It has been a little over 14 years since SEGA went third party, and while at the time it was a shock to learn that the company would be releasing games on once rival consoles, now most fans have grown accustomed to third party SEGA. In fact, it has been so long since the announcement that now we have a whole new generation of fans who pinpoint a third party SEGA game as their introduction to the company! I’m not one to use the tired expression “I feel old”, but that realization almost makes me want to utter it (almost). Back in the early 2000s, when third party SEGA went into full swing, fans were seeing the likes of Crazy Taxi on PS2, Sonic Adventure on Gamecube, and Jet Set Radio‘s sequel JSRF on the Xbox. Shocking, sure, but nothing could give SEGA fans whiplash like the announcement that SEGA’s own Amusement Vision team were to develop a new game in a fully Nintendo owned classic franchise – enter F-Zero GX and F-Zero AX.
As detailed in our Amusement Vision retrospective, F-Zero GX and F-Zero AX were sister titles released to Nintendo Gamecube and arcades respectively. Amusement Vision were the perfect choice for developer, as they had the racing game experience (producer Toshihiro Nagoshi had served as a lead on Daytona USA and Daytona USA 2001) and the arcade game experience. The end result was, arguably, one of the franchise’s best titles. Please don’t throw rocks at me, Nintendo fans! Just look at what Nintendo’s own project supervisor Takaya Imamura had to say about SEGA’s work on the game: “I have worked on the F-Zero series, and seeing the results of the collaboration with SEGA, I found myself at something of a loss as to how we can take the franchise further past F-Zero GX and AX”.
When the game launched, a few ads released in Japan and America. The first, seen above, feels a lot like an ad for the Wipeout racing games, featuring a heart rate monitor speeding up and drum and bass kicking in with the tagline “Make your heart race.”
The second ad was a rare case of the Japanese and American ads being almost the same. The Japanese version, seen above, features a young man playing a Gamecube surrounded by futuristic floating screens showcasing F-Zero GX. Like the heart rate commercial, the pace picks up as the man continues to play and sweat. The ad ends with a quick shot of the Gamecube memory card being removed and placed into the F-Zero AX arcade machine, showcasing the unique ability to share save files between platforms.
The American version, seen below, replaces the music and narration but the rest of the commercial is largely intact. The only real edit is the removal of Japanese text and the F-Zero AX ending. Oddly, this feature was supported in the US, as it was called out on the back of the box, but perhaps the scene was removed because Nintendo either wanted to focus only on the console version or at the time the compatibility was still being decided on for the US.
Have you played F-Zero GX or AX? What did you think of the game? Sound off in the comments below!