Strategy Guide - Guide for F-Zero: Maximum Velocity
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TABLE OF CONTENTS -INTRODUCTION -BASICS -MACHINES -TRACK STRATEGIES -PAWN SERIES -KNIGHT SERIES -BISHOP SERIES -QUEEN SERIES -SECRETS INTRODUCTION Blame Nintendo's choice for the Japanese title of F-Zero's handheld debut for the fact that many people thought this game is simply a rehash of the SNES title. Called simply F-Zero in Japan, F-Zero: Maximum Velocity does share a lot in common with the SNES game, but all the tracks and cars are new. Developed by newly founded second party Ndcube, F-Zero Advance basically pretends F-Zero X never existed. The innovative X power management system is gone and there are no attack moves to speak of. Instead, the game heavily relies on the "one new boost per round" rule started by the SNES original and also features a few shortcuts for those daring enough to try to cut corners. The initial two difficulty settings aren't too tough once you have figured out the controls, but there is no way you can win the Expert or Master difficulties without correctly managing your boosts. Despite these similarities to the original F-Zero, F-Zero Advance handles very differently from both predecessors. The cars slide much more, requiring you to master both leaning and stabilizing in turns to keep you from slamming into walls. The trick is to counter your inertia by tapping the accelerator whenever you skid too much. It's a cool little technique, but it'll also leave you with a sore thumb before you know it. This guide is designed to teach you the basics of F-Zero racing. If you're having difficulties figuring out how to turn and boost correctly, start by reading through the Game Basics section. We have also detailed each track, complete with maps that show you where the tough spots are. Have fun -- and be sure to have some ice packs ready for your right thumb... GAME BASICS So you've beaten the original F-Zero as well as the N64's F-Zero X and you think you're ready for F-Zero: Maximum Velocity? Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but you'll have to start all over again. This Ndcube-developed sequel may look like F- Zero for the Super NES, but it handles so differently, it will take a while till you get the hang of it. Gameplay progression At the outset of the game, you can select any of the three racing series: Pawn, Knight or Bishop. You can then choose from three different difficulty modes (Beginner, Standard and Expert). The default color for a selected mode is yellow. Once you clear said mode, it will turn green to remind you that you've already finished it. You can of course play a completed mode again, but it won't unlock any new features. A fourth difficulty mode, Master, is unlocked when you beat the Expert difficulty for each respective class. The Queen Series (with five additional courses set on Crater Land, Tenth Zone East, Epyrean Colony, and two tracks on Fire Field) is unlocked by beating all Pawn, Knight and Bishop tracks on Expert difficulty. The tracks don't actually change on the different difficulty settings. It's the drones that get tougher and tougher to beat. Especially the Master difficulty opponents can be a real pain in the butt as they tend to bump into you and knock you into obstacles. There is only one way to deal with them: leave them alone. Stay out of the way (don't always drive in the middle) and pay attention to the indicator mark that lets you know a craft is behind you. Expert Technique 1: Rocket Start F-Zero's quick start is a bit different from most Nintendo racers -- so forget about trying to hit the A-Button when the lights turn green. To get the fastest start possible, hold down your accelerator prior to the start and rev the engine to the point where your fuselage(s) begin to light up. Now listen to the engine sound. You want it to be in the mid-range, not the high-pitched sound that occurs when you continue to hold down the accelerator. If the engine is in the mid-range when the race starts, you will get a fast start that propels you in front of the pack. If you rev the engine too high and overheat it, you will also boost ahead -- but then lose power and slow down for a few seconds. Expert Technique 2: Correct Cornering Even though the physics in a hover racing game are a bit different than those in regular racing games, the cornering rules are very similar. Try to get as close to the apex (the inner portion) of the turn as possible. Looking at the illustration to the right, follow the read arrow from the outside of the track to the first yellow dot. As you turn left into the curve, your craft will begin to skid. To minimize the loss of speed and drift more effectively, you should always turn left while holding the L shoulder button, and right while holding the R-Button. To stop your craft from skidding too much, use the Blast Turn technique discussed below. It will take some practice, but you should almost always follow a standard racing line when going into a turn. Force yourself to move to the outside of the track before turning, even if the turn is not very sharp. Once it's become second nature, you can always alter your approach for slight curves and chicanes. Expert Technique 3: Blast Turn Like the Rocket Start, the Blast Turn is another expert technique. To successfully maneuver tight corners without bumping into the guard rails, take your finger off the accelerator (A Button), then press it again to stabilize your racer. Combine this with the L and R drifting to get the best times. Some curves only require you to tap A once or twice when you're drifting too close to a wall (to stabilize your trajectory), but 180-degree turns, icy patches, and sharp corners require constant tapping to make it through unscathed. The alternative, tapping the brakes, causes you to lose too much time and won't work against the tougher opposition on higher difficulty leves. Expert Technique 4: Perfect Landing Many of F-Zero's later tracks contain shortcuts that let you jump ahead of the pack by using jump plates. Be sure to look at the track layout in the lower left