I’m a huge fan of the F-Zero serie, maybe my absolute dream serie, with Zelda but in only three main games. I personally don’t mind the other entries in the serie.
I bought F-Zero when I was 14 with the brand new modern SFC, imported like a boss. This game catched my imagination like no others, I litteraly dreamed I played it on arcade with two trackballs commands (?) and I still was not disapointed when I’ve got it. In my teenager room there has ruled Stunt Car Racer on Amiga, and then for many years of fun after school there was F-Zero. Very different in many ways, but the same excellence of racing experience.
Then one day the sequel of the One, entering the fast 3D area, F-Zero X is still my favorite racing game ever and I still play it all the time (original stick on CRT required). And it sort of combined Stunt Car Racer and F-Zero qualities.
F-Zero GX was a massive disapointement for me, I played it a lot at the time cause it was the next gen sequel of my best racing game(s) ever (and it’s a very good game), but finally hated it for years for not to be the sequel I was waiting for. Today I can finally have fun with GX, there’s no more expectation, it’s a different game with strong qualities, but not on the level of the two last entries imo, and with not enough respect of the primary essence.
The sens of physics is the worst, X managed to make you feel aeronotic sensations, like being in a delicate metal box cutting the air with crazy jet engines at Mach speed, with a graduate sens of speed and risk while you slowly take speed. And if you lose control with a rude manoeuvre, the aerodynamics physics punishes you with a big restart from scratch (with the high speed setting wish imo is the only fun way to perform in GP mode as you can properly slalom across the competitors, wish is part of X fun, I reserve drifting fun and corner speed for TT).
This sens of reel, simulation like, has vanished in GX, I often sayed it’s a good Super Monkey Ball 2 mini game in comparaison. They sort of mixed the two handling models, so that if you loose control you drift (wish can be anticipitated with R+L), and not even in a pleasant way.
The game offers too speed by default in regard of its non tangible sensations to be as credible as X, with controls not as perfect that they were (and attacks turning system was so better than that), slaloming isn’t as good cause the competitors movements are less readable, more chaotic. Fortunately slalom from corner to corner is still very good, but not as X.
Track level design is solid with good concepts (the strength of Amusement Vision) but not as precise and well crafted as X imo. In X you can have a blast just to master the basic tracks, the mark of the best, a game with immense solid fondations.
Can we talk about the sluggish flying sensation when you take a nosedive in GX?
I also prefer the amazing textures art work of X with its focus on the track (while the landscape is more dreamy with a global better sense of scaling, all depending of your speed and always accurate).
GX art direction is good but with slightly more random visuals (still very good, very shinny), ridiculous caracter design (poor Captain Falcon, I hate you AM) and musics just OK, not respectful and concequently disapointing in regard of X master piece (I still hope to have someday the stereo music of Expansion Kit, my only X minor complaint with track pop up).
And so F-Zero, I guess it depends on your expectation, for me if it’s not as fun as X, but it’s still an excellent oldschool racing game with crazy good art in the visual department and with its lovely space groovy jazz musics. I agree with both harborline_765 and D.Lo in many ways, not as fun as the 3D roller coaster but it has its own flavor depending on its own gameplay mecanics, not as thrilling but enough if you jump into it.
And I like to drift in TT (practice alone) with the Golden Fox while holding gaz and counter steering, very fun. It’s a shame they don’t make it effective (so Dr Stewart would have been really interesting), I think it might be the origin of Super Mario Kart drifting (as a sequel).