F-Zero is a series of futuristic racing games that first appeared on the Super Nintendo in 1990. The game sported amazing visuals for the time and smooth gameplay, not to mention cars faster than Sonic The Hedgehog and notoriously fiendish difficulty. Since then there have been six more F-Zero games, including two other console games, three portable titles, and even an arcade game. I'll tell you right now that I freakin' love F-Zero. All the games control fantastically, the high difficulty levels present some really hard challenges but are MOSTLY fair, the music is great, and the visuals are nice, too. Why they haven't released another game in 8 years now is beyond me, but that is neither here nor boost power.
This LP will primarily cover the console games: F-Zero for the SNES, F-Zero X for the N64, and F-Zero GX for the Gamecube. At the moment I'm hesitant to include the GBA games because they're honestly unremarkable compared to the console games in my opinion. I also can't include the arcade game, F-Zero AX, for obvious reasons, but all of its content can be seen in GX, so that's the next best thing!
F-Zero (SNES) (Master difficulty videos courtesy of Slickdrac)
Knight League Master Mode
Queen League Master Mode
F-Zero VS with Rorac
BS F-Zero Update/Infodump
Back in 1995 there was an add-on for the Super Famicom called the Satellaview. It was Nintendo's way of distributing games via satellite - a sort of precursor to Steam, XBLA, and whatnot. Except since the games were distributed through satellite you actually had to "tune in" at the right time to play the games - which seems silly to us nowadays but I kinda like the concept, plus Nintendo made the most of it by streaming audio along with the games, which typically consisted of remixed music and even vocal narration, and the games themselves occasionally had time-based events that interactively screwed with the player. Unfortunately there's no way to play the games as they were originally - if you search around you can find the ROMs, but not the audio tracks, save VHS recordings on YouTube and Nico Nico.
So what did F-Zero get from this? Starting from December of 1996 (according to Wikipedia) players could tune in to BS F-Zero (stands for Broadcast Satellite, not the other thing) in which you'd race with four new cars on four courses from the original game plus an entirely new course each week. There was also this crazy Engrish-y announcer guy ("Don't worry, you'll be okay next time!") Sometime after that the new courses and cars were compiled into a single downloadable, which is what I'm playing. (there's also this but I don't know much about that)
Death Race & X Cup
Expansion Kit courses and courses by Rorac
The 64DD, the Expansion Kit, and reasons to dislike Nintendo
In 1999, Nintendo created a disk-based add-on for the N64 known as the 64DD (possibly a result of that fallout they had with Sony that resulted in the creation of the Playstation). The 64DD had a few interesting games coming out for it (including a Zelda game that more or less became the Master Quest, and Mother 3 before they moved it to the GBA), but because Nintendo apparently didn't learn a thing from Sega's mistakes, the add-on and its games - ALL NINE OF THEM - flopped hard and never came out in the US.
Only one 64DD game holds any interest to gamers these days whatsoever: The F-Zero X Expansion Kit. It's an add-on for F-Zero X that adds three new machines, twelve new courses, new music, a machine creator (this shows up again in GX) and a course editor. The 64DD can't really be emulated, but there IS a level editor for creating courses, and someone was kind enough to re-create the new courses, so I'm able to play those for your amusement. Furthermore, the new machines and machine parts used in the machine creator are all on the cartridge anyways and can be...accessed...with...cheat codes...Wow. On-disc DLC before it was cool.
Story Mode Part 1
Story Mode Part 2
Story Mode Part 3
F-Zero AX is an arcade game that was released around the same time as GX. There were a couple different versions of it, including a two-player variant, although most players played the single player version. AX sports a huge cabinet with a steering wheel/gas pedal controller like other arcade racers, as well as a driver's seat that moves during gameplay - believe me, racing in that thing is more exciting than any joy ride, although it does make controlling your machine difficult.
AX plays more or less exactly like GX aside from the controller. There are six courses and ten new machines (14 total as the machines from the SNES game are also included) AND if you plug in a GC memory card you can use custom machines you've built. The idea was, you could unlock AX's content in GX by playing AX - neat idea, except there aren't many AX machines out there anymore. So if you're lucky like me and have access to AX, you can unlock the new characters simply by using them in a race, and you can unlock the courses by winning races on them. The less fortunate out there face the significantly worse alternative of beating the Master Diamond Cup and Story Mode on Very Hard. Or just cheat. Oh, but even worse than that are AX's custom machine parts. To unlock those you needed a License Card, purchasable for another credit in-game. Here's what one could look like:
Still not sure what most of the blank spaces are for. Anyways, when you purchase the card you get a custom machine with parts randomly selected from those you can unlock in AX. Then, after racing enough you can exchange those for parts the game offers at random. Oh yes, in order to get the parts unlocked in GX, you have to pray that AX even offers them in the first place! The alternative is to just beat Story Mode on Hard mode which is far more manageable. Even still, however, there are 15 custom parts on the GX disc that can't be unlocked in any manner whatsoever...in the US version. Apparently Japan had some sort of special license card that unlocked them; details on that are sparse so I can't say much more other than "grab an Action Replay if you want them."
That's AX in a nutshell. Very cool idea for an arcade game; sadly due to arcades being not-that-popular in the US anymore the odds of seeing one are slim. Fortunately, you can play AX at home! Sort of. All of AX's assets are on the GX disc for some reason and can be accessed with cheat codes - although you miss out on the License Card and the shifting seat, so I guess it ends up pointless in the end. Still worth a demonstration, though. Unused stuff is so weird. There also happens to be an unused cup containing all the game's courses, Story Mode included, so if you access that you can play those in Versus or even Time Attack.
F-Zero Maximum Velocity
Queen Series & Championship Circuit
F-Zero GP Legend
Rick Wheeler's Story
Captain Falcon's Story
Jody Summer's Story
Jack Levin's Story
Samurai Goroh's Story
Lisa Brilliant's Story
Black Shadow's Story
Zero Test Mode
Championship and Platinum Cup
Platinum Cup & Championship
Non-gameplay points of interest
A really cool remix of Mute City from some OST that only came out in Japan
Pretty cool Red Canyon remix from the same OST.
A comic strip included in the manual, which is the only source of info about the pilots for now.
Japanese F-Zero X commercial. Commercials were so cool back then.
The SNES game's soundtrack with N64 instruments. Awesome!
F-Zero X Guitar Arrange soundtrack. Need I say more.
The Expansion Kit music is downloadable here.
Wierd things can happen in this game!
Snaking in Chapter 4, what could possibly go wrong?
How to properly use the Jet Vermillion