corner of your screen to see potential shortcuts. But knowing where they are isn't enough. You also need to know how to properly land without losing speed. If you just touch down on the track, your craft will bounce and you will slow down. You can avoid this by pressing down on the pad just prior to landing. Expert Technique 5: Watch the Mark On the higher difficulty levels, your opponents will become more and more... well, nasty. Nothing is more frustrating than racing a perfect race, only to see your victory turn into a disaster because you got knocked into a wall by a CPU driver. This is why you have the "Mark" indicator. This helpful little feature lets you know when an opponent is right behind you. If you see the indicator, move to the side (at least on the higher difficulty levels). Don't risk a collision that could ruin your race. Linking Up As you know, F-Zero supports the link cable for great multiplayer battles for up to four players. While it's possible to play a limited one-track, one-machine four- player challenge with only one cartridge, it's nowhere near as cool as the four- player multipak races. The best thing about the four-player battles is that every player's best times for that track are transferred to the other GBAs after the race. This way, you will be able to get "mixed rankings" that contain the names of your opponents -- which gives you another incentive to compete for even better times and send your buddy a long-lasting reminder who the real F-Zero champ is... Championship Mode Not to be confused with the standard Grand Prix Mode, Championship is a hidden option that lets you race a Time Attack challenge against a ghost car on a special Synobazz track. The mode also offers the ability to see a replay of the winning run, complete with button commands display. This Synobazz Championship Circuit track is viciously difficult, which why it is featured in its very own hidden mode. There is no margin for error. Use your the Blast Turn technique to make it through the tight and icy turns and don't miss a single Dash Plate. To unlock Championship Mode, register your name in the rankings of every race in every series. MACHINES Just because a racer is at the bottom of the list doesn't mean it's the best one for the track at hand. Be sure to try out every machine you unlock, but don't be afraid to go back and select a "lesser" racer if you're having problems beating a track. Some machines are all speed - and thus better for tracks with lots of straights, whereas others are balanced for steering and acceleration and thus more fitting for complicated courses with lots of turns. Hot Violet Max Speed Normal: 422 km/h Max Speed Boost: 579 km/h Boost Time (Sec.): 6 Body Strength (/100): 69 Turn Performance: B Turn Balance: C Fire Ball Max Speed Normal: 440km/h Max Speed Boost: 565 km/h Boost Time (Sec.): 6.5 Body Strength (/100): 82 Turn Performance: C Turn Balance: B J.B. Crystal Max Speed Normal: 418 km/h Max Speed Boost: 560 km/h Boost Time (Sec.): 9.5 Body Strength (/100): 63 Turn Performance: C Turn Balance: A Wind Walker Max Speed Normal: 428 km/h Max Speed Boost: 585 km/h Boost Time (Sec.): 5.3 Body Strength (/100): 50 Turn Performance: A Turn Balance: D Sly Joker Max Speed Normal: 436 km/h Max Speed Boost: 591 km/h Boost Time (Sec.): 3 Body Strength (/100): 75 Turn Performance: C Turn Balance: A Note: Beat the Pawn, Knight and Bishop series on Standard difficulty to unlock this machine. The Stingray Max Speed Normal: 460 km/h Max Speed Boost: 525 km/h Boost Time (Sec.): 12 Body Strength (/100): 85 Turn Performance: C Turn Balance: C Note: Beat all Pawn, Knight and Bishop tracks on Expert difficulty to unlock this machine. Silver Thunder Max Speed Normal: 464 km/h Max Speed Boost: 589 km/h Boost Time (Sec.): 3.7 Body Strength (/100): 90 Turn Performance: D Turn Balance: B Note: Beat the Queen series to unlock this machine. Falcon Mk-II Max Speed Normal: 448 km/h Max Speed Boost: 573 km/h Boost Time (Sec.): 7.2 Body Strength (/100): 66 Turn Performance: C Turn Balance: B Note: Beat the Pawn, Knight, Bishop and Queen series on Expert difficulty to unlock this machine. Fighting Comet Max Speed Normal: 412 km/h Max Speed Boost: 593 km/h Boost Time (Sec.): 9 Body Strength (/100): 56 Turn Performance: D Turn Balance: B Note: Beat every series on the Master Class difficulty to unlock this machine. Jet Vermilion Max Speed Normal: 456 km/h Max Speed Boost: 602 km/h Boost Time (Sec.): 4.2 Body Strength (/100): 100 Turn Performance: E Turn Balance: B Note: Beat each racing series on Master difficulty with each machine or complete the championship 255 times to unlock this machine. TRACK STRATEGIES At the outset of the game, you can select any of the three racing series: Pawn, Knight or Bishop. You can then choose from three different difficulty modes (Beginner, Standard and Expert). The default color for a selected mode is yellow. Once you clear said mode, it will turn green to remind you that you've already finished it. You can of course play a completed mode again, but it won't unlock any new features. A fourth difficulty mode, Master, is unlocked when you beat the Expert difficulty for each respective class. The Queen Series (with five additional courses set on Crater Land, Tenth Zone East, Epyrean Colony, and two tracks on Fire Field) is unlocked by beating all Pawn, Knight and Bishop tracks on Expert difficulty. To read racing tips for each of the game's tracks, select the series from the links below. You can also choose the series directly from the top navigation by clicking on the respective chess pieces (from left to right: Pawn, Knight, Bishop, Queen). -Pawn Series -Knight Series -Bishop Series -Queen Series There is of course one more track that doesn't fit neatly into a racing series: the Synobazz Championship. Not to be confused with the standard Grand Prix Mode, Championship is a hidden option that lets you race a Time Attack challenge against a ghost car on a special Synobazz track. The mode also offers the ability to see a replay of the winning run, complete with button commands display. This Synobazz Championship