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These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Badass Decay: Black Shadow gets hit with this stick hard in GX. The moment Deathborn appears on the scene, Black Shadow goes from "imposing, nefarious villain" to "shrewd, sniveling wimp." Justified, in that it's Deathborn.
This extends to his surprisingly girly laugh shown in prologue to the first chapter of Story Mode, as well as his odd arm waving in the epilogue to Chapter 5.
Broken Base: It is possible to sit around and debate whether or not GX is too hard for its own good, or whether it deserves more entries to the series and is much better than Mario Kart. The fact that Mario Kart 8 uses the anti-gravity mechanics featured in X and GX/AX only makes that last one worse.
Crazy Awesome: Zoda. He is riding around in a modified missile. We repeat, he is riding around in a modified missile. Once, when the Death Anchor flipped over, two racers died.
He's beaten handily by Spade, though. His Magic Seagull has no doors. Sure, The Skull's Sonic Phantom has no steering wheel, but at least he can actually escape from his vehicle. It's like Spade is giving the entire concept of safe driving a middle finger and then shouting, "Screw the Rules, I Have Supernatural Powers!"
Dork Age: 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. The Super Smash Bros. series treats GX as the latest entry, with the Falcon Densetsu/GP Legend line only getting a paltry mention in the chronicle in Brawl. The fourth game gives an equally paltry nod as one of Falcon's alts, essentially putting the F-Zero anime on par with The Great Mission to Save Princess Peachnote Luigi has an alt. costume that resembles the outfit he wore in said movie.
Ensemble Dark Horse: Everybody loves the AX racers, who haven't appeared since the days of GX/AX.
Of the above group, Phoenix, Princia, and Lily seem to get the most attention. Considering they were the most heavily advertised characters for AX alongside Captain Falcon, this may have been an Invoked Trope on the part of the developers.
Samurai Goroh must be one, considering the treatmenthe receivedin the anime, as well as the fact that he was the only character outside of the Captain himself to get some sort of non-trophy representation in Super Smash Bros. (he was an Assist Trophy in Brawl and SSB4).
Let's face it, every racer is one of these. Everyone has their own personal favorite.
Epileptic Trees: Is Deathborn Jay Gonso Snarky, the voodoo priest that allegedly bestowed Black Shadow with immortality and the ability to reincarnate?
Although its chance of occurring is low, one well-thought out theory suggests that Phoenix and QQQ are the villains Phoenix was sent to capture due to QQQ being unable to return them to the future.
Even Better Sequel: X was the point in the series where everything took off. GX ramped this up even more: the speed was cranked up to insane levels and the previously one-dimensional characters were fleshed-out. Oh, and it was a very polished, very fun game to play. There's a reason that critics lauded it as one of the best racers of its time.
Evil Is Cool: Averted with Zoda. He has five fans, which is amazing in itself. Zoda himself is shocked by these new developments.
Zoda: "I have fans? Hey, raise your hand if you're my fan. 1... 2... 3... 4... 5... I have five fans!"
Some of the other villains (Blood Falcon, Black Shadow, Deathborn) possibly play this trope straighter.
Likewise with Phoenix. His last name is not Lestrade.
When depicted without his helmet in fan art for either this series or Smash Bros., there appears to be a preference for using Falcon's appearance from the anime. This might be because Falcon's civilian identity is a recurring member of the supporting cast in the anime (and Falcon loses his helmet right before his memetically-popularDying Moment of Awesome), thus appearing far more frequently than the two times in the games players get to see Falcon sans helmet (beating a GP on Master Class in X and at the end of Story Mode in GX).
Speaking of the anime, fans like to ignore the fact that the cosmos-wrecking explosion that occurs in the series finale came from the destruction of the Dark Reactor and instead explain the event as the result of Captain Falcon being a Memetic Badass, along with the sheer power of the Falcon Punch.
