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F-Zero X (F-ZERO X Efu Zero Ekkusu?, F-ZERO X) is a futuristic racing video game for the Nintendo 64 console. Developed by Nintendo's EAD division, it was released in Japan, Europe and North America, in 1998. F-Zero X has been re-released on the Wii Virtual Console in Japan, in Europe as the 100th VC title, and in North America, in 2007. When the game was later developed and released for the iQue Player in China in 2004, it became the first and only title of the series to feature online multiplayer, as well as being Nintendo's first racing title with online multiplayer. In 2000, an expansion of the game was exclusively released in Japan providing numerous extra features not in the original game.
F-Zero X is the third released installment in the F-Zero series and the first released video game in the franchise to feature 3D graphics. The game has a steep learning curve and its gameplay experience is similar to that of the original F-Zero title. However, the title does introduce a "death race" mode and a random track generator called the "X Cup". In the death race, the player's objective is to annihilate the 29 other racers as speedily as possible, while the X-Cup "creates" a different set of tracks each time played.
At first, only six machines are available for play, extra ones are unlocked by beating the Grand Prixs on the various difficulty levels. These are: Novice, Standard, Expert, and Master (unlockable).
F-Zero X has five Cups in total whose names are based on face cards. Four of them contains six courses each. Initially, only the Jack, Queen, and King Cups are available to choose from and each vary in difficulty from beginner, intermediate and expert respectively. The Joker Cup can be unlocked by coming first overall in Jack, Queen, and King Cups on Standard difficulty in the Grand Prix. Beating each of these four cups on Expert difficulty unlocks Master difficulty for that cup. Beating all four cups on Expert unlocks the X Cup, which produces a different set of procedurally-generated courses each time it is played.
An X Cup can be played that consists of procedurally-generated courses, all of which are called X. Each playthrough of the X Cup will be different.
The Death Race is a special event where the player has to defeat the other 29 racers on a vertical loop shaped course. The aim is to defeat them all as fast as possible.
Time Attack mode allows players to attempt to beat the best time for the courses. There is also unlockable staff ghosts, which have expert level times to beat.
|Pilot #||Name||Image||Age||Manual description||Machine|
|01||Mighty Gazelle||36||Three years ago, he was injured in a freak racing accident and miraculously survived. Due to the damage his body sustained, he became a cyborg. Others have tried to stop him from competing, but he is determined to win.||Red Gazelle|
|02||Jody Summer||24||Jody is one of the top rookie pilots in the circuit. While Jody doesn't have much experience, many see her as a dark horse.||White Cat|
|03||Dr. Stewart||41||He's been living in the fast lane as a doctor. Dr. Stewart became interested in the F-Zero X GP after the death of his father. The Golden Fox belonged to his father.||Golden Fox|
|04||Baba||18||This young rookie has incredible intuition and is very flexible. After enduring a great deal of training, Baba will make his racing debut this season.||Iron Tiger|
|05||Samurai Goroh||44||He's one of the best bounty hunters around and the leader of a group of space thieves. Goroh's reason for joining F-Zero is because of his hatred for Capt. Falcon, his rival.||Fire Stingray|
|06||Pico||123 (or so he says)||Pico used to work for a special unit of the Poripoto army. He's aggressive, but calm. Rumor has it that he is also an infamous hit man.||Wild Goose|
|07||Captain Falcon||36||He's a well known bounty hunter as well as a great F-Zero pilot. Many mysteries surround Capt. Falcon–the only thing we know is that he's from Port Town.||Blue Falcon|
|08||Octoman||Unknown||He represents the planet Takora, an enemy of the Milky Way Federation. Takorans are intent on showing their advanced intelligence in the universe.||Deep Claw|
|09||Mr. EAD||Unknown||This cyborg was developed by the mysterious development group EAD. His purpose for racing is to test his IQ and debug his man-made programming.||Great Star|
|10||James McCloud||31||James McCloud is a hired ranger, and the leader of Galaxy Dog. He remodeled his space fighter into an F-Zero machine. McCloud is in this grand prix for one reason – money.||Little Wyvern|
|11||Billy||6||Billy is the first monkey to participate in F-Zero. He's out to prove that monkeys are the superior species.||Mad Wolf|
|12||Kate Alen||29||This popular singer and dancer has decided to try her hand at racing. She will debut this season.||Super Piranha|
|13||Zoda||Unknown||Zoda is the incarnation of evil and intent on conquering Earth. Why he's racing in the Grand Prix is still a mystery. His past disputes against the Arrows and Captain Falcon are well known.||Death Anchor|
|14||Jack Levin||18||Jack's a favorite of the female fans. Any merchandise with his face on it sells out immediately. While most people talk about his good looks and popularity, not too many people mention his racing skill.||Astro Robin|
|15||Bio Rex||8||This dinosaur is a product of bio-technology. Through this technology, his brain has become very similar to a human's. If he wins the Grand Prix, he will prove that he's superior to humans||Big Fang|
