Developer(s) – Nintendo EAD
Publisher(s) – Nintendo
Producer – Shigeru Miyamoto
Artist – Takaya Imamura
One of the two original launch titles for the Super Nintendo in Japan, F-Zero has proved to be one of the most influential titles on the system, being one of the first to incorporate Mode-7 graphics to allow for 3D rendering. Though Super Mario Kart would arrive a year later and eclipse the popularity of this game, it is not without it’s merits, and has remained a cult classic to many gamers.
Aside from the visuals being particularly advanced for the time, it also has a surprising amount of conceptual diversity, with each of the fifteen courses in the game containing their own colour schemes, scenery and style, and even soundtracks; some of which are extremely catchy. Debatably, it’s even a lot more diverse than Super Mario Kart was, but I disagree with this, since not only are there more characters to compete as, but like Super Mario Kart, there are also a lot recycled elements in each course despite standing out from one another. I Think both Shigeru Miyamoto and Takaya Imamura would really shine together creatively during their collaborative work on the Star Fox series.
Going beyond most conventional racing games of the time, the original F-Zero would become known for its surprising level of challenge and fast-paced racing. Like Super Mario Kart, there exist different tournaments for gamers to compete in, usually consisting of four tracks. There are no weapons to use whilst on the road, but nonetheless, the game still provides an extremely exhilarating experience unlike most others on the system.
For one of the first games to use the graphic-rendering techniques it did, it’s actually quite impressive how the control scheme was handled, and would become a massive influence on future franchises, such as Wipeout. The L and R triggers could be used to strafe from side to side rather than simply having the players use the d-pad to turn and skid in different directions. This, in turn, allowed for the creation of some of the many different basic structures of certain tracks, such as Mute City II.
Racing game had already been established as a prominent genre at this point, and it was only natural that Nintendo wanted to capitalize on this ever-evolving style of play, but what has made Nintendo’s approach to this so special is that they’ve never shied away from trying new concepts and ideas. It’s been seen in all of the Mario Kart games since, but it was first seen in F-Zero. This wasn’t the first game to play out the way it does, as Pole Position came many years before it, but it did it at a much faster and challenging pace.
Overall, F-Zero to this day remains a must-have for anyone with either the original console or access to the Virtual Console. It went on to have a huge impact on many future racing games and spawn two sequels, and whist in more recent years has merely made appearances in other Nintendo series’ (the most recent of which being Mario Kart 8), the original game has earned its rightfully place in the industry’s history.