15-Aug-2001 Is it as good as the Super Nintendo version? Yes. And that fact alone makes it the best handheld racing game ever F-Zero. If you remember Nintendo's classic future racer from the days when the SNES was King Daddy of Dadness, the promise of a perfect GBA port must have had you choking on your food pill. And spilling space juice down your bacofoil jump suit. Such a fondly remembered title would prove the acid test of handheld SNES claims. Like a postman that's doing his job properly, F-Zero: Maximum Velocity delivers.As the tracks pans out in front of you, you're instantly transported back to a time when the only techie console term the kids cared about was Mode 7. Mode 7 was the saviour of gaming. Talk of egouraud shading' and emip mapping' just makes you sound like a fat geek today, but back in the day you could hold court like a messiah if you could talk at length about the SNES's ability to rotate sprites.Blast away from the starting line in F-Zero on GBA, and you're in love all over again. The tracks twist, and thrash past your eyes at a frightening speed. But F-Zero always was a supremely playable game, so keeping your craft on course is initially easier than locating your mouth with a handful of chips. Win through, and you start to get punished. You're pushed to the very boundaries of your skill trying to keep your spaceship from ricocheting off the corners of the track like a pinball.More significantly, F-Zero rights the cardinal sin of the SNES version: it has a two player mode. And a three player mode. And a four player mode. Wed the machines in holy link cable matrimony, and the one with the cart fires a track down to the others. Within a few seconds, all screens are alive with action. The action is just as quick, and you get a whole screen to spot those distant bends with. The unreleased F-Zero 2 for Super Nintendo did two player, but a split screen made it overly tricky to play.Playing alone, you'll get through a load of train journeys before you've seen it all. Various classes and skill levels will keep you playing for weeks, each unlocking new features like the ability to trade lap times over link cable. There's no shortage of tracks either: we've seen 15 different ones and we haven't finished the game yet. The only obstacle to an import purchase is the Japanese menu text, but trial and error soon sees you hack through the language barrier
F-Zero on GBA will ultimately be judged against the SNES version that invented the franchise. The fact that itis better than the pioneer of future racing, secures it the CVG 5 stars and we can all go home happy. Itis fast, plays brilliantly, and looks fantastic. SNES games look a little jaggy these days, but on this small screen its more lovely than a Jacuzzi full of Charlieis Angels. An essential launch title.