F-Zero GX: Antipathy!

Anyone with me on this? I guess the earlier F-Zero games were cool because we didn’t have racers like Wipeout and Splashdown to show us that playing a racing game in a fantastical setting doesn’t have to be a punishing experience.

But I simply cannot abide the unforgiving learning curve in this goddamn infuriating piece of junk. I guess if I were training for some sort of CPL Cyberathletic World Competition for Ten Million Dollars US, I’d appreciate F-Zero GX’s tough love. But as a guy who just wants to sit in front of my TV and have fun (yeah, there, I said it, so what?), this just isn’t for me.

I need to unwind with some Mario Golf.


It’s like I don’t even know you anymore! :(

This, from the guy who absolutely loved the repeat-a-race orienteering of Midnight Club 2?

Which modes are you playing?

I haven’t played very much yet, but I found that the first three cups in the Grand Prix on Novice were about right, does it get significantly worse after that?

Oh and have you tried Story mode, the first two or so that I did were pretty fun.

I must say since the pos that was WipEout Fusion, I haven’t been overly excited about any futuristic racers, but I was enjoying myself a lot last night with F-Zero.

Well, so far I’ve just been doing a helluva lot of practice on the tracks just to become familiar with them. I’m really, really, really, really, really glad that the practice option is in there. As I said before, I totally suck at racing games despite the fact that I find many of them fun to play. What surprised me with this one is the fact that I actually managed to win the first story mode game on my first try. WOO-HOO!!

So, Tom, at what point exactly did you find the difficulty ramp up to near impossible levels?


I’ve played through all three Grand Prix on novice, although I can’t finish the last one. I’ve fiddled with the first two on Normal and can’t make much headway at that setting.

I absolutely hate the Story mode. I’ve gotten to the third chapter after struggling with the second chapter about twenty times. I just about snapped my Gamecube controller in half out of frustration. I only won when the stupid AI car seemed to get stuck behind a rock. Now I’ve got to contend with the annoying jump plates that you have to use to cut corners. I want my tickets back.

One of the things I hate is how easy it is to slip or get knocked off the track and completely end a race. This is especially true if you’re being aggressive with the other racers. I appreciate having high stakes, but it would still be plenty hard if Grand Prix races had restores, like you can do in multiplayer. As far as I can tell, the AI isn’t rubberbanding, so it seems the delay of a restore would be plenty of penalty for falling off the track.

I also hate how you can’t save between races in a Grand Prix. I have to play through all five tracks, three laps each, without saving, in one sitting?

I haven’t tried the car-building, since I blew all my goddamn tickets paying for the Story chapters. Maybe building a custom car makes it easier? Somehow, I doubt it. This really is a game with an utterly screwed difficulty level. I can’t imagine recommending it to anyone who isn’t a glutton for hardcore precision racing tedium.


Not having any trouble here except a little with story mode. Tom, have you looked at the manual? Do you understand all the slides you can use? How about practice or time trials? Did you figure out a good line around each track you’re having trouble with?

This is the sim racing version of a futuristic racing game and it rocks hard. I’ve seen it referred to on GAF as “Hot Neon Sex” and that’s about right. It’s so fast that you simply must learn the tracks inside and out and be aware of your opponents at all times.

I really don’t think the difficulty is screwed up at all. If anything, it’s right where it should be. Games have been way too easy for far too long.


Tom, have you looked at the manual?

I am a Lover of Manuals. I read my manuals, and when I read them, I read all of them. I know things other people do not know because I read manuals. It is a lost art and I am one the Last Manual Readers on Earth. So, yes, I have read the manual.

Except for those stupid character bios that constitute the last third of the F-Zero GX manual.

Do you understand all the slides you can use?

I do like the controls and it’s not that I’m having trouble negotiating the tracks. I have Mad Skillz when it comes to using the drift to whip around a pair of close ninety degree corners. I even lean forward in straightaways. I should be rewarded for my finesse.

I suck, however, at trying to fight the other cars. So generally, I don’t bother them. I consider myself a laissez-faire racer.

How about practice or time trials?

Again, it’s not so much that I don’t know the tracks. I’m not the kind of guy who expects to win a race the first time I play it. But tell me the third chapter of the Story mode isn’t the most aggravating gag course you’ve ever had to run eight hundred times before you could finish it. C’mon, I dare you. Tell me.

Did you figure out a good line around each track you’re having trouble with?

Some of the tracks actually have the line painted, which is helpful.

But fuck this, I’m going back to Midnight Club II.


I would laugh, but I haven’t got F Zero yet. I can’t imagine not being able to nail a racing game on novice mode after grokking the tracks, but we’ll see.

Aren’t there some cheat codes on F Zero to… ah, assist the elderly gamer? Don’t hang your head in shame, Tom. Just think of it as your first box of Depends.

