F-Zero 99 (Video Game) - TV Tropes (2024)

"The first F-Zero game... returns as a 99-player battle royale!"

F-Zero 99 is a battle royale Racing Game for the Nintendo Switch developed by Nintendo Software Technology and published by Nintendo for the console's Nintendo Switch Online subscription service. It is the fourth installment in the 99 series, following Tetris 99, Super Mario Bros. 35, and Pac-Man 99, and the first one not to be developed by Arika. The game was announced and released on September 14th, 2023. It is the first F-Zero game in almost 19 years, following the release of F-Zero Climax in 2004.

Like the previous games in the 99 series, F-Zero 99 takes a classic video game and puts a massive online multiplayer spin on it, this time being F-Zero (1990) for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Players compete in 4-lap races around tracks from the original game against up to 98 simultaneous opponents using one of four machines from the original game: the Blue Falcon, the Golden Fox, the Fire Stingray, or the Wild Goose. Whoever makes it to the end first is declared the winner, of course, but to survive to the end, keeping tabs on your Life Meter is critical, as it will deplete when coming into contact with foes or barriers or used as fuel for your Nitro Boost. To fight back and defeat opponents, you can use your trusty Spin Attack to repel opponents on contact, instantly destroying anyone at low health. Opponents that collide with each other will also produce Super Sparks; collect enough of them, and you can activate your Super Boost to ride on the Skyway and gain a massive lead.

In addition to the core F-Zero 99 mode, players can also play in event races that rotate every few minutes. These range from events such as Team Battles, where 99 players are split into teams of two and vie for the most points via Vehicular Assault, and Pro Races, where players play higher difficulty tracks than the ones encountered in F-Zero 99 mode. In addition, Mini Prix and Grand Prix, where players compete in a 3 or 5 race elimination circuit respectively, can be challenged by collecting Tickets, and points earned in these modes will contribute to the user's overall Leaderboard score for the week. Progressing in the game additionally rewards cosmetics that can be used to change the colors of your vehicles or decorate your Pilot Card. This game is also compatible with the Super NES controller, allowing for controls that are identical to the original game.

The game launched with seven courses from the SNES original, those being the Knight League courses (Mute City I, Big Blue, Sand Ocean, Death Wind I, Silence), White Land I from the Queen League, and Port Town II from the King League. On September 29, the game received its first update, which added the remaining Queen League courses (Mute City II, Port Town I, Red Canyon I and White Land II) and Death Wind II from the King League. On October 18, the remaining tracks from the King League (Mute City III, Red Canyon II, and Fire Field) were added. On November 28, "Classic Race" mode was added, which essentially functions as a more faithful remake of the original game, removing mechanics like the spin attack and Skyway. On January 25, the game introduced "???" tracks: secret tracks that have a small chance of appearing during the 99 Race and Mini Prix modes, which are essentially fusions and remixes of existing tracks in the game. On March 27th, the game received a huge update which introduced a weekly challenge, several new track hazards, a mirrored version of all the tracks, rebalanced machine stats, practice mode that includes mirror and classic mode versions of all tracks, extra customization features, and a steer assist toggle that prevents players from hitting barriers, rough patches, and prevents flying off the course when jumping.

TROPES OK!

  • Achievement System: Completing certain actions, such as using Boost or Spin Attack a certain number of times, will award Badges. Badges can be displayed on your Pilot Card.
  • Achievement Mockery: One of the obtainable Badges is earned for Crashing Out a certain number of times, starting from 20.
  • Action Bomb:
    • Red Bumpers are AI-controlled red-hued cars that spawn in front of the pack. They are passive until struck, upon which they will explode and deal massive damage to the player who hit them while sending them flying. This puts racers in the lead at much greater risk of getting wiped out early unless they have the skills to weave through the crowd.
    • A KO'd player may be given the opportunity to drive a Lucky Bumper before their points are tallied. Lucky Bumpers score a bonus point for every car they collide with; additionally, Lucky Bumpers will detonate after a set time or manually by pressing the + button, destroying themselves in an explosion that damages nearby cars.
  • Adaptation Deviation: Compared to the tracks in the original F-Zero, the tracks in 99 are much wider to adjust for the larger number of players and the frequent spin attacks that can send racers careening, and the draw distance is increased significantly. This is made more obvious when jumping into the "Classic Race" mode, where the tracks are as narrow as they were for the SNES original and the draw distance is also shortened to match.
  • Adaptation Expansion: This game is more or less a fully fledged version of the Death Race from F-Zero X.
  • Aggressive Play Incentive: Scoring a KO against a human player rewards you with a full Power refill plus a max Power extension, encouraging players to push and shove opponents out of the way to get their health down and then gun them down with a Spin Attack. Max Power extensions carry over across races in Mini Prix and Grand Prix, giving players who fight tenaciously an advantage against those who play it safe.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Certain milestones will award new car colors, decals and boost colors for the four playable vehicles as well as backgrounds and frames for your Pilot Card.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Normally, once your Super Boost meter runs out you will be dropped out of the Skyway. However, if you are in the middle of a sharp turn or a segment where the Skyway does not overlap with the track at the moment, the game will wait until you're over a solid and relatively straight portion of the track so that you don't get dumped to your doom. Though, just to be sure you aren't getting TOO cute, the speed boosters on the Skyway will disappear the moment the bar runs out, so you won't get EVERY advantage the Super Boost provides.
    • In Classic Race, all 20 entrants line up in a traditional grid on the track, with the starting grid randomized. Players in the back get a faster burst of acceleration to compensate.
