F-Zero is a long-running Nintendo franchise where futuristic vehicles race across ridiculously dangerous tracks, barreling down the courses faster than the speed of sound. The series' iconic feature is the single energy barused for both your ship's shields andboost power. The more damage you take the less you can boost, but the more you boost the more likely you are to find yourself looking at an early retirement.Captain Falcon, the de facto protagonist of the series, is probably best known as a core member of the Super Smash Bros. roster. Aside from Falcon, the series has a huge cast of bizarre racers. How bizarre? Captain Falcon is probably the most normal one.An anime series, F-Zero: Falcon Densetsu (literally "F-Zero: Legend of Falcon"), aired in 2003. In the U.S. it aired as F-Zero: GP Legend, but the dub was cancelled only a few episodes into the series.An in-progress compilation of the many characters can be found here. All Tropers are encouraged to help out.
The games in this series include:
F-Zero (SNES, 1990)note One of the original launch titles for the system in both Japan and North America.
BS F-Zero Grand Prix (Satellaview, 1996)note Japan-only remake of/pseudo-sequel to the first game, featuring additional tracks such as Mute City IV as well four vehicles different from the original racers (the Blue Thunder, Luna Bomber, Green Amazone, and Fire Scorpion). The BS in the title stands for "Broadcasting Satellite," the Satellaview's service of transmitting programs via satellite.
BS F-Zero Grand Prix 2 (Satellaview, 1997)note An expansion of the previous title, featuring BS F-Zero's vehicle line-up and a new league with five new race courses. Like the first, this game was only released in Japan.
F-Zero: Falcon Densetsu ("F-Zero: GP Legend" in North America; Game Boy Advance, 2003)
F-Zero: Climax (Game Boy Advance, 2004)note Another entry that did not make it to North American shores, also based on the anime. Featured a level editor similar to the one in the F-Zero X: Expansion Kit.
YOU GOT BOOST POWER! F-Zero contains examples of the following:
10-Minute Retirement: Flirted with thanks to Silver Neelson, who is considering retirement (he is close to 100, after all), but is probably too fickle to go through with it.
Acrofatic: His impressive swordsmanship in the anime notwithstanding, Samurai Goroh is implied to be a competent fighter, is quite muscular, and is able to perform multiple back handsprings despite being obese.
Action Girl: Jody and Lily, seeing as they're combat-machine pilot affiliated with the para-militaristic Galactic Space Federation. In particular, Jody has had an eventful and active childhood, while Lily has been training since shortly after her birth and has even seen combat in a few skirmishes. There are hints that Mrs. Arrow is also one of these, particularly of the Action Wife variety. Lisa Brilliant shows her mettle as the wife of Samurai Goroh in the anime.
Adaptation Dye-Job: In Legend of Falcon, many characters have their hair colors as slightly lighter shades. The most noticeable change comes from Captain Falcon, whose hair is now brown instead of black.
Affably Evil: Black Shadow in brief flashes. He says the below line as politely and calmly as could be.
Black Shadow: "Falcon, you've come to die? I needn't have wasted time looking for you then."
All Amazons Want Hercules: Jody Summer may or may not have a crush on Captain Falcon. Possibly either played straight or subverted with the Arrows.
All Love Is Unrequited: John Tanaka harbors a crush on Jody Summer, who (if John's bonus movie in GX is anything to go by) is in love with Captain Falcon. Averted with the Arrows, who are a Happily Married couple.
Ambiguously Gay: Baba. He wears an outfit with leopard prints and wails like a girl if he falls off the track in X. GX's voice acting gave Baba an effeminate voice and several... questionable comments. And then there's his bonus movie in GX... The less you know, the better.
Arch-Enemy: Captain Falcon and Black Shadow, the Arrows and Zoda, Beastman and Bio Rex, Ryu and Zoda in the anime, etc.
Artificial Gravity: Many of the tracks make good use of this. A few of them actually overlap themselves with the two tracks being face-to-face.
Ascended Extra: While GX did this with racers that had debuted in X, the anime goes even deeper into some characters, Jody, Jack, and Zoda in particular.
Ascended Fanboy: Draq was mostly a rather over-enthusiastic F-Zero fan, until one day his shipping company received two racers with no destination or return address; when this happened, Draq immediately jumped on the racer, entered the league, and now he's running to use the prize money to buy his own racer and start an F-Zero museum. His buddy Roger Buster, while also an F-Zero fan, is more the casual fan type (i.e. not an F-Zero nerd like Draq).
Mrs. Arrow, who began racing in mock models at the age of 14, became a circuit model, and then finally a racer herself.
To a lesser extent, Lucy Liberty from Legend of Falcon is a female version of this trope, with her official bio stating that she's a huge fan of the sport.
Ascended Meme: The Falcon Punch, which originated in Super Smash Bros., is used by Captain Falcon in the Grand Finale of the anime.
A Wizard Did It: The Skull's backstory states that he was revived by black magic. Moreover, his race car has no turning system; he turns it around by using his magic.
Ax-Crazy: Zoda. It's taken to horrific levels in the anime.
Even in the game, he's piloting a ballistic missile while being constantly pumped full of adrenaline and dopamine. Even in gameplay terms he has one of the fastest machines with some of the worst cornering and body rating, which is kinda nuts by itself.
Balance Between Good and Evil: Most notably in the anime, where Captain Falcon and Black Shadow are the current representations of good and evil, perpetually deadlocked. Falcon cannot turn the tides without the help of Ryu, The Savior.