I have a feeling that this game will live forever because of this. Racing fanatics will talk about F Zero Gx the way D&D fanatics talk about Tomb of Horrors. You watch.

The word of mouth about how hard this is is keeping me away too. This is one of the games I bought my Cube for and now I probably won’t end up getting it until it hits the bargain bins. It’s really dissapointing to me. :(

I’ve been warming up to the game myself, but as someone that burned through Midnight Club 2 and really enjoyed it, this is one evil, evil game.

I think my biggest problem is that it rarely feels as if you are ever making progress in the game. F Zero X felt somewhat similar there. Hell the only time I really feel I am playing well is after successfully taking out a rival car mid race due to a lucky hit with that spin dash or bump. Granted after like 4 hours of play I do feel I am getting the hang of being a wreckless racer, but this is not my preferred way of approaching F Zero either, I almost feel forced to kill the competition simply to make headway because skillful driving doens’t seem to take you very far on its own.

There is little sense of progress through these courses as the flock of cars simply tend to stick so tightly together that either you fly in formation with them, or hang outside be it taking up the rear or a dramatic lead (wherein the most basic slipup drops you down a dozen spots?) It’s like Nascar was thrown into a VCR and the Fast forward button was glued down. To be fair there aren’t many racers out there that ever reward you for navigating a course less than perfectly, the original F Zero actually forced you to make progress in the standings or else you won’t be able to compete in Lap 3, but back then facing the competition didin’t mean wading through the flock of seagulls hoping to bump your opponents around like pinballs.

I’m trying to love the game, I really want to as it controls so fluidly the courses are for the most part extremely fun to run through, and I’m actually looking very forward to buying and building parts to making my own uber-ride. (Though like Tom mentioned, this will have to wait because some jagoff felt Story mode wasn’t irritating enough on its own, it should also be damn expensive.) I just don’t feel the game is playing on fair terms here.

Thankfully there is some Soul Calibur 2 around to keep my wits about.

C’mon…even if you don’t do well in single player, they don’t have all the tracks locked up for multiplayer. You can have a blast with the game with friends without ever tackling the single player stuff.

I haven’t done much fighting, Tom. I’m only starting to use some of the “moves” for that. I’m more concerned with going as fast as possible at all times without hitting anything. That’s the key. Also, don’t give up on a series if you get a bad finish. You can win the Cups without winning all the races. I only won three races and finished ok in the other two to take the first Cup on Standard difficulty.

I don’t agree with the five races thing either since races last about 2 minutes at the most. You play for ten minutes and you’ve already run five races or more! It’s crazy. I kept looking at the clock last night wondering how I was racing so much in such a short amount of time. Then I noticed how fast 3 laps goes by…

Story mode is tough. I’ll give you that. But I really don’t mind. It’s good to finally get a challenging racing game that doesn’t need multiplayer to make it that way. When combined with the eye-popping visuals that just never. slow. down., it’s an experience like no other on consoles. The music is great too. Alternately amazing and cheesily amazing at different times. It’s also an incredible blend of Sega and Nintendo smarts. You can see both companies in the game. Great stuff.


The people bitching about F-Zero GX’s review scores (which were purportedly lowered due to the game’s obscene difficulty curve) crack me up. WHERE THE HELL WERE YOU FOLKS WHEN I WAS ARGUING FOR HOSHIGAMI AND THE SHITTY SCORES IT GOT FOR THE SAME REASON??

Oh, that’s right, Hoshigami wasn’t made by Nintendo, and its difficulty was actually a MYTH.

There’s good difficult and there’s bad difficult. I haven’t played F-Zero GX beyond the demo, so I wouldn’t know which it is, but I don’t really like the implication that difficulty is good by default.

I tend to feel there’s difficulty through ‘challenge’ (play well and success is guaranteed) and then there is just frustration(playing well doesn’t necessarily guarantee success).

F Zero obviously has a perverse manner of challenge. It truly demands a lot from the gamer, especially motivation. It’s the kind of game where you tend to gamble on the law of averages a bit too much. Yes, if I sit and replay this event or course enough damn times eventually I’ll nail it!

Precision and finesse only seems to go so far, if I can manage to keep playing for a week or two from now moreso than a single evening, I’ll see if that sort of thing changes.

And that’s the problem for me. Working full time and going to school part time, dosen’t leave the kind of time needed to do well at these kind of games. When I was 15, I didn’t mind spending an entire day mastering a single track but I just don’t have the patience or the time anymore.

Before F-Zero GX had any movies or pictures out, and when it was announced Amusement Vision (you’re surprised this game is hard and you’ve played Super Monkey Ball? :wink: Nah, it probably has more to do that you thought the difficulty would be more fun.) Where was my thought? lunges out the window and catches it onto furiously, forcing it back into his head as it kicks and screams There now, yes, when it was announced AV was doing the game, I kind of had a quandary. I really didn’t know which play style I prefered. The 2D, SNES and GBA F-Zero’s or the F-Zero X-style. Now I know prefer the 2D type.