    • The January 2024 update added Private Lobbies, allowing you to manually set up races with friends. As an extension of this feature, you can commence races in Private Lobbies without inviting anyone, allowing you to play full bot races exclusively against the computer. Furthermore, you still get EXP and Ticket points for playing private matches (albeit less than usual) and they count towards unlocking tracks, allowing players to get those pesky Grand Prix-exclusive tracks without the stress of having to play GP.
    • The March 2024 update adding steering assist to the mechanics, an optional toggle mode that prevents players from crashing into walls and going off-course when jumping. This is an accessibility option to make the game easier for children and players with lower skill at racing games.
  • Anti Idling: If you trail too much in last place, you will be instantly disqualified and marked as a Rank Out.
  • Anti-Trolling Features: If you drive backwards deliberately in an online race such that the "REVERSE" warning appears, potentially in an attempt to obstruct other racers without participating, the game will immediately disqualify you and you will get a warning message informing you that driving backwards is not allowed.
  • Art Evolution: Unlike the original F-Zero, which created the illusion of 3D in a 2D plane using the revolutionary Mode 7, 99 is a fully 3D recreation that replicates the SNES Mode 7 style and visuals.
  • Aspect Ratio Switch: Classic Race changes the screen to a 4:3 format and adds borders on both sides of the screen to fill in the empty spaces.
  • Balance Buff:
    • The addition of the Boost mechanic from modern F-Zero games allowed the Golden Fox to receive the benefits of its stellar Boost stat seen in other games that it would not otherwise have in the original F-Zero, giving the craft a functional niche compared to its SNES appearance.
    • The Power Down state from the original game, in which your machine's top speed is crippled, has been adjusted from occuring at about 20% energy left to 0% when you're on your Last Chance Hit Point.
    • The Blue Falcon, Wild Goose and Fire Stingray all received slight buffs to their overall durability and boost efficiency in the March 27th, 2024 update to make them more even against the nerfed Golden Fox.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: The first Secret Track added in the January 24th, 2024 update mashes together track pieces from both White Land and Death Wind, with the soundtrack incorporating both themes as well.
    • The fourth Secret Track followed this trend as well by incorporating elements of Fire Field and the Mute City track pieces and themes.
  • Breaking Old Trends:
    • Unlike previous 99 games, which are largely single-player games with added-in online multiplayer interference mechanics to make them work as competitive online multiplayer battle royales, F-Zero 99 takes a game that is already built around battling opponents on the same field and simply cranks up the insanity by making it multiplayer and adding way more players to race simultaneously.
    • Unlike the other 99 games, where all matches continue until there is one player remaining, races in F-Zero 99 strictly last for four laps, with final standings being decided at the end of the last lap (or in the last race, in the case of Prixs).
    • This game was not developed by Arika, who made all previous 99 online battle royale games.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: The ??? tracks, which rarely appear in 99 Race and Mini Prix and cannot be accessed in Practice mode, combine the hardest parts of existing tracks into one extremely hard track that often leads to more crash outs than normal. The first ??? track is a combination of Death Wind 1, with its ever present wind mechanic; and both versions of White Land, with the rough patches and jumps from 1, and a hairpin turn and huge jump from 2.
  • Car Fu: Past F-Zero games already featured techniques for smacking opponents and even encouraged it by giving you an extra life if you kill five opponents in a single round in a GP Mode. But in this game, the high number of competitors means that paint-trading becomes inevitable, plus you gain bonuses for destroying opponents such as an energy refill and an expansion to your energy meter.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Using the Boost will increase the speed of your vehicle temporarily, but drains your Energy, which functions as a health bar, forcing players to ration Boost usage.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience:
    • There are two types of AI cars that can appear in races and are colored accordingly to distinguish them from the player-controlled cars. Gray Bumpers behave like regular cars but have much less HP, deal more contact damage and will grant a health extension (but not health refill) for a successful KO, while Red Bumpers are Action Bombs and should be avoided at all costs.
    • A Lucky Bumper, which is a special Bumper controlled by a player who has already Crashed Out, is distinguished by being colored blue and having a large antenna sticking out the back.
  • Color-Coded Multiplayer: In a Team Race, players are split between the Green Team and Pink Team, with the color of their vehicle automatically changing to their team's color regardless of their set color scheme. Player-controlled bumpers also share their team's color.
  • Comeback Mechanic:
    • The Skyway helps lagging players catch up by temporarily letting them ride on a much easier track with no barriers that propels the user at a much higher speed than usual and has lots of boost pads scattered about. The Skyway's duration is also more generous depending on how far back you were when you activated it... and a cagey player will notice that the game will let you stay on the Skyway until you're over a safe straightaway, even once the duration has technically run out.
    • Red Bumpers give players in the back a chance to move up the ranks by making it much riskier to stay in the front.
    • Occasionally, a Golden Bumper will appear somewhere in the middle of the pack. Bumping into it will yield a lot of Super Sparks, which can help you get a leg up with a Super Boost.
    • In the last leg of a Grand Prix (but not a Mini Prix), the large starting area is done away with, and all remaining racers (up to 20) start on the track proper in rows. The contenders are lined up in reverse order of point standing; players at the top start at the end while players at the bottom start at the front. This mechanic was also done in the polygonal F-Zero games in single-player, but it marks the first time it's been implemented in a multiplayer game since there are significantly more than four players in a single race now.