Barbie Doll Anatomy: When Ryu discovers that Jody is a cyborg due to losing body parts in an explosion that presumably killed her older brother, she's shown in a stasis tube with a small amount of smoke and liquids surrounding her. Of course, it's still Bowdlerized in the dub.
Becoming the Mask: Beastman uses an intimidating facade and costume to hide the fact that he's extremely shy from any potential enemies... but he might actually be turning into a real Badass gradually.
To a lesser extent, Captain Falcon himself would count, since as a bounty hunter wanted by many criminals, he usually hides his face with his helmet. Subverted when the player beats a harder-difficulty cup, which then he reveals his face.
And again with Falcon's "Bart Lemming" identity. Falcon may be a paragon of strength and courage, but as Bart he's gentle, soft spoken, and even a bit of a goof.
Blood Knight: The lyrics to Captain Falcon's theme song in F-Zero GX seems to be from the point of view of one who idolizes Captain Falcon.
The Skull and Mighty Gazelle are in-game examples. The latter is a tragic deconstruction, however, as he lost his fiance when she gazed in horror upon his cybernetic body. Thus, Gazelle turned to racing as it was the only thing he had to live for. He seems to have gotten out of this funk by the time of GX and even has a new girlfriend.
It's hinted that Black Shadow and Blood Falcon love to destroy other machines at a whim. Blood's actions in the anime seem to affirm this.
Pico is no better. Several times, has he been called one of the more violent and bloodthirsty racers. He's also widely believed to be responsible for the big accident several years ago that caused the races to amp up its safety measure solely for his aggressive nature on the track, regardless of whether or not he was guilty.
Bowdlerization: Several, but the more prominent ones are changing the name of Blood Falcon's Hell Hawk to the Blood Hawk and renaming Miss Killer as Luna Ryder. The latter actually works to a degree, considering that Miss Killer drives the Moon Shadow, but it's also a case of Never Say "Die".
Boy Band: Jack Levin was once a part of one before joining the F-Zero races.
Brainwashed and Crazy: Misaki Haruka was turned into Miss Killer and forced under Black Shadow's orders. She breaks free of his psychic probing, only to be carbonized like Han Solo. She gets over that, too.
Bring My Brown Pants: The normally monotone and calm Mr. Zero is scared witless if he has to interview any creepy, menacing, or downright evil characters. Oddly, he remains calm with Don Genie.
Broad Strokes: Every home console release in the series is technically this, with small details in character backstories changing from game to game. However, the Legend of Falcon sub-series is an exceptional case that's very different from the rest of the franchise. It's especially confusing because the anime and games in this series both compliment each other and seem to contradict each other at the same time. Maximum Velocity is the only entry that doesn't contradict another game in the series, as it takes place in the immediate future of at least one of the three core games (original, X or AX/GX), but most fans seem to ignore the story aspects of that game.
Butt Monkey: Samurai Goroh seems to be one in GX. He's caught in the explosion of his Fire Stingray, is booed by the crowd at the GP, and few racers appear to like him outside of his son and Princia, who has oddly taken a fancy to him.
The Cameo: As you can see in the picture at the top of this page, a giant-sized R.O.B. appears on the Port Town courses, most notably Port Town: Aero Drive.
Canon Discontinuity: Unlike Pokémon and Kirby, the F-Zero anime (taking place in the 23rd century rather than the 26th) was not warmly received. The two games based off it failed to match GX's sales combined and Climax in particular sold poorly enough to get its international release halted and send the series into an indefinite hiatus. Super Smash Bros. Brawl treats GX as the latest entry, with nothing from the Falcon Densetsu/GP Legend line receiving a mention as far as Trophies or Stickers go.
Car Fu: First introduced in F-Zero X, the Spin Attack is an offensive technique that is used to damage and destroy other racers. Very useful for thinning out the pack when things get crowded and pushing opponents out of the way or off your tail.
Card-Carrying Villain: Whoever is labeled a "villain" in the games will carry not a card, but a poster. Just check out the interviews Deathborn and Black Shadow give to Mr. Zero in GX.
Characterization Marches On: In the games, there isn't much to go on from Captain Falcon except for his righteousness. Then, Super Smash Bros. turns the guy into a campy, over-the-top brawler with a Falcon Punch. Come F-Zero: Legend of Falcon, Captain Falcon is a fusion of both personalities (being a stoic hero as Captain Falcon, but something of a lovable and well-meaning goof as Bart Lemming) and even uses the Falcon Punch in the Grand Finale.
Chekhov M.I.A.: In the anime, Andy Summer, Jody's supposedly dead older brother is actually Bart Lemming, the current Captain Falcon.
Clothing Damage: A male example comes from Captain Falcon's GX ending movie. After saving Mrs. Arrow's baby from a speeding locomotive, his pants rip, revealing his Goofy Print Underwear. This leaves Falcon in an awkward and compromising position as Mrs. Arrow chuckles at his misfortune.
This is the case in the original F-Zero where the other racer car could not die even when falling out track and in F-Zero: Maximum Velocity on Master Difficulty, where a machine that tops at 410km/h can keep up with your machine at 450km/h. Both will have the tendency to always have someone on your tail no matter how good you do.
GX is mostly fair in GP Mode, at least on the lower three difficulties, and even at the hardest level, it's still beatable if you know what you're doing. Story Mode, on the other hand, is an experiment in ultimate insanity. The computer opponents go faster than a mass-accelerator round, turn on a dime, and never crash, unless you force them, which sometimes doesn't work. Couple that with unlimited boosting, and ganging up on the human, and the end result is your house having been demolished, every window reduced to sand, and leaving you panting and dribbling like a drunken angry rhino. And then there'sChapter 7...