Its not that I don’t like the F-Zero X-style, far from it. I really enjoyed F-Zero X, but actually, difficulty is something I feel was improved in GX. Because despite all the amazingly unbelievable twists and corkscrew design of X I didn’t really much intensity, mostly because the entire game wasn’t very challenging. I really like how much detail Sega put into all the tracks as well, now they feel well and truly NUTS! With all the stuff you’re racing by…it can feel like your inside a techno kaleidoscope.

But even with that, I still think something falls short in the intensity factor. In the SNES (and the SFC update) F-Zero and Maximum Velocity, the emphasis is more on traps and enforcing your position. You can’t kill enemy racers, at least not with any precision, so that’s all moot. There’s a vicious and downright cruel energy I feel that fueled the original F-Zero when you crashed, the close-up, the pull-away, the sharp turn-around, with the words “YOU LOSE” prominently displayed against the screen. It kind of felt like the game was saying, “YOU LOSER.” I think the carnival, rollercoaster trackstyle of X and GX takes away from the stark, more minimal presentation of the 2D games. When you lose, it doesn’t seem to fit as well into the theme. Its like F-Zero mixed with Sonic, and I think the deliberately evil tone of the originals fit in better, it gave the game a kind of demonic intensity, whereas this feels more like you’re falling out of your seatbelt at Space Mountain in Disneyland.

I also like techno midi much better than…butt rock, is it? Still, I feel its important that the difficulty fit the tone and atmosphere of the game as closely as it can. That’s one reason I think Working Designs is so damn stupid, as Lunars are much easier to enjoy in their light-hearted, lackadaisical way, without a stupidly hard boss to refight over and over, or overpowed regular enemies. Smash Brothers is another good example, the higher difficulty modes and challenges can be extremely challenging, but the context is hilarious. People screaming as they get flung back with extreme whiplash, cartoon-style whams and blams like Looney Tunes gone videogame crazy, and twinkling out in the distance like Team Rocket when Satoshi and friends prevail once again, or when you hit the screen in front. When you die on some of those really frustrating challenges, it seems like Looney Tune Law.

But getting back to F-Zero GX, actually the Story Mode is my favorite part and I really wish the entire game had been centered more around it, as I enjoy it more than any of the other parts. I didn’t really have any trouble with the main Grand Prix mode until the third difficulty level. But this may be because I mastered the arcade version before I started playing GX and so had nearly all of the unlockables relatively early in the game. That one AX car that’s so good for modding, I guess, could really help out.

Anyway, it looks like you’ve given up on the game, but if you’re still interested, I recommend choosing cars that shore up your greatest weakness and almost nothing else. If its falling off tracks, get a really good grip car to the exclusion of all else, from your discussion, it really doesn’t like its cornering, but same idea there, if its losing energy and blowing up, get a really tough car and just improve in your other areas until you can drop the handicap. That’s how I’ve played both X and GX/AX.

Again, don’t get me wrong, I think GX is great stuff, but I really would have preferred bringing the more trap and track-danger oriented nature of the 2D games into 3D, and I think this is why I enjoy the Story Mode more. Maybe there’s a reason why that doesn’t work, because maybe in 3D you expect the game to go even faster than you do in 2D and so for visual acuity you need to drop that play style because no one will ever be fast react to it, I’m not a developer, but if its a question of that, I’d rather have a lower speed and more of that style of play. It would also be lovely to have the squeaky sterile, Space Harrier-style planeworld of minimalistic beauty that it is in the 2D games transferred to a 3D style as well. But that’s more my own dream that what the developer’s intended, and when what they’ve done is still lots of fun, I can’t complain too much.

Tom Chick said:

I am a Lover of Manuals. I read my manuals, and when I read them, I read all of them. I know things other people do not know because I read manuals. It is a lost art and I am one the Last Manual Readers on Earth. So, yes, I have read the manual.

Same here! Its a pity they don’t seem to take as much as care with them as they used and they aren’t as fun to read, but I still get a lot of reading the manuals. I really liked reading the Arcanum manual, for instance, it felt like some rich butler guy was explaining how to play a game. “And now we daintily press the enter button with our left index finger like so!” He he. I also liked the Fallout, Disgaea, Ico and Shadow Hearts manuals, Dragon Quest manuals always rock without fail too. It used to really piss me off in the US when you rented a game and it came with no manual. In a way, its a good thing that’s not an option here.


About manuals, you are lucky. I am a big fan of them too (anyone here remember Syndicate one?, found really amazing) But at my country, tendence is to rip original manuals, put only the installation stuff with some basic info, translate it terribly bad, and erase any type of art that could make it interesting to see.