Despite Goroh's son Dai Goroh (from GX/AX) and wife Lisa Brilliant (from the anime) existing in different continuities, fans generally roll with the idea that Lisa is Goroh's wife regardless, and thus the mother of his child. Coincidentally, this happens to add layers to the characters' pre-established relationships, such as when you connect Dai Goroh's Silver Rat being modeled after Antonio Guster's Green Panther to Lisa being Antonio's older sister.
Foe Yay: Zoda and the Arrows, in spades. Allegedly, Zoda had the hots for Mrs. Arrow, wanting to make her his #2 in his Evil Empire. Luckily, she turned him down. ThankGOD.
From the anime, there's Ryu/Rick. He has so much of this with both Zoda and Miss Killer. So much. To twist the knife further, it's later revealed that Miss Killer's true identity is that of Misaki Haruka: his girlfriend from the past who was alsoput into cold sleep.
Also, the incredibly twitchy controls of GX suddenly become justified when you remember that these are supersonic rocket-powered hover-sleds: no traction, tons of balance issues, extremely high speeds. GX cars handle the way such vehicles would actually handle! (Doesn't make the game any less hard, though.)
Fridge Horror: If the Great Star really is EAD's "brother" scrapped and recycled as a racing machine, then F-Zero just took Luigi's status as a Butt Monkey/The Chew Toy to freakishly terrible new heights. Damn... even in a different series, Luigi gets no respect.
Fridge Logic: His vow in the games to kill Captain Falcon in the GP notwithstanding, if Black Shadow has Captain Falcon's DNA in the form of nearly-identical clone Blood Falcon (in both the games and the anime), why doesn't he just find out who Falcon is under the mask?
Perhaps because Falcon's secret identity is, you know... a secret? Like he's not a famous billionaire playboy and he wouldn't look any more recognizable to you than a random homeless person? You could unmask Falcon's clone and you wouldn't have any idea of who he was. Or, if you don't like that explanation, perhaps some terrible facial scarring on CF prevents his clone from looking exactly like him. Who cares?
How are the racers able to withstand speeds surpassing 1000km/h?
Some kind of acceleration compensation, one assumes. Fortunately there's enough anti-gravity-type tech apparent in the series that such a thing isn't all that far-fetched...
If the White Cat was still inside the building when it exploded, how could Jody participate in the F-Zero GP two chapters later?
The same could be asked about Samurai Goroh, whose machine exploded earlier that day (in Chapter 2).
They all had spare machines. That's the same reason you can smash them in one race in the Grand Prix and they're back by the next race. Hell, your retries in the Grand Prix are even referred to as spare machines.
For some racers, it's certainly plausible, but for others, Gameplay and Story Segregation comes into play. For example, there were only two F-Zero machines found by Draq and Roger, and the economy of Leon's homeworld is so poor that, even with the help of Fable (the guy who designed the Space Angler), Zou probably couldn't crank out another racer. Of course, some of this can be chalked up to Rule of Cool, Rule of Drama, and the ever-popular MST3K Mantra.
In GX, putting together a custom machine with the lightest parts in the game creates a racer with god-like handling. Conversely, building together the heaviest parts in the game creates an unsteerable brick.
An unsteerable brick that goes faster than any other machine in the game, generally. You can use the drift turns and spin turns for most corners, but you may have to apply the brakes on the tighter ones.
Gameplay Derailment: See directly above. World-record runs of 3D F-Zero games look NOTHING like how a decent player would play.
Harsher in Hindsight: The final entry of this series to date was F-Zero: Climax. According to Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo is at loss as to how to go forward with the series and build upon the formula that's been present since X and GX, which are widely seen as the best entries the series has to offer. It looks like F-Zero, at present, really has reached its climax.
It's Hard, so It Sucks: The sheer amount of backlash against GX's Story Mode is staggering, especially Chapter 7 on Very Hard. It's so infamous that it overshadows almost everything else in the game, even though this particular chapter on a particular difficulty only provides one unlock (in particular, a machine in AX).