Climax doesn't even try to hide the fact the computer is cheating. If you can see a car on your screen, it will more than likely drive like it's drunk, crashing into (and driving on top of) course barriers, falling out-of-course, and ignoring Boost arrows. As soon as a car goes off your screen however, it drives like it's on a rail (which is technically is at that point) and easily be able to overtake and stay ahead of you. This is especially noticeable on higher difficulties.
Conspicuous CG: It is a rarity to see the F-Zero machines traditionally animated in the anime.
Cool Car: Pretty much everyone, although some are cooler than others.
Cool Shades: James McCloud, Samurai Goroh, Antonio Guster, Mrs. Arrow, Michael Chain all have them. James and Mrs. Arrow lose 'em in their X endings, and Mrs. Arrow's are missing completely in GX save for her bonus movie.
Cool Starship: Captain Falcon has one in the form of his Falcon Flyer (which, according to Super Smash Bros. Melee, is his primary form of transportation). It finally gets an on-screen appearance in the anime. Samurai Goroh and his crew also are in possession of one, and in a CMOA for Goroh, he uses the ship's mammoth space katana attachment to hack away at the villains.
Critical Existence Failure: If you so much as rub paint with another machine when you're at critically low health, your machine a splode.
Cursed with Awesome: Machines with E-ranked grip aren't as bad as the vehicle parameter system tells you. In fact, these machines are able to exploit several Game Breakers, allowing them to take massive shortcuts and gain ridiculous bursts of speed.
Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Gazelle looked as if he were going this route (see Blood Knight above), but he seems to have avoided this come GX. Played straight with Deathborn, who is believed to have had his humanity eroded by the tinkerings of The Creators. Their dialogue implies that they were going to rip out Captain Falcon's soul when they won and transform him into Deathborn's successor.
Cyber Punk Is Techno: In a toss-up from X's rock-heavy soundtrack, the majority of the songs found in GX are techno, electronic rock and industrial metal.
Dark Is Not Evil: Despite being undead and using black magic to steer his machine, which is itself powered by drawing the energy of living things, there's no real evidence that the Skull is evil. Mr. Zero isn't afraid of him, and his only motive appears to be a desire to race forever.
Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat: This can happen to the player if they're not careful; one wrong move while attacking the CPU-controlled racers, and you could find yourself careening off of the track.
In X, attacking bleeds off speed even if you don't hit anything — not to mention that the surest way to take out an opposing machine is to shoulder-check it into the boards, which can bleed off a lot of speed, especially if you miss. And if you do miss, and end up ahead of the target, said target will often slow way down in order to avoid another attack. A burning vendetta against a particular driver can easily cost you a race... Luckily, GX makes the side tackle a much more viable method of attacking your rivals.
Difficult but Awesome: It goes both ways: in-universe, the racers must be extremely skilled to be able to place well in the circuits without crashing. In-game, players must be able to handle the extreme speeds the game wants you to race at. However, if you're good enough, the challenge and thrill will make it all worth the skill required.
Disappeared Dad: Both Dr. Stewart and Jody's fathers are dead. Both race in honor of their dads and the stats of Stewart's Golden Fox are even D-A-D.
Also Jack's dad left the family when he was four years old.
Distant Reaction Shot: The famous scene in the anime has the light from the explosion of Black Shadow's Dark Reactor engulfing an entire galaxy. Usually, it's made to look like Captain Falcon's Falcon Punch created the all-encompassing destruction.
Distressed Dude: Ryu Suzaku towards the end of the anime. Might actually be a Badass in Distress, as he and Captain Falcon continue to undermine Dark Millon afterward and Ryu even gets his own CMOA (well, sorta) in the Grand Finale.
Divergent Character Evolution: Not actually necessary, because Captain Falcon clone Blood Falcon already plays entirely different from him. The scientists working for Black Shadow realized that they wouldn't be able to beat Captain Falcon using an identical machine.
This is actually inverted with the original four characters in regards to the increasing amount of newcomers (see Jack of All Stats below).
In the anime, Leon may count in regards to Lucy Liberty, seeing as he risked transforming into a werewolf (and subsequent capture by Beastman) to save her. A possible subversion, as Lucy seems to slightly reciprocate his feelings. Sadly, we'll never know, considering that Leon appeared for all of one episode, and there'll never be a sequel series.
Down to the Last Play: In X and onward, there can be some pretty thrilling moments in the last straightaway as everyone who is playing to win uses up every last drop of their energy to boost past the competition, knowing full well that one scratch = dead after doing that (in some games, your blown-up machine can still drift past the finish line).
Duels Decide Everything: You know that really annoying goody-goody-two-shoes who keeps foiling your dastardly plots? Well then, have we got a proposition for you!
Dumb Blonde: Averted with Mrs. Arrow, who has had a classy upbringing in terms of music and linguistics and is held with the same intellectual regard as Octoman, Mr. EAD, and Dr. Clash. See, she's more than a pretty face.
Inverted with Princia, who is something of a ditzy brunette.
Early Installment Weirdness: The very first game. Only four playable racers with not much personality to go on besides the manual's mini-comic, other racers were portrayed as generic recoloured vehicles, the tracks were all flat with no loops to speak of, and the boost feature here was where you'd be rewarded a boost each time you finished a lap rather than it being Cast from Hit Points.
Earth Is the Center of the Universe: Not quite. Several planets in the game are of good importance, but Mute City (which is a futuristic New York City according to the anime) is regarded as the most advanced and sophisticated city in the universe, thus making it a very populated center of trade and commerce. All of GX's Story Mode appears to transpire on Earth.
