By: Jared Black
original F-Zero was released alongside the launch of the
SNES, gamers the world over became addicted to its fast-pace, great
Mode-7 special effects, futuristic music, and finely tuned gameplay.
For years SNES owners screamed for a sequel, but unfortunately that
never happened (except in Japan). With the release of the N64, fans
of the original once again clamored for a sequel, and this time
Nintendo delivered F-Zero
X. While it was a great game, a lot of old-skool gamers
still complained that it didnít really capture the feel of the
original SNES version. Well, F-Zero has once again launched
alongside a Nintendo system, this time on the GBA. F-Zero:
Maximum Velocity has arrived, and itís finally the sequel
(albeit in portable form) old-skoolers have been clamoring for.
Maximum Velocity plays like a souped-up version of the original F-Zero.
In the default control configuration, the "A" button
controls your acceleration, the "B" button controls
breaking, the "L" and "R" buttons control
drifting, and pressing both the "L" and "R"
buttons together utilizes your speed boost (one awarded after each
lap). There are several different control schemes to choose from, so
you should be able to find a configuration that suits your style.
At its core,
gameplay is still driven by two main forces: insane speed and your
energy meter. Your energy meter represents how much energy your
hovercraft has remaining, and will be depleted every time you hit an
obstacle, wall, or computer driver. Just like the original, youíll
be able to refill your energy meter some by driving over a power bar
(this time itís solid green instead of pink stripes). If your
energy is totally depleted, you explode and the race is over.
Naturally, the sheer speed of the gameplay will make this difficult
The track design
is really well done. It does away with the corkscrews and tubes of F-Zero
X, and reverts back to the flat-track design found on the SNES.
This isnít a bad thing, as you still have to deal with numerous
obstacles such as ramps, land mines, circles that send you spinning
along the track, the walls themselves (which are electrified), other
computer drivers, and more. These obstacles are strategically placed
along the track, and will push your driving skills to the limit.
Combine the insane speed with excellent track design, and youíre
in for quite a challenge.
plays mostly like its SNES predecessor, a couple of things have been
tweaked in its move to the GBA. First, the point system has been
done away with. It really served no purpose in the first F-Zero (you
were awarded points based on what place you were in after each lap),
so thereís less cluttering the screen now. Secondly, the control
scheme feels a bit looser. While this may be due simply to the
system itís on (you move the screen as you move the GBA), it
nevertheless makes it more difficult to get a grip on the controls.
As you unlock additional cars however, youíll surely find one youíre
comfortable with. Finally, the A.I. has been significantly upgraded.
Computer-controlled racers now react much more intelligently, even
going so far as to intentionally bang you in the air in hopes that
youíll be knocked off-course and crash on the planetís surface
below. Unfortunately, the A.I. now seems to be too good, as it will
often cheat by artificially keeping the race close. When the player
is in first place, even running a perfect race wonít distance
themselves from the rest of the drivers. When the player is
trailing, itís often easier to catch up then it should be. While
this is good in a way (it keeps the race competitive), Iíd rather
just have an accurate portrayal of how well I raced.
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