Formula Fusion: Quick Race Atlas Torres 2nd Place


Formula Fusion is a game that’s the spiritual successor to games like the Wipeout series and also the F-Zero series. Here is my first time playing the track Atlas Torres in Quick Race. I only got 2nd Place.

To see all our Formula Fusion Videos, click here.

To view more of our Gameplay Videos, click here.

To check out more of our Let’s Plays, click here.

The Classic Gaming Birthday Round Up

The Classic Gaming Birthday Round Up

Over the last two weeks a number of iconic classic games have had birthdays. The following is a grouping of those postings from Patrick Scott Patterson.

August 27

Super Mario Kart celebrates 20 year anniversary today

The original Super Mario Kart, perhapsNintendo‘s biggest 16-bit classic, turns 20 years old today.

The classic racer was first released in Japan on August 27, 1992 with a North American release just days later on September 1. Developed by game industry legend Shigeru Miyamoto and directors Hideki Konno and Tadashi Sugiyama, Super Mario Kart came about in an effort to create a multi-player racing game that improved upon the single player experience of Super Nintendo launch title F-Zero.

The game proved to be one of the strongest titles for the Super NES and Super Famicom, selling 8 million copies during it’s lifespan, a titanic number for that generation of gaming. Sequels and follow-up titles continue to this day, including Mario Kart Wii, the second best-selling game for the successful Wii game console with almost 32.5 million copies sold to date.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcTIk19Lcms[/youtube]

Many fans of the original still look back upon it today.

“At the time of the games release, I was actually into go-kart racing,” said Mario Kart fan Josh Jones of Killeen, Texas. “This was a way for me to experience a whole new way of racing and battling at home. Nintendo did a supreme job incorporating it’s characters into a fun filled game which still has a fan base today.”

The multi-player aspect made an impact on the household of another fan of the game.

Super Mario Kart was the game that settled all the sibling disputes in my household,” said P.J. Stanton of Bordentown, New Jersey. “When my brother and I couldn’t agree on something the winner of argument was determined by a quick race or battle. Of course, by the time we finished playing we usually had forgotten what we were arguing about. My brother and I are estranged now, yet every so often we’ll talk on the phone and the conversation will always lead back to who was the better player.”

August 30th

Original Street Fighter arcade game turns 25

It has now been 25 years since the originalStreet Fighter arcade game first saw the light of day.

Capcom introduced this one-on-one fighter to arcades on August 30, 1987 in two different cabinet styles. The first featured two pressure sensitive “punch” pads while another marked what would be the first-ever six button layout on a fighting game.

While the original Street Fighter was only a modest success, the impact of the game on video game history cannot be fully stated in a short article. Street Fighter II, first introduced in 1991, became the biggest arcade hit since Pac-Man and spawned an entire generation of fighting games. Today, the Street Fighter franchise is one of the most competitive scenes in all of professional video gaming.

“I actually grew up with Street Fighter on arcade back in the day,” said fighting game fan Teri Otis Redding of Australia. “Loved every Street Fighter made pretty much. I think I’ll always remember the arcade experience I had when I was growing up.”

The continued success of the franchise seems pleasing to the maker of products for fighting games.

“Street Fighter has been almost a benchmark for standards on all upcoming games,” said Doug Johnson ofFoeHammer Custom Joysticks. “We love it when they launch a new one because the hype is tremendous.”

August 31st

Arcade classic BurgerTime turns 30 years old

Yet another household name in video game history is celebrating a major milestone this week as BurgerTime turns 30.

August 31, 1982 saw the first public appearance of the game, originally called Hamburger during it’s initial Japanese release. Created by Data East, the game made a big splash at the 1982 AMOA trade show where Data East showed off the title for it’s DECO Cassette System (an early interchangeable arcadesystem) as well as a licensed version from Bally Midway.

BurgerTime featured a chef named Peter Pepper, doing battle with living eggs, hot dogs and pickles who are trying to stop him from making the biggest hamburgers in the world in a multi-level platform. The game gained a loyal following in both coin-op form as well as home console versions from Mattel Electronics.

BurgerTime is one of the defining eighties games,” said Ohio’s J.D. Lowe, holder of the third highest BurgerTimescore ever with 6,109,500 points. “Easy to learn, hard to master, with music that sticks in your head and a design that is hard to replicate.”

Many of the remaining original BurgerTime arcade cabinets have landed in the hands of collectors, including Rhode Islands’ Brian Diamonti, who says he will hold on to his machine regardless of the offer.

“I had a buddy offer to trade me his Joust for myBurgerTime and I had to turn him down,” Diamonti said. “BurgerTime is too much of a staple in gaming roots to trade off and my girlfriend would be too pissed at me.”

BurgerTime made a national television appearance in early 1983 as one of the game titles used in a gauntlet on That’s Incredible. Players had to quickly reach a scoring threshold on the game to move advance to the next game. Texan Ben Gold, who won the televised contest, only had a short time to learn the game.

“I had three weeks to learn it and only one arcade to practice at,” Gold recalled. “Todd Walker was by far the best player on this game and the irony is that his mistake on it is what allowed me to beat him in the competition.”