Circuit track is viciously difficult, which why it is featured in its very own hidden mode. There is no margin for error. Use your the Blast Turn technique to make it through the tight and icy turns and don't miss a single Dash Plate. To unlock Championship Mode, register your name in the rankings of every race in every series. PAWN SERIES 1. Bianca City Stretch Circuit F-Zero's first circuit is an easy affair. However, if you haven't yet familiarized with the game's driving techniques, it may appear like the hardest thing in the world. You need to know how to skid and, more importantly, feather the accelerator to make it through turns. The energy strip that lets you replenish your health is right after the start line, but you shouldn't really have problems maintaining your shield integrity. You're best served using your turbo boost on the long straight before and after the finish line, to cut across the large black track area in the west, or on the long straight in the south. (A) After the first left turn you are given the opportunity to shave off some valuable time by taking the ramp and jumping over to the right. However, your basic craft speed isn't going to get you very far. Unless you're using one of the faster machines or you utilize your boost, you won't make it across. This short cut is not necessary to beat the track on any difficulty, but it does lead to better lap times. For the rest of the track, be sure to avoid the black patches that slow down your speed (B). Stick to the right and stabilize your machine by tapping the accelerator whenever you get too close to the wall. When entering the straight in the south, stay in the middle of road, then use the R or L Button to steer around the next black patch. Tap the accelerator to get through the last curve, immediately move to the center to catch the first boost (C), and then steer slightly to the right or left to catch the second arrow. Remember to use your boost early in the last lap to get the most out of it. 2. Stark Farm First Circuit The first two turns are just there to warm you up to what follows. Remember that you don't need to feather your accelerator for the smaller curves - just use L and R - but once you get to the north-eastern corner of the track (A), start tapping the accelerator as you weave left and right. Try to stay in the inside of the curves to make the fastest time. Like in the previous track, there are strips of dirty track that slow you down. Stay in the middle to maintain your top speed (B). As you come towards the end of the first such strip, steer hard right as the next curve requires you to stay on the inside. Now you have to do the same thing again. Move back into the middle, pass the damaged track area, then move right to get yourself into the best position to make it through the S-Curve that follows. Once you're through this part of the track, the striped pattern on the ground tips you off that it's time to use your boost (C). If you need an extra advantage over your opponents on your last lap, use your next boost early - as soon as the previous one wears out. There are no shortcuts on this track, so it's all about taking those turns correctly. 3. Empyrean Colony Dash Circuit This circuit is all about speed. The track is wide at all times, so you should have no problem avoiding the walls even at high speeds. Most curves are 90 degree turns, so remember to skid using L and R as well as tap your accelerator to stabilize your craft. Yes, your thumb will start to hurt, but a few hours down the road you won't even feel it any more. It's easy to get carried away - but it's not necessary to tap A all through the turn. Start tapping as soon as you start to slide too much, or when you're getting close to a guard rail. The first series of curves really gives you an opportunity to practice driving the apex (A). Steer from the outside of the track into the curve The next turn is a 180 degree curve (B). Steer from the outside (right) to the inside (left) and get as close as possible to the inner rail as possible. As soon as you're in the apex, turn hard left and start to tap your accelerator. You should make it through without problems. You will now come up to your first split track element (C). Both sides are the same, so don't worry too much about which way to go - but I suggest sticking to the right. This will automatically place you on the outside of the track and beautifully set you up for the next turn. Don't miss the Dash Plate before the split. Once you hit it, stay in the middle of the track to get the next three boosts as well. Resist the urge to tap your accelerator on this stretch. It will just slow you down. All that lies ahead now are two S-Curves. The first one may need some A tapping, but the second one is so short you can just speed and skid right through the center without losing any speed. Use your boost on the final stretch. 4. Stark Farm Second Circuit This second Star Farm track is pretty easy, except for one major 180 degree turn. The challenge on this track isn't trying to avoid smashing into walls, it's trying not to lose momentum. Most of the track surface is lined by dirt patches that slow down your ship. But you should still treat these sand patches as if they were regular walls. This means staying in the middle for most of the race, as well as correctly turning into the apex of a turn. Most portions of the track can be navigated without much A tapping, with the notable exception of the 180 degree turn in the north-west of the course (A). After the long straight, stick to the left, then immediately move to the right after the first 90 degree turn to get to the outside of the track. Tap A repeatedly as you turn left until you clear the turn. It will take some practice to get the timing right, but don't get discouraged. Even if you hit the wall, there are plenty of opportunities to out-boost your opponents to win this race. Pay attention on the third long straight (B). It may appear as a straight on the map, but the sand patches actually turn it into a split road. Simply R- or L-turn right or left. This is a good spot for your final boost, although it may also come in handy on the final stretch. Remember that the energy/pit strip isn't right after the finish line. It's after the first turn on the right (C). 