Rating: Average After waiting this long for Nintendo to finally finish F-Zero X, I was expecting much, much more than what I got. The original F-Zero for the Super Nintendo is considered by many to be among the best racing games of all time, but the sequel is just more of the same. This is unacceptable in a day and age when people can play such innovative racing games as Gran Turismo. The game grants you unlimited turbos in every lap except the first, but your energy meter shrinks every time you use a turbo. Couple this with bumping into walls or being slammed into by another vehicle, and you might not have enough energy left over to use your turbos very often. However, you can recharge your energy meter by driving through pink recharge stations on the sides of the track (there are usually one or two recharge areas per track). If your energy is running low and there's no recharge station coming up anytime soon, you might have to race extremely slowly or risk having to retire from the race. The whole energy/turbo/recharging system adds some strategy elements to what would otherwise be a completely mindless racing game. The first thing you'll notice about the game (after the very... uh, cartridge-quality menu music) is that it's very fast. The vehicles move across the tracks at blinding speeds, and all the while the control holds up nicely, there is hardly any background pop-up, and there is no slowdown to speak of. However, this raw speed comes at a price: the graphics suck. The game's many courses feature plenty of variety in design, but they all look pretty much the same. The vehicles are blocky and extremely generic, which kills any replay value that might arise from trying to collect all the vehicles. Sure, the game is fast, but I would say that Wipeout XL still delivers a greater sensation of speed, and F-Zero X looks like it belongs on the Super Nintendo. As a side note, the game's ending is like Mario Kart 64's in that it seems like it was thrown in at the last second without much effort. And while the four-player split-screen mode is nice, Mario Kart is still the best choice for multi-player racing mayhem on your N64. The field of 30 vehicles makes for some competitive races, but there are some serious issues regarding the game's balance that should have been worked out before the game was released. Normally it's not too hard to finish first in most of the races in a given circuit. However, on certain courses, it is way too easy to go flying off the side of the track to your death. Also, while your vehicle slows down and suffers lots of damage from bumping into walls, the computer racers often keep going close to full speed after a nasty collision. It seems as though Nintendo has artificially boosted the difficulty level because the game be way too easy to beat without these issues regarding the game's balance. F-Zero X is just another mediocre racing game. There is nothing to make is stand out over the original F-Zero, and it certainly doesn't stand out over the hordes of racing games flooding the market.
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