|16||The Skull||240||Skull was once a great legend among drivers. Using science and black magic, Skull returned from the grave to compete one more time.||Sonic Phantom|
|17||Antonio Guster||35||Antonio was once Goroh's right-hand man, but Goroh betrayed him. Now Antonio has joined the Grand Prix in hopes of exacting revenge on his former mentor.||Green Panther|
|18||Beastman||35||When just a child, Beastman was nearly eaten by a giant alligator. Ever since then, he's been a slayer of beasts. Now he hopes to advertise his services in the Grand Prix||Hyper Speeder|
|19||Leon||15||Compared to humans, Leon is not very bright. He makes up for it with his sharp reflexes and cornering ability.||Space Angler|
|20||Super Arrow||34||Super Arrow's job is to protect the Earth. When Super Arrow discovered that Zoda, his sworn enemy, had entered the Grand Prix, he entered as well.||King Meteor|
|21||Mrs. Arrow||26||Mrs. Arrow races with her husband Super Arrow. She's a good wife and team member. Actually, her racing experience makes her a better pilot than her husband.||Queen Meteor|
|22||Gomar & Shioh||Unknown||These Furikake people always act as one person. They are a very strange race. While the rules don't allow pilots to use machines for two riders, they were approved by the committee. Their machine is the lightest on the circuit.||Twin Noritta|
|23||Silver Neelsen||97||Neelsen has participated in more Grand Prix races than anyone, but has yet to win. His age has drawn criticism. Because he is resentful of the newer machines, the other racers are avoiding him.||Night Thunder|
|24||Michael Chain||38||He's the leader of the Bloody Chain gang. Michael participates in the Grand Prix to show off his driving skills to members of his gang. Since he rarely wins, members are slowly leaving the gang.||Wild Boar|
|25||Blood Falcon||36||Created by Black Shadow, Blood Falcon is an exact duplicate of Captain Falcon. Well, almost. Blood Falcon is evil – very evil.||Blood Hawk|
|26||John Tanaka||30||Tanaka, an engineer, and member of the Milky Way Federation, is supposed to be assisting Jody Summer. His concern for his colleague compelled him to join the Grand Prix. He seems to be more interested in protecting Jody Summer than winning the Grand Prix.||Wonder Wasp|
|27||Draq||136||Draq works with Roger Buster, and is a big fan of F-ZERO. Driving in the Grand Prix has been his life-long dream.||Mighty Typhoon|
|28||Roger Buster||40||Roger, a transportation guru, was supposed to transport a machine to an unknown participant. His partner persuaded him to abandon that idea and race for himself.||Mighty Hurricane|
|29||Dr. Clash||54||A former F-Zero engineer, it has been Dr. Clash's dream to become a pilot. He is participating in the race with a machine he designed and built himself.||Crazy Bear|
|30||Black Shadow||Unknown||The King of Evil. Black Shadow strikes fear in the hearts of everyone. His goal is to destroy Captain Falcon in front of millions of viewers.||Black Bull|
Development and audio
Initially titled F-Zero 64, Famitsu magazine revealed the project in mid-1997. The game, which was produced alongside Zero Racers, was renamed late in its development. Several key Wave Race 64 programmers including the lead programmer made up the in-house F-Zero X development team. The game made its debut at the Nintendo Space World event in late November 1997 where the public was able to play it for the first time. F-Zero X became the first racing game to run at 60 frames per second with up to 30 vehicles on screen at the same time, but in order to keep the frame rate, polygon counts on the vehicles, textures and track detail are sacrificed. The North American release of F-Zero X suffered from a three month delay due to Nintendo of America's policy of spacing the release of first-party games out evenly. Features from the Nintendo 64DD are included in F-Zero X which allow for the cartridge to be compatible with add-on disks such as track editors or course updates, however none of these were utilized outside of Japan, due to the 64DD's commercial failure.
F-Zero X features remixed music from its predecessor. Besides the games' visual detail, another setback in order for the title to run well at its frame rate is the quality of its audio. Due to compression, the game only features monaural sound. Two soundtracks were released featuring music from this game. The F-Zero X Original Soundtrack was released on September 18, 1998. The F-Zero X Guitar Arrange Edition, which was released on January 27, 1999, contains ten guitar arranged musical tracks from the game. Both the original soundtrack and the guitar arrangement are composed by Taro Bando and Hajime Wakai.
Critics generally praised F-Zero X for its fast gameplay, abundance of courses and vehicles, keeping a high framerate even though there can be up to thirty racers on screen at the same time, and track design. However, the game has been widely criticized for its lack of graphical detail. The title received Game of the Month for the month of November from Electronic Gaming Monthly. An editor stated "the graphics may be simple, but they're smooth and the action is fast". IGN described F-Zero X as an exceptional update to the original game that "only suffers under its generic look". They believed that unlike the first game, F-Zero X "is not about showing off graphics or sound capabilities -- it's all about gameplay". They considered the game to rival Wave Race with its "perfectly fine-tuned controls and a fresh approach to racing".
