First details about the arcade version straight from the show floor.
The AOU 2003 Amusement Expo kicked off today in Tokyo. The AOU is an annual event sponsored by the All Nippon Amusement Machine Operators' Union to show off the latest amusement machines including arcades, prizes, UFO catchers, and related equipment from several companies. Sega, Capcom, Konami, Sammy, Namco, and other well known entertainment companies were present at the show.
The main attraction that is related to Nintendo is the first look at the playable version of F-Zero AC. F-Zero AC is the second title from Sega to utilize the Triforce, and it is the first title developed in collaboration with Nintendo. For those that are not familiar with the F-Zero series, F-Zero AC is a hyper-speed racing game (with speeds going over 2000 kilometers per hour) in a futuristic setting. The game will feature more than 10 new pilots and machines as well as the original pilots, Captain Falcon (Blue Falcon), Dr. Stewart (Golden Fox), Pico (Wild Goose), and Samurai Goroh (Fire Stingray). The new pilots available at the AOU are:
Three tracks were available for play. These included Lightning – Thunder Road, Aeropolis Screw Drive, and Port Town – Tubular Wave.
There are two modes of play – versus mode and time attack. In versus mode, there are 30 racers in each race, and up to four players can race against each other simultaneously. In the time attack mode, you race by yourself to get the best time. After each race, users will receive passwords from the arcade units, which can then be entered on F-Zero.jp to compete against other users. This is called the PC Net Ranking System, which is similar to the program Ikaruga has currently. The arcade version has a license card system in addition to the interaction of the Cube memory card. The license card is similar to the Virtua Fighter card system. It stores your user ID, original machine data, records, and pilot points, which you can use to buy customized parts for your customized machine. In regards to the controls and gameplay, I will describe them in detail in my impressions of the game.
The exact release date of F-Zero AC in the arcades is still not yet determined. However, according to a representative, the game should come out around the same time as the home version. Since the GameCube version is scheduled some time in May, we can expect the arcade version to hit arcades in Japan around summer at the latest. The game is currently about 50% complete. Exactly what can be done with your GameCube memory card has not been disclosed. AV representatives commented that the goal is to make sure that gamers can enjoy the arcade version even if they do not own F-Zero for the GameCube. However, they believe that there are many interesting possibilities for utilizing the memory card connection.
Although we’ve had no confirmation of these features, possible examples of the link-up would be unlocking machines and tracks both at the arcade and at home or if a track editor exists in the home version, gamers might able to port that track to the arcades.