  • Competitive Balance:
    • The Blue Falcon is the Jack of All Stats, possessing average Durability, Recovery, and Grip with above average Acceleration. Its only defined strength (as of version 1.3.0) is it reaching the highest speed when boosting or using boost arrows, but it doesn't take first place in any of the other stats unlike the other three machines.
    • The Golden Fox is the Glass Cannon Fragile Speedster. With the highest Recovery and Acceleration and second highest Boost efficiency, the Golden Fox is capable of staying ahead of the competition with relative ease of access to Boosts as long as it can find pit areas or knock other vehicles out to keep its hit point pool topped up, but is the easiest for opponents to either KO or knock around due to its weak armor and its poor grip. However, its highest turn speed allows it to take tight turns that other vehicles can't take if the pilot is skilled with blast turns.
    • The Wild Goose is the Stone Wall. With the highest Durability, the Wild Goose excels at combat, using its superior tanking ability and knockback resistance to punch competing machines around and kill other machines to pad health extensions. Beyond this, however, the machine is otherwise mediocre and relies on aggressive play to build up a lead that can be used to push for advantage in the late-game — and its rock-bottom Recovery rating means it'll struggle to keep its Power topped up unless it scores KOs.
    • The Fire Stingray is the Lightning Bruiser. The machine's excellent top speed and Grip lets it take commanding leads and take lines incomparable to other vehicles. Its main weaknesses are its poor Acceleration and poor turn speed, making staying ahead of the pack and avoiding collisions a Stingray player's top priority lest they lose their momentum and their lead to competitors, especially on more winding tracks where building up to that top speed is a tall order in the first place. Its poor turn speed means that it has little margin for taking sub-optimal racing lines, and can't take extremely tight turns without slowing down or bouncing off a wall. Opponents can mess up a Fire Stingray by knocking it off of its turn line.
  • Console Cameo:
    • Participating in 25 Classic races awards a Profile Card border modeled after a Super NES cartridge.
    • Racing in all 12 Classic tracks awards a badge styled after the Super Famicom controllernote.
  • Critical Annoyance:
    • If your machine's Power drops low enough to hit Power Down status, a giant "POWER DOWN" graphic will show up on your screen to warn you of imminent death.
    • If you are below the cutoff for the current lap, an alarm will sound repeatedly to encourage you to hurry up and the location of the player you need to pass to beat the cutoff will be marked on your screen.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Averted; in addition to your machine spewing billowing smoke at low Power, once you hit Power Down status your maximum speed drops dramatically, making you a much easier target for other players coming up behind you. You can still use a "pity" Boost in this state despite being out of Power, but you will merely hit Boost speed for a brief moment before rapidly decelerating.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!:
    • The game uses a rather unusual lap count of 4 laps to a race. This can be a little disorienting if you aren't paying attention and briefly forget that the race isn't 3 laps (like most racing games) or 5 laps (like the original F-Zero game, F-Zero 99 (Video Game) - TV Tropes (2)though you could make the argument that the rolling start on your way to the first lap is itself your unofficial early fifth lap) long enough to either burn up all of your resources too early or hold them too late.
    • F-Zero X and GX permit the player to be classified as finishing the race if they suffer their last hit point of damage before the finish line but the craft doesn't explode until after crossing it. In F-Zero 99 though, like the original, the craft explodes immediately without its smouldering husk sliding down the track, which will make a last-ditch effort to boost across the finish line much more difficult to survive without Crashing Out, especially if deep in the pack where the field is more crowded.
    • If you’re using a SNES controller, you must press L and R at the same time to do a Spin Attack. These are the same buttons used to lean into turns. If you’re used to playing with this controller, you’ll probably find yourself pressing ZR and ZL to lean while playing in handheld mode.
    • The vehicles at your disposal are different enough to where, if you switch between them every so often, you're likely to have... let's call it an "adjustment period" where you Crash and Rank Out more than a few times as you remember that your new ride really doesn't share your previous one's tactics and play style.
    • Classic Race disables the Skyway and your spin attack and changes the boost mechanic as "one boost (without draining health) earned per lap" to emulate how the SNES F-Zero played. Instead of Gray Bumpers, there are Brown Bumpers (which also appeared from the SNES version), which are effectively Gray Bumpers with more health. Those who have played with 99's mechanics for a while will very likely screw up trying to get used to the classic rules.
    • Hilariously, Mirror Red Canyon II has an added Jump Plate near the start of the lap adjacent to a chichane. Typically, seeing a jump right before a chichane will indicate to some players that they should try skipping the turn by launching high and making a hard turn in midair, such as in Red Canyon I. However, this specific turn has magnets immediately adjacent to the plate such that attempting to skip the turn by jumping will cause the magnets to pull you down and kill you instantly by causing you to land out of bounds, catching many players off-guard.
    • All the mirror tracks will catch people off guard if they have been playing the normal versions for a while before switching to the mirror versions. Aside from the obvious mirrored track designs, the mirrored versions have course elements that either don't exist on the original tracks or are placed in different locations. For example, Port Town I has pull magnets after the S-curves whereas the mirror version moves them towards the S-curves so that they pop up sooner than expected.
  • Desperation Attack: If in Power Down state, it is possible to fire a weaker boost in a do-or-die ploy to get to the pits or the finish line on the final lap.
  • Developer's Foresight: On tracks such as Red Canyon I where backmarkers are likely to get lapped before the end of the race, the leaders may approach a Gold Bumper, but because they're a lap ahead of the intended spawn point of the Bumper, they will not receive as many sparks as those the Bumper is intended to benefit.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Both the Golden Fox and the Fire Stingray have extraordinarily high skill floors required to make them workable in standard racing due to their rather significant flaws; their potential as top-of-the-line machines tends to only be brought out by exceptionally good players.
