F-Zero GX is one of the most amazing racing games ever made. It is also one of the hardest games around and requires a ton of patience and skill. If you get easily frustrated, this game is not for you. If you are up for a hell of a challenge, then it's the game to buy. Of course, it still may bring you to tears - fair warning.
I bought it, now what? How do I play?
F-Zero GX offers several different modes including the following:
Grand Prix - compete in various cups (Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, Diamond, AX) which each have 5 courses vs 29 opponents
Vs Battle - multiplayer vs your friends
Time Attack - race on various courses vs your best times
Practice - race on the courses for practice with some handy features like being put back on the course if you fall off
Story - finish 9 difficult challenges on 3 modes (normal, hard, very hard)
Replay - watch any saved replays you have made
Customize - purchase new ships, custom parts, items and build your own custom ship
Options - manage your memory card data and set other preferences
Pilot Profiles - get to know some background about all the characters, and more ship details as well as ending videos
In many of the modes you can win tickets which you can use these tickets to buy more ships, custom parts, new story mode chapters, etc in the Customize mode. Also, this system will force you to bounce between story and other modes to get tickets - which is a pretty smart idea.
When you are first starting F-Zero GX, I highly recommend that you go straight to Practice (or Time Attack) and learn all the courses on the Ruby cup. F-Zero is a game of memory - you *must* know the courses to do well. Learn the ruby cup courses, then you can do the Ruby cup grand prix. Follow that pattern for the other cups as well.
The grand prix mode is pretty wild as you battle vs 29 other ships in various cups. You can battle in Novice, Standard, Expert and Master (unlocked later) difficulties. Besides winning tickets, some grand prix will open some unlockables (see below). Note that if you smash and disqualify 5 ships, you get a free "extra life."
You can also do story mode, and should. But, be warned that story mode is pretty hard. Each chapter has a normal, hard, and very hard setting. The hard and very hard are actually some of the hardest gaming you will find, anywhere. Note: when you complete any chapter in the story mode, you have to go to Customize to *purchase* the next chapter - that's sorta odd and you might otherwise think that you have to beat chapter 1 on hard to continue (thankfully, you don't).
Should I pick Acceleration or Speed?
Before any race, you are presented with a screen where you can pick the acceleration vs speed of your ship. Here are some recommendations:
If you go all the way to the left and pick high acceleration instead of raw speed, you will be able to manage corners and tight tracks much better, but be slower on the straight run. This is "the" pick for snakers (see below).
Once you learn the far left and far right, you can then determine your personal preference - which could be somewhere in the middle.
If you go all the way to the right and pick high speed instead of acceleration, you will travel the fastest in a straightaway. This is also a good pick for newbies as it is easier to control your ship - but it makes handling some of the corners tricky on some tracks.
What does the Performance Graph show?
When you look at statistics for a ship, there is a graph that shows the ship on 4 axis - Top = Body, Left = Acceleration, Bottom = Cornering, Right = Max Speed.
How can I Unlock stuff?
F-Zero GX has a lot of hidden stuff you can unlock in the game. Note: you can also unlock a ton of stuff with Action Replay - for details see this F-Zero GX Action Replay article.
Unlock the Diamond Cup You have to finish the Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald cup in 1st place in Standard.
Unlock the AX Cup Finish first in Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, and Diamond cups on Master class. (Holy crow). Or, head to an arcade which as F-Zero AX, put your gamecube memory card into it, and place first in *each* AX course you want to unlock for F-Zero GX.
Unlock the bonus Mute City: Sonic Oval course Place first in the AX cup on any difficulty.
Unlockable Ships The following ships are available after beating a story mode on a specific difficulty setting. Many top players consider Fat Shark to be one of the best ships for time attack racing on straight courses, for example.
All (Normal): Deathborn
All (Hard): Spade
Chapter 1 (Very Hard): Rainbow Phoenix
Chapter 2 (Very Hard): Spark Moon
Chapter 3 (Very Hard): Rolling Turtle
Chapter 4 (Very Hard): Fat Shark
Chapter 5 (Very Hard): Cosmic Dolphin
Chapter 6 (Very Hard): Silver Rat
Chapter 7 (Very Hard): Pink Spider
Chapter 8 (Very Hard): Bunny Flash
Chapter 9 (Very Hard): Groovy Taxi
Character "Endings" Finish first as a character in any cup on Master difficulty to unlock that character's ending. You can see your unlocked ending by going to Pilot Profiles, selecting the character, and pressing "Y".
