- JP release: 14th July 1998
- NA release: 27th October 1998
- PAL release: 6th November 1998
- Developer: Nintendo
- Publisher: Nintendo
- N64 Magazine Score: 91%
I loved F-Zero GX on GameCube, but I’ve never played the N64 version before. It turns out I love this version, too, even though it feels a lot more brutal than I remember GX being. This is Nintendo’s take on the sci-fi racer genre, and it does a great job at it.
F-Zero X features a whopping 30 racers at once (each with a unique ship) and – even with some obvious rubber banding – they all move like actual opponents, making mistakes and reacting to your presence. The game goes a great job at remaining smooth by adjusting the level of detail as the framerate is perfect throughout. The tracks twist and turn and it’s all incredibly fast.
One key part of the game is the energy bar. On top of representing your health, it’s also your boost. There are places to recharge on the track (usually near the end of a lap) so a key part of the game is deciding how much you’re willing to risk in order to go faster. Blow up and you lose a life and have to start the race again.
The tracks in F-Zero X start out quite gentle, but things take a sudden turn in the last track of the second cup (there are four cups in total, with 6 tracks each) and you’ll start getting thin portions of the track with no edges – fall off and you’re not placed back like other games, you lose a life and start again. Just surviving the tracks becomes the main challenge until you start learning them.
Not every choice is made against the player, though. You have barge attacks and a spin attack at your disposal. Take someone else and they won’t score any points for that round. To make good use of this, the game even highlights you rival (the opponent with the highest score) so you can try to target specific opponents and pick them out of the crowd.
On top of the leagues (which have four difficulties) and multiplayer, there’s a few extra modes. There’s an unlockable X cup that serves you up procedurally generated tracks and a “death race” mode where you race around a short track trying to take out every other racer (I personally would prefer if you could do this on other tracks as well).
F-Zero X is a great game that is quite full of stuff to do. It’s still a ton of fun today.
F-Zero X is fast. While other developers may have chosen to polish its exterior, Nintendo have created one of – it not, the most – well-judged and wonderfully balanced racing games we’ve ever had the pleasure of playing.James Price, N64 Magazine #22
Remake or remaster?
A remake of F-Zero GX with all the tracks and features of F-Zero X added in would be amazing – although it shouldn’t be based on this version of F-Zero X, but we’ll get into that when I play the Japanese-only expanded version of the game.
Official ways to get the game.
There is no way to buy a new copy of F-Zero X, the only official way to play is to rent it via the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pak.
2007: Wii Virtual Console
2016: Wii U Virtual Console
2022: Nintendo Switch Online (Subscription Only)
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