F-Zero is one Nintendo's most impressive IPs that isn't on the same level of recognition of icons like Mario or Link. There are two reasons.
1) It pioneered the start of the futuristic racing subgenre, with other series from different developers, most known besides in F-Zero in this genre is the WipEout series.
2) On every console since the SNES, it has shown just how much power and technical prowess is put into the series. It is their biggest technilogical achievement, and whenever theres a new game in the series, you can really expect some "wows" from the gaming crowd.
F-Zero X REALLY kicked it up a notch after the success of the first SNES game, although they couldn't get the game to run the way we see it without sacrificing graphical detail, At 60 Frames Per Second, with up to thirty racers, no slowdown, all at over a thousand km/h, you best not blink.
I'm not gonna lie. Infact, it's IMPOSSIBLE to lie on this. The visuals, even back during it's time, were very primitive. There was very little detail put into the textures on everything, and draw distance had a very large fog around your visible area. But, this was all required if they were going to have a steady 60 FPS with no slowdown or frame hiccups.
But of course, graphics aren't everything, but atleast it's sequel (not successor) F-Zero GX did well in that department.
There really isn't an actual story mode like the later F-Zero GX would have, but from what has been revealed in the timeline of the series, the game takes several years after "The Horrific Grand Finale," where a giant crash during the race had severly burned, even killed, several F-Zero pilots, and so the commitee suspended the sport (it is believed the Pico was the one responsible for the tradgedy, due to his track record of reckless and aggressive tactics, including driving)
However, Super Arrow made a commision to restart the sport officially, as it had become an underground activity during this time, but not without revisions to the rules and regulations. The sport now became known as F-Zero X.
The story isn't elaborated on in the game, but this backstory has been confirmed to be canon, though variations have come up in later games. What I can say is that there isn't much to the presentation either, though one thing I do like is the art style given to the characters. Even at the title screen, it's like looking at an American comic book, and is the reason why I like the design in this game more than the japanese anime-mixed-with-real-life-proportions that was presented in F-Zero GX.
This isn't your simple Mario Kart style racing, oh, no-no-no-no NO. There are no items or gimmicks revolving around luck, not even weapons. It's fast, and you need to utilize the best of the controls to ram in to opponents, make sharp turns and drifts, and always be strategic with your boost power, and what better way to hone them in multiple modes.
There's the obvious grand prix, where you start with three cups. Jack, Queen, and King, with 3 difficulties to boot. Beginner, Normal, and Expert. 2 extra cups can be unlocked, as well as a final difficulty. Each cup has six tracks. Score the most points by trying to win 1st, or anywhere close to that.
In Time Trial, you obviously do what you'd expect. Race on the track and beat your time. You can also save your ghost, but not 1 per track. You can only have one for the entire mode, so, it's a slight bummer.
There's also a practice mode, which lets you try out a track without the consequences of screwing up doing the real thing, and obviously there's a 4 Player VS. mode.
My personal favorite, is DEATH RACE. No, not the movie. In this mode, you have to eliminate all 29 opponents on a completely straightforward track, and there's no timelimit, so instead, you get to time yourself. How do you eliminate them? Well, use your own vehicle against theirs. You can do a side attack which has some big impact, and is very satisfying when you go to kill your rival. The spin attack didn't have the same effect on me, though, as it was more usefull when surrounded by a group of foes, and just wasn't as satisfying as taking each guy down one at a time.
A low down of all the modes, and when playing through them all, the controls are tight as they can be, and feel great. Anyone can play it, but it takes some skill to memorize what's coming up on the track and use all your techniques.
Also, as a result of the 60 FPS, the sound had to be compressed, and the music was still MIDI to begin with. But that's okay, because F-Zero X has possibly the best rock guitar compositions in a video game, and there's nothing better to me than hearing guitar solos and riffs every minute as I race for the finish. The moment you turn on the game, guitars start pummeling your ears with a sweet little riff, and then the song comes in, and once you hear it, you're gonna feel ready to go in and get some.
Plus, the soundtrack was so good, that they did a guitar arrangement of the ten best songs from the game. You can find them on the web, but I recommend you get it downloaded NOW!
Like Majora's Mask, this is another game in a series that I hold dearly more than other games that the masses revear to be the best. The designs of the characters and art is definetely American comic book inspired, and is pretty sweet. The sound is just pure metal and guitar, which really sets the mood you'll be having when you play this game.
While the Expansion Pak in Japan only and F-Zero GX had some features that this one didn't have, this game really pushed the series forward in 3D, and is still a blast today, and is one of my top 10 games, as well as my favorite out of the entire series (that's right, you heard me!). Don't scoff at the primitive graphics, go and play this game.