Fortunately, importing let me keep seeing great manuals, like Vampire: The Masquerade, or Venus & Braves ones (IMO).

And for F-Zero… I have an interview with Toshihiro Nagoshi in a few weeks, would be nice to hear his vision about the issue.

YAY! Gaijin to Ronin is here! ^_^ I’m probably the wrong person to say this, since I’m still a newbie too, but welcome!

You get to interview Toshihiro Nagoshi? Neats! It still says Spain, so I’m assuming you’re doing it over the the internet? How often do you get to do stuff with prestigious people like him? You’re very lucky, you know that, don’t you?

About manuals, yeah, I lot of PC game manufacturers do that to us over here too. I was so indignant when I heard about Microsoft’s World Collection. So they can’t be bothered to bring over interesting games like Morrowind and KOTOR, can they? Despite the fact that they could foster that niche market into something and work from there? Or even give us Burnout 2 and Midnight Club 2, since they could be quite popular over here if given the appropriate attention? And they’re going to show us how much they care by not even translating the games the worthless games they chose and just giving us cheap Japanese instructions? And they somehow think this will earn them their respect? And not only that, some of the games they’ve chosen are already available on the PS2, IN JAPANESE! And they choose American football to concentrate on? What the hell?

I sympathize with the way it was in the past, with Japanese companies giving games bad translations and refusing to translate games for sometimes petty reasons and some of Nintendo’s and Sony’s ridiculous standards. But at least they were smaller companies which in many cases couldn’t afford to translate all that much and have it be viable, or had to work with the difficulty of fitting English translations in a cartridge. This is Microsoft, billion-kajillion dollar Microsoft, who can spend on monstrously huge advertising campaigns which annoy people by suffocating them with green Xes rather than endear the brand, but they can’t pump up an impressive localization program so XBox can find its own corner and expand from there? I’m telling you, the number of sites that focus on Western games increases each day, the potential for Western RPGs to experience a resurgence in popularity like when Dungeon Master and Wizardry were tearing up the charts is always there. The number of players who are interested in playing games with stylistic and worldview differences that make for a huge departure from many Japanese games gets larger and larger. Its not much for world-quaking numbers, but its a start and gets your machine a positive identity. But when Sony can even do that better than you can, it doesn’t look good. I bet you anything Fable and Psychonauts will never see the light of day here.

Its getting to the point where they’re making it so I’m never going to buy an Xbox simply out of spite toward their retarded ideas about appealing to us. I mean you get the idea that Gates thinks Japanese people are absolutely braindead or something. Its worse than kicking someone in the nuts and then saying, “Well, I didn’t kick you as hard as I could.” I’m never going to forget the whole Project Midway thing, but you’d think they’d at least try to rise above that.

Sorry for the off-topic rant, but your comment about lazy translation attitudes just stirred up all those thoughts.


I’ll tell you where I was. I was right here, where I’ve always been, with no clue what a Hoshigami is. Is it something Yoshi can eat? Can he live in it?

Dave and Kitsune, it’s interesting hearing your perspectives in F-Zero GX, which reminds me that I should point out F-Zero fans will probably love the game. It seems like a faithful follow-up to the strengths of the series and it should please fans to no end. But this level of difficulty and precision is simply not for me any more than a hardcore NASCAR or Formula One game is not for me.

I’m going back to futzing around with the motorcycles in Midnight Club II, which feel much easier to drive now that my reflexes have been frayed/sharpened by F-Zero GX.


Evidently you’ve played a little more than I have, of almost all the modes. Does it count that most of my enjoyment of the game is the stupid satisfaction I get from feeling like I’m on a roller coaster? I consider myself an intelligent gamer, but when it comes to racing games and sometimes shooters, I just like to go fast and/or blow things up. Sometimes. …that may explain why I played CS for so long.

This was my biggest problem so far, I’d be doing fine but playing a little risky and then I’d forget about that weird drop after that last turn and blammo. I felt like they should have committed to either being about reflexes or memorization as it’s a little frustrating to have to flip back and forth between the two. (Writing that sentence I feel like I’m saying the opposite of what I would say were I playing a game that did that).

Some of them yes, but have you played Ikaruga, Contra: Shattered Soldier, or Shinobi? I certainly don’t mind a game that is tough (certain Splinter Cell levels come to mind) but I can’t tolerate games that are hard because they’re buggy (Dead to Rights Xbox) or because hard is their gimmick (C:SS). I’m not saying F-Zero is the latter, I just wouldn’t mind a balance (easy for me to say) :)

As for manuals, I stopped reading them when I started being the one who was driving in the car on the way home from the game store. Not reading manuals is a bad bad habit. Sure they’re not always 100% correct, or in Tomb Raider:AOD’s case made for what seems to be an entirely different game, but I’ve spent tedious hours trying to figure out something that manual readers were already aware of.