5. Cloud Carpet Long Jump Circuit This first Cloud Carpet course can be a bit tough for beginners who aren't used to the controls yet. After the first 90-degree turn (A), move all the way to the right (the track widens slightly to let you set yourself up for the turn). Taking the next curve correctly is crucial to making it through the track's toughest spot, the 180- hairpin turn. Turn left into the curve, but instead of going straight when you exit the apex, keep on turning left while tapping A to get as close as possible to the left wall. Once you are back on the left side of the track, keep on tapping A while turning hard right (don't forget to hold R) and drift through the hairpin turn. The track is slightly widened to allow you to make it through. The next series of curves is nothing to worry about, but there is one more tricky part: the jump. As you enter the southern straight, stick to the right and hit the Dash Plate on the ground (B). If you miss the boost, the only way to save yourself in a slower car is to manually engage your boost (if you have one) by pressing L and R. You then hit the jump at a high enough speed to clear the gap. Before you land, press down on the control pad so that your racer doesn't bounce and lose momentum. It's tough to do with the beginning craft, but the more advanced ones (beginning with Crazy Horse) can easily take a short cut to get ahead of the competition. Instead of taking the right Dash Plate, head for the left one and jump across the gap Don't forget to push down at the end for a smooth landing. The next S-turn is an easy one if you remember to tap A to stabilize yourself (C). Once you're around the corner, engage your boost to make the most out of this long straight. If you need to replenish your shield, stick to the right after the finish line. Congrats. You have made it through the Pawn Series. With this knowledge you shouldn't have any problems beating this series on all the difficulty levels. KNIGHT SERIES 1. Tenth Zone East Snake Circuit The first track in the Knight Series is actually easier than some of the Pawn courses. There are no notable traps, jumps or hairpin turns here. However, there are plenty of 90-degree curves as well as a few sharp corners. The key to getting the best times is to follow a perfect racing line. Since most right turns on this track are followed by a left turn, it's a matter of moving from one side of the track to the other, always taking the quickest way through the apex of the curve. The first curve (A) doesn't need tapping A to stabilize yourself, but the following turns (B) are much easier if you feather the accelerator - and the sharp north-eastern curve requires the technique to get through. For the fastest possible lap times, try to drift as much as possible, only stabilizing yourself when you get close to a guard rail. Again, the north-eastern curve is an exception. The south-western portion of the track features a short slow-down strip (C), but it's easily avoided if you double-tap the accelerator after you drift through the curve. A short second after this turn, you will bump into a sharp corner. Don't lose any time zig-zagging and drifting here. There are two long straights that are tailor-made for boosts. For maximum speed, you should use a boost each round on the final stretch (as soon as you pass the sharp corner) - except for the last one. To make the last boost worth it, use it on the striped straight leading south. 2. Beacon Port Crossroad Circuit The key to winning this high-speed track lies in your ability to hit the Dash Plates without losing control and slamming into walls. The first arrow is in the middle of the northern straight. After you hit it, move over to the right, then turn hard left (tap A), then right again to get around the following S-curve (A). The next boost comes right before the "figure eight" crossroads portion of the track. It doesn't matter if you take the right or the left fork - both cross over in the middle and lead back to the main road. To make it easy, take the left fork, then turn slightly right and go straight at the crossing (B). Do not turn left at the crossing as that wastes valuable time. Go straight and hit the next boost. This whole portion can be navigated very easily via the L and R Buttons. You can floor the accelerator all the way. You may also want to avoid contact with opponents by picking the opposite road the CPU drone in front of you is going. Stick to the left side of the track as you will have to make a hard right very soon. Don't get confused by the slight left turn (C) and mistakenly move over to the right - the real curve follows right after it. Continue to race on the left side of the track and hit the next Dash Plate in the center portion of the track. The next chicane requires you to weave quickly right and left (while tapping) to get through at boost speed. Try to stay in the center as the next Dash Plate is just around the corner. Approach the turn from the very left side of the track, then turn hard right into the center to hit the boost. Keep on feathering your accelerator as you turn right. If you simply head straight into the arrow, you will bump into the wall and lose valuable energy and time. Once you're clear, it's time to use your machine's own turbo boost to gain speed on the long straight. Replenish your shield energy on the green strip to the left. 3. Synobazz Explosive Circuit Synobazz is synonymous with nasty traps and damaged roads. You really have to be on your toes or your ship's energy will be gone before you know it. It starts off all very innocently. The S-Curve in the northeast is easily navigated by utilizing what you've learned in the Pawn Series (A). Move from the outside of the track into the inside, drift with L and R, and feather the accelerator. As you head towards the circular portion of the course (B), things get tricky. Landmines are placed strategically in the middle and on the left side of the track. Hitting a mine has three effects. 