Numerous sequels to BurgerTime have been released over the past 30 years, including last year’sBurgerTime World TourRay Almeda from MonkeyPaw Games, the company who released the 2011 follow-up, notes the unique concept of the game as a reason for it’s longevity.

“Anybody who plays BurgerTime instantly gets hungrier and hungrier the longer and longer they play,” Almeda said. “Even to this day, Peter Pepper still remains a lovable chef that builds the planet’s biggest burgers. Who would have thought you’d be running from food in a video game? It doesn’t get any more addicting and iconic than that, even after 30 years.”

September 6th

Activision classic Pitfall! reaches 30 year anniversary

The iconic Pitfall! has now reached the 30 year mark.

Originally released on September 6, 1982, this early Activision title was designed byDavid Crane and became an instant best-seller. First released for the Atari Video Computer System (later known as the Atari 2600), Pitfall! sold 4 million copies, a huge number for a game at that time and held the top on best-seller charts for an incredible 64 weeks.

Perhaps the first hit game to popularize the side scrolling style that became a staple of gaming later in the decade, Pitfall! gave players a limited amount of time to overcome in-game obstacles such as pits, crocodiles and giant scorpions in an effort to reach the treasure at the end.

The popularity of the game transcended the title itself with the character of Pitfall Harry at the helm. Pitfall! was one of the video game titles featured in the first season of CBS Saturday morning cartoon series Saturday Supercade. A young Jack Black appears in one of the television commercials for the original game as well.

Pitfall! was our first chance to game as a proper adventurer,” said Jayce Stokes of England’s ConsoleNinjas podcast. “The way it combined maze elements in with the platform staples of timing your jumps and avoiding hazardous drops was unmatched back then.”

As an early example of a game with a finite ending point, completing Pitfall! proved to be a badge of honor among gamers, many of whom say they had a love/hate relationship with the cartridge.

“Who doesn’t love Pitfall!?” said Stockton, California’s John Lopez. “I played it until I thought I’d break my joystick as a kid. The gameplay was great; a running man grabbing the vines, swinging over the pits and quicksand, jumping logs, climbing into the underground caverns, jumping scorpions and collecting treasure. It was one of the coolest games.”

A new version of Pitfall! was recently released for iOS devices, while the original game designer recently opened up a Kickstarter project in an effort to launch a new jungle adventure.

F-Zero X

F-Zero X - Nintendo 64 Gameplay Screenshot

F-Zero X (1998)
By: Nintendo EAD Genre: Racing Players: 1-4 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Nintendo 64
Also Available For: Nothing
Download For: Wii Virtual Console

Despite being a highly accomplished racing game, the original F-Zero was perhaps most highly regarded for its admittedly impressive technical prowess. When news of a full sequel (F-Zero 2 was more like a ‘data-disk’) on Nintendo’s brand spanking new 64-bit powerhouse emerged, mouths began to salivate at the prospect of what wonders might befall gamers. However, when it finally arrived it wasn’t as instantly mind-blowing as many gamers were expecting. After the bar-raising the original did, a similar advancement was expected here, but the graphical detail was actually notably inferior to most of the other N64 games that had been doing the rounds, nevermind markedly better. This was apparently done on purpose by Nintendo so they could achieve a constant silky-smooth frame-rate of sixty frames per second. Their decision wasn’t met with much enthusiasm at first though. Was it worth the risk?

F-Zero X - Nintendo 64 Gameplay Screenshot

Questionable graphical detail notwithstanding, if there’s one thing that F-Zero X is, it’s bigger. Bigger and better than F-Zero in pretty much every area. The objective remains the same – to win races – but the courses over which this is done really are something else. One of the few criticisms levelled at the SNES game was that the courses were all completely flat. That situation has been rectified here and then some – I’m pretty sure there’s not a single flat course to be found in F-Zero X! They are all suspended high above the surface of their respective planets and their features range from gently twisting roads with slopes and the usual chicanes and hairpins to full-on roller coaster-style courses full of downhill plummets, uphill climbs, huge banked corners, corkscrews, massive ramps, loops, tunnels and everything inbetween!

F-Zero X - Nintendo 64 Gameplay Screenshot

The single player game modes available here include Grand Prix, Practise, Time Trial, and Death Race, and a majority of your time will most likely be spent on the first of these (in single-player, at least). Grand Prix’s are contested by thirty racers, each with their own distinctive ‘machine’, over one of the leagues. There are initially three available – the Jack, Queen, and King Cups, with each of them consisting of six courses. Points are awarded after each race based on your finishing position, from first down to thirteenth, and successfully winning the three initial leagues will open another one, the Joker Cup, which has six more courses. There is also a fifth and final league – The X Cup – but unlocking this takes a bit more work. It’s worth it though as it’s a test for even the most talented of racers as its courses are randomly generated each time you race so there’s no opportunity to learn them first!

