Gamestyle Archive intro: F-Zero makes the jump onto the handheld GBA with great results. Published July 2001, writer JJ.
Accessories: Link Cable
Release: Out Now
One of the incentives for purchasing a GBA was the fact that many of the classic SNES titles would be coming to the handheld marvel. F-Zero: Maximum Velocity is the first in what promises to be a long line of conversions.
For those who haven’t played one of Nintendo’s greatest games the aim is simple, be fast and more importantly be first. This is very much a dangerous futuristic sport where the pilots risk their lives in order to become rich and famous. There are several grand prix events split into a series of tracks and you cannot afford to finish far down the field in anyone event. The screen will display where you need to finish i.e. top three and you must otherwise its game over. This highlights one of the problems with the game, there is no league chart or points system. At times you will wonder where you stand in the league and if you win overall because there is no champion celebration segment. Becoming a champion is well worth the effort as it opens up new extreme tracks and other options but its not easy. The computer controlled craft do cheat to say the least and the later tracks are very hard to put in good times for.
The beauty of any F Zero game is the variety of tracks on offer and at first some may seem impossible to complete in any reasonable position. You must tackle extreme corners, jumps, and oil or ice obstacles without loosing much speed – if at all. The trick apart from being damn good and knowing the layout of each track is pumping the accelerator button while in a corner. This improves your grip, which is something that all the craft in F Zero lack in abundance. The manual will offer the suggestion of using the brake or shoulder buttons, trust us don’t.
You automatically have three boosts which cannot be used until the 2nd lap there are more displayed on the track. The real skill is linking all the available boosts on the track and on your craft together to set an excellent lap time. The GBA version handles acceleration easily and to onlookers it’s a very impressive experience. Shame there isn’t a mode to customise your craft or name which would have been welcome.
The series is known for its speed as anyone who played the N64 version will testify to an electric multi-player mode and here the GBA version does not disappoint. You can link up with three others to engage in races. It’s a great experience and a welcome break from cheating computer controlled craft – although your mates cheat as well!
Overall it’s a great game that offers a challenge to all fans of the series, a must for any GBA owner.
Gamestyle Score: 8/10