1) It detonates the mine, causing damage to your ship. 2) Your speed is temporarily increased through the explosion - but your trajectory is altered depending on the impact, often knocking you into a wall or an opponent. 3) The mine disappears and the track is irreparably damaged. The damaged track portion causes shield damage and slows you down when you drive over it, so treat it just as you would a mine and avoid it. The safest way through this minefield is to stick to the right railing at all times. The final mine is placed in the middle towards to right, so don't increase the distance between you and the guardrail simply because all the other mines are far away. Once you pass the final mine, you will approach the track's second major chicane (C). The next track portion is severely damaged by lava and causes shield depletion if you drive over the it. Stick to the right side and hit the blue ramp to jump over most of the damaged track. While in the air, steer slightly to the left and push down to land as soon as the ground is solid again. Stay on the left side and take the next right turn wide so that you don't touch the lava. Move into the center of the track. This final stretch contains small pools of lava that you can easily avoid by maneuvering left and right with your shoulder buttons. After the third pool, move to the left and prepare to make a wide right turn (D). The inside of this curve is made up of dirt, which causes you to lose speed. Turn as close to the sand as possible, but don't touch it. Another quick left turn and you'll be on the final stretch. The stripes on the road tell you that it's time to engage your boost. Pay special attention to your opponents on this track. Nothing is more frustrating than being knocked into a wall or damaged track portion by a rogue driver who slams into a mine. Don't overtake in the dangerous portions of the course. 4. Ancient Mesa Split Circuit The first series of curves on Ancient Mare are a cinch. You know the drill -- skid and stabilize. But the next portion of the track needs some explaining. As you hit the western straight, the track widens and leads to four Dash Plates and a fork in the road (A). It's up to you which way to go, but let's pick the right branch to make things easier. Since the track is covered with ice, you need to tap the accelerator a lot if you don't want to lose control. Head for the very right Dash Plate, hit it and follow the right branch of the course. Tap the accelerator rapidly as you're making a sharp left turn. If you don't tap fast enough, you will skid into the guardrail. Two Dash Plates await right around the corner. Once again, hit the right one. As you boost forward, start turning to the right (but don't tap A). You will hit a long Dash Plate head-on (B). The moment you hit it, tap A repeatedly while turning right to stabilize yourself and turn the ship into the right direction. The force of the boost will knock you 90-degrees around the corner without losing time. Alternatively, you can be a wuss and brake while turning right without hitting the Dash Plate. The ice patch ends and parts of the regular track are exposed. Maneuver through the next series of turns by sticking to the regular track portions. The road widens and you are heading right for a blue ramp (C). If you have a boost to spare (or a ship with very high top speed, such as Silver Thunder or The Stingray), now is the time to pull off a flashy little shortcut. Hit the jump, then quickly turn to the left. You can bypass the whole icy corner by cutting across to the solid road. Push down when you're ready to land. Even the slower cars can bypass at least a small portion of the curve. Instead of jumping straight across the gap, cut across diagonally and land right before the final turn. The final stretch following this curve lets you replenish your battered shields. If you're playing it safe, this is the place to utilize your ship's turbo every round. 5. Stark Farm Third Circuit This track requires you to make a decision and pick your favorite route. The first half of this race is a no-brainer with simply turns that won't give you any trouble. But then the road splits into two. If you take the left branch (A), you have to stick in the middle of the track to avoid being slowed down by dirt patches on the side. It's fairly easy if your thumb hasn't yet fallen off from tapping the accelerator. The right branch (B) is easier - a quick left turn and a small jump -- but it's got a nasty little dirt strip that's designed to slow you down. Ultimately, the left branch is a tiny bit faster (unless you want to waste your boost on the slow-down strip), and most CPU drones go the other way, so you aren't facing as much opposition. However, there is another alternative. You can also take the right branch and instead of jumping straight at the ramp, jump right onto the lower track. This way, you bypass the dirt strip that slows down your momentum. However, the margin for error is a bit larger than if you take the left branch in the first place, so you might as well stick with the standard left path. Whichever way you take, don't miss the turbo Dash Plates on the southern straight (C). If you have taken the left way, the Dash Plate will knock you into the right direction - simply steer right (and hit R) and you will end up the same way as if you had hit the arrow from the other direction. Stick to the left side. There is a flattened portion on the left side that lets you speed into curve's apex and turn right before you hit the wall. Getting through this curve without hitting the guardrail (or braking) is a difficult task and will take a lot of practice. There is also an easier way that works well with vehicles that have a long boost time. Simply slam head-on into the guardrail (D) while turning right (and holding R) and let it knock you into the right direction. Rapidly tap A to stabilize yourself. If your racer is still boosting, you will quickly regain your former speed and lose very little time. BISHOP SERIES 1. Bianca City Tightrope Circuit This is one of the most straightfoward tracks in the game. No traps, no jumps, no chicanes. But before you get too happy, remember that this means there is also very little chance of your opponents messing up. Especially on the higher difficulty levels, a little mistake can give the opposition just the time it needs to beat you. Luckily, the track isn't so terribly difficult to figure out. But since much of the track is rather narrow, the biggest challenge is to stay out of the CPU drones' way. Watch the indicator mark that lets you know when someone is behind you and drive defensively. Feather your accelerator to get through the tight turns and utilize your boost to overtake the other drivers on the long straight leading up to the finish line (A). In the final lap, you can also boost on the other long straight in the eastern portion (B) of the course. 