F-Zero X - Nintendo 64 Gameplay Screenshot

The Practise and Time Trial modes are self-explanatory, although it’s worth mentioning that the latter lets you race against staff ghosts. This way you can see if you’re better at any given course than the people who actually designed it (and I’m sure a few obsessed individuals have devoted a lot of time to this pursuit)! The Death Race takes place on a basic course and sees the aggression level of each of the thirty racers cranked up a notch! Using your machine’s meagre attack moves (it can charge to the left, right, or perform a spin), the object is to take out as many opponents as you can while they all try to do the same to you (and each other). Another criticism the original game received was its lack of a multi-player mode. This is another area in which F-Zero X bests its forebear thanks to its fantastic Vs Battle mode where between two and four racers can compete at once.

F-Zero X - Nintendo 64 Gameplay Screenshot

One of the first things you’ll notice about F-Zero X is that it’s fast. Very fast. The Dash Plates make a welcome return here, as does the Super-Jet (or ‘Boost Power’ as it’s now called) and, unlike F-Zero where you only got one boost per lap, you can now use them as often as you want after you’ve completed your first lap. Each time you use it drains your machine’s energy though, so keep a plentiful supply of this by visiting the pit areas regularly. It seems that the various pilots have modified their machines since the last game too. They are faster anyway but you also now have the option of changing your engine settings by altering its top speed / acceleration ratio too. This combined with frequent use of the Dash Plates and your Boost Power, especially in conjunction with one another, can see your speed reach quite staggering levels, even hitting four figures on occasion (my current speed record is 1,527kph!).

F-Zero X - Nintendo 64 Gameplay Screenshot

There’s quite a lot to F-Zero X for an arcade-style racer but it would all be for nothing if the widely-criticised graphics kept gamers away. Personally though, I can’t see what all fuss is about! I asked earlier if Nintendo’s decision to sacrifice graphical detail for increased smoothness and speed was worth the risk. Well, in my opinion it was an excellent decision. The backgrounds may well be somewhat sparse but they are colourful and varied but that’s not hugely relevant anyway – the on-track action is so eye-meltingly fast, you’ll barely even get a chance to look at the backgrounds unless you come off the track and plunge into them! That said, it is impressive to see the horizon rolling around as the track meaders all over the place, or to be staring straight at the ground as you plummet down a collossal ramp (see the Fire Field screenshot!).

F-Zero X - Nintendo 64 Gameplay Screenshot

In addition to being really fast, each race is chock-full of action. The N64 throws the thirty racers, each in their own distinctive machines, constantly jostling for position, around the courses with apparent ease. A mere six of them are available to use at the start of the game (including those from the first game) but winning the various leagues gradually unlocks the remainder, each of which has differing grip, boost power, and body strength. They all look really nice too (plus you can change their colours!) and you can quickly build up genuine rivalries with many of their pilots, some of whom are more agressive than others. The game has a fantastic atmosphere which is helped considerably by the awesome rock soundtrack, featuring wailing guitars and thundering drums, and the courses that share names (but little else) with those in the SNES game are also graced with superb remixes (yes, including Big Blue!). It’s those courses though, that keep you coming back to the game.

F-Zero X - Nintendo 64 Gameplay Screenshot

Any game featuring jet-powered hovercars racing over tracks in mid-air is likely to feature lavishly-designed courses, and the opportunity here enabled the designers to really go to town! To this day, F-Zero X still features the best-designed courses I’ve ever raced on. Each of them is distinctive and memorable, and they really are thrilling to race on, something helped by the extremely precise controls afforded by the N64’s splendid analogue controller. Everything is so smooth and zooming along, weaving in and out of the other racers with pixel-perfect accuracy is exciting and great fun. There are also four difficultly level and, thanks to the X Cup, you’ll never run out of new courses to race on! The game builds up a fantastic sense of competition too, but there’s not really any one thing that makes this such a great game – it’s just a perfect blend of everything. Still probably the greatest racing game I’ve ever played.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-zcvM0b9VE[/youtube]

RKS Score: 10/10

F-Zero Grand Prix 2

F-Zero Grand Prix 2 - Gameplay Screenshot

F-Zero Grand Prix 2 (1997)
By: Nintendo EAD Genre: Racing Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium-Hard
Featured Version: Super Famicom Satellaview First Day Score: 23,900
Also Available For: Nothing

You know, it can be really frustrating, but Japanese gamers so often seem to get a much better deal than European, or even US gamers, frequently receiving extras that the rest of us have to do without. A good example of this was the Satellaview system for the Super Famicom (SNES). Looking much like the proposed SNES CD-ROM add-on, the Satellaview was a device that allowed Super Famicom owners to download updates for some of their games, or even new games altogether. They were usually released in weekly installments, and one of the highest profile games to receive the Satellaview treatment was the mighty F-Zero. Initially, a limited ‘remix’ of the original game was released in several installments via the service, but before long a ‘proper’ sequel became available too.

F-Zero Grand Prix 2 - Gameplay Screenshot

As F-Zero fans will already be well aware, the first game consisted of fifteen courses divided into three leagues – Knight, Queen, and King. F-Zero 2 features a new league – the Ace League – which features five new courses. Some are based on courses from the first game (such as Mute City IV, Big Blue II, Silence II) but with new course layouts, whilst the other two (Sand Storm I & II) are seemingly based on the Sand Ocean stage from the first game, thematically, but are completely new. In keeping with the league structure from the first game, the new courses are probably the most difficult ones yet too. Each features many more hazards than were found in the fifteen F-Zero courses such as damage areas, more ice, magnets, and many ramps, often in highly inconvenient positions! In addition to the courses, the four selectable craft, or ‘machines’, are all new too. Well, saying that, they’re just aesthetically new really, but are welcome all the same.

