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Video Game Classics: F-Zero

VO: Dan
Taking place in the year 2560, F-Zero is set in a future in which humanity has encountered alien life and founded an extreme Formula-1 based competition. Released in 1991 by Nintendo for the SNES, this futuristic racing game was not only launched as a top tier launch title, but introduced players to plasma powered hover cars, and death-defying speeds. It even featured then-advanced “Mode 7 scaling”, a 16-bit trick that gave gamers the impression that events were unfolding in 3D. Join WatchMojo.com as we take a look back at the original F-Zero and its sequels.
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Video Game Classics: F-Zero

Some games will live forever as Classics. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be taking a look at F-Zero.

Released in 1991 by Nintendo for the SNES, this futuristic racing game was not only a top tier launch title, but introduced players to plasma powered hover cars, and death-defying speeds. It even featured then-advanced “Mode 7 scaling”, a 16-bit trick that gave gamers the impression that events were unfolding in 3D.

Taking place in the year 2560, F-Zero is set in a future in which humanity has encountered alien life and established intergalactic trade. As a result, multi-billionaires have founded this extreme Formula-1 based competition to excite jaded audiences.

In terms of character and vehicle selection, F-Zero allows players to select from a streamlined roster of only four superstars. These include the mascot of the series, a mysterious bounty hunter and former police officer named Captain Falcon. His motivations include thwarting the plans of evil forces, both on and off the track. He is best known for his balanced vehicle called the Blue Falcon.

Joining him on the raceway is a handful of adversaries. Among them is Dr. Stewart, a surgeon turned mechanic who pilots the Golden Fox. A vehicle has great acceleration and boost capabilities, but suffers from a weak body and poor handling.

Likewise, Falcon must face off against Pico, a tortoise like alien and ex-military hitman turned assassin that pilots the Wild Goose. This vehicle was designed as a war machine. Due to this, it boasts the strongest body, which makes up for its sub-par boosting ability.

Finally, the Captain must take on Samurai Goroh, his arch rival and fellow former cop that pilots the Fire Stingray, the fastest vehicle on the track.

Gameplay-wise, F-Zero includes two play options. The first of which is main Grand Prix mode, which has you speeding to avoid disqualification. The second is Practice Mode, which allows you to try out the game’s courses. Unfortunately, this first game in the series is strikingly absent of coop play or multiplayer competition.

However, with race cars exceeding speeds of 500 km/hour, gamers didn’t seem to mind as they were forced to focus on besting the computer controlled opponents, but hazards such as flip zones, mines and magnets.

In total, F-Zero took place on fifteen different tracks, each consisting of five laps. Successfully completing these rewarded players with a four-second speed-boost called the “Super-Jet”, which could be accumulated, along with points determined by a players finishing position. Gathering enough of these points granted players the option to redo a course.

While there have been countless other racing games, F-Zero pioneered the use of power meters that measure a vehicle’s durability. At the same time, the game allowed vehicles to refuel their energy and durability by driving over plasma-powered pit zones.

Of course, gamers had their hands full perfecting the use of jump plates, which gave the opportunity to cut over sections of the track and dash obstacles to achieve a better track time.

A memorable game that spawned several fleshed-out sequels for later Nintendo platforms, F-Zero has increasingly delved into the stories of the characters, while improving upon the gameplay of the original. And while many of the games are available for download on Nintendo’s Virtual console, elements and characters from the F-Zero franchise have similarly become featured in the “Smash Bros.” fighting franchise
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