2. Ancient Mesa Skating Circuit The icy patch (A) in the middle of this simple circuit is the biggest problem. Everything else is easy stuff. Here's how to get through the track the quickest possible way. As you exit the curve right before the O-shaped ice patch, head to the right. Since you're prone to skidding on ice surfaces, it's important that you tap A whenever you change directions, even if it's just a slight correction. In other words, try to get through this section with as little direction changes as possible. Steer towards the inside corner and turn left while rapidly tapping A until you're heading south-east. Go straight, then correct your trajectory to go south when you're back on the regular track. You will notice that the track is lightly widened on your left. Even though it's possible to head left into the ice rink, the right path is easier because of this extended exit track piece (B). Your next challenge is to make it through a tight S-turn (C). Since you're drifting on ice, you have to tap your accelerator much more than you usually would. There is one final sharp turn that you have to drift through. The trick to making it at high speed is to over-skid (your vehicle has to actually be turned 45 degrees to the right as you're skidding through the turn) while tapping A. Hit L and R to boost as soon as you exit the turn (D) (the striped track lets you know that you're on the final stretch) and try to overtake as many opponents as possible on the following straight. Don't give up. This track can be tamed. 3. Crater Land Skid Zone Circuit Crater Land is one of the easiest tracks in the game once you know the way around. Seriously, if you're worried because you're having problems coming in first in the previous circuit, you should restart the series if you're not getting a first place ranking on this track. Crater Land is characterized by its three split passages. One way often leads you to a recharge strip, the other one provides you with boosts. Which one should you pick? Well, unless your racer is severely damaged, boosts are the way to victory. Here's a quick "race-through" of the whole track. Stay left after the start. The road will split, providing you with four boosts on the left and a pit strip on the right. Take the boosts unless your machine is severely damaged. After the fourth boost (A), move right, then turn left into the apex of the next curve, then turn right again. The following curves are exceedingly easy, even at boost speed. Just remember to tap the accelerator when you get too close to the guard rail. The track splits once again. The left branch is identical to the right branch, but taking the right one gives you an advantage when it comes to entering the apex of the next turn (a left turn) (B). The final portion of the course is characterized by conveyer-belt-like moving track elements. These elements push you either right or left - and they alternate in direction. The first few conveyers are easy to beat if you just stay in the middle of the road (C), but the final hairpin straight is a bit trickier. As you head into this final narrow passage, stay right (as the conveyer is pushing from the right) (D). To get through this passage the fastest way possible, steer only with the shoulder buttons. Push R, L, R, L (to counter the left, right, left, right belts). Memorize this combination. It will make you slip right through without losing any time. Next, stay on the right side of the track (E). There are some additional boosts there that help you maintain your top speed as you're approaching the finish line. If you're low on shield energy, you can also take the left side. Be proactive. If you see CPU drones overtaking you, don't hesitate to use your boost when you're going over the pit strip. If you used the Dash Plates, engage your remaining manual boost (in the later laps) as you come around the corner. Again, the striped track tells you you're on a long straight. As you're going into the next lap, remember: left branch, right branch, right branch. . Cloud Carpet Icarus Circuit Your biggest problem on this Cloud Carpet track isn't the course itself, it's the opposition. Getting around this track in Training Mode is one thing, but going up against the CPU drones on these narrow roads often becomes a game of chance. The track itself is straight-forward. Maneuver through the first set of turns using the shoulder and the A buttons, then get ready to hit one of two Dash Plates (A) when the track widens and heads south. It doesn't matter which boost you take, as long as you hit one of them. Subsequently, stick to the right side of the track (the left side will slow you down). After a quick 90-degree turn, you will have to make it through a very narrow passage. Watch your opponents. Don't get in their way. Around the corner, you will find the first of two ramps (B). You can use it to cut across the next corner and shave off a few milliseconds. The second jump plate is just around the corner. Stick to the left and use the ramp to cut across the corner once again (C). Don't land too close to the right, though. A tough hairpin turn awaits. Tapping A while skidding with R is key to making it through this one. The rest of the track is simple. Once you