    • The Golden Fox's high Recovery and Boost efficiency make it the best craft to Boost persistently with, making up for its low top speed in spades. However, the craft's heavy reliance on Boosting also makes it very risky to pilot since it demands so much Power to stay ahead, greatly increasing the risk of Crashing Out if you fail to manage your resources properly and take a bad hit. Not helping matters is that the craft also happens to be a Glass Cannon due to having rather middling durability, making its fragility an even bigger liability if you wind up stuck in the middle of the pack with some 50-odd other racers or get shoved out of the way by an extremely aggressive tailgater - and even if you do survive, your ability to Boost back toward the front is going to be crippled until your next pit stop, your low top speed greatly increasing your likelihood of a Rank Out. Finally its poor Grip means that advanced techniques are required to keep it in control when turning for more than a split-second, lest you spin out and lose precious momentum, but skilled use turns it into a beast on more technical courses thanks to its incredibly tight turning radius.
    • The Fire Stingray's high top speed and cornering lets it outpace the competition consistently in any scenario where Boosting is sparse. However, its bad Acceleration means collisions are a much greater setback compared to other machines, which can be a liability when you're bumping into a bunch of other players near-constantly unless you're able to pull ahead early, and liberal use of the advanced Blast Turning technique is required to avoid falling behind on sharp corners.
  • Do Well, But Not Perfect:
    • One Badge requires you to pass the starting line while being at the exact placement for the elimination cutoff. This is extraordinarily difficult to get on purpose since this is generally not something you want to be doing if you're trying to win, and even if you are trying to do so intentionally you have to compete with a bunch of other players that aren't.
    • It is actually much easier to get the Badge for being the first vehicle to pass the starting line at the start of a race by entering the final race of a Grand Prix at or close to the minimum qualifying rank, as due to the unique quirk of Grand Prix final races, you will be placed right next to the line. At that point, any successful Rocket Start will push you past the line before anyone else, giving you the Badge.
  • Double Knockout: It is possible, albeit extremely rare, to score a Double KO if both you and another machine are in Power Down and hit each other at the same time. This will result in a Mutual Kill and the post-crash screen displaying "DOUBLE KO" with both your name and the opponent's being displayed instead of the normal "CRASH OUT" message with the name of the opponent who killed you. You can win a Badge for being on either end of this in an online race.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: All machines violently explode into a fireball when their Power runs out, even when their last hit point is depleted by being barely sideswiped by another machine. Exaggerated by Red Bumpers, which are Action Bombs and will explode upon being hit at all.
  • Every 10,000 Points: You will earn a Ticket for every 500 points earned in F-Zero 99 mode or in an Event Race. Tickets are used for entering Mini Prix and Grand Prix events.
  • Fake Longevity: As expected from a game with an Achievement System, various of the milestones count as this (Win/Do something X number of times). The Machine Customization options take the cake however, as progress is not shared between machines, meaning that if you raced 50 times/avoided crashing 10 times in a row to unlock the corresponding decals for the Blue Falcon, that progress will not count towards unlocking the same decal for the Fire Stingray or any other machine. It'll take a significant amount of time to go for 100% Completion.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: The decals awarded for completing a Mirror League have the same pattern on both sides, but use different colors for each side. For example, the Blue Falcon's default color with the Mirror Knight decal is blue with a green windshield on the right side, and black with a yellow windshield on the left side.
  • Forced Tutorial: At first, you are required to participate in several offline tutorial races: First by yourself, then against successively larger grids of CPU opponents. Afterwards you can engage in online races.
  • Friendly Fireproof: In a Team Race, you do not take damage for colliding with an ally car.
  • Fragile Speedster: Although the Golden Fox is incredible at Boosting, it does not handle well when taking hits from either the track or other vehicles. It takes noticeably more chip than other machines from Collision Damage and its poor knockback resilience means it tends to be a victim of Punched Across the Room. Its excellent Recovery means passing through the Pit Area typically heals off a vast majority of damage it takes from racing, but if you get too greedy with Boosting while using it it can be very easy to find yourself in dire straits at the worst possible time.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: For some reason, the Mirror variants of the three Mute City courses are prone to more slowdown than the other courses (even their non-Mirror counterparts), typically on lap 1 when the machines are still close together. The game often will not compensate and the player's machine will slow down. This tends to happen when using the special-animation boost and spin effects that can be unlocked from Weekly Challenges.
  • Giant Mook: Golden Bumpers appear on the track periodically to dispense Super Sparks and release a large cache of them when hit. To facilitate the latter purpose, they are larger than other Bumpers.
  • Gold-Colored Superiority: Finishing a Grand Prix in 1st place rewards a sparkling gold color (even more golden than the Golden Fox) for the machine you won with, which not only is gold but also gives off a visible sparkling effect.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • Although the game mentions the Rocket Start and overheat mechanics in the tips, it neglects to mention that every machine has different optimal timing for its Rocket Start based on its Acceleration stat.
    • One critical property of the Skyway that is not immediately obvious at first glance is that if it runs out, it cannot drop a player that is entering or in the middle of a turn and will wait for the next straightaway to deposit them. This adds an important layer of strategy to Skyway usage as it can be used to cheat difficult turns and extend your airtime and thus speed when used in the correct places.