What's the deal with the "special" custom parts?
Yes, there are 15 parts to make custom ships available only if you participated in special F-ZERO AX event that were held shortly after the game's release. You can, however, use cheat devices such as Action Replay, or Homebrew on Nintendo Wii to unlock them on your file.
After any run in time attack, you can save a "ghost" of that run. You can race against your ghost which is a transparent recording of your run. This is an awesome feature of F-Zero GX.
After you have a ghost saved, you can select it (and up to 4 other ghosts, which is pretty cool) as follows: on the "Select Course" screen hit the "Y" button - then all of your ghosts are loaded and displayed in the top right - and then you need to select up to 5 of them by pressing X on them (they turn yellow). Then you can press the normal "A" button to continue and you will be "racing" your ghosts.
What are Staff Ghosts and how do I get them?
A "Staff Ghost" is a ghost for a track that is included in F-Zero GX by the developers. Ghost times are very fast and provide a healthy challenge for you to aspire to. To unlock a staff ghost, you have to finish within 10 seconds of that ghost's time on the course you are trying to unlock. Once you get within 10 seconds, you can buy the staff ghost in the Items part of Customize. All staff ghost times, ship choice, and splits are available here.
How many memory blocks do I need for F-Zero GX?
The following blocks are used by F-Zero GX. Note: you can store as many ghosts and replays as you have space for.
Game data (your progress, unlockables, etc) - 4 blocks
Garage data (4 custom built ships) - 18 blocks
Custom emblems - 3 blocks each
Replay files - 3 to 18 blocks each
Ghost files - 3 blocks each
So, for example, if you wanted the game file, custom ships (garage), and ghosts of your best times on every track, you need 99 blocks. If you also want replays of your best times on every track you need approximately 500 blocks. (You can store replays, ghosts, and a garage on a secondary card if you like.)
Can I copy my F-Zero GX game data to another memory card?
No. Although you can copy your replays and ghosts, you cannot copy the actual game data to another memory card. No, you can't load the game data from one card, then swap another card in.
Yes - that means if your memory card gets corrupted, you lose your progress in the game and all unlocked stuff. Yes - that means that you can't buy a larger memory card and transfer your F-Zero GX progress. Major bummage.
No, you cannot copy the file using Action Replay or Wii Homebrew.
What is "Snaking" or "蛇行" / "Dakou"?
To achieve the fastest times, this technique must be learnt. If you choose not to use this powerful technique, then you can submit times to the "max speed ladder" (see rules). Snaking involves carving "S" shaped patterns across the track. In order to do this you must select an appropriate ship, normally a heavy, grip A vehicle; the ship must also be set to maximum acceleration on the settings menu.
The FZC F-Zero GX Snaking Ladder is the ladder where to truely test your skills against the best snakers in the World. See the Advanced Tactics Guide for more information. for spaceflying, there's the Open Ladder where everything goes.
How do you jump off course ... and live?
There are some spots on courses which have a launch pad you can hit and get sent flying into the air. Other that that, however, there are other "secret" spots you can do the same thing - IF you attain a fast enough speed. It's mind-blowing and a heavily used expert tactic in time attack. Only certain courses have places where you can do this jump.
What are the best ships?
This is nearly a religious discussion as there are over 17,000 ships in F-Zero GX. (Yeah, that's not a typo). One interesting thing to look at are the ships used by the experts in the different playing styles of GX which include:
Fat Shark, Quick Cannon-G4, Stormy Cannon-G4, Gallant Star-G4, Quick Star-G4, Stormy Star-G4, Maximum Planet-Z, Dread Wizard FX [the last 5 ships require the special parts obtainable via AR for non-Japanese players]
Omega Glider-V2, Omega Gauntlet-V2, Omega Condor-V2, Omega Wyvern-V2, Highway Gauntlet-V2 [used to get snaking WR's on Port Town: Aero Dive and Fire Field: Undulation]
Maximum Dragon, Maximum Wyvern [Combat Dragon and Combat Wyvern for those without the special parts]