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F-Zero - Nintendo Wii Virtual Console Review

by: David Sanchez ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

Even despite the lack of a multiplayer component, F-Zero is a fun SNES racer that fans of the genre should download on the Virtual Console. It's challenging, engaging, and most importantly, it's a lot of fun.

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    Addictive Futuristic Racing - F-Zero Review

    F-Zero - Original Super Nintendo Box Art 

    It can be said that racing games have come a long way over the years. It can also be said that despite technological advances, nothing really beats a pure retro racer. F-Zero on the SNES quickly became a success due to its advanced look at the time, awesome music, great track design, and inventive premise of futuristic racing. The game was superb back then, so it should come as no surprise that it holds up exceedingly well to this day as a Virtual Console download.

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    F-Zero Gameplay

    You constantly have to be alert, because you never know what kinds of obstacles will appear on the different tracks. 

    F-Zero features four different vehicles to choose from, three leagues with five tracks to race through, and three difficulty settings as well as an unlockable Master difficulty. While this may not seem like such a robust package, play F-Zero and you’re bound to stay busy for quite some time. Each track has its own unique design, and one moment you’re doing a lot of drifting to perform sharp turns while the next you’re dodging obstacles that have been placed ever so cleverly on the track. The courses are so well-designed that you always have to be alert, even if you think you have a good lead over your competitors.

    As you race through the game’s courses, you have to be sure to keep your vehicle’s damage as low as possible. Being rammed by other cars, hitting obstacles, and driving along the edge of the road all cause damage to your futuristic craft. Luckily, there are pit stops in each of the game’s tracks, and all you have to do is drive through them to get some quick repairs done to your vehicle.

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    Control Options

    You can play F-Zero using either the Wii’s Classic Controller or a GameCube controller. Both options work well, so it’s really all about whatever you feel more comfortable using. The Classic Controller’s design is more similar to that of the SNES controller’s, but the GameCube controller works fine as well. You really can’t go wrong with either option.

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    Graphics and Sound

    F-Zero may be two decades old, but it still looks good, sounds good, and plays good. 

    Even though F-Zero is two decades old, its graphics still look pretty cool. Through the use of Mode-7 technology, the game is able to create the illusion of 3D graphics. The sound design holds up even better than the game’s visuals. As you play F-Zero and race through track after track, you can hear some pretty catchy themes that will stay stuck in your head all day.

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    Lasting Value

    Captain Falcon made his first video game appearance in F-Zero. 

    While 15 tracks may not seem like a lot by today’s standards, there’s actually a lot of replayability in F-Zero. The tracks in the game are pretty big in size for the most part. Also, unlike racers such as Mario Kart, each race consists of five laps. The tracks never seem to drag on either; five laps feels like a perfect amount, especially since you’re constantly dodging obstacles and opponents as you speed to the finish line.

    Another thing that adds to F-Zero’s replay value is its addictive gameplay and great level of challenge. At the lowest difficulty setting, races slowly get tougher as you move on to the next league, so even this setting challenges you. And you’ll feel compelled to take on each of the game’s subsequent difficulties just to challenge yourself and to see if you have it in you to beat the opposition.

    The one thing going against F-Zero—and this is easily the game’s biggest flaw—is the lack of a multiplayer component. For some reason, Nintendo decided to leave such a mode out of this excellent package. It’s unfortunate, too, because a multiplayer mode would have made F-Zero even more addictive.

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    F-Zero Overall Score

    F-Zero is a great racing game. Even though it’s generations old, it still offers an insane amount of fun. The lack of a multiplayer mode knocks it down a few pegs, but even with the aforementioned shortcoming, it’s still a highly addictive game that’s easy to enjoy. If you enjoy racing games and you’ve never gotten the chance to play F-Zero, head on over to the Wii Shop Channel and download this gem of a SNES game.