and boy did it make the difference!
fz1Looking at the game, it feels like a tech demo that got greenlit to a full game, rich in the graphics department, handling perfectly, and yet there’s still something missing. The clues are there from the selection screen where you can choose between the 4 different car types, all showing their various differences. But in a race of 16 competitors we never see a 5th type of vehicle? Likewise there are 15 tracks, but so many backgrounds use the same backgrounds or rework the same assets. And Multiplayer…. well you can forget that, this is just a 1 player show…
It’s almost like they didn’t want to spend money on a bigger cartridge, or development time before release…
But at least the music is amazing!
fz2And that’s really the only complaints with the game. The difficulty settings ramp up the pace nicely, and there are enough levels to make a grand prix feel worthwhile. Which is the whole point of the title, there doesn’t need to be a career mode, just the immediate pick a car and feel the speed nature of instant gaming. Which is what Nintendo wanted to bring to the home, a pure original arcade racer.  Which in my opinion they succeeded in, while also reminding us of an era when games were a much more simpler affair.
If your after a more richer game, look towards it’s GameCube sibling, which to me is the pinnacle of the franchise (and probably explains why they didn’t continue it after, opting to merge ideas into the Mario Kart 8 franchise), otherwise this is always worth a play and is warmly welcome as a pack in on the Mini Classic, and does sell rather cheaply on auction sites.

Chris Thacker

Author: Chris

Freelance writer, Blogger, Youtuber Chris has dabbled around the industry for many years. having been published in two books, and with over 30+ years knowledge of gaming history, there are many obscure facts tucked away in his brain which have yet to be documented.

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