Allgame called F-Zero X "certainly not up to Nintendo's usual standards" in terms of detail and texture quality. GameSpot also criticized the games' graphical detail, calling the low polygon count on the vehicles as "particularly uninspiring" and that the "track detail is also very limited, giving the track a spartan feel to it". In GameSpot's re-review of the Virtual Console release, they gave it a 6.5/10 calling it "the black sheep of the series" when compared with the other F-Zero games in "visual style and technical flair".
Despite its visual setbacks, critics exalted the game for managing to keep a steady 60 frame/s, which some felt made up for the lack of graphical detail. The Electric Playground found the framerate to give "the game a major boost in the feel department" making it "seem like your vehicle is bursting through the sound barrier". In regard to the music, EGM considered it "really good with some excellent remixes of the old F-Zero tunes", while CVG called the music dreadful. The Electric Playground thought it goes hand-in-hand to the feeling of speed in the game, but not much else.
F-Zero X sold 383,642 units in America and 77,154 units in Japan, making it the 49th best-selling Nintendo 64 game. The game sold 56,457 copies during its first week of sale in Japan, but sold nearly five times less the following week.
Disk Drive Expansion
- Main article: F-Zero X Expansion Kit
The F-Zero X Expansion Kit, released in Japan on April 21, 2000, was the first add-on disk for the Nintendo 64DD. The Kit will only operate in conjunction with the cartridge of the original game, however all of F-Zero X's regular features are accessible plus twelve new tracks, a car editor and a track creator. The Expansion Kit includes new soundtracks in stereo as well as the entire collection of monaural audio tracks from the original game. In addition to the two new cups, it is also possible to create custom cups. The disk can save up to a hundred tracks and up to three ghost racers per course. The track creator was singled out as the Expansion Kit's strongest feature since it is virtually the same tool the track designers of F-Zero X used for themselves to create the original circuits.
The Car Editor offers a variety of options when creating a vehicle. Using a set of pre-existing parts, the player must balance their creations' settings and performance abilities before the machine is finished and named. The Track Editor is a detailed track creator that allows the player design their own racing circuits. Using a cursor, the player can determine the basic layout of the track and also add points to it to create track elements such as curves and hills. Furthermore, numerous different properties like half pipes and cylinders, as well as numerous road surfaces, such as slip zones, can be added. The player also can test their creation at any time and run practice laps.
Lastly, Captain Falcon, Samurai Goroh and Jody Summer receive updates in the form of unlockable 'Super vehicles' which boasts perfect stats (Body, Boost and Grip at A), slightly altered design and a new color scheme as well as the pilots themselves wearing new clothes.
- Main article: Gallery:F-Zero X
- Main article: F-Zero X on The Cutting Room Floor
To unlock all machines, cups, and master class, press, L, Z, R, C-Up, C-Down, C-Left, C-Right, Start. A chime should play, if done correctly.
Hold L + R + C-Down + C-Left at the Select Machine screen.
- IGN Staff (1997-06-16). First look at F-Zero 64. IGN. Retrieved on 2007-05-29.
- Schneider, Peer; Casamassina, Matt (1998-10-27). F-Zero X review. IGN. Retrieved on 2007-05-22.
- F-Zero X - Development. N-Sider. Retrieved on 2006-06-13.
- IGN Staff (1997-11-21). F-Zero X Marks the Spot. IGN. Retrieved on 2007-06-07.
- IGN Staff (1998-07-14). F-Zero X. IGN. Retrieved on 2007-06-18.
- Mielke, James (1998-08-13). F-Zero X review. GameSpot. Retrieved on 2007-05-22. “F-Zero X is a stunning achievement in that it's truly the first racing game that runs at a brisk 60 frames per second, even in multiplayer.”
- Schneider, Peer (2000-07-18). F-Zero X Expansion Kit (Import). IGN. Retrieved on 2007-06-15.
- Schneider, Peer; Casamassina, Matt (1998-10-27). F-Zero X. IGN. Retrieved on 2007-05-22.
- Lucas, DeWoody (2005-01-05). The Legendary Race - The History of F-Zero. Advanced Media Network pp. 2, 4. Kombo. Retrieved on 2007-10-09.
- "F-Zero X", Electronic Gaming Monthly (Ziff Davis Media) (no. 112), November 1998, ISSN 1058-918X, <http://www.1up.com/do/blogEntry?bId=8219910&publicUserId=5739595>. Retrieved on 2007-11-15
- White, Nick (2007-06-25). Nintendo's Eight Famous Franchises #5 - F-Zero. Aussie-Nintendo. Retrieved on 2007-08-14.
- F-ZERO X Original Soundtrack. Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved on 2008-02-18.
- F-ZERO X Guitar Arrange Edition. Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved on 2008-02-18.