F-Zero: Maximum Velocity
|F-Zero: Maximum Velocity|
North American box art
F-Zero Maximum Velocity, released in Japan as F-Zero for Game Boy Advance (エフゼロ フォー ゲームボーイアドバンス?), is a futuristic racing video game developed by Nd Cube and published by Nintendo for the Game Boy Advance (GBA). The game was released in Japan, North America and Europe in 2001. It is the fifth released game in the F-Zero series and the first to be released on a handheld game console.
Players control fast hovering crafts and use their speed-boosting abilities to navigate through the courses as quickly as possible. The game takes place twenty-five years after F-Zero.
Every race consists of five laps around a race track. A player will lose the race if his or her machine explodes due to either taking too much damage or landing outside of the track, gets ejected from the race due to falling to 20th place or due to completing a lap with a rank outside of the rank limit of that lap, or he or she decides to give up. In the single player Grand Prix mode, all of these conditions requires the player to use an extra machine if and only if he or she has one or more spare machines to try again.
For each lap completed the player is rewarded with a speed boost, to be used once any time, one of the "SSS" marks will be shaded green to indicate that it can be used. A boost will dramatically increase a player's speed, but will decrease their ability to turn. A boost used before a jump will make the player jump farther, which could allow the player to use a shortcut with the right vehicle. Boost time and speed varies according to the machine, and is usually tuned for proper balance. For example, one machine boasts a boost time of twelve seconds, yet has the slowest boost speed of the entire game. Players can also take advantage of the varying deceleration of each vehicle. Some vehicles, such as the Jet Vermilion, take longer than others to decelerate from top boost speed to normal speed, once the boost has been used up. Players can also take advantage of this effect on boost pads.
The Grand Prix is the main single player component of Maximum Velocity. It consists of four series named after Chess pieces "Pawn", "Knight", "Bishop" and "Queen", the fourth of which can be unlocked by winning the others on "Expert" mode. They have five races in four difficulty settings, "Master" mode is unlocked by winning expert mode in each series, the player unlocks a new machine after completing it. The player needs to be in the top three at the end of the last lap in order to continue to the next race. If the player is unable to continue, the player will lose a machine and can try the race again. If the player runs out of machines, then the game ends, and the player has to start the series from the beginning.
Championship is another single player component. It is basically the same as a "Time Attack" mode, except the player can only race on one, special course: the Synobazz Championship Circuit. This special course is not selectable in any other modes.
Maximum Velocity places a particular emphasis on skillful use of the chosen vehicle's capabilities and knowledge of the tracks. In the hardest difficulty, "Master", the slowest vehicle available to the player will often pass the player when driven by the computer, even if the player is using the fastest vehicle available and that vehicle is driving at its normal top speed. Computer-controlled opponents who are on the lead lap will catch up to the player within seconds, no matter how dramatic a shortcut is taken or boost used in Master difficulty. In all difficulties, the player must also dodge backmarkers and lapped vehicles that could be spawned in locations that could be impossible for them to legitimately reach (e.g. on sections of track that can only be reached by jumps over pits that are too long for them to clear unless a faster vehicle collides into their back in mid jump). Finally, the racers have to contend with floating bombs that are spawned on the track during the race and mines that are pre-placed on the track as part of the track. Most drivers must avoid them, though a few vehicles are tough enough and have enough traction that their drivers with enough skill can run into these explosives at the correct angle for speed boosts.
Also, some vehicles that are hard to use due to their poor handling and/or acceleration exhibit remarkable capabilities in expert hands. Most worldwide records have been set using the Jet Vermilion, which is supposedly the vehicle with the worst turning and acceleration. Master players overcome this with ingenious control and take advantage of its superb maintenance of its momentum after boost mode ends, a high normal top speed, the best top boost speeds of all vehicles in the game, excellent ice handling, and top-of-the-line toughness. Some of the other vehicles the player has access to, though they may appear quite easy to use, have no such potential.
Maximum Velocity can be played in two multiplayer modes using the Game Boy Advance link cable, with one cartridge, or one cartridge per player. Two to four Players can play in both modes.
- Single cartridge
In single cart, only one player needs to have a cartridge. The other players will boot off the link cable network from the player with the cart using the GBA's netboot capability. All players drive a generic craft, and the game can only be played on one level, Silence. Silence, along with Fire Field, are the only areas to return from previous games. Aptly, Silence in Maximum Velocity has no background music, unlike in most other F-Zero games.
- Multi cartridge
In multi cart, each player needs to have a cartridge to play. This has many advantages over single cart: All players can use any machine in this game that has been unlocked by another player. Players can select any course in this game. After race is finished, all of the player's ranking data are mixed and shared ("Mixed ranking" stored in each cart).
Maximum Velocity takes place twenty-five years after F-Zero, in yet another F-Zero Grand Prix. The past generations of F-Zero pilots "piloted their way to fame". Due to the aforementioned, it is the only F-Zero game without Captain Falcon, Samurai Goroh, Pico, or Dr. Stewart. However, the Falcon MK-II resembles Captain Falcon's Blue Falcon. The pilot, Kent Akechi, also claims to be Falcon's son.
