BS F-Zero Grand Prix 2 -Practice ver.- ★★★

It’s not well-known, but the original F-Zero had a series of small sequels over the years. Released for Nintendo’s Satellaview, a unique Super Famicom periphelial that connected the console with a radio satellite, these games were available only in Japan and only for a brief period of time.

Preserved by historians and fans, they are a great choice for those looking for a bit more classic F-Zero action from Nintendo themselves.

All the F-zero Satellaview games feature a different set of cars from the original game, none of which appeared in later entries of the series. While they fulfill the same roles, they have slighty more interesting stats and are significantly more detailed. The fire effects are better and there are more moving parts on each vehicle compared to the old set.

But it’s a small change. The real draw of the Satellaview games are the new circuits, of which only five have been preserved. Four of these preserved circuits were originally broadcast over the course of four weeks as part of BS F-Zero Grand Prix and later compiled with a new fifth circuit to create the “practice version” of BS F-Zero Grand Prix 2.

It is this version that it’s of the most interest to the modern player as it doesn’t have the long load times of the previous release, can be easily found online and has the original game’s soundtrack intact. The later Soundlink version, featuring satellite audio, had four additional tracks such as “Forest II” and “Metal Base I” but no copy of it has been found by preservationists.

The first track of the set is Mute City IV, a late-night romp through the serie’s most well-known location. It diverges little from the original tracks except for some tricky booster placement on the last curve that makes crashes extremely likely.

Following Mute City IV we have Big Blue II which is another fairly standard track. It’s probably the easiest circuit of the pack as it features few hazards and no hairpin curves. The trickiest bit are a couple time-saving jumps and some icy zones, which can be mostly ignored.

Things get much more difficult with Sandstorm I, which is both the best and the meanest of all five circuits. It’s a short, but challenging circuit full of tight curves and featuring a dangerous section peppered with energy traps and mines. Other than the original Fire Field, this is one of the tracks I’ve died the most on.

The jump-themed Silence II is much more straighfoward but still promotes some silly deaths here and there. It’s an inherent risk to cutting corners but the curve where jump plates replace the circuit’s borders is one of the nastiest I’ve ever seen in a racing game.

The last circuit of the pack, Sand Storm II is a mixture of the two previous designs, featuring a set of tricky curves and a dusty section of track lined with magnetic rails. It’s a touch too easy to be the final circuit but it’s well-designed nontheless.

BS F-ZERO GRAND PRIX 2 -Practice ver.- (1997)
DESIGN Toshiaki Suzuki PRODUCTION Fumiyoshi Yakushijo, Satoshi Yamato
DEVELOPMENT Nintendo, St GIGA MUSIC Naoto Ishida, Yukio Kaneoka, Shigeki Yamashiro

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