F-Zero Grand Prix 2 - Gameplay Screenshot

This release was obviously fantastic news for any Japanese F-Zero fans but it went practically unheard of in the West, which is a bummer – I’d have loved having this available during the peak of my obsession with F-Zero but I only even discovered its existence a few years ago! It may have less to it that its prequel (due, no doubt, to the limited service it was made available on) – there’s just a straight grand prix mode, for example, with no time attack or practise modes on offer – but as a supplement to the original game rather than a separate game in its own right, it’s great. The new courses are really nicely designed and the features on them (a couple of which are shown in the screenshots) are a great touch, adding a unique feel to the game. It’s particularly nice returning to two of my favourite course settings too – Big Blue and Silence.

F-Zero Grand Prix 2 - Gameplay Screenshot

It’s been a pleasant surprise discovering this. I can’t help wishing it was available in the West before emulation became widespread but I’m sure glad I can play it now. Admittedly, aside from a few cosmetic changes, it is of course the same game we’ve known and loved all these years. Only harder! It won’t last you as long as F-Zero but it’s a thrilling ride while it does last!

RKS Score: 7/10

F-Zero

F-Zero Super NES Box

F-Zero

One of the most amazingly classic racing games for the SNES is surely F-Zero. It was a very unique game for its time and deserves a spot at the Retro Game of the Week. The game is huge with lots of crazy tracks and your rivals as well. You have different difficulties to pick from as well as different tournaments to pick. The game is pretty simple except it’s set in the future and the race tracks have uniqueness all over. One unique factor is that the sides of the roads damage your car so driving carefully is a must. You get a lot of help with the wings on the back of your car which will help you glide to the side by pressing the R(right) and L(left) accordingly.

F-Zero Gameplay Screenshot 9

 

The game also has a lot of difficult tracks even at the easiest settings. The tracks with the big ramps are one of the more difficult ones since you need to be at certain speed to be able to get pass it. You have to take the ramp with speed enough to pass it or else you will fall down to what I’m guessing is a circuit area? Anyways, your car will explode. One of the problems I had with this game is that damn about to explode car that I always knock into when I’m driving. He takes so much of my life and sometimes even kills me! My best strategy is usually to use a turbo when I see him. It’s just me though.

Therefore, this is a very unique title to pick up and play. There are no two players so this is not a multiplayer game. You should also check out the GBA release as well as the awesome Nintendo 64 and Gamecube releases. Until next week!

F1 ROC: Race of Champions

Exhaust Heat - F1 ROC - Race of Champions - Title Screen

Exhaust Heat a.k.a. F1 ROC: Race of Champions (1992)
By: Seta Co.Ltd Genre: Racing Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium
Featured Version: Nintendo SNES
Also Available For: Nothing

After I’d had my SNES for a while and played the first few games I had to death, I started to gradually add a few more to my collection, and one of the first games of my second batch was this F1 racer. After playing F-Zero so much of the previous year, I had high expectations of this, especially given its glowing Mean Machines review. Granted, on paper an F1 game doesn’t sound as exciting as a futuristic racer featuring hovering jet-cars that blast around the obstacle-filled courses at speed in excess of 400kph, but being a big fan of F1, I was looking forward to it all the same. First impressions after turning the game on were good – the title screen is nice and the presentation over the menu/options screens is really nice, but once I made all the selections I needed to and actually started playing the game my heart sank.

Exhaust Heat - F1 ROC - Race of Champions - Gameplay Screenshot 1

Whilst also featuring a Training Mode (a ‘quick race’ arcade- type mode, basically), the main play mode in Exhaust Heat is its comprehensive Grand Prix mode (career mode). Here you take on the role of both team owner and driver. You’ll start the game with a little money and must earn more through your racing – obviously the better you do, the more you’ll make. First things first though. Before you begin, you need to select a slot (giggity) in which to save your game. You can then opt for a Test Run which gives you two laps to familiarise yourself with the course, or jump straight into the Race. Here you must first qualify for the race before taking your place on the grid and racing amongst a field of eight cars. Each season consists of 16 races based on what at the time were the actual races on the F1 calendar (this was of course before all the new ones started being introduced).

Exhaust Heat - F1 ROC - Race of Champions - Gameplay Screenshot 2

The drivers are also based on the F1 drivers of the time, with the emphasis firmly on the ‘based on’ part! It seems that Seta didn’t have the license to use the actual driver or team names so we have some vague approximations being used here, but the drivers all look like who they’re based on (Mansell, Senna, Prost, etc). One thing that is not based on actual F1, however, is the ability to customise your car. Well, in real F1 I guess you can change wings, tyres, engines, etc, but I’m pretty sure they don’t use nitrous oxide! For yes, the cars here are able to employ the use of nitro’s amongst other things, and very useful it is too. The customisation options are actually pretty extensive for an arcade-style racer, allowing you to alter front, middle, or rear downforce, add faster/lighter components, change brakes, chassis, fill up the nitrous tanks, and install more powerful engines. This all costs money of course, which must be earnt by doing well in races (or by doing badly many many times).

