Top 100 SNES Review: #23 – F-Zero (1991)

A Realistic Morning Commute.

F-Zero captures the intensity of getting to work on time, even the part about avoiding landmines.


Sydlexia’s Ranking: #23/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550

I’ve been in Jacksonville for nine weeks. Not a day has gone by where I did not see an accident either in real-time or post-impact. I’ve witnessed people ride over medians to make a u-turn. I’ve caught people going the wrong direction on the wrong side of the street. It’s rekindled my love for paranoid defensive driving where you pretend everyone is possessed by a demon.

While it might not help my blood pressure, it sure did help me deal with F-Zero — no one does what you think they will. There is some fun moments to be found, but this 1991 legacy seems a bit bare today only worthy of a couple nights of play.



From Wikipedia:

F-Zero is set in the year 2560, when humanity’s multiple encounters with alien life forms had resulted in the expansion of Earth’s social framework.

There’s actually a lot more on there, but let’s just stop because it doesn’t matter.



Let’s begin the balancing act: legacy vs. today.

Were there racing games before F-Zero? Mario Kart, Gran Turismo, and Crus’n USA would all come later, and much of their inspiration comes from this first iteration. There was something viscerally appealing about this game as a kiddo. You must be reckless to win, sliding into walls, bumping other drivers, and seriously frying your car. Trying to manage this while not blowing up is gut-wrenching.

F-Zero captures both sides of the ledger: first place finishes are worthy of fist pumps and defeats are infinitely frustrating. The random race car in 14th place sometimes decides to go 35 in a 70, and you’ll accidentally ram into the back of him, spinning off into oblivion.


The biggest problem is length (please refrain from the easy joke😅). There are three circuits each with five race courses. The variation between them are mostly color pallets and names. This translates to about 20 minutes per each circuit in nondescript locations.

While it will take you a few tries to get past some of the courses (White Land II and Fire Field can be a bitch), you’ll find most courses intuitive. After a couple nights, I had beat all the levels on standard. The game tries to create replay value by having an expert level option as well as keeping your personal record on each course. Neither of these were enough to keep me going: this game plays a little bit like a demo today.



This might be the great grandfather of all racing games, but there is a limited amount of reminiscing before it gets stale.

Other People’s Takes:

  • Hogan Reviews: “F-Zero is tricky, but once you get the hang of the odd turning and speed, it’s still a really fun racer.”
  • Retrogame Man: ” There was some repetition with similarly themed courses, but there was such a diversity even in those (track layouts, challenges) that it never effected my enjoyment of the game.”
  • Games That I Play: “This is a fun game full of bright vibrant colors and a real sense of speed.”

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