In Maximum Velocity, Bianca City is said to have taken over Mute City as the most important city in the galaxy. It is also located on Earth.
GP Legend states that Mute City is, in fact, New York City (yes, thatNew York City) in 2201. However, the first game taking place in 2560 instead stated that Mute City's original name was Mutant City.
Fake Difficulty: There is some of this in the original, at Master Level. The CPU Golden Fox cruises at 478 kph. The player controlled Golden Fox maxes out at 438 kph.
GX. Mission 7. If you unlock the Pink Spider without AX, you win.
For some reason, there are cars in the original that are not in the race; they're just there to get blown up. Judging from the sequels, the Grand Prix is not an underground racing league at all (in fact, it's a direct descendant of F-1 Racing, according to F-Zero X's manual). Was it also mentioned that the opponents slip right through them?
Fangs Are Evil: In addition to Blood Falcon, Zoda sports a pretty sharp pair of these in the anime.
Fanservice: Beating the Grand Prix on Master difficulty in X or beating Story Mode in GX nets you a quick shot of Captain Falcon without his helmet. Several of the mini-movies unlocked by beating the GP on Master in GX count as well, of both the sexual and non-sexual varieties.
Femme Fatale: Miss Killer—who is Ryu's Brainwashed and Crazy girlfriend. Lisa Brilliant is a lighter version of this trope. Despite being Goroh's wife and the second-in-command of an intergalactic band of thieves, she isn't so much evil as she is opportunistic. Still, she can and will use her womanly wiles to get what she wants.
There's also Lord Cyber from Maximum Velocity, a wealthy baron. Sadly, that's pretty much all we know about him. On a very ambiguous note, Black Shadow might count. He's shown to have power and influence in the underground and he remarks that the prize money earned from winning the F-Zero GP (one billion space credits) is a paltry sum.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: The story for F-Zero X says that F-Zero was discontinued for years after a huge near-fatal crash involving 14 racers. In-game, particularly aggressive players will take out more than that many machines in a single race. Now, if we're looking for a way to explain this, the crashes are never fatal in-game despite blowing up the machine, so in the future, it's really hard to die. Evidently the big crash somehow caused an even more spectacular explosion than you can cause in-game.
Generation Xerox: Dai Goroh very much takes after his father, to the point that he shares his dad's rivalry with Captain Falcon. Slight subversion, as he doesn't follow his father in all respects; his Silver Rat was modeled after Antonio Guster's Green Panther, and Dai plans to spend the money on himself if he wins the F-Zero GP.
Good Scars, Evil Scars: Captain Falcon has a single scar located above his left eye. Beastman's entire body is ridden with cicatrices from a traumatic childhood experience involving a giant crocodile on the planet White, although you can't see them. Leon has a scar running over his left eye, giving him a passing resemblance to Wolf. Don Genie's right eye (the one with the monocle) also has a vertical scar. He's evil, or at least highlygreedy.
Handsome Lech: Jack, who says that all of his female fans are his girlfriends. Surprisingly, he doesn't pursue the handful of single ladies in the games. In the anime, this does get him in hot water, as Lisa Brilliant flaunts her charms to get access to the Mobile Task Force HQ and then ransack the place.
Hero of Another Story: Almost everyone in the cast qualifies. Each racer gets an extensive biography in the manual, but the actual story centers around the series' mascot, Captain Falcon, and his circle of friends and enemies. There are genetic experiments, sorcerers, superheroes, detectives, assassins, monsters, and all kinds of cool characters that are relegated to the sidelines in every game.
Heterosexual Life-Partners: Gomar and Shioh are from an alien race who all live this way. Their backstory in GX even points out that they are close to retirement since they're about to get married (and thus, leave each other's side).
Presumably, the same could be said about Roger Buster and Draq. At the very least, it's an Odd Friendship between a straight-laced intergalactic delivery man and his F-Zero fanatic of an alien buddy. Bonus points: their friendship doubles as an Intergenerational Friendship, considering that Roger is 41 while Draq is 137.
Remind anybody of anything? Clearly an homage to Batman: The Animated Series, considering that both characters are superheroes and the F-Zero series either parodies or does homages to absolutely massive portions of Western culture at every turn.
Idle Animation: Each character was given three in the Settings screen in GX/AX: a basic standing pose, as well as two other character-specific actions that they'd break into from time to time.
Idol Singer: Kate Alen was one (or at least the American pop star/diva equivalent of it) and was even a part of the "Alen Eleven" (Captain Ersatzes of The Jackson Five) with her older siblings before striking out on her own. Jack Levin is a male version of this trope.
Informed Ability: Captain Falcon is regularly said to be the best F-Zero pilot in the universe, but when the player plays Grand Prix, he is rarely better then the other CPU racers, and constantly places in excess of 10th out of 30.
Leon has it worse. His X backstory says that he learned from each of his races and vastly improved over time, resulting in a respectable track record. Nine times out of ten in GX, this guy will be in dead last. Poor guy...
The top speeds of the machines, possibly. In-game, 1,000 km/h seems more like about 300-350. This may be because of the relative scale of the machines and the track. Even Cosmo Terminal's freakishly narrow-feeling split ribbons are actually fairly wide if you compare them to the vehicles.