Exhaust Heat - F1 ROC - Race of Champions - Gameplay Screenshot 3

Something else that costs money is damaging your car during a race. In a slightly unfair alteration to real F1 courses, running off the course here, even by just a small amount in some places, will not result in gravel traps as you might expect, but instead, what seem to be masses of solid concrete. These not only cause damage to your car but are also a real pain to get away from. If the damage-meter fills up, it’s game over. You can repair your car by visiting the pits, but as you might imagine, the time-delay in doing this during a three lap race pretty much ruins any chance of winning, and finishing a race with a damaged car sees you incur financial penalties, so the only way to get maximum money is to drive perfectly. That’s pretty much my biggest gripe with this game – it can be very frustrating. A great run can be ruined by hitting… well, anything really. Contact with other cars often results in a 180 degree spin, and straying off course usually has the annoying effect already mentioned.

Exhaust Heat - F1 ROC - Race of Champions - Gameplay Screenshot 4

Aside from that, the game looks very plain and there’s very little variety in the backgrounds. I know that’s to be expected with this kind of game, but even the cars are small and lack detail, and the Mode 7 effect, made famous with the aforementioned F-Zero, is less impressive here. There’s no in-game music either which is a shame as the music that does exist is pretty good, much like the presentation generally. It can be a pretty fast game when it gets going though, and it will last a while too. The Grand Prix mode doesn’t last for a mere season – you can carry on as long as you want, as far as I can tell. I believe I was a five-time defending World Champion at one point! After the initial disappointment of seeing the game for the first time, I did get into Exhaust Heat after a while. I always enjoy a good career mode to get my teeth into, but the game hasn’t aged well and despite still being reasonably playable once you’ve readjusted to it, there are so many superior racing games on the SNES, it’s hard to think of a reason why you would. Okay, maybe that’s a bit harsh – it’s really not that bad, but don’t expect to be bowled over!

RKS Score: 6/10

F-Zero

F-Zero - Title Screen

F-Zero (1990)
By: Nintendo EAD Genre: Racing Players: 1 Difficulty: Easy-Medium
Featured Version: Nintendo SNES First Day Score: 27,200
Also Available For: Nothing
Download For: Wii Virtual Console

I’ve always been of the opinion that it’s gameplay that counts, not graphics, hence my love of older games (increasingly in preference to new ones, in fact). This is my view and I stand by it. However, if there always seemed to be one genre that belied that stance, it’s that of the racing/driving games. Gameplay was and is still very important in these games of course, but due to their very nature, older machines rarely saw them due to their technical limitations. When they did, with the exception of a small number of classics, they were often cack. Either too much effort was put into making them look pretty and the design and gameplay ended up being tacked-on afterthoughts, or they simply couldn’t make them look remotely convincing to start with. Then along came the SNES.

F-Zero - Gameplay Screenshot 1

Mode 7 is what they called it – a new graphics-rendering trick never seen before, pioneered by the wizards at Nintendo and unleashed in the SNES. It’s hard to explain but awesome to behold. It essentially allows a 2D texture-mapped playfield or background layer to be scaled, rotated, and manipulated in all manner of ways. One of the biggest advantages of this is that the 2D playfield can be flipped into what appears to be a 3D perspective and rotated 360 degrees around whatever sprites appear on the screen at the time, creating the illusion of looking into the distance. This technique is perfect for racing games – instead of the vehicle negotiating the course, the course is rotated left and right around the vehicle, and it was first seen in….. you’ve guessed it!

F-Zero - Gameplay Screenshot 2

F-Zero (short for Formula Zero), is in essence what Formula-1 may possibly be like in the future (assuming we haven’t blown ourselves up before then). The Grand Prix mode is a racing series consisting of fifteen courses spread evenly over three leagues – Knight, Queen and King – and any league can be selected from the start, although they get progressively harder as you might expect. Each race has four jet-car things, or ‘machines’ as they’re referred to in the game – yours, and three main computer-controlled opponents, and each varies in its specification and handling. Simply choose one of them, then choose a league, and away you go! The races are also populated by a large number of identical-looking drone cars, presumably only to hinder your progress, and some of them are flashing, indicating that they’re one hit away from exploding, so they’re basically racing mines! As mentioned, each league consists of five courses and progression to the next race is determined by your finishing position – each of the five laps in a race has a higher ranking requirement you must fulfill to avoid disqualification. Beware however – if at any point you fall below 20th place, you’re automatically disqualified.

