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F-Zero Hits Wii U Virtual Console

Now that Balloon Fight reign has ended for now on the Wii U eShop, Nintendo has shifted their thirty-day/thirty-cent promotion over to one of their neglected franchises as of late, F-Zero.

F-Zero was one of Nintendo’s launch games for the Super Nintendo and while it hasn’t spiraled into a massive success like Metroid or Pokémon, this new IP of the time has garnered a cult following throughout the years. The F-Zero games are futuristic racers not unlike Sony’s Wipeout series of today where participants drive hover-cars on extremely fast and tricky stages. Each racer has a shield bar that’ll punish you if you hit anything (or anyone), and outside a small area you can drive over to regain your shield, you have to endure some tough races without dying.

What made F-Zero outstanding for the time was that it utilized a hunk of the SNES’ then-impressive tech “Mode 7,” which takes a background layer and makes it horizontal and rotational, creating a sense of three-dimensional depth without the use of polygons or a 3D engine. This allowed the racer to gain the ability to have a frontward perspective with a full, detailed track – a technical talent unheard of on consoles at the time. Many other types of games used this tech, from action games such as Contra III to RPG’s like Final Fantasy VI.

On Wii U, the game runs just as well as it did on both SNES and Wii Virtual Console. Like Balloon Fight before it, the Wii U version takes advantage of a wealth of controller options to save states. However, the game still has the same drawbacks such as its terrible boot up time, which Nintendo stated in January that there would be a fix. On a plus side, European and Australian Wii U owners get a 60Hz version of the game versus the regions’ original 50Hz (a version Balloon Fight didn't get), which ran slower due to older, European TV’s slow refresh rate.

For those who want to try one of Nintendo’s not-so-iconic franchises or those Smash Bros. players who want to know where Captain Falcon came from, this is your best chance. For thirty cents, I can at least say that you won’t be horribly ripped off.


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