Review Detail

4.0 1
Racing 839
The Dark Souls of Racing
(Updated: December 17, 2023)
Ah, F-Zero GX, the Dark Souls of racing games. I do not say this just to be funny or make a reference, I say this because this game is legitimately difficult. This isn't your run of the mill racing experience, this game is punishing but also rewarding when you finally clear that track after hours of memorizing the layout. Make no mistake, if you want to do well on any of this games courses, you will have to take the time to remember the layouts and various quarks of the different tracks. As well as master the games mechanics and physics. Its harder than it sounds.
Released in 2003 alongside F-Zero AX, an arcade cabinet and the first significant collaborative venture between Nintendo and Sega, this game was released to warm reception and has since become one of GameCubes best titles and is very highly regarded. GX is honestly a very fun time if you don't mind the difficulty. There are plenty of racers and vehicles to choose from, each with their strengths and weaknesses and the game even gives you the option to customize your own vehicle with parts you can buy from the in-game shop. In addition to that, you can determine its paint scheme and even create custom decals. I fondly remember spending hours creating my own vehicles and designing decals based on various things. The meat of the game of course, is the racing.
The game features a Grand Prix mode which initially starts with 3 cups: Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald. With an additional Diamond Cup and even the AX tracks being unlockable later down the down the road. All of them feature 5 tracks(except AX which has 6) and completing them awards in-game currency and even features a small interview with your chosen driver if you came in first(and aren't running a custom machine if I remember correctly). These tracks of course can be selected in the practice and time attack modes of the game which are pretty self-explanatory. However the newest addition in this game is the story mode.
Taking place over 9 chapters, players step in the boots of Captain Falcon as the F-Zero races begin and old rivalries flare up. Its intense and adds to the world of GX but isn't super complex. It is however, as difficult as the rest of the game. These chapters can be quite challenging, and completing them on higher difficulties can award more machine parts and unlockable characters that are otherwise obtainable from AX. Keep in mind that many of the story mode chapters require near perfect gameplay to complete on the highest difficulty. But it feels good to manage it. Much like beating a Dark Souls boss, its intensely satisfying to master a track in this game. This is the best F-Zero has ever been and its a shame that Nintendo hasn't released any more mainline titles. F-Zero 99 exists, but its mostly a multiplayer experience similar to a mobile game. This is one GameCube title I would like to see get a remaster for Switch, perhaps with an easier difficulty curve. Who knows? At any rate, this is a solid addition to any GameCube library you may be building
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