Love to Hate: Between his thunderstorm of cheese, him being so unapologetically evil, and the vocal stylings of Norio Wakamoto, Black Shadow is this. As such, he was always the first choice for this series in "Who do you want to see in Brawl?" lists. (Granted, a lot of this is because the best option after Captain Falcon, Samurai Goroh, was an Assist Trophy.)
Moment Of Awesome: A bevy of them pop up in the anime, and you can create several of your own in the games.
Most notably in the anime is when Captain Falcon jumps straight out of his Blue Falcon and pulls the famous Falcon Punch on Black Shadow, doing so in a manner that causes his helmet to come off, revealing his whole face. At the same time, Black Shadow's Dark Reactor explodes, causing an explosion so huge it can be seen on the lip of the galaxy from far away (although this can also be easily mistaken for the strength of Captain Falcon's punch). This also happens to be his Heroic Sacrifice/Dying Moment of Awesome.
And the title screen music (the first song in this video) for the original F-Zero uses a whole riff from the third impression of Emerson, Lake and Palmer's "Karn Evil 9."
That One Level: Death Wind, White Land 2note ... unless you know you have to hold down the D-pad in order to make the jump and Fire Field (F-Zero); Mute City 2, Red Canyon 2, Space Plant, Sand Ocean 2 and Big Hand (X); Mute City - Serial Gaps, Fire Field - Undulation, Phantom Road - Slim-Line Slits, Lightning - Thunder Road, Green Plant - Spiral and Story Mode Chapter 7 (GX); Port Town - Forked Road and Illusion: Abyss Drop (GP Legend); Lightning - Loss Landing, Mist Flow - Puzzle Ring, Fire Field - Burn Out (both 1 and 2) and Illusion - Lost Way (all versions) (Climax). All these tracks are often-cited offenders. Here's a NSFWrant about GX's Chapter 7.
That One Mission: In GX's Story Mode, Chapters 1, 5, and 7 usually get this treatment.
Aside from the difficulty and the pacing necessary to persevere (three laps on Normal, four laps on Hard, five laps on Very Hard), Chapter 7's biggest challenge is that it's one big Luck-Based Mission. If you manage to retire Black Shadow at the very beginning of the race (as in, right after the 3-count start) or somehow catch up to him so that you can ram him, the race becomes much more manageable (Blood Falcon—usually second behind Black Shadow—and a few other racers such as Dr. Stewart and Mrs. Arrow tend to zip into the Top 6, but they don't seem to be running on the same engine as Black Shadow). However, there's a good chance that some overly-aggressive racer will spin into you, knocking the Blue Falcon off-course. Conversely, there's also a chance that the A.I. will cause other characters (or even Black Shadow and Blood Falcon themselves) to push Black Shadow off of the track. It's half luck, half skill.
Chapter 6 (where you basically reenact Speed with an F-Zero racer) is frequently cited as this as well. It's made significantly easier if you move the Acceleration/Max Speed slider all the way to the Acceleration side, which gives you better handling. The trade-off, of course, is that your Max Speed goes way down, to the point of resting just above the speed limit on Very Hard, so you're not allowed to make even a single mistake.
That One Sidequest: Unlocking the AX racers. There are two ways to do so: beat every Story Mode mission on Very Hard difficulty or take your memory card to a F-Zero AX machine (and good luck finding one of those outside of Japan).
Ugly Cute: Several of the extraterrestrial characters qualify.
Viewer Gender Confusion: Despite the fact that his name reads—as clear as day—Digi-Boy and he has a distinct, if not high-pitched, voice (he is a pre-pubescent boy after all), Terry "Digi-Boy" Getter (did you notice the "Boy?") sometimes receives this.
The Woobie: Misaki Haruka, especially once a) we see the flashback of her reaction to Ryu's "death" and b) she breaks free of Black Shadow's control. She is utterly mortified by her time as Miss Killer.