More precisely, the Blue Falcon is the Jack of All Stats, and has been designed as such from the beginning. Even in GX, the Golden Fox merits the best boost rating in the game, the Wild Goose has some of the best impact resistance in the game, and the Fire Stingray is faster (and heavier) than all but a handful of machines (except for Beastman, you pretty much have to be evil to be faster than Goroh). The GX version of the Wild Goose deserves further discussion. It has the shortest boost in the game, along with some seriously weird handling — its control hysteresis is in the same range as the Mad Wolf, worse than any other vehicle, which combined with the unusual boost strength and duration makes driving it a fairly interesting experience.
The GBA games based on the anime instead give Ryu/Rick this status and then some, as the Dragon Bird's stats are all graded the same: B.
Joke Character: Mr. EAD. The weirdest thing is that it's supposed to be that way. Also a case of Self-Deprecation since this EAD appears to be the future/alternate version of EAD, which is Nintendo's largest division.
Justice Will Prevail: This is essentially Super Arrow's Catch Phrase (at least by X's standards), although he does put a spin on it by saying, "Justice ALWAYS prevails."
In GX, one of his post-race interviews has him say, "Justice always wins in the end."
Mrs. Arrow is pretty much the same as her husband, despite the fact that she has no inherent superpowers.
Kavorka Man: Aside from Silver Neelson at the end of the anime episode focusing on him, there is Samurai Goroh. Lacking in terms of manners and kindness, yet the Spoiled Sweet space princess Princia is head-over-heels for him. He also has a son, which would imply that another woman felt the same way in the past. This, however, is subverted with anime!Goroh and his wife Lisa.
Katanas Are Just Better: Samurai Goroh is obviously a standout here. Dai Goroh too, as his profile even states that he takes after his father and loves to take out his katana and whip it around. His wife Lisa Brilliant in GP Legend has also been seen with a katana at least once, but seems to prefer firearms.
In an earlier episode of the anime, Super Arrow (alongside several other characters) is imprisoned behind a cage of laser beams by the Bloody Chain gang. In retaliation, he pulls out a katana to slash through and deflect the lasers, earning the admiration of his peers and wife. Of course, Super Arrow is just snoozing. It never happens.
Legacy Character: According to the anime, Captain Falcon is one; we even see the mantle passed on in the final episode (see Take Up My Sword below). Kent Akechi from Maximum Velocitybelieves himself to be one to Captain Falcon, since he's under the impression that Falcon is his father. He even wears a similar outfit and drives a vehicle known as the Falcon Mk-II.
The title itself might be one, considering that the series is a futuristic version of the Formula One races. The only exception is that the machines hover above the ground, thereby reducing the amount of friction to zero.
In order of ascending villainy/creepiness: Miss Killer, The Skull, Blood Falcon, Black Shadow, Deathborn. Averted with Michael Chain's gang, the Bloody Chain; they're nothing more than a bunch of Mooks.
If you are an evil villain/lawbreaker, then you'd most certainly want to run away from Captain Falcon himself.
Never Say "Die": Averted. Even at the height of Nintendo's censorship policies, the first game's Death Wind courses made it through localization unscathed.
Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: To be honest, everyone (to some degree or another) falls under this trope since they're all F-Zero pilots that have some other occupation or are an alien.
Captain Falcon is part racecar driver, part bounty hunter, 100% Badass.
Samurai Goroh is a samurai bounty hunter who leads a group of bandits and partakes in the F-Zero GP.
Bio-Rex is a beer-drinking dinosaur racecar driver. Billy is a money-obsessed chimpanzee racecar driver. Need we go on?
Nintendo Hard: What else do you expect from a game centered around post-Mach 1 racing? What makes the series very difficult is (unlike most racing games) once your machine explodes or falls off the track, that's it. You're out. Makes it even worse in multiplayer where you can easily be eliminated on the first lap if your friends were dickish enough to make you crash early. GX has a respawn option for multiplayer, but usually by the time you respawn, you fallen too far behind to catch up.
GX's Story Mode is brutally difficult, even on Normal difficulty. And there's still two more difficulty levels above that. Very Hard mode requires no less than absolute perfection most of the time.
Nitro Boost: "You got boost power!" This was changed from the SNES version, where the boost was a separate item. You got one at the start of every lap after the first, but you could only store 3 at a time. On the other hand, the item boost effect lasted for about 5 seconds per boost, instead of the "however long you hold the boost button" that happens with the Cast from HP version.
No Fair Cheating: Taking a huge shortcut in F-Zero causes a UFO to pop up and drag you back to an earlier part of the course. Taking such a shortcut in GX simply blows your machine up. No such measure exists in GP Legend, which leads to some massive game-breaking shortcuts.
In one part of Rainbow Road in F-Zero X, it looks like you can shave off a huge portion of a lap by dropping down from one part of the track to another much further down. Try it, and you fall through the track and die.
No OSHA Compliance: Fire Field in GX is basically this. In fact, many of the courses in the Diamond Cup qualify, since they mostly lack guardrails and are thus incredibly perilous to navigate.
Trident is notable for having long narrow roads with no guardrails on either side.
There's also the Outer Space track from AX, which takes place right in the middle of a meteor shower. Luckily, the space station features a force field to prevent the meteors from becoming a stage hazard, but this becomes a plot point in the anime when Black Shadow disables it during an invitational race .
Older Than They Look: Several of the alien racers (i.e. Pico, Octoman, Draq, Gomar & Shioh) have a life expectancy exceeding that of their human contemporaries. For example, Dai San Gen look like children, but are 64 and their species has an average lifespan of 200 years.
Omniglot: Mrs. Arrow speaks over 40 languages, including several alien tongues, one of which is Takoran (Octoman's native tongue and an language that humans have found great difficulty in learning).