  • Holiday Mode: For the December 2023 update, the Knight League was transformed into the Frozen Knight League as Temporary Online Content. In addition to Mute City I, Big Blue, Sand Ocean, Death Wind I, and Silence getting snow-themed visual makeovers, large ice patches were added to each of the tracks in 99 Race and Bumpers were decorated with reindeer antlers.
  • Holy Halo: The Lucky Bumpers have antennae that radiate golden energy rings resembling haloes, which fits with them evoking the "departed souls" of crashed racers.
  • Home-Run Hitter: The Golden Fox's poor knockback resistance means that certain scenarios while airborne (for example: an unlucky collision with a Red Bumper) can send it careening off the map.
  • Jack of All Stats: The Blue Falcon is decent all across the board, combining an above average stat spread with good Acceleration. This gives it a fair learning curve compared to its compatriots and is usable at all skill levels and situations, particularly after it was buffed to reach better speeds when boosting. This is spelled out in one of Mr. Zero's prerace advice blurbs:

    "BLUE FALCON is a versatile machine for racing in a variety of situations."

  • Later-Installment Weirdness:
    • The Boost works similar to its appearance in GP Legend, where it takes Power but lasts a set duration. Unlike other F-Zero games, Boost OK occurs immediately upon starting the first lap.
    • To accommodate the significantly higher number of players, online races have an introductory segment prior to the start of the first lap where all racers start from the same position to give them a level starting field. The end of the intro segment launches the players onto the track proper to start the race. The only times this is removed are during the "F-Zero 25" and "F-Zero 50" portions of the early tutorial, as well as the final race of a Grand Prix (by which point only 20 racers remain). In said cases, the racers present line up behind the starting line just like in the original game in reverse order of rank.
    • In a similar vein, if you look closely, you'll notice that compared to the original F-Zero, the tracks themselves are typically a fair bit wider to accommodate for the higher number of players.
    • In the first F-Zero game, being Ranked Out would have your machine come to a slow stop as the screen goes black. In 99, ranking out has a ship capture your machine, removing it from the race entirely.
    • Collision Damage and the effects of collisions are much lower compared to other F-Zero games, as the incredibly high number of players sharing the same space means that the track is incredibly cramped and thus next to impossible to go more than a few seconds without bumping into something.
  • Level-Up Fill-Up:
    • If you KO another player-controlled vehicle, your maximum Power will increase and your Power will immediately refill back to full.
    • When you get a health extension via KO'ing a Gray Bumper or getting a Team KO in Team Race, your maximum Power will increase, but instead of getting a full Power refill your current Power will only extend for the amount of added gauge.
  • Life Drain: You can fully refill your Hit Points and extend your Life Meter by killing an opponent, or extend your Life Meter only with only the added portion being filled with Hit Points by killing a gray bumper.
  • Limit Break: When two cars collide on the track or when a car drops from the Skyway, they drop Super Sparks that can be picked up by any cars behind them. Super Sparks are also spawned frequently by Gold Bumpers, which will drop Super Sparks onto the track automatically and will immediately grant a large amount of Super Sparks if struck. Collecting Super Sparks fills the gold gauge below your health, and once it is full, your car will shine gold and pressing A will activate the Skyway, floating your car to a faster and more efficient track above the main track that allows you to gain a significant lead. Skyway access lasts until the gauge expires (depending on placement), upon which your car will be dropped off back to the main track at the next appropriate opportunity.
  • Loading Screen: As the lobby of a chosen game mode loads up, you are presented with a screen where Mr. Zero, the commentator of F-Zero's races, gives you gameplay advice while a relevant gameplay clip plays next to him. He'll also highlight the features of the Workshop and the ways you can unlock its offerings.
  • Marathon Level: Mini Prixs and Grand Prixs are gauntlets where you race multiple consecutive tracks in a row with no breaks. Mini Prixs consist of three random regular tracks, while Grand Prixs are based on the Knight, Queen and King Grand Prixs from the original SNES game and consist of five tracks each. Unlike normal races, the player pool is culled by at least 19/20 players at the end of each race; furthermore, your placement in each race rewards rank points that are used to calculate your final standing. Participating in a Prix rewards points that go towards the weekly Leaderboards, giving you a chance to put your name on the map for fame and glory.
  • Mercy Invincibility: Because of the extremely high player count, colliding with an opponent and taking damage will render you momentarily immune to damage (but not knockback) from other collisions.
  • Mythology Gag: One of the Pilot Card backdrops obtained through Bounty Chips is a pixelated recreation of the English box and cartridge art for the original F-Zero.
  • Nerf:
    • Dash Zones have been toned down to only increase your speed to Boost speed rather than the maximum possible 999 kmph, except on the Skyway. This is actually beneficial in most cases as the reduced top speed makes it so hitting one doesn't make you immediately lose control of your machine.
    • The infamous gap jump in White Land II was shortened considerably, making it much easier to clear at a lower speed requirement and without needing to tilt your machine upwards to get enough height. A similar gap in Red Canyon II was also shortened to make it easier to hit the arrow made of jump pads (if anything, making the shortcut while in a boosted state and holding Down may make you liable to overshoot and crash out).
    • "Ultra" shortcuts (where you skip enough of the track that getting pulled back by the UFO still gives a meaningful time advantage) were nerfed in the 1.1.0 update by increasing the amount of time it takes for the UFO to appear, making all of them virtually unviable for saving time.
    • The March 27th, 2024 update notably applied a few nerfs to overall gameplay to make things more fair. In addition to toning down the Golden Fox, some exploitative strategies were removed, such as "dry boosting" (spamming Boost with no Energy) and trying to skip turns by casting Super Boost while driving directly into a wall.