pass the finish line, you are awarded your first boost. This changes everything. Instead of using the second jump plate to gain a small advantage over your opponents, you can now use it to completely circumvent the hairpin turn (D). It may take a couple of round of practice, but once you've got it down, you won't know how you beat this track without this technique. Let the light-blue track surface serve as a reminder to engage your manual boost in a few seconds. Now hit the jump plate and steer over to the right. You will effectively bypass a significant portion of the track. If you still lose the race despite this technique, it's time to go to your local videogame store and sell your GBA and copy of F-Zero. You're hopeless. . Bianca City Ultimate Circuit There is not much that can be said about the final Bishop Series track except for the fact that every turn will bring you very close to the guard rail. The first curve already requires some quick tapping to make it through unscathed (A), then follow some simple chicanes that you can avoid by weaving left and right with your shoulder buttons (B). Move to the left after the last one to set yourself up for a sharp right curve. You can then floor it until you arrive at the track's toughest hairpin turn (C). Steer from the very right side into the apex and keep on tapping that accelerator! Another chicane sequence follows, which, again, can be avoided via the shoulder buttons. As soon as you pass the last "dirt" patch (D), hit L and R to boost. That's it. Your ability to perfectly take the turns and make the most out of the long straight will determine whether you win or lose. QUEEN SERIES 1. Crater Land Loop Circuit NASCAR fans rejoice. F-Zero gives you a track that's 100% right turns. After the start, follow the right guard rail around the corner to hit the first Dash Plate (A). Next, you've got the choice between another boost or a jump plate (B). It depends on your current vehicle which one you should choose. If your boost time is long, stick to the left and take the boost. If your boost time is short, use the jump on the left to cut across the turn. Whichever one you choose, try to end up on the right side of the course so that you can hit the next jump plate. This will allow you to jump over the dirt patch ahead. Land on the left side and hit the next jump plate (C). Depending on your speed, you will either clear the whole patch, or you will have to steer over to the right side to take advantage of the standard road surface. Stick to the left from here on. There are a couple of landmines in the middle and on the right of the track (D), but you're fine if you stick to the left. One quick turn (tap A rapidly to make it without touching the wall), and you're on the track's final stretch before the finish line. Engage your manual boost if you're in Lap 2 to overtake even the fastest opponents. 2. Tenth Zone East Plummet Circuit This is your chance to practice your jumping skills. After some quick and easy right turns (the second of which requires feathering the accelerator), you're heading for your first jump (A). Hit the jump plate and head straight. As you're about to land, push down on the directional pad to properly land on the magnetic landing strip that follows (B). Another jump follows, but you need to steer slightly towards the left to land on solid ground. But that's not all. A left and right turn later, you will hit the next jump plate. Once again, you go straight and push down. Next, maneuver the S-curve and hit the last jump plate. This one's tricky. You can either go left or right - going straight will cause you to crash and burn (C). Which ever way you go, hit down before you land, then head back to the opposite direction to jump back to the center track. If you've successfully made it through this part of the course, turn right for the final stretch. As with most tracks, this is the place to boost. If it helps you, remember: straight, left, straight, left, right. Or just keep an eye on the track map in the lower left corner - or the track ahead... Once you have completed the first lap, you get your first boost. If you think you're good enough, you can now pull off some cool shortcuts. You can take the first one (D) by boosting immediately after you land on the first magnetic strip. Steer all the way to the left and jump across the gap. Have faith. It's possible. If your machine has long boost time (and you don't mess up the landing), you can actually take the second shortcut (E) as well. It's tough, but if you do it, you will be an F- Zero god amongst men. 3. Empyrean Colony Twist Circuit This course would be the easiest thing in the world if it wasn't for those nasty little twist traps. These round patches turn your vehicle in exactly the direction that you're not planning to turn into. The only way to make it through this course without going crazy is to learn where the twisters are. To make things a little more confusing, the developers have added some Dash Plates. It's all too easy to mistake an arrow for a trap and steer around it. After the first turn, you will bump into two twist traps on the outside of the track (A). Stay in the middle, then head for the right side of the course to hit the first Dash Plate. Stay on the right side until you pass two twist traps that are located in the middle. Immediately steer into the center of the track, or you will bump into a twist trap in your path (B). As you pass the traps, move back to the right side to avoid another two and turn left around the next corner. Welcome to the track's hairpin portion (C). The track is so narrow, two racers next to each other will cause some major trouble. So if you're worried about a CPU drone being right on your tail, don't hesitate to utilize a boost, if available, to get out of harm's way. Next, hit three boosts in a row located in the center of the track (D). Please pay attention as there are twist traps on the left and right sides between the respective boosts. If you haven't used your boost yet, hit it the moment you enter the final stretch (once again signified by the striped track surface). 