F-Zero: Maximum Velocity (known in Japan as F-Zero for Game Boy Advance) is a futuristic behind-the-back sci-fi racing game developed by NDCube and published by Nintendo as a launch title for the Game Boy Advance in Japan on March 21, 2001, in North America on June 11, 2001, and in Europe on June 22, 2001.
A handheld sequel to the 1990 game F-Zero, Maximum Velocity brings the original’s fast-paced “Mode 7”-style racing to the portable GBA with a new series of tracks, vehicles, and game modes. It is set 25 years after the original, and is the only game in the series to not include the series standard pilots and most of its locales.
While it retains many of the gameplay mechanics from the original (as opposed to the updated F-Zero X), it includes support for linked multiplayer for up to four players (including Single-Pak support, allowing all four players to race the same type of machine on a single course with only one game cartridge).
The game later received two sequels: F-Zero: GP Legend and F-Zero Climax. It was also digitally re-released as a Virtual Console title for the Nintendo 3DS (on December 16, 2011, exclusive to the Nintendo 3DS Ambassador Program) and the Wii U (on April 2014).
The gameplay in Maximum Velocity is extremely similar to all the previous F-Zero games, but is most similar to the original F-Zero. In Maximum Velocity there are a series of Grand Prixs each with five tracks to race. The game involves piloting futuristic racing crafts through tracks with the main objective being to come in first by the end of the race. As each lap is completed the player must be in at a high enough ranking in the race otherwise they are eliminated. With each set of grand prixs the tracks will gradually get harder. There’s also a choice of difficulty to choose from for each grand prix, and this will change the skill of the computer opponents in a race. There are four different grand prixs in the game- Pawn Series, Knight Series, Bishop Series and Queen Series.
There was also a multiplayer component to Maximum Velocity. It is up to four other players with a Game Boy link cable, and there the option of using either a multi card option or single card option. There are more features when using a multi card play, and can play an entire series of tracks against other players. Whereas with the single card play it was limited to only one track to race on.
The game includes 10 playable machines, only four of which are unlocked from the start:
- Hot Violet – Unlocked from the start.
- Fire Ball – Unlocked from the start.
- J. B. Crystal – Unlocked from the start.
- Wind Walker – Unlocked from the start.
- Sly Joker – Unlocked by completing the Pawn, Knight, and Bishop series on Standard class.
- The Stingray – Unlocked by completing the Pawn, Knight, and Bishop series on Expert class.
- Silver Thunder – Unlocked by clearing the Queen series on Expert class.
- Falcon MK-2 – Unlocked by completing any series on Master class.
- Fighting Comet – Unlocked by clearing all series on Master class.
- Jet Vermilion – Unlocked by either clearing all series on Master class with all other vehicles, racing the Championship circuit 255 times, or using a hidden password (which can only be determined through the save game name and a special Nintendo webpage).
The main game is split into 20 circuits, which are split into four separate series (Pawn, Knight, Bishop, and the unlockable Queen).
When players have completed all 20 circuits, they unlock a new “Championship” mode with one unique circuit (Synobazz: Championship Circuit). This circuit can only be raced in a time trial fashion, and is the only one to include a replay and a ghost racer.
In Single Pak multiplayer, the game only uses one unique circuit (Silence: Open Circuit).
- Bianca City: Stretch Circuit
- Stark Farm: First Circuit
- Empyrean Colony: Dash Circuit
- Stark Farm: Second Circuit
- Cloud Carpet: Long Jump Circuit
- Tenth Zone East: Snake Circuit
- Beacon Port: Crossroad Circuit
- Synobazz: Explosive Circuit
- Ancient Mesa: Split Circuit
- Stark Farm: Third Circuit
- Bianca City: Tightrope Circuit
- Ancient Mesa: Skating Circuit
- Crater Land: Skid Zone Circuit
- Cloud Carpet: Icarus Circuit
- Bianca City: Ultimate Circuit
Unlocked after clearing all other series on Expert.
- Crater Land: Loop Circuit
- Tenth Zone East: Plummet Circuit
- Empyrean Colony: Twist Circuit
- Fire Field: Land Mine Circuit
- Fire Field: Warrior Circuit