F-Zero - Gameplay Screenshot 3

Each course is varied and contains some original features. Jumps are quite common, but some of them occur shortly before a gap in the track – miss them and you’ll plummet down to your death! Boost pads, slow-down zones, land mines, pull-down magnets, track-side magnets and slip zones are some of the other features, and all but the first are there to cause you problems! The courses themselves also deserve special mention – they are fiendishly designed and contain some of the sharpest corners you’ll ever negotiate, including frequent 90 and even 180-degree turns, as well as long sweeping curves, hairpins, chicanes, narrow straights – everything you can think of really. The sides of all courses are secured by anti-gravitational guide beams, which don’t do anything except stop you from falling off the edge of the course. Hitting them makes you lose precious energy however, especially if you crash at high speed – you can end up bouncing around like a pinball from one side to the other if you’re not careful. Thankfully, your craft’s finite supply of energy can be replenished in the pits. Another handy, often vital feature is the Super Jet. You get one of these at the end of each lap and it provides a temporary, though substantial increase to your speed, so only use it on straights!

F-Zero - Gameplay Screenshot 4

Obviously the Grand Prix mode forms the bulk of what F-Zero has to offer but it’s not the full extent. Also available is a Practise mode, which allows you to do just that on seven courses from the various leagues against a chosen opponent, or no opponent at all (making it a time-trial mode, essentially). One problem with many racing games in my experience is the difficulty curve. Happily, it’s nigh-on perfectly pitched here. Sure, this can be a pretty frustrating game on occasion, but it’s also one that rewards perseverance. Plus, there’s three difficulty settings too (and a fourth if you finish the others), so there’s really no excuse! Each course (nearly all of them, at least) has its own tune and they are for the most part fantastic – many of them are still celebrated and remixed today, especially the old favourite, Big Blue!

F-Zero - Gameplay Screenshot 5

This game was a genuine jaw-dropper when it was first unveiled. Truly, nothing like it had ever been seen before – it was a revolutionary game! However, like most games that represent a leap in technical achievements, F-Zero has aged somewhat in the intervening time, and it’s now possible to look past what it achieved to see some of the things it didn’t. The biggest gripe has always been the absence of a two-player mode – as entertaining as it is, F-Zero is strictly a solo experience. Another problem is that Mode 7, for all its unique trickery, is unable to provide anything other than a completely flat racing surface, meaning, of course, no hills or banked turns or anything of that nature (something which the sequel rectified and then some!). Legitimate gripes or just nitpicking? Probably a bit of both is the cop-out but honest answer! Looking back, as good as it is, there’s no denying F-Zero could’ve been even better, but it certainly hasn’t decayed into a mouldy stain on Nintendo’s record either. This is an exciting, frenetic, fun, adranaline-rush of a racing game, and remains, in my view, one of the first must-have racing titles for any console.

RKS Score: 8/10

F-Zero Commercial

F-Zero SNES box cover
F-Zero SNES box cover

Now you are playing with super power indeed. There is no doubt F-zero brought a whole new type of racing to gamers and the key was speed. In this commercial that point is pushed to the limit. Funny, I didn’t know F-Zero could help you lose weight I’ll have to remember that.

You can check out our F-Zero review and strategy guide to get more information on this classic racer.

The Obsolete Gamer Show #2

Obsolete Gamer banner
Obsolete Gamer banner

Back again with another podcast this time with a slightly (and I mean slightly) better production value. In this episode J.A. introduces the E3 2010 pimp, showcases the Obsolete Commercial from Japan featuring Crash Bandicoot, gameplay of Temco Bowl, F-Zero and Sonic 2 and a video presentation of the Alienware m11x.

The software crashed right at the end which is the reason for the cut off, good thing we were done anyway.

Arm Cannon concert FIU Yasumicon July 12 2009

Arm Cannon Logo
Arm Cannon Logo

Arm Cannon concert FIU Yasumicon July 12 2009 (filmed by Honorabili)

Last year I had the privilege of filming the concert at the FIU Yasumicon (anime convention) on July 12, 2009. Enjoy my videos of Arm Cannon performing many video game songs.

Arm Cannon 2/14 FIU Yasumicon July 12 2009 Killer Instinct

Here is their version of the theme song to Killer Instinct, the SNES fighting game.

It’s been remixed with Survivor – Eye of the Tiger.

Arm Cannon 3/14 FIU Yasumicon July 12 2009 SMB2

This is them playing one of the main songs for Super Mario Bros 2, from the NES.

Always such a funky little tune.

Arm Cannon 4/14 FIU Yasumicon July 12 2009 Rygar

Playing Rygar, from the NES.

Do you guys remember that game? I did! =P Like the Superman theme mixed in there?

Arm Cannon 5/14 FIU Yasumicon July 12 2009 Megaman X

Playing Megaman X, from the SNES.

Such great songs in all the Megaman games. They go really good when played by a rock band like Arm Cannon or Mini-Bosses.

Arm Cannon 6/14 FIU Yasumicon July 12 2009 SMW Castle

Playing Super Mario Bros. World, Castle Theme, from the SNES.

One of my favorite songs from Super Mario Bros. World 😀

Arm Cannon 7/14 FIU Yasumicon July 12 2009 Castlevania

Playing Castlevania, from the NES.

This is such an interesting version of this theme.

Arm Cannon 8/14 FIU Yasumicon July 12 2009 Metroid

Playing Metroid, from the NES.

My favorite song from Metroid. 😀

Arm Cannon 9/14 FIU Yasumicon July 12 2009 F-Zero

Playing F-Zero, from the SNES.