4. Fire Field Landmine Circuit If you make it through a race without hitting a single mine, you truly are a master. Out of all tracks in this game, this one is most likely to blow up your ship. Start off the race by moving over to the right side. Stick to the right (A), avoiding the land mines on the left and in the center until you arrive at the track's 180-degree turn. As you get close to the curve, cut across from the right to the left and head through the curve to the left side of the track (B). You can stay on the left to avoid the next batch of landmines, then move over to the right to get around the next patch. Finally, move to the middle and avoid the alternately placed mines by using the shoulder buttons and the directional pad. There are many ways through this mine field. You will soon find a way that suits you best, but remember that no mines are ever placed right next to the guard rails. Stick to the walls and you're good (well, unless you touch the walls). 5. Fire Field Warrior Circuit This track has it all. Stick to the right after you start the race (the left branch features the shield-replenishing pit strip). After an easy S-curve, you will hit a medium straight leading south, containing a jump plate and a series of mines. Take the ramp and push up to get as much air as possible, then push down to land after you have cleared the mines (A). Even if you don't have enough speed to make it, you'll be fine if you stay in the middle of the track. Another jump plate follows (B). This one poses an interesting dilemma. If you think your speed is high enough, you simply go straight and clear all the mines. But if you're too slow, turn toward the left (and mine-free) side of the track. The trick is that the left side is magnetic and pulls you down, so use it as your last resort if you're in danger of hitting a mine. The final portion of this track is comprised of a conveyer patch (C) (you can easily clear it by staying in the middle) and a widened area lined by dirt patches (D). Again, stay in the center of the track, tap the accelerator to stabilize yourself in turns, and you will emerge victorious. Once you have gotten your first boost, you can pull off a nice little shortcut (E), but you might actually want to save your boosts for the long straight so that you can outrun your CPU opponents on the higher difficulty levels. SECRETS Unlock Sly Joker To unlock a fifth car, the Sly Joker, beat the Pawn, Knight and Bishop series on Standard difficulty. Unlock The Stingray To unlock the second hidden car, the excellent Stingray, you have to beat all Pawn, Knight and Bishop tracks on Expert difficulty. Good luck. You'll need it. Unlock Silver Thunder To unlock the super-fast but a little less stable Silver Thunder car, you need to beat one series on Master difficulty (Pawn is the easiest, of course -- so go for that one first). Unlock Falcon MK-II You thought that was it, eh? Nope, here's yet another cool hidden F-Zero racer: the Falcon MK-II. To get it, you need to beat the Pawn, Knight, Bishop AND Queen series on Expert difficulty. Unlock Fighting Comet And just when you thought they'd run out of cars -- here comes the Fighting Comet. But you need to work to unlock it. Beat every series on the Master Class difficulty. Unlock Jet Vermilion Here's the ultimate F-Zero racer. Jet Vermilion is insanely fast -- but it's so hard to get, most gamers will give up and run away in horror. You have to actually complete each racing series on Master difficulty with each machine (chess icons next to the track selection screen show you which series you have already beaten with the respective racer). If that sounds too difficult, you can also unlock Vermilion by completing the championship 255 times. Which one sounds more appealing? Good luck. Unlock the Queen Series Like the Stingray car, the Queen Series (with five additional courses set on Crater Land, Tenth Zone East, Empyrean Colony, and two tracks on Fire Field) is unlocked by beating all Pawn, Knight and Bishop tracks on Expert difficulty. Unlock Championship Mode Not to be confused with the standard Grand Prix Mode, Championship is a hidden option that lets you race a Time Attack challenge against a ghost car on a special Synobazz track. The mode also offers the ability to see a replay of the winning run, complete with button commands display. To unlock Championship Mode, register your name in the rankings of every race in every series. Unlock Master Difficulty To open up the hidden Master difficult level (in addition to (Beginner, Standard and Expert), you have to first beat a series' Expert difficulty level in the Grand Prix Mode. Note that this will unlock the Master setting only for that series. You still have to beat the Expert setting on the other cups as well to get access to all the Master classes. Hidden Demo Mode To see an explanation of the above expert techniques and watch the computer complete a perfect lap and show you when to brake and when to boost, simply press the Select Button at the title screen. Erase All Data If for some reason you would like to delete all your scores and saved game data, simply hold L and R while switching on your GBA. You will then be asked whether you would like to delete everything -- select Yes to execute the function. Reset Game F-Zero has a built-in soft reset. If you want to reset the game without actually using the on/off button, simply press the following buttons at the same time: A, B, Select, Start. Ranking Password Nintendo has designed F-Zero with tournament play in mind. Since you can't upload your best times or take screenshots, the game features a built-in ranking password system. To obtain an encrypted password for your best track times, select Course Ranking from the main menu, then select your name and the track you would like to get a password for. Now hold the L-Button and press up, right, right, B, left, B, A. Your tournament entry password will now appear at the top of the screen and you can write it down. Nintendo uses passwords like these to let you enter into official tournaments, so keep an eye out for them. THE END