  • New Work, Recycled Graphics: As the game is essentially a recreation of the SNES game, it recycles a good chunk of its assets, such as sprites and tilesets. However, the UI is completely refurbished to look like a modern title, and there is the addition of many new variations for the playable vehicles that weren't in the original.
  • No Fair Cheating: Just like in the original, it is possible to skip large portions of the track by exploiting ramp jumps, but if you attempt to skip too much at once (such as the Port Town II shortcut where you make a hard right at the first jump strip) a UFO will appear and pull you back to an earlier part of the track. The 1.1.0 update heavily nerfed shortcuts by making the UFO take much longer to spawn, causing you to lose much more time than before.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Because of the new cosmetic options, the Blue Falcon is not always blue, the Golden Fox is not always gold, and the Fire Stingray doesn't always have a fire pattern on it. At least the Wild Goose will likely never resemble water fowl regardless of its cosmetics.
  • Nitro Boost:
    • Once you pass the starting line of the track for the first time, your Boost function will be enabled, indicated by the text "BOOST OK!" appearing on your screen. Unlike the original SNES game, where you were given one boost per lap, 99 uses the Boost function codified by later F-Zero games where it is Cast from Hit Points.
    • You can perform a Rocket Start by holding down the B button during the starting countdown, causing your machine to boost off the start position at a higher velocity without waiting for your craft to accelerate. However, unlike the original game, 99 incorporates the overheat mechanic from the handheld F-Zero games where if you accelerate too long before launch, your machine's engine will burn out and stall moments after launching off the start position, putting you at a major speed disadvantage.
    • Worth noting is the threshold for your engine stalling depends on your vehicle. The slow accelerating Fire Stingray must hold down the accelerator around the start of the second starting light, whereas the quick-to-start Golden Fox must only hold it a brief moment before "GO!" to get the Rocket Start, but will burn out if held any longer than that.
    • The classic super jet from the original game returns in Classic Race. It is more potent than the 99 Boost, but like the original game you only get one super jet per lap, meaning that you will have to make your limited uses count.
  • Noob Bridge: The ??? version of Mute City features a massive chasm with ramps in the middle. The chasm is just wide enough that if you fail to hold down on the controls to extend the launch distance of your jump, you will fall just short of the track on the other side, causing you to fall into the pit and die.
  • Ominous Visual Glitch: The presence of a Secret Track in 99 Race is denoted by the mode icon in the main menu glitching with static.
  • Play Every Day:
    • Every day that you log in, you are awarded a free ticket. On weekends, it's three tickets instead, to encourage participating in a Grand Prix (which occur every 30 minutes on weekends as opposed to every 2 hours on weekdays), which costs exactly that many tickets.
    • Your first play of the day will award a giant chunk of bonus ticket XP (250, to be precise) - though with the caveat that you do have to actually survive the race, though failing that condition just means you'll get your bonus on the first race you complete successfully.
    • Starting from the 1.1.0 update, the ranks and machines achieved for the first five races you complete in a day will be recorded under the Lucky Ranks card, a lottery system that can be checked once per day. Upon checking Lucky Ranks, the digits and machines used in your five races will be checked against a sheet of randomized ranks and machines; if any of the digits or machines match, you will be rewarded with free prizes. Matches also grant Bounty Chips that can be exchanged for a Bounty once 6 Chips are collected.
  • Player Elimination: The classic elimination mechanic is still in play; players below the placement cutoff at the end of each lap will be automatically removed from the pool. It's a lot more lenient than it was in the original game (you can be in 80th place by the end of the 4th lap and still be good to go), though in a Mini Prix or Grand Prix, this applies cumulatively to each race, whittling down the player count even further the farther you go - to the point where if you survive to the final race, you'll have only 20 players left and there's enough space on the starting grid to where the game just starts you right on the track itself. And, funnily enough, the final races of the Knight, Queen and King Grand Prix are the only races in which the Rank Out mechanic is shut off!
  • Punched Across the Room: The Golden Fox can unfortunately fall victim to this often as its lacking Durability and knockback resistance means it is very prone to getting pinballed across the track if it eats a hit from a Bumper or an approaching Wild Goose and the player does not react in time to stop themselves by releasing the accelerator. At best this tends to be a major setback pushing you back several places, and at worst you can go careening to your imminent death.
  • Ramp Jump: Ramps function identically to the original game. Hitting one makes you airborne, launching your machine and gaining speed before hitting the ground with a bounce that slows down your craft. Holding up or down on the control stick or D-pad will alter the launch angle of your machine when it hits a ramp; holding up tilts the nose downward, reducing launch angle and distance, while holding down tilts the nose upward, increasing launch angle and distance. Furthermore, if you are holding down when landing, a soft landing will be performed, negating the bounce that occurs when landing normally and reducing the amount of speed lost on impact.
  • Rank Inflation: Skill ranks start from C- and go through C, C+, B-, etc. all the way through S+. Once you pass S+, the rating system goes into S numbers, starting from S1 and then S2, S3, and so forth up to S20.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: A majority of the game's soundtrack is lifted directly from the original SNES game, albeit noticeably more compressed than usual. Among original inclusions, the game's main theme has been extended significantly and new Variable Mix arrangements have been added, there are a few new jingles, and most notably, a brand new track was created specifically for the Lucky Bumper.
  • Remixed Level:
    • Like in the original SNES game, there are "II" variants of Mute City, Port Town, and Red Canyon, and the "III" variant of Mute City; these are the same courses but with extended and/or more challenging layouts.