Onee-sama: Jody plays this role in the Mobile Task Force, specifically towards Ryu, Lucy, Jack, and (to a lesser extent) Clank. She later becomes the Team Mom.
One Game for the Price of Two: GX was released alongside an arcade counterpart, AX, which contained a slot for you to plug in your GCN save card. Doing so would allow you to unlock AX's tracks and vehicles, plus components for the Create-A-Car function, on your save.
Fake Difficulty: The number of AX cabinets purchased by English-speaking arcades? 20. On the other hand you can also unlock the AX tracks and racers by beating all cups (including the Diamond Cup) on Master difficulty for the AX tracks, and beating Story chapters on Very Hard to unlock a racer for each one you complete (earning the tenth and final racer for doing the whole lot of them). Even then, you still have to buy them in the shop.
Our Werewolves Are Different: In the anime, Leon (who is normally a bishie teenager) becomes a werewolf after experiencing an adrenaline rush. He usually manages to keep some of his lucidity.
Painting the Medium: In Draq's bonus clip, he gets so frustrated when he loses to the other racers that he punches the screen. It's then revealed that he's playing a video game of F-Zero and is ticked off by the computer. We don't blame him.
Paper-Thin Disguise: Played straight with in Chapter 3 of GX. Not only is "Famicom" driving Captain Falcon's vehicle, but two of the other racers saw him putting the costume on!
Subverted with Bart Lemming/Captain Falcon, who Jody easily recognizes as her brother Andy. Eventually, Falcon gives up the farce and reveals what Jody already had gathered. A similar event occurs when Clank Hughes also finds out.
Inverted with Berserker, the alias Falcon adopted in the later half of the series. Ryu and Clank are able to deduce his identity due to his racing style.
Parental Abandonment: The backstories of Leon and Michael Chain. Leon's parents died in a planetary war and was either adopted by Mrs. Arrow (according to X) or a rebelsoldier named Fable (according to GX). Chain was accepted into a gang after his parents died.
Phantom Zone: Phantom Road, which is also used in an altered form for the final chapter of Story Mode.
Mighty Gazelle could also count, as he decided to qualify for the F-Zero GP after he honed his skills by playing the video game.
Psycho for Hire: Pico. Once a member of a special assassination unit and one of the bloodthristiest racers around. He still takes hits on the side and is shown to be a BadassCold Sniper in his clip from GX. He's more or less the same in the anime, minus a good deal of the chaos and with added composure.
Meta-reference: You race against "The Creators," which is literally true as you're racing against staff ghosts (presumably a different member of the staff for each difficulty and maybe on a per-lap basis as well).
Racing Medic: Dr. Stewart. An esteemed surgeon and doctor who is also one of the more seasoned racers in the Grand Prix with over ten years of experience under his belt. In fact, his medical expertise helped prevent a good deal of casualties during the Horrific Grand Finale.
Captain Falcon also plays the Blue Oni to Ryu in the anime. Although Ryu wears a blue jacket, he's wearing red under it, playing up the color-coding. As the new Captain Falcon, Ryu now seems to be playing the role of Blue Oni to Clank.
Retcon: Between X and GX, several plot elements were nixed and/or rewritten. For example, The Skull was said to have died in The Horrific Grand Finale (a gruesome crash in which 14 racers burned to death; Super Arrow was the only one to survive) but then was revived due to an experiment he performed on himself as a precaution. Come GX, this crash is discarded in favor of another crash (one that involved Mighty Gazelle), The Skull is simply brought back from the grave from a period of about two centuries ago via necromancyand technology, and Super Arrow is something of a greenhorn who used his superpowers to race adequately. In turn, this makes it somewhat hard for purists to reconcile the original F-Zero, X, and GX into one neat timeline.
Retired Badass: A much younger than the norm example comes from James McCloud in the anime. The heroes comes to him in search of guidance and training. Unbeknownst to them, he also trained members of Dark Million in the past.
Revenge: Antonio Guster's entire reason for being at F-Zero is to enact this upon Goroh, who screwed himbad.
Black Shadow is there to deal with Captain Falcon, whose heroic acts majorly screwed up their plans; in fact, one of Black Shadow's trusted confidants was imprisoned and later executed thanks to Falcon.
In X, Black Shadow's reason for entering is to "kill Captain Falcon in front of billions of viewers." Whether he actually filled this out on an official form is left to the imagination of the player.
Goroh is the most notable one (how else did he make it intoSuper Smash Bros. Brawl as an Assist Trophy?), but if GX is any indication, Falcon has Black Shadow, Blood Falcon, Dai Goroh, and Michael Chain gunning after him as well.
This even uses a bit of Gameplay and Story Integration in regards to X. Usually, your rival starting in the second race and at least one of the other characters high up on the leaderboard will have strong ties to the pilot you're racing as (for example, Falcon almost always has to tangle with Black Shadow and Blood, with Samurai Goroh frequently in the mix as well). If you're playing as one of the three women (Jody, Kate, or Mrs. Arrow), however, your main rivals will most likely end up being... the other two female pilots.
Robot Buddy: QQQ to Phoenix, Speed Bird to Super Arrow, J-Love-1 to John Tanaka.
In the higher difficulties of the SNES version, it is literally impossible to get the computer off your tail; they're always right behind you Behind the Black.
Here's proof. The TASer glitches the hell out of the game to do laps in under 10 seconds each and the AI is still right behind him the entire time. And here's an even worse example, with laps in three seconds of in-game time. This is possibly the most egregious example of rubber-band AI in the history of video games.
