F-Zero is back, and this time, the races are more chaotic than ever. With 98 other players vying for dominance in a 400MPH death race, just finishing the race is an achievement. Winning, however, is in a league all of its own and learning the nuances of F-Zero 99 is pivotal to getting the gold.
The tutorial does a lot to get you in the mood to race, but it doesn’t teach you everything. In fact, a lot of F-Zero 99’s mechanical depth is purposely omitted from the tutorial so you can hop right in and experience the carnage. It’s an easy game to pick up and play, but it’ll take a bit longer to master that’s for sure. In this guide, we are going to go over some advanced tips to get you landing those podiums more often.
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Effective Skyway Usage
The Skyway is your ticket to safety in F-Zero 99. You can leave the track and blissfully race above it for a brief time. Using it all willy-nilly, however, isn’t going to cut it. Each track has its own unique Skyway, and you need to know when the best time to retreat to the clouds is.
There are two things you should bear in mind. Firstly, the Skyway has a far easier layout than any track. You can use this to skip difficult corners (or strings of them) and make huge gains on the pack. Not only that, but the Skyway won’t drop you into a corner or over any abyss. This means even if you run out of Skyway time, if you timed it right, you could force the Skyway to last several seconds longer, which is always a good thing. Hop into Practice and learn the key Skyway points on each track to drastically increase your play.
Mini/Grand Prix Stats
Mini/Grand Prix are some of the most exhilarating racing F-Zero 99 has to offer. 3 to 5 back-to-back races where a single Crash Out ends your run. Only the best of the best will reach the end of a Grand Prix, and even if you don’t win overall, you’ve certainly achieved something of note.
What the game doesn’t tell you is that stats in a Mini/Grand Prix carry over. What does this mean? Well, when you KO an opponent your Max HP increases for the rest of that race. In a Mini/Grand Prix, it actually increases until the end of the event. This is very important to note because ships like Wild Goose which thrive on landing KO’s become far more dangerous in the later stages of a Grand Prix. Aggressive play is highly rewarded.
You might notice when you are racing that an orange arrow appears on the bottom of your screen. This is to indicate that a fellow player is right on your tail. Being a racing game, you don’t want to let people pass you in F-Zero 99. Placing your ship to block players from passing is just a good idea.
It also helps that if someone hits you from behind, they get slowed down and you get a small speed boost. Body blocking nearly always pays off, so keep glancing at the bottom of your screen to check for sneaky boost opportunities. Oh, and it goes without saying, if you are low on HP, you probably don’t want to take any hits at all. Consider throwing out a Spin Attack in those instances for some brief invulnerability.
Get To Grips With Drifting
F-Zero 99 is devilishly fast, and maintaining that speed is key to your success. Here’s the kicker though: the game likes to throw tight corners your way. This means if you want to get around corners, you are forced to slow down… or are you?
Using LB and RB you can tilt your ship. Turn whilst doing this and you will start to drift. This can tighten your turning considerably without forcing you to slow down. Of course, some corners are still too tight, and in these instances feathering the accelerator will slow you down slightly.
In general, using LB when turning left (or RB when turning right) is the way to go, but flipping this around a bit can help too. Head in Practice to find out how fast you can take each corner, and which drifting technique is most effective.
A bunch of tracks in F-Zero 99 have jump pads. These will give you a small speed boost and then you will clatter to the ground slowing you down slightly when landing. To avoid this hit to your speed, holding ‘Down’ just as you are about to land will smooth out your landing and maintain your speed.
It’s a simple trick and one that you are going to need to get into the habit of pulling off if you want to stay at the front of the pack.
The Fastest Tortoise Wins
The Grand Prix is the ultimate test of skill. You absolutely do not want to crash out on Race 1, and frankly, you never want to crash out at all. Finishing a Grand Prix is a thrill like no other, but there’s a knack to it. In single races, playing recklessly is fine. If you Crash Out you can just hop into another one. In the Grand Prix, you spend Tickets. Reckless play is a waste of resources.
Driving slowly will get you nowhere in F-Zero 99, however. That being said, embodying aspects of Aesop’s tortoise isn’t the worst idea. You want to play safe, keep steady, and go as fast as you can whilst doing it. The fastest tortoise wins the race in the long run.
That’s all we have on F-Zero 99. Be sure to check out our other lists and guides for more F-Zero content.