After hours of play, Mike S' impressions of F-Zero: Maximum Velocity are ready to take off and break the sound barrier.
I never owned the original F-Zero, but I played it a lot at my friend's house. When F-Zero X came out I bought it right away. F-Zero racers are fantastic. They combine tight controls, breakneck speed and incredible track design. F-Zero: Maximum Velocity is no exception. It is a truly fantastic racer.
The first thing you will probably notice about F-Zero: MV is the speed. It is really really fast. The landscape scrolls by so fast you don't even have time to look at it. If you do get a chance to look at it though, you'll be impressed. It is much better looking than the Super NES version. The SNES version had some really pixelated looking textures. F-Zero: MV has none of those. The land below the track is very sharp looking, as is everything else. The machines (they're not cars) are all pre-rendered and very slick looking. They keep that F-Zero look to them.
The controls are tight. Not as tight as I'd like them to be, but they work just fine. Some of the machines are way too loose and slip all over the place. I'm sure newcomers will be able to adjust to this but it will probably take me a long while. So, until then I'm piloting the J.B. Crystal, which has supreme handling. The tracks, while also keeping the classic F-Zero look, are drastically different. They are just plain wild. My favorite feature has got to be the ability to choose a different path. It adds a pinch of strategy to the game, you have to know how you drive and how your machine will handle a certain path. The tracks also have new features like explosives which can really damage your machine, as well as leave a puddle of "lava" on the track. The tracks don't start out easy either. You can forget anything resembling Silence. The first track starts out with tons of speed-down areas and is actually quite hard to negotiate for a first track. On top of that the AI in the game is much improved. The other drivers will bump and smash their way around you and make sure you lose some energy.
The game's sound is good. It's not top notch though. It's missing those rockin' guitar riffs that F-Zero X had, and that I loved. The soundtrack is very much like the original's, but not quite as good. The sound effects, on the other hand, are dead on. I love the fizzle sound you hear when you run along the walls. As always, play this game with headphones. Or, if you're really cool, you'll hook your GBA up to your PC speakers.
F-Zero: Maximum Velocity is a tight game. Everything about it rocks. It's tough, but it's not too tough. It has some slick graphics and sound, and most importantly of all, the tracks totally rock. If you like racers, then F-Zero: Maximum Velocity will fit you perfectly.