Pros: Fast paced racing, anime styled graphics, story based first player
Cons: Control not as responsive as other F-Zero games, nothing new
F-Zero: Falcon Legend is based around the anime series F-Zero Falcon
Tradition done by TV Tokyo, but that doesn't mean that you wont see some
familiar faces. If you've played F-Zero GX you'll see a bunch of
characters like Samurai Goroh, Zoda, Ryu Suzaku and of course Captain Falcon.
Even though F-Zero: Falcon Legend does have a story, and a good one
that's probably not why you're playing this game. Thankfully, the
gameplay, graphics and sound all hold their ground.
If you've played F-Zero: Maximum Velocity or the SNES F-Zero you know
what to expect. It's kind of funny that Nintendo built F-Zero FL on the
old SNES mode 7 game engine instead of an entirely new engine. Luckily,
the F-Zero engine still looks good and feel as cool as it did almost ten
years ago. In the game you'll be racing through tracks with tight
corners, random traps, jumps and boost arrows. It doesn't matter if you
play the story mode or the grand prix mode, the game is essentially the
same. The goal of this game, like all other racing games, is to get to
the finish as fast as possible. You have to get to the finish without
hitting too many obstacles because if your life bar goes to zero your
car explodes. Besides pressing A to accelerate and B to brake you can
drift by pressing L or R and press both L and R to get a handy speed
boost. One thing to note is the controls aren't as responsive as F-Zero
Maximum Velocity or the SNES F-Zero. This wouldn't be too much of a
problem, if the levels didn't have tight corners. You'll almost have to
predict when you're going to turn if you have to make two tight corners
in a row. This can get a little frustrating if you're playing the story
mode because if you don't get first place you lose.
The story mode gives the game more depth for single players. You'll
get the chance to play through the anime series and learn how to play
F-Zero. The first few levels are pretty easy, but are good tutorials if
you've never played an F-Zero game before. If you win a race you'll
some cash, which can be used to upgrade your vehicle. Half of the game
is ensuring that your vehicle is the better than the other cars you're
racing against. To get easy money you can race tracks that you've
already completed for a quick cash boost. As a bonus, the story mode has
cut scenes at the start and end of the races. The graphics during the
cut scenes are well done. All of the characters are pre rendered and
have a hand drawn look to them. Behind the characters is a very anime
styled background of flashing colors and moving lines. For the GBA the
graphical quality of the cut scenes rivals some early Playstation games. The in game
graphics aren't nearly as amazing. The game looks just like F-Zero from the SNES. The cars are kind of blocky and pixelated and the racing
background is flat and full of random squares (which supposedly are
buildings... or random squares). One thing that is good
about the low amount of graphical detail is that it leads to no flicker
throughout the game. It's a trade off because better graphics means less
speed and F-Zero is a game based on high speed racing.
F-Zero: Falcon Legend captures the speed of its predecessors.
Everything in the game feels fast paced. When your car is moving at 1000
km/hr you feel like you're going to lose control of your vehicle. You're
forced to learn how to drift, it's an essential to win the matches. The
races are also rather short and have a lot of turns, which keeps the
intensity of gameplay rather high. Even though the levels may be 30 to
60 seconds long expect to play them a couple of times to learn the track
before you beat them. Due to the incredible speed of F-Zero: Falcon
Legend you almost have to memorize all of the turns to win a match.
There is a handy mini map of the level at the bottom of the screen,
which is helpful in the Grand Prix mode. However, in the story mode the
map is almost worthless since you're driving in a city with many
obstacles and you don't know the path to the finish. The music is keeps with
the pace, too. If you remember the classic F-Zero Big Blue tune you'll
hear it in this game, remixed many, many times. Other songs besides Big
Blue are also faced pace techno beat songs, which add to the intensity of
the racing. All of this makes the game a fun experience overall.
The game does have some secrets to keep single players interested. After you
beat the story mode and the grand prix mode you can unlock cars, upgrade
your cars and even race against a second player. Racing against a second
player is one of the core components of the game, but this requires to
copies of the game. This game also does
feature e-reader support, but we did not have a chance to see what extra
bonuses the e-reader support would give. It is believed that the
e-reader would be used to add in extra race tracks. In F-Zero there's
always the ultimate challenge, which is beating your own top times, a
challenge that all racing fans aspire.
All of the voices when you select items in the menu are in English.
However all of the text, which includes menus and the story are in
Japanese. Luckily, you won't need to understand any Japanese to enjoy
the core part of the game, the racing action.
The game has no slated release date except a vague 2004 release.
This game is likely to be released in the US due to the popularity of
If you liked any of the F-Zero games you'll enjoy this. If you have a
Game Boy Advance and are looking for a fast paced game you can play
casually, you'll enjoy this, too. This game has enough content for die
hard gamers and an easy learning curve for casual gamers.