Latest Game Reviews

F-Zero Maximum Velocity Review - GBA

Share |
The F-Zero series has appeared before on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and the Nintendo 64, each game's release quite a number of years apart. The series delivered fast, futuristic racing action - a nice change from the modern-style car and cart racing games also out at the time - but didn't receive as much recognition as games such as Super Mario Kart and Diddy Kong Racing. And then, with the release of the Nintendo GameBoy Advance came the third title in the series: F-Zero: Maximum Velocity. Read on to find out if F-Zero: Maximum Velocity has what it takes to keep the series alive.


F-Zero: Maximum Velocity plays like its predecessors: you race fast, futuristic, hovering crafts along twisting tracks that are suspended high in the sky. The tracks include various obstacles to make the races tougher, such as different track types, which speed up or slow down your craft, and electrical pads that line the sides of the track, zapping you whenever you hover over them. And yes, it does matter when you get zapped by them; F-Zero: Maximum Velocity features a power bar, displayed at the top of the screen, which functions as a life bar for your craft - when this drains, by bumping into walls, being zapped by electric pads or colliding with other crafts, your craft will explode. If this happens, you'll have to restart the race, and if it happens too many times, you'll have to restart the whole championship. Unfortunately, your craft slows down to such a ridiculous speed when your power bar is low that you might as well forget all hopes of winning.

F-Zero: Maximum Velocity features only two single-player modes: Grand Prix and Practice. In Grand Prix, you must choose a craft from the five or so available, and then select one of the three championships to participate in, each of which has three difficulty levels. Each championship represents a piece on a chess board: Pawn, Knight and Bishop, ranging from least difficult to most difficult in that order, featuring tougher tracks and more opponents. Practice is, of course, the mode in which you can test your skills and prepare for the harder championships. The game features a multiplayer mode also, and you have the choice of having each player use a different game cartridge or to use only one.

Each craft in the game has a unique design and various attributes such as top speed and boost speed, and it's a good idea to take each one for a run in order to discover which one suits you the best. Unfortunately there are only around five crafts initially available, plus a couple more that can be unlocked. Each craft is piloted by a different character, and this shows in the craft's designs, but, unfortunately, there is no depth to this; not once will you see the characters within the game or will they be explored in the form of a plot.

The racing is quite fast and competitive, and you'll need to ... (continued next page)