f-zero box art super nes racing
7.0 Overall Score
Graphics: 4/10
Sound: 4/10
Controls: 9/10

Strong game control and a fun game

Hasn't aged well

Game Info

Game Name:  F-Zero

Developer(s):  Nintendo EAD

Publisher(s):  Nintendo

Platform(s):  Super NES/Wii/Wii U/3DS

Genre(s):  Racing

Release Date(s):  November 21, 1990 (Japan)/August 23, 1991

ESRB Rating:  Not Rated

f-zero gameplay captain falcon sand ocean screenshots

Get racing!

The F-Zero race is on as the world’s top driver sign up to compete in zero gravity F-1 races that span the planet.  The top drivers Captain Falcon, Dr. Stewart, Pico, and Samurai Goroh all plan to lay claim to the title of greatest driver in the world as they face tracks in Death Wind, Port Town, Red Canyon, Mute City, Sand Ocean, Big Blue, Silence, White Land, and Fire Field.  Ready, set, go!!!!!

F-Zero is a sci-fi racing game and one of the Super Nintendo’s launch titles in the United States.  Released on August 23, 1991, F-Zero was well received by critics and was a best seller.  The game is available for download from the Nintendo’s Virtual Store (for the Wii, Wii U, and 3DS) and also was included in their mini Super NES Classic console.

f-zero gameplay red canyon i samurai gorah screenshots

Samurai Gorah is my man!!!

I got F-Zero soon after I got a Super Nintendo.  The first game I received (obviously) was Super Mario Land which was packaged with system (since that was a nice thing that game systems used to do).  While I rented some other games for the system, I believe F-Zero was my second game…and I played it into the ground.

I’m not a huge fan of racing games which makes it a bit unusual I was so into F-Zero.  It had a cool sci-fi look and a fast game play…real fast.  As you careen around the track while haphazardly trying to hold on, you learn the great design of the Super NES controllers.  The gameplay is slick and well designed with the cars being really receptive…and you can predict what will happen to the car when it is struck, turns, or jumps its way around the course.  It becomes a challenge of skill as you increase your difficulty level through beginner, standard, expert, and master.

The courses are also fun if not frustrating.  The courses are divided into Knight, Queen, and King with each course having five tracks.  Each race consists of five laps and a practice mode can be used to master the levels and beat the times.  The game is pretty limited on jumping when compared to later versions of the game and the anti-gravity aspect of F-Zero also really isn’t pushed very far.

f-zero gameplay firefield dr stewart screenshot

Thanks Mode 7 for the weird, warped landmines…

F-Zero was rather revolutionary at the time of its release, but it hasn’t held up as well as some other NES games.  The game relied on Mode 7 gameplay which was used a lot in early Super NES games.  It provided this weird “coming at the screen” visual that doesn’t hold up today.  The game itself really loses a lot of its definition on bigger new TVs and honestly, despite more detail looks like even older racing games…but I still remember how cool it looked in 1991.

F-Zero hasn’t necessarily held up, but it is still a solid racing game.  Later entries got increasingly difficult and featured more drivers with more customable cars.  I always stuck with the fast (but slow starting), heavy Samurai Goroh whose car’s weight bullied him to the lead.  It is amazing how strong your muscle memory is when playing games like F-Zero…I still know the slides and turns and it is fun to get back to the floating track.  In Japan, F-Zero was followed by BS F-Zero Grand Prix in 1996 and BS F-Zero Grand Prix 2 in 1997, but F-Zero received an American sequel in 1998 in F-Zero X on the Nintendo 64.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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