The official cover art for F-Zero on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System
|Platform||Super Nintendo Entertainment System|
|Released||November 21st, 1990|
|Developed by|| Nintendo EAD|
F-Zero is a futuristic racing game that was originally released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in North America on November 21st, 1990 and was featured as one of the launch titles for the then-new console alongside header titles such as Super Mario World. It was developed by Nintendo's 'EAD' division, one of the company's largest, and was one of the earliest video games to feature "Mode 7" graphics, which are meant to simulate a 3D environment set on a fixed, mobile, horizontal plane. It was one of the first racing games to introduce a group of characters with detailed backstorys, unique and imaginative tracks, and legendary original music. For the time, F-Zero was one of the smoothest and fastest racing games ever made and has sold well over a million copies since it's initial release.
In the distant future, set during the year 2560, a brand new sport has been created by a group of business-owners who had accumulated a vast fortune throughout their lives thanks to the birth of interplanetary trade among different races and worlds across the galaxy. Through the need for more excitement and stimulation in their overly-relaxed lives, as well as harbouring a deep love for the Formula One races of the ancient past, a futuristic variant of such was spawned which was respectfully given the name: "F-Zero".
Through taking advantage of various uninhabitable and desolate planets set across the galaxy which were owned by various wealthy merchants, extremely unique and specialized tracks were constructed for these races to take place on. Unlike typical Earth race tracks that were previously set on solid ground, these new tracks are suspended roughly 300 feet off the ground by way of anti-gravitational guide beams running along every last inch of it's edges. To match this new technology, specialized vehicles obviously had to be crafted as well.
Simply known as "machines", these specialized vehicles boast the very latest in 26th-century electromagnetic-hover technology, being able to suspend themselves exactly one foot off of the ground and reach top speeds of over 500 km/h. With all of this in place, there is no doubt that the F-Zero quickly became the roughest, most dangerous sport that the galaxy has ever encountered, offering up more gnarled courses and deadly obstactles than you could rev a zero-gravity thruster at!
Over the years since this sport's creation, countless contentests and loyal fans of this mobile art have accumulated, demanding more excitement in the form of dangers and unexpected terrain challenges. In not time at all, the title of the "F-Zero Grand Prix Champion" swiftly became one of the most sought-after titles in the Universe.
As with any traditional racing game, the only goal is to make the 1st-4th place spot in every race(which consists of 5 straight laps each)or be disqualified and have to try again, while the courses and fellow racers proceed to increase in difficulty. You only have four different machines to race as: the Blue Falcon, Golden Fox, Wild Goose, and the Fire Stingray(each wielding their own unique strengths and weaknesses). There are 15 race tracks in total set in this game, each with their own twisted designs that vary in challenge, complete with tricky obstacles such as Grit Zones, Slip Zones, Track Mines, and Magnet Strips. The anti-gravitational guide beams set along the edge of each track also inflict damage to your machine should you run into it, and the risk of falling off of the 300-foot high track is also a standing danger.
With all of these obstacles and dangers set into play, power-ups and health-replenishment is occasionally offered during each race. Each machine used in this game has a red power meter that reads how much energy it has left before it breaks down and explodes. Hitting the edges of the tracks, bumping into other racers, and running into Track Mines and Magnet Strips depletes this energy at varying rates, but not completely(while falling off the track results in an instantly-destroyed machine). Furthermore, various on-track items exist to assist your victory during each race such as Boost Arrows, Jump Plates, Health Strips, and Turbo Jets. Use these to your discretion though, as they could potentially increase the existing danger levels rather than ease them.
There are two separate modes of play available in F-Zero: Grand Prix and Practice. "Grand Prix" allows you to compete in one of three League classes: Knight, Queen, and King(with "Knight" being the easiest and "King" being the toughest). Each League consists of five separate tracks that you must race in and the points you accumulate through those races(by acheiving a 1st-4th place victory spot)determines your overall final ranking following the final race's completion. "Practice" mode allows you to freely choose between 7 different tracks to race on, with the option of racing against a single CPU machine or by yourself in order to properly sharpen your racing skills. The third option available on the Main Menu screen is Records, which allows you to look through all of your best recorded run times in each of the game's 15 playable tracks.
Here is a list of every League in F-Zero and their tracks:
 Super Famicom
Although no sequel to F-Zero was released on the same console in North America, there were two released for the Super Famicom in Japan, titled: BS F-Zero Grand Prix and BS F-Zero Grand Prix 2. These two games were never released with their own cartridges and had to be individually downloaded onto a special flash ROM cartridge via the Satellaview add-on released through the St. GIGA subscription service only. BS F-Zero Grand Prix featured four all-new machines to race with: the Blue Thunder, Luna Bomber, Green Amazone, and the Fire Scorpion. All 15 original tracks returned in this installment as well as a brand new one: Mute City IV. BS F-Zero Grand Prix 2 barely changes from the first despite offering four new tracks, making up a completely new league: the Ace League!