Like I mention in my review, I love the music of F-Zero!

Arm Cannon 10/14 FIU Yasumicon July 12 2009 Unsolved Mysteries

Although it’s not a video game, here is the theme song for the show Unsolved Mysteries.

I used to watch that show a bunch when I was a kiddo.

Arm Cannon 11/14 FIU Yasumicon July 12 2009 Megaman 2 Dr. Wiley

Playing Megaman 2, Dr. Wiley, from the NES.

This song is just meant to be played in metal. 😀

Arm Cannon 12/14 FIU Yasumicon July 12 2009 The Legend of Zelda

Playing a lot of music from The Legend of Zelda, from the NES.

Other than the Mario games, the 2nd most popular theme music for Nintendo!

***

Well folks, there you have it.

If you like Arm Cannon, be sure to check out their website at this link.

If you want to see other concerts or events or crazy crap I film or post, check out my personal youtube channel at this link.

F-Zero review & strategy guide

F-Zero Title
F-Zero Title

F-Zero review & strategy guide (SNES) by Honorabili

One Sentence Review:
“The trend-setting pioneer of futuristic racing games.”

Overall Score:
10 out of 10

Overview, Gameplay, & Strategies:

Before Wipeout came out to compete with it, F-Zero pretty much dominated the futuristic racing genre and for good reasons too. The game consists of piloting one of 4 different hover race-cars. Whereas in the past Formula 1 was a test of driving skill, in the universe of F-Zero (F0) racing hovercars has taken over this test for racing supremacy.

When the game starts, you pick one of four different cars. After picking the one that you like or that matches your skill or play style, you pick which league you want to play in. From easiest to hardest, the leagues are: Knight, Queen, and King. This modifies how hard the tracks themselves will be. Next, you pick your difficulty level. This modifies how much damage you can take and how good the A.I. of rival drivers will be. Each league has 5 tracks which are variations of each other. The tracks are Mute City, Big Blue, Sand Ocean, Death Wind, Silence, Fire Field, Port Town, Red Canyon, and White Land. They are not raced necessarily in that order rather depending on your racing league difficulty. Each track and its variations have their own strategies and all these strategies depend on what car you picked. Some cars will be nearly useless on some tracks and it will be simply a matter of surviving through the race. I say to do what I always do, which seems to work (in games and in real life): memorize all tracks and all their parts to be able to take optimal turns and know when it’s hammer down time.

F-Zero 1st place
F-Zero 1st place

The goal is to reach first place or as high a place as possible while surviving. Yes, this is a game where if you take enough damage you will die. Your car has a certain amount of power and if you take enough damage the performance of the car will be significantly lowered. When your power bar empties out, you blow up. You can also blow up by taking a ramp and jumping and landing off the track (which can happen especially in the higher difficulty leagues). Touching other cars, touching the side bumpers, and especially touching the cars that are about to explode and do explode, all damage your car, especially the last one.

After each lap, you are awarded with a speed booster. It’s a good tactic to save these until needed rather than waste them, unless you are driving on a familiar track and you know that there is a manageable part up ahead that you can blast by going beyond the full speed of your car. Every 10000 points, you get an extra life. These lives are used if you do not meet the minimum position for that lap or an overall 3rd place finish overall for the race, as well as being used up if you blew up during the race. At specific parts of a track, there are areas where if you drive over them, a ship from above will fly down and beam power to your car to heal it. A strategy here is taking into account that the ship does have a lead time for it to get aligned to the optimal position where it can share the energy with you. Stay as much on the strip as possible if you want to heal the maximum amount of power. Also, certain parts of the track have sand which slows you down (taking advantage of that can be a winning strategy as well) and some areas have a super speed boost arrow which can boost you up faster than the speed booster. It’s not always a good tactic to use these if they are positioned to boost you too fast into an area where you will need to turn aggressively and you will now be speeding out of control into a wall, for instance.

You pick the car you like over the 4 different cars, The Blue Falcon (Blue), Golden Fox (Yellow), Wild Goose (Green), and Fire Stingray (Pink). Each car has a certain amount of thrust, a certain top speed, and a certain amount of weight. All these factors are really important, like in a real car, as you have to deal with how much momentum your car has (related to weight), which is related to its handling characteristics, and its power-to-weight ratio. I did find that the way car weight is done in this game is UNREALISTIC. Whereas a lighter car in real life would be easier to control (let’s say like a Lotus Exige), the opposite in this game happens (that would be like a Chrysler 300 outmaneuvering that Lotus Exige; it would never happen). In this game having a heavier weight gives you a more predictable turn with less drifting.

Let’s look at the detailed stats of each car and discuss their strengths and weaknesses:

BLUE FALCON (Blue)
Max Power: 3200 PS
Max Speed: 457 km/h
Weight: 1260 Kg

This is the default car that most inexperienced gamers will pick but it’s actually sometimes harder than some of the heavier cars, if you don’t know how to properly use it. It has a considerable drift ability and it being the 2nd lightest car will have it been bounced around pretty hard should you crash against other cars (which happens often). The tactic for Blue Falcon is to really avoid all other cars, to anticipate your drift and floor it through turns but letting it glide (turn with not thrust) seems to work wonders. Braking is not as bad as with some other cars since it has the 2nd best acceleration as well. Keep the boosts around for emergency use.