Vehicles and Pilots
The machines the player starts with are the Hot Violet, Fire Ball, J.B. Crystal and Wind Walker (called "Crazy Horse" in Japan).
Megan, a self-proclaimed karate master, pilots the Hot Violet. This car is mediocre in all stats except its high top boost speed, its high acceleration, and its high turning speed. It takes a significant amount of its boost time to accelerate from its normal top speed to its top boost speed because the difference between the two speeds is very high, its boost acceleration is slow, and its boost time is not long enough for the acceleration time to be made insignificant. The advantage its high turning speed provides is often nullified by its mediocre traction.
The Fire Ball was designed and is piloted by prodigy Mickey Marcus. It is tough, has a high normal top speed, slow acceleration, medium traction, and mediocre turn speed.
The J.B. Crystal is named after its pilot, Jane B. Christie, and is modeled after 20th century sports cars. It has average acceleration, maximum traction, a long boost time, mediocre turn speed, and a slow normal top speed. Its maximum traction really helps pilots dodge sudden obstacles and maintain high or full speeds through corners.
A Native American shaman named Nichi is the pilot of the Wind Walker, which is the machine with the highest boost speed of the four starters, a near-instant boost acceleration that makes its boost more effective than its short boost time would indicate, the maximum turning speed of all vehicles in this game, and average acceleration but is more than offset by its maximum fragility and the worst traction in the game among all vehicles. This makes this machine able to maintain speeds through corners which the player can plan a good line to take those corners at high speeds, but makes it tough to dodge dynamically-placed obstacles like opponents on the lead lap, backmarkers, and floating bombs.
Other unlockable machines include the Sly Joker (called Dirty Joker in Japan), The Stingray, Silver Thunder, Falcon Mk-II, Fighting Comet and the Jet Vermilion.
The Sly Joker has average acceleration, average speed, mediocre turn speed, the same maximum traction that the J.B. Crystal has, and a high boost speed whose short boost time is more than negated by its extreme ability to maintain much of the boost's momentum as long as the player does not brake or crash. Its maximum traction really helps pilots dodge sudden obstacles and maintain high or full speeds through corners and therefore mitigates its mediocre turn speed. The combination of its maximum ability to maintain its momentum, medium toughness, its turn speed that is not too slow, and its maximum traction makes this a great machine to capitalize on the speed boosts that running into explosives at the correct angle can grant. It is piloted by Lord Cyber, a rich man.
The Stingray is a tough vehicle that has a high normal top speed, the longest jump of all vehicles enabling shortcuts that will cause other vehicles to crash should they attempt to take them, mediocre acceleration, and a combination of mediocre turn speed and traction that leads to quirky handling. The combination of its long boost and its long jumps allow it to chain together shortcuts on tracks that have shortcuts that can be chained. However, it has the slowest top boost speed of all vehicles in this game which can be offset by the longest boost time of any vehicle of this game. It is piloted by Alexander O'Neil, a former professional gridiron football player.
The Silver Thunder is a very tough machine with the highest normal top speed, poor normal acceleration, a poor turning speed, and a short but high speed boost that has excellent boost acceleration. It was designed by Dr. Stewart. It is piloted by Blitz Wagner, Dr. Stewart's student.
The Falcon Mk-II is an excellent all-round machine whose only weakness is that its combination of its light weight and not having maximum traction makes it especially vulnerable to being pushed around by collisions with other vehicles. This weakness can be exploited by opponents with heavier vehicles to push this vehicle into the wall, where the simultaneous collisions with the opponent's vehicle and the wall will deal a large amount of damage to the Falcon Mk-II. It is piloted by Kent Akechi, who claims to be Captain Falcon's son.
The Fighting Comet is a fragile machine whose normal top speed is the worst of all vehicles, turn speed is weak, and traction is medium, but its boost stats are excellent including its top boost speed, boost time, and maintenance of its boost momentum. It is piloted by Kumiko, a young Japanese woman.
The Jet Vermilion is the toughest machine with the best boost and maximum ice traction but the worst acceleration and worst turning speed except on ice, where this machine's ice traction and turning speed dominate the rest of the vehicles. It is piloted by Professor Yazoo Jr.
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F-Zero: Maximum Velocity is one of first titles to be developed by Nd Cube. Maximum Velocity implement the "Mode 7" system used in F-Zero to simulate 3D environments by allowing different kinds of scaling and rotation effects of bitmap graphics. The Mode 7 rendering Maximum Velocity consists of a double-layer; one of which gives the illusion of depth.
Maximum Velocity was one of ten Game Boy Advance games released on December 16, 2011 to Nintendo 3DS Ambassadors, a program to give free downloadable games to early adopters who bought a Nintendo 3DS before its price drop.It was also released on the Wii U Virtual Console on April 3, 2014 in Japan and April 17, 2014 in North America and Europe.
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- Chris Pereira (17 December 2011). "3DS Ambassadors Get Their Free GBA Games Today". 1UP.com.
- Chris Pereira (14 December 2011). "Zelda: Minish Cap, Wario Land 4 Among 3DS Ambassador GBA Games Coming Friday". 1UP.com.
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- Japanese Maximum Velocity web site
- Official European homepage[dead link]
- F-Zero: Maximum Velocity at MobyGames