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F-Zero: What Did Critics Say in 1991?
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on June 09, 2014   |   Episode 53 (Show Archive)  


F-Zero (Super NES)
Ever wonder what Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro and other popular magazines thought of your favorite 8-, 16- and 32-bit games? Now you can find out, thanks to Review Crew! This is the only show on the internet that is willing to go back in time to find out what old school critics thought of retro games at the time. Did they pan your favorite game? Did they love something terrible? Find out every week as Defunct Games presents Review Crew!

F-Zero has the distinction of being the very first racing game on the Super NES. It's a fast-paced single-player racing game unlike anything you've seen before. But was F-Zero well received when it first came out, or were critics turned off by the high-speed gameplay? And how did it compare to Pilotwings, which launched on the very same day. We turn to Nintendo Power, Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro and other classic magazines for the answers to these questions.

(NOTE: Although we occasionally cut for length, no other edits are made to the review. Defunct Games does not change any of the wording, grammar or punctuation use. Also keep in mind that our score is the average of all critics at the time, not just the sample that is reprinted on this page. If you still have more questions, I recommend you check out the Review Crew FAQ, where we address the review guidelines, converting scores, magazine covers and more.)

[ Company: Nintendo | Console: Super NES ]

GAME PLAYERS (February 1994)
95% out of 100%

"Smooth Mode 7 track rotation and intense racing action make F-Zero -- the first SNES racing title -- the best, barely edging out Super Mario Kart."

9 out of 10

"Fantastic! While I prefer a 'true' racing game, this futuristic version has some very cool features. The perspective used really gives the player a sense of speed and the scrolling is superb. Like a real racing game, technique is all important for the best times." -Martin

90% out of 100%

"This is one of Nintendo's flagship games for the Super NES, and it's not surprising! Featuring super-smooth amazing 3D graphics, along with high-speed action as you zoom around 15 different tracks, F-Zero is an essential purchase."

NINTENDO POWER (October 1991)
4 out of 5

"High above the cities and wastelands of 26th Century Earth hover the fastest, most dangerous machines known to man or mutant. Their pilots are steely nerved competitors, driven to be at the top of the heap. F-Zero takes you to the aerial arenas of these futuristic fighters with smooth action and amazing special effects."

GAMEPRO (January 1992)
4 out of 5

"F-Zero features high-tech hovercraft racing action that takes place on seven tracks, each with different configurations and different locales (from the seaside to the desert). F-Zero shows what the SNES can really do, with futuristic racing action and head-spinning 3-D graphics. Racers, start your hovercrafts!" -Speedy Buns

8 out of 10

"This is not just another racing game! The hair-pin turns and flying jumps are enough to make my head spin! Rounding corners was never so smooth. Mode 7 really makes a huge difference in the playability and the visual excitement this game has to offer. A must for racing fans!!" -Sushi X
REVIEW CREW AVERAGE: 86% - This is yet another Super NES launch game the critics fell in love with. This futuristic racing game won over critics with its use of Mode 7 and easy handling. Game Players calls it the best racing game on the Super NES, beating out even Super Mario Kart. Although some complained that it felt a bit empty, very few noted F-Zero's biggest problem -- the lack of a two-player mode. While the average is not as high as Super Mario World, F-Zero is definitely one of the best scoring games at the Super NES launch.

On a side note, could Martin sound any more condescending about the futuristic sport of F-Zero? First he talks about "true" racing games and ends it by noting that the game requires technique, just like "a real racing game." I've got news for you Martin, F-Zero is a real racing game. Quick: Name me a realistic Super NES racing game that is better than F-Zero. I'll give you a few minutes to think.

PILOTWINGS VS. F-ZERO: While everybody calls Pilotwings the best showpiece for the Super NES, I have long argued that F-Zero should hold that title. Not only does this futuristic racing game show off the Super Nintendo's fancy scaling and rotation, but it also demonstrates a real sense of speed you couldn't get anywhere else. And going by the averages, I was right. As we just learned, F-Zero managed to score an impressive average of 86%. That's up slightly from Pilotwings, which had an average score of 84%. It's a good thing F-Zero was ready for a photo finish.

ON WEDNESDAY'S EPISODE: Get ready for 3D action when Atari finally gives you a reason to buy a Jaguar. Mark your calendars, because on Wednesday we'll be taking a peak at Tempest 2000. Were critics enthusiastic about a brand new Tempest game, or had they written the system off entirely? Find out on Wednesday's episode of Review Crew. Make sure and check out the Review Crew archive for more old school reviews, and don't forget to tweet me @DefunctGames to let me know what games you want to see next!



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