F-Zero, a Nintendo racing series that got its start on the SNES, was never really all that popular. Despite this, its lead character, Captain Falcon, was featured in the N64 Super Smash Bros. (and he has been in every Smash Bros. since). One could even argue that Super Smash Bros. has helped define the character more so than the F-Zero series. The Gamecube is really where the F-Zero series became popular, but unfortunately, nothing has been seen of the series since with the exception of a disappointing GBA prequel.
F-Zero GX was developed by SEGA, and who knows speed better than SEGA? GX is very similar to the N64 F-Zero X, in that it is the second 3D game in the series. GX was also released alongside of F-Zero AX, its arcade counterpart, and there was some pretty cool interconnection capabilities between the two. You could unlock tracks only available otherwise in the arcade version, and even transfer your custom machine to the arcade via a Gamecube memory card, earning money to spent on your GX game at home.
F-Zero is different from other racers in that the vehicles have maximum speeds of thousands of miles an hour. Each race consists of 30 racers initially, and while there are no items like in kart racers, hitting walls or other racers will damage the machines, and eventually they may explode, eliminating them from the race. Each machine also has a pilot with just as much individuality and personality. There are super hero-type characters such as Captain Falcon, an anthropomorphic octopus, and much more. My grandfather was on a NASCAR pit crew until the end of the 90's, and I have met several drivers as a result. Despite it being in the family, and being around it so much, I never found any interest whatsoever in NASCAR. I have to say, if the cars were going a few thousand miles an hour, exploding, and the drivers looked like something from a Saturday morning cartoon, I might actually like NASCAR. F-Zero's characters as well as its machines are so full of personality, and you're guaranteed to find a favorite.
F-Zero is a very punishing game, and you're going to have to practice pretty hard to master it. Track memorization is key, and the AI knows what its doing. Your opponents will show no mercy, and on higher difficulties, they certainly aren't afraid to trade paint either. Each race begins with your machine having no boost power, but after finishing the first lap, boost is unlocked. Using boost drains your boost gauge, however this gauge is also your health bar. There are recovery strips placed at various points in the track where you can replenish this gauge, but you still have to be careful how and when you use it.
Along with your standard time trials, practice, and grand prix modes, there is also a story mode staring Captain Falcon. Each episode is fairly short, but also quite challenging. After completing a chapter, new ones become available in the parts shop, but you'll probably have to win a couple grand prix's to afford them. It's really cool ho the story mode and Grand Prix mode co-operate with one another. I do have to comment on the cutscenes in the story mode, however - they aren't that good. They look kind of hazy and the voice acting is flat out bad, but that doesn't stop story mode from being enjoyable.
Speaking of graphics, the actual in game graphics are stunning. The machines look pretty realistic, and ever have paint chips, and even at 2000 MPH, the tracks look impressive too. F-Zero's graphics hold up very well, and I'd love to see what the next entry looks like if we get one. The Gamecube's graphics tend to hold up well anyway, but aside from the cutscenes, F-Zero is one of the best looking Gamecube games made.
F-zero looks amazing, and plays amazing - just be sure to calibrate your control stick in the options or you'll be going all over the place. It's really hard to find fault in this game, and it's truly one of the Gamecube's best games, as well as one of the best racing games ever made. It's console to arcade inter-connectivity as ground breaking, even though it hasn't been used since to my knowledge and he game is just as fun alone as it is with friends. If you don't mind the difficulty, you should definitely check this one out! I can't wait for Nintendo and SEGA to team up again, because next time it just might mean 30 player online races...I wonder if the Wii U has Blast Processing?