    • The December 19, 2023 update introduces Frozen variants of the Knight League courses, which give the courses a snowy cosmetic makeover along with added extra ice and dirt zones to them. Mute City I in particular looks just like White Land except for the background.
    • One of the possible Secret Tracks is a remixed version of Mute City I. In addition to being reversed, a massive ramp pit is installed where the straightaway would be and the S curve with offroad terrain now has mines along the track.
    • Another Secret Track does the same thing with Big Blue, mirroring it horizontally and littering the inside of the wide open turns with land mines.
    • The version 1.3.0 update in March 2024 introduces Mirror courses, which not only flip all the courses so that what was left is now right and vice versa, but even introduce elements not present in the original versions:
      • Mute City I is quite similar to its "???" counterpart, but extends the length of the jump pad strech so that there is no longer a gap at the end of it.
      • Big Blue is a lot like the "???" version, but removes the mines and adds a new element: yellow spots that release Super Sparks when touched and also give a small speed boost.
      • Sand Ocean adds some of the Super Spark dispensers and boost arrows after two of the sharpest corners in the course.
      • Death Wind I puts boost arrows in pairs and adds some Super Spark dispensers as well.
      • Silence replaces the mines with persistent Spinners that don't damage the player's machine but still bounce it off, adds an extra jump strip, and adds one more set of Spinners on the penultimate stretch.
      • Mute City II adds a jump plate at the roundabout, with spark plates on the two sides, as well as some spinners on the S-curve and the straight just before the last turn.
      • Port Town I features different magnet locations.
      • Red Canyon I adds a jump plate that bypasses the 135-degree turns, but adds spark plates to that segment as an incentive to still take those turns. The other jump plates and floor magnets have been removed.
      • White Land I adds spinners at the jump plate segment, adds a boost arrow before the jump plates, and relocates some ice floors.
      • White Land II adds spark plates at the hairpin section, as well as a new gimmick: Side bumpers that act similar to the spinners, but don't disrupt the player's speed as much.
      • Mute City III adds a narrow lane with two boost arrows at the starting line (separated from the right lane with the recharge strip by a line of spinners), adds a series of jumps over the S-curve, and replaces the land mines on the S-curve with Super Spark dispensers.
      • Death Wind II adds jump plates in front of the dirt patches on the first stretch, adds side bumpers to the 90-degree turns, and replaces the boost arrows on the curves with jump plates.
      • Port Town II adds side bumpers on the first set of winding turns and at the end of the hairpin section, and adds spinners on the short stretches in between the hairpins. Also, a jump plate has been added in front of the final chicane.
      • Red Canyon II adds a jump at the beginning before the first turn, adds a jump over some land mines with magnets on both sides after the second 135-degree turn, replaces the jump plates in the zigzag section with walls of land mines, replaces the land mines on the main track next to the arrow jump with Super Spark dispensers, splits the arrow itself into two halves, and adds a small jump plate on the final S-curve sandwiched between two land mines.
      • Fire Field replaces the land mines on the opening stretch with spinners, adds a boost arrow after the first hairpin, replaces the dirt patches after the first double hairpin with walls of mines, adds a line of spinners to the middle of the turn immediately following the second double hairpin as well as the turn at the end of the S-curves, and replaces the magnetic median on the final stretch before the recharge strip with a massive minefield of spinners.
  • Retraux:
    • Downplayed slightly; while the game uses a modern HUD and mixes in modern sound effects, the gameplay, music, and graphics imitate very much of the SNES original.
    • Classic Race is an Event Race format that more closely emulates the mechanics and format of the original F-Zero, including featuring only 20 racers, reducing the draw distance and aspect ratio and using the original track layouts, physics and bumper cars. However, the rank out limits are heavily relaxed and you run 4 laps instead of 5. For example, you have to claim a top 3 podium spot in order to finish a race in the SNES original, but could finish the race in 14th place or higher in F-Zero 99's Classic Race mode without ranking out.
  • Revisiting the Roots: This installment is based on the very first F-Zero game and as such comes with some of its Early-Installment Weirdness like the generic bumper cars and "safe" positions (wherein players who fail to meet a target position by the end of the lap are removed from the race). That said, it also incorporates elements from later games as well, such as boosting consuming the energy meter (and based off of GP Legend rather than games before it, no less).
  • Ring Out: If you fall off the track boundaries via a ramp jump, you will plummet to your death and Crash Out instantly. While this is possible due to poor driving, it is much more likely that you will get shoved off the track by an opponent Spin Attacking you while airborne or in such a way that you jump off the ramp in the wrong direction.
  • The Rival: 99 incorporates a version of the series' Rival system first introduced in F-Zero X. At the start of a race, four randomly chosen players within a certain range of your Skill Rank (in a normal race) or within two to four places of your Prix standing (in Prixs) are designated as Rivals. Rival machines have a red nametag and flame symbol next to their names and will have their position displayed at the left side of your screen on each lap. If you manage to place higher than a Rival at the end of a race, you will gain Skill Rank points based on the number of Rivals defeated. However, if you fail to beat any Rivals, you will lose Skill Rank points (and possibly demote at S1 onwards).
  • Shadow of Impending Doom: If you are below the Safe Rank and the last machine that is safe is close to the start/finish line, a shadow will be cast over your machine by a large ship, and if you can't reach a safe rank it'll pick you up with a tractor beam and remove you from the race. Notably, the ship that repairs your machine in the pit zone does not cast a shadow.