GOLDEN FOX (Yellow)
Max Power: 2950 PS
Max Speed: 438 km/h
Weight: 1020 Kg

This car is a little rocket, with the best acceleration, but lowest top speed and challenging handling. The tactic with this car is to drive like crazy knowing that you will re-accelerate really quickly. This car is the most prone to drifting so be real careful when taking 90 degree and higher turns. The tactic of braking and gliding works the best with this car. Since you have the lowest top speed be sure to use those boosters aggressively in tracks with little turns and lots of straightaways.

WILD GOOSE (Green)
Max Power: 3670 PS
Max Speed: 462 km/h
Weight: 1620 Kg

Although this car has the 3rd best acceleration of the four. To me, it is the best overall car. It’s still a good tactic with this car to hold on to the boost until you crash or are forced to slow down then hammer down on them, especially if you can manage the upcoming turns or its an easy straightaway in front of you.

FIRE STINGRAY (Pink)
Max Power: 3800 PS
Max Speed: 478 km/h
Weight: 1960 Kg

The tactic to this car is to exploit as much as possible the fact that you have the highest top speed out of all the cars. Take advantage of the car weight to turn optimally without braking or hitting anything. This car is the one that gets screwed over the most whenever you crash since its acceleration is abysmal. Using the boosts are a vital tactic to winning with this car. Since you have the highest top speed you will also have the maximum boosted speed as well. Remember that.

Remember that the shortest way in between two points is a straight line and this game takes advantage of that. Also, the ship that gives you power does not boost your speed, so unless you need energy, don’t swerve to pick up power if you are already at max power…

Fun Factor, Replayability, & My History With This Game:

This is an old racing game but it’s still fun enough to be able to play it over and over for hours. Sure, it’s relatively short and there’s only 15 different tracks but it can be very fun to master all tracks with all cars. Fun Factor gets a score of 9 out of 10.

I’ve been playing F-Zero since 1991 when my friend Eric R. got it for his SNES. We played the living hell out of this game although at the time this was a really tough game for us. The speed scale of the game blew me away as I was used to much slower racing games on the c64, which I still played a lot back in 1991. The speed of this game did not get topped until I started to play the Wipeout games and a forgotten racing game called Motorhead. I’ve played F-Zero probably in over 1000 races. Replayability gets a score of 9 out of 10, even after close to 19 years of the original F-Zero.

Difficulty & Difficulty Versatility:

Until you get good at this game, you might find this game rather hard, especially if you up the difficulty or pick some of the harder leagues right from the start. I recommend starting on Knight at the start but at least Standard difficulty, unless you are a complete noob at racing games. There are three difficulties: Beginner, Standard, and Expert. Standard is hard enough for most gamers but Expert is where the real fun is at. Just make sure you have trained enough to be able to handle it.

Between the mix of the league and the difficulty factor, this makes for a well customizable and challenging game. Difficulty Versatility gets a score of 9 out of 10 because you can really set it once you get the hang of how the system works. Difficulty itself is up to you but I give it a score of 10 out of 10 because it can either be a relaxing game or time to get bend over and let the game hurt you.

Value:

If you have the original cartridge of you can get it for $10-15 bucks, that’s great. This game is a requirement for any real SNES library. If you are like most people and emulate it, Value is perfectly free. I think unless you get really ripped off, the game is worth buying and owning. Value gets a score of 10 out of 10, so long as it’s around the free or $10-15 price range.

Sound:

The sounds work marvels in this game as you will hear the engine jet turbines whir from a stand-still to their max peak output. The damage sounds or explosion when you die are amazing. I just love the engine whir… Sound gets a score of 10 out of 10.

Music:

Music adds a lot to a game, especially to a racing game. The music of F-Zero is one of the most loved soundtracks for the Super Nintendo. I recommend getting the original ripped files as well as checking out the remixes at Overclocked Remix.

Stability/Reliability:

Never crashes! Neither the original nor emulator do so that gets a much deserved score of 10 out of 10.

Controls:

Left and Right turn in their respective directions. One button controls the thrust (gas), another brakes, another applies the speed booster, and the L/R buttons make you side drift in those specific directions. I have found the side drift to be sort of useless except during emergency situations. I found it more effective to use traditional braking/drifting techniques. Controls are fluid, especially once you get a hang of them. The control setup for this game gets a score of 10 out of 10.

Graphics & Performance:

The game looks simply amazing and this was a landmark game for Nintendo showing some of the graphical and performance limits of the Super Nintendo. Whereas most other games for the SNES are 2D, this game is actually 3D, one of the few titles along with Star Fox. When I first saw this game and how quick it was, my jaw dropped. Graphics and Performance both get a score of 10 out of 10.

Conclusion:

What else can I say? This game is really a classic. I redefined the racing game genre for a lot of people. This proved to a lot of us that 16-bit systems could do a lot more than many 8-bit ones and that technology was going to create more and more advanced video games as time went on. If you have yet to play it, you are missing out on an important racing game in video game history.