Adi’s Time Tunnel: F-Zero
Welcome to Adi’s Time Tunnel. This is another feature, where I get to talk about games from the past(AKA retro games). Up this week, I am talking about F-Zero for the SNES. This was released in November 1990 in Japan, August 1991 in the USA and June 1992 here in the UK. In fact, it was a launch title for the SNES.
This was a racing game set in the year 2560, where multi-millionaires have created a racing league known as F-Zero. In this game, you have two modes: Grand Prix Mode and Practise Mode.
In either of the modes, you have four different cars/machines to race with. Each of them differ in the way they drive. The Blue falcon was a good choice for beginner drivers. The Golden Fox had high acceleration, but a low defense rating. The Wild Goose had a lot of power, but low defense. The fourth of the cars was the Fire Stingray, which had the best top speed, but a lower acceleration rate. Choosing the right car is key to winning or getting a fast time.
In Grand Prix mode, there are three leagues: Knight, Queen and King. Each of them have between 5 and 6 courses.
In each race, you had 5 laps where each lap is an elimination round. You must reach the specified rank for the lap to get onto the next lap, otherwise you are disqualified. For the final lap, you must finish in the top 3 in order to move onto the next race. The car also had a limited amount of health/power. If your power meter reaches zero due to excessive damage to the car, then you lose the race.
This leads me on to the life system. Each time you start a league, you get four lives. If you destroy your car, you lose a life. If you cannot reach the target rank for a lap, you lose a life. However, if you lose all your lives, then it’s game over and you have to start from the first course of a league.
First of all, I must say that the graphics for this game were revolutionary at the time. The game took advantage of the Mode 7 technology in the SNES. Simply put, this created the illusion of a game being 3D.
Of course, the controls made the game easy to pick up, but hard to master.
Being a racing game, track memorization is key. Since you could only practise a track after unlocking it in the Grand Prix mode, playing a track many times would be crucial to getting a good advantage over the competition in the Grand Prix.
I remember playing this game way back in the day and it was hard. I played it a lot on beginner, but I would still struggle. At the time, we had no internet connection at home, so there was no way to find out the best strategy to beat each track. Therefore, you had to play each track several times over. That said, if you were a real expert, then you could go for the Expert class which gives you a really hard challenge. If you could clear expert, then you would unlock the Master class. This is the ultimate challenge, where there is no room for error. Even to this day, I have still struggled with the Beginner class tracks.
In any case, I would highly recommend picking up a copy of F-Zero at your earliest convenience. You can find a copy on eBay for about $10 (£7). Alternatively, check out the Wii Shop Channel or the Wii U eShop and pick up your copy today.