Serious Business: The titular races and the vehicles used seem to be how all the villains attack Falcon in the anime and GX's story. It helps that there is a massive amount of prize money involved, though.
Black Shadow is explicitly stated to want to blow Captain Falcon up in a race, so that his thousands of adoring fans can watch him die.
To quote the original F-Zero's manual, winning a race means "earning the highest honor that could be bestowed upon anyone in the Universe." Now that's Serious Business.
GX's Story Mode attempts to justify this as the main world and Underworld's championship belts hold the essences of light and darkness. When combined, they possess enough power to turn its wearer into a god and destroy the universe.
Shout-Out: Many, most of the characters are "living" shout outs with recipients including Nintendo's EAD group (Mr EAD), Star Fox (James McCloud and Leon), and Crazy Taxi (PJ). F-Zero X also has Mario Kart 64's Rainbow Road as a track.
And if you're playing the Japan-only Expansion Kit for F-Zero X, Rainbow Road gets a remix of the MK64 Rainbow Road music.
The Star Fox series from its original inception seemed to be more subtle shout out to F-Zero. The two most prominent characters were a golden fox and a blue falcon, anthropomorphized.
In one of the endings of Star Fox: Command, Fox and Falco blatantly turn their Arwings into F-Zero racecars (it's called G-Zero in Command, but we all know what it's referring to).
Jane B. Christie from Maximum Velocity is basically an Expy of Metroid heroine Samus Aran, with more Fanservicethrown in.◊ How's that possible, we'll never know.
The designer of James McCloud's Little Wvyern? Space Dynamics, the same corporation that created the Arwings from Star Fox. In turn, James is the leader of Galaxy Dog, a group of mercenaries, and races to support his wife and child.
James McCloud's name obviously comes from the name of Fox's father, and he even sports sunglasses. Also, in X he had a simple haircut, but in GX he has fox-ear style hair, and has white hair down the middle like the headpiece Fox and his father had in Star Fox 64.
In Falcon Densetsu, James mentions that he had a partner, whose last name was O'Donnell, the same as Wolf O'Donnell, leader of Star Wolf and Fox's greatest rival.
In GX's Story Mode, Captain Falcon enters a bet race under the alias of Famicom.
Additionally, Falcon's odds in that race are 2560:1. 2560 is, canonically speaking, the year that the original F-Zero took place.
Episode 40 of the anime involves a comical Show Within a Show involving the F-Zero machines belonging to the Mobile Task Force docking into Combining Mecha that form something akin to what you'd see in Macross.
A certain R.O.B has a cameo as a gigantic version of himself in GX's Port Town.
In the Pilot Profiles section of GX, the vehicle information for the Blood Hawk notes that its two engines pilfered from the Blue Falcon during the big crash four years ago are model BF2001, whereas the four used by the Blue Falcon are model BF2003. In 2001, F-Zero: Maximum Velocity and Super Smash Bros. Melee were released; GX came out in 2003.
As far as additional Sega shout outs in GX are concerned, Zoda's ending cinematic in GX shows his own Zoda-themed version of Mr. EAD sporting Eggman's shades, while Billy's belt buckle depicts AiAi.
Spirited Competitor: Several racers come across as this, according to their post-GP interviews in GX. Quite a few refuse the prize money and/or give it away to charity, and others enjoy the challenge of the races and comment on trying to uphold the glory of the sport.
Spy Catsuit: Captain Falcon, although he doesn't rely on stealth too often.
Stereotypes of Chinese People: Dai San Gen. They're not Chinese per se, since they're actually aliens, but they have distinctly (read: "stereotypical") Asian features, come from the planet Shinar, are named after Mahjong tiles, and perform gymnastic maneuvers in their ending.
The Stoic: Captain Falcon (among several others), although he somehow also manages to be a Large Ham (also among several others) in GX at the time.
Stout Strength: In the words of someone else, Goroh has this strange balance of fat and muscle going on.
Stylistic Suck: Well, sort of. It's reported that the graphic sacrifices Nintendo made in X were in order to keep the game running at a smooth 60 fps pace.
Super Cop: Falcon and Goroh are rumored to have once served as officers in the Internova Police Force, their rivalry stemming from some sort of past falling-out. This is also the alleged origin behind Falcon's title of Captain.
Ryu Suzaku, who is recognized as a extremely competent cop due to the skills he picked up as a Grand Prix champ. Unfortunately, he bites off a bit more than he can clew when attempting to apprehend Zoda.
There Can Be Only One: Taken quite literally in the episode "Only One Falcon" (Episode 30) from Legend of Falcon, as it revolves around Captain Falcon and Blood Falcon duking it out during a high-stakes race. Blood Falcon's machine blows up, but he gets better... sorta.
Those Two Bad Guys: In the anime, any combination of Octoman, Bio Rex, the Skull, and Baba, all members of Dark Million. It should be noted, however, that none of these characters are evil in the games.
Time Police: Phoenix. He has come from the 29th century to prevent some unspecified "disaster," but how it ties into the F-Zero Grand Prix is never explained. (Fandom believes that it has something to do with Deathborn.) Phoenix doesn't even hide the fact that he's from the future, despite refusing to tell his audience any details about said timeline. His Robot Buddy QQQ is actually his Time Machine, but can't return the pair to the future until his A.I. is repaired. Fan speculation usually pegs him as Falcon's descendant, but this is attributed more to Rule of Cool than any verifiable proof.