  • Shows Damage: Machines at low health will start spewing gray smoke clouds from their sides. If a car is at critical health, it will blink rapidly and spew large black smoke clouds; any additional damage at this point will destroy the vehicle.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: On top of the White Land tracks having Frictionless Ice stretches like in the original game, the "Frozen Knight League" event added icy patches to the Knight League tracks along with various snow and ice aesthetics from December 19, 2023 to January 16, 2024.
  • Snowy Sleigh Bells:
    • When starting up one of the "Frozen Knight League" tracks during the December 19, 2023 to January 16, 2024 event, sleigh bells can be heard jingling as the Skyway appears during the opening pan.
    • Originally, the ice and snowflake-themed spin visual earned from the Frozen Knight League played the normal spin attack sound. The March 27, 2024 update changed it to play a unique sleigh bell sound whenever you spin.
  • Spin Attack: Your main offensive ability is the Spin Attack, a move originally introduced in F-Zero X. With it, you will briefly spin around and knock around anyone who approaches your vehicle. If you spin into a foe who is in Power Down status (large smoke clouds), you will KO them and earn a full health refill and health extension. Conversely, if you are in Power Down status, the Spin Attack can be used to protect yourself from enemies attempting to KO you and buy a little extra time. The Spin Attack can be recharged by either waiting enough time or hitting a ramp, which will recharge it instantly.
  • Sprite/Polygon Mix: While the tracks are genuine 3D landscapes (though with the only elevation being the jump pads), the machines themselves are still 2D sprites simulating different angled viewpoints, as in the original game.
  • Stone Wall: The Wild Goose's advantage is that it's much more durable than the other machines due to taking less chip damage from collisions and being less susceptible to knockback, while also being able to shove around other cars easier. This makes it viable for sitting in the middle of the pack for much of the race and hoarding resources to expend on one big push in the final lap. As drawbacks, it has the second slowest acceleration and the worst Energy regeneration of the four machines.
  • Stealth Pun: "Bumpers" are bumper cars.
  • Taking You with Me: The Lucky Bumper can sometimes spawn when a player crashes, and that player has an opportunity to do some damage to the surviving players.
  • Time Trial: Playing any course for the first time will unlock it in Practice mode, which is essentially this. Beating specific times on the Standard courses will earn you unique backgrounds of its respective level for your Pilot Card, and beating specific times on the Mirror and Classic courses will award an extra Prix Ticket.
  • Tractor Beam:
    • If you are below the Safe Rank for the lap and the last opponent who is safe crosses the start/finish line, or if your internet connection is disrupted, a ship will beam your machine up and out of the race.
    • As the race progresses, NPC "Bumper" vehicles and Lucky Bumpers piloted by eliminated-early contenders will be beamed down onto the track, usually near where the race leader is.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: KO-ing another player immediately replenishes your entire Energy bar and also increases its maximum size, giving you a better chance of doing well again (since it gives you greater breathing room involving bumping into other players to get further KOs and allows you to use more Boosts). And if you're in a Prix of either variety, you keep the extensions between races.
  • Variable Mix: When a Prix appears in the main menu, a triumphant trumpet is added to the main menu theme. Also, when you are in a sub-menu, the main instruments are muted, producing a more mellow version of the theme.
  • Vehicular Combat:
    • Returns and with 98 other racers, is a bit more emphasized than in previous titles. While lacking the side attack from X and GX, racers are able to ram into eachother, or use their Spin Attack to deal damage while protecting their own machine. Successfully KO-ing another player will reward the player with an expanded health meter and full health restore, while breaking the NPC bumpers will just increase the max HP without a restore. The Wild Goose specializes in this!
    • This is the main objective of Team Battle, as you earn a majority of points by using your Spin Attack to strike the opposing team's vehicles. However, the race factor is still in play as players above a certain placement will earn points for their team upon crossing the starting line each lap.
  • Violation of Common Sense:
    • Burning out your engine at the start of a race may be a viable strategy depending on the vehicle. Because it gives you max speed for a brief moment, it will jump you ahead of other racers momentarily before you start to decelerate. If you're able to swerve into a path of a machine on either your left or right during this very limited window of opportunity, you can get a Recoil Boost off of the vehicle behind you bumping into you, negating the burnout and getting you a bigger jumpstart than you would have gotten if you just did a normal Rocket Start. This especially benefits the Fire Stingray since its acceleration is much worse than the other machines.
    • One trick you can do in the last track of each Grand Prix, is to simply hang near the back and let other players go in front of you rather than fighting for pole position like you would normally do in other tracks. This lets you farm for Super Boost by letting other players clash with each other. A well-timed Super Boost from a good enough position has the potential to push you straight to the lead since you get to avoid all of the nonsense that makes Silence, White Land II, and Fire Field difficult.
    • In pre-1.3.0 versions of the game, when you were in Power Down status, pressing the Boost button would cause you to accelerate to boost speed momentarily before decelerating back to Power Down speed, typically referred to by fans as a "dry-boost". There was no cooldown on using Boost while in Power Down, and using Boost while in Power Down does not consume Energy (as you are out of Energy and are thus are on your Last Chance Hit Point). The result was that, assuming you are skilled enough to avoid hitting anything, it was possible to maintain a lead in Power Down by spamming the Boost button, as you could maintain a higher average speed than usual, and some players have won races by deliberately knocking their health down to win this way. Version 1.3.0 prevents players from spamming boost with no energy left, putting an end to this tactic.

Good work, bounty hunter.

F-Zero 99 (Video Game) - TV Tropes (2024)
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