Token Minority: Played with. We have several species of aliens with only one member representing them (i.e. Pico, Octoman, Draq, Leon, Zoda, PJ, etc.; both Gomar & Shioh and Dai San Gen are exceptions, but this is justified), cyborgs, robots, androids, and genetically-enhanced animals. Most of the humans are presumably Caucasian, but Goroh is Japanese-American (therefore meaning that his son Dai Goroh is also mixed), Kate appears to be of African descent, Alexander O'Neil (of Maximum Velocity]]) is black, Nichi (also from Maximum Velocity) is a Magical Native American, and characters like John Tanaka and Kumiko (again fromMaximum Velocity) have names indicative of Asian ancestry.
Truce Zone: As seen in GX, the Bet Race Diner in Mute City is this. Many a racer converges here to drink, chat, and race. Even foes like the Arrows and Zoda are shown to be somewhat more amiable towards one another here. It's a general consensus that this is one of the best scenes of the games, as it gives a brief glimpse of life off of the track.
Maximum Velocity is one... in a sense. It really takes place a quarter of a century after the original F-Zero in 2585, with none of the original cast making an appearance. Kent Akechi believes himself to be the son of Captain Falcon and Blitz Wagner is Dr. Stewart's protégé. The game doesn't acknowledge the Horrific Grand Finale from the main canon and uses the same rule set as the original F-Zero.
The Very Definitely Final Race: Done twice in GX: Players are set up to believe that the Underworld will be the last race in Story Mode, only to play the final chapter on an ethereal racetrack against what is essentially F-Zero's God.
Villainous Breakdown: Aside from the aforementioned Deathborn example, Black Shadow gets an epic one while the Dark Reactor is Going Critical. He starts ranting about how he won't allow his dream to end. Captain Falcon's rejoinder? FalconPunch.
Villainous Glutton: Zoda in the anime has a majorsweet tooth; to the point of making boisterous demands for chocolate sundaes and other desserts as a reward for winning a race, or simply to torment his minions.
Violence is the Only Option: There are some missions where you must disable a target vehicle with spin attacks and high-speed ramming maneuvers.
Voluntary Shapeshifting: Black Shadow in the anime. He is not only the head of Dark Million, but Deathborn and Don Genie at the same time!
Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Jody accomplished a great deal of impressive feats by the time she was eighteen. She doesn't even seem to be fazed by the fact that Black Shadow tried to kill her by stranding her in an exploding complex. Yet, she cannot stand octopi. Naturally, Jody doesn't take a shine to Octoman, who in turn believes that she should really just get over it.
Wings Do Nothing: Phoenix's Rainbow Phoenix has wings that spread when boosting. They're just for show. Same goes for the custom machines with wings. Unless you're space flying.
World of Badass: When you can go toe-to-toe with names such as Captain Falcon and Black Shadow without batting so much as an eye, you qualify for the mantle of badassery. Hell, even Mr. Zero, your run-of-the-mill commentator, is seen as a badass simply for having the guts to interview many of the evil/creepy characters in the series. It is should be noted that few characters have superpowers; i.e. a World of Badass Normal.
"World of Cardboard" Speech: An unexpected inversion. Zoda of all people swallows his pride and hatred to give one to Ryu, allowing the latter to initiate a chain reaction that culminates with the Moment Of Awesomeeveryone knows about.
Wolverine Publicity: Falcon, Stewart, Goroh, and Pico—the original four F-Zero pilots—will almost always be unlocked from the start of each game. Promotional art and renders for GX heavily featured all four racers (especially on the box art), as well as Black Shadow and Blood Falcon. The Story Mode also put a moderate amount of focus on Jody Summer and Mighty Gazelle (the only other racers available from the beginning of X). AX placed the spotlight on the new racers, especially Princia Ramode, Lily Flyer, and Phoenix. The games based off of the anime continuity focused on the leads (Ryu Suzaku and Falcon), as well as major supporting characters like Jody and Goroh. In SSB, Falcon, Goroh, Stewart, and Jody all receive Trophies in Melee (as well as a Trophy showcasing the vehicles of all 30 racers from X), while Falcon, Goroh, Stewart, Pico, Jody, Mr. EAD, The Skull, Blood Falcon, Black Shadow, and Zoda receive Trophies in Brawl.
Writer's Block: In an interview touching on the F-Zero-like aspects of Mario Kart 8, Shigeru Miyamoto has admitted to this being the reason there hasn't been any new game since 2004, as he is not sure what new element(s) to add to make it worth bringing the series back.
You Don't Look Like You: Since the in-game models in GX were developed by a team separate from the team responsible for the renders in each character's bonus movie and Story Mode in GX, quite a few racers look a tad bit different between the two mediums.
Pico and Billy are an odd Mix And Match of this and Older Than They Look: Pico's 123, but is only an adolescent by his planet's standards. Billy is one of the younger pilots in the GP at seven (in human years), but is actually about halfway through his projected life expectancy.
Zeerust: Half played straight, half subverted. Although the games take place in the 26th century, complete with plasma-powered hoversleds, holograms, and all other sorts of fantastic inventions, there's still plenty of 20th/21st century items on display ranging from old-fashioned TV sets to laundromats to movie theaters...
The anime (set in 2201) plays this a bit straighter (and is a bit more justifiable compared to the games), as 20th/21th century innovations such as automobiles still exist alongside newer technology (although they're antiques sold at vintage retailers).
In Maximum Velocity (the farthest-dated entry of the series), Jane B. Christie is said to be a fan of vintage automobiles, suggesting that, like in GP Legend, older technology may remain, but are either seen as novelty goods/collector's items or included in more deliberately retro settings.