Wipeout HD vs. F-Zero GX

[Note: This is an opinion piece and does not necessarily reflect the views of the whole GamesRadar staff]

Ah, Wipeout HD... Speed, finesse, technical mastery, the most banging of soundtracks... The game has it all as futuristic racers go, right?

Well actually no. Another game had all of those things years ago, and frankly, it did them all better. That game is F-Zero GX, released in 2003 on the Gamecube. I'll forgive you if you haven't played it yet. It was after all, released on the Gamecube. But note that I ended that last sentence with "yet".

"But why Dave?", you may be asking, or at least thinking, as talking to your monitor would probably make you look crazy. "Why bring up a five year old racer now when we have lovely HD face-meltery to be getting on with?" Well the reason is simple. F-Zero pretty much invented the high-speed future racing genre back on the SNES, and the release of the PS3's shiny new Wipeout - which I'd like to point out that I play and love, before we go any further - has had me drawing some major comparisons to F-Zero's definitive entry. And I've found Captain Falcon's outing to be still the superior game. So stick with me on this one and read on as I compare the two and break down exactly why you owe it to yourself to own a copy.


Both Wipeout and F-Zero are notorious for blasting along like nitrus-injected lightning on an ice rink, but for all of Wipeout's reputation, F-Zero GX has the edge in speed and therefor exhilaration. And exhilaration is what we play racers like this for, let's face it. Take the following video as evidence.

Neither game is exactly a slouch, but as you can see from this video and the rest in this story, F-Zero starts at mach 14 and then only gets faster. Note how we missed most of the speed boosters too.

Winner: F-Zero GX

Track design

Wipeout pioneered the twisty turny rollercoaster racetrack, and without doubt beat the pants off the original F-Zero's Mode 7 pancakes in that area. But with a proper 3D engine behind it, F-Zero GX took back its territory like a marauding viking.

Developed by Sega's AV team, the same guys who made Super Monkeyball, GX took that game's approach to terrain design, pumped it full of cocaine and MDMA, and then threw all concept of gravity laughingly out of a train window. You'll meet right-angle bends at 900 miles per hour. You'll meet sheer walls and drive straight up them. Loops, corkscrews, track splits and half-mile jumps come as standard at even the game's most mundane moments.

And most importantly, every track in F-Zero GX has a level of personality and imagination that shames every other racer out there. We get pipe tunnels that almost span entire laps and we get to race over their entire surfaces at every angle. We get half-pipes to launch ourselves out of. We race along the outside of magnetic tubes over lava flows. And the AV boys completely explored these concepts to squeeze every last drop of gameplay out of them. Those pipe and tube tracks in particular force immensely fast reactions and tactical planning in order to reach their speed bonuses and avoid the heinously placed track obstacles while still keeping the inside racing line on bends. At certain points they'll even kill you outright if you're on the wrong side at the wrong time.

F-Zero GX has the most hardcore track design in any racing game yet made. No arguments. For its first few hours, it'll beat your face off and love every second. But once you up your game and master the beast, it'll be your friend for life. And no game will ever make you feel more badass.

No disrespect to Wipeout HD's tracks. They're bloody marvelous and take a hell of a lot of skill to master in their own right. But while their sharply banked turns, loops and whooshes are certainly a crazy delight, F-Zero GX's thrills are batshit insane. Almost impossibly, they manage the feat of making Wipeout feel a bit bland, and I promise you there's no word of an exaggeration to that statement.

Winner: F-Zero GX


  • absolem-pk-david - January 27, 2015 10:54 p.m.

    havent played gx but f-zero was the bomb, but more wipeout games were awesome compared to f-zero games. played f-zero 1 to death. played every wipeout up to ps2/psp to death. my bro has a gamecube so maybe ill check this one out... but srsly. as far as difficulty.. wipeout on the ps1 was insane. and the soundtrack was groundbreaking for all versions of the game. f-zero was the master but sometimes the student overcomes the master? my 2 cents
  • Hotdiddykong - August 9, 2010 8:31 p.m.

    Thats nintendo for ya, their version of a game based on racing is F-zero and one of the best, rather having so much racing games on both PS3 and 360
  • Metroidhunter32 - January 18, 2010 1:20 p.m.

    I really need to pick up GX. I keep getting distracted by new releases to ebay it.
  • Stalvern - December 27, 2009 7:12 a.m.

    I love the Wipeout series, but Wipeout HD, as fun as it is, can't match the subtlety and brilliance of the old PS1 games, especially Wipeout 3. Wipeout 3 would be a much better challenger to F-Zero GX, and I actually prefer it over the latter. The soundtrack is absolutely stunning - it's hardly dated despite being ten years old, the songs go together perfectly and cohesively (unlike Wipeout HD's mishmash of seemingly random songs) while each being beautiful in their own right (much better, in my opinion, than F-Zero GX's "rock" remixes of the old SNES music). I actually prefer Wipeout 3's track design over F-Zero GX's - the latter game feels very much like the section-based product of a level editor that it is, despite its admittedly extreme corners and pipes; by contrast, Wipeout 3's tracks each feel unique, blessed as they are with character and individuality by their finely-tuned curves, tunnels, and forks, and are adorned with beautiful environments (much more stylish and attractive than F-Zero GX's locales), even if there are only eight of them (the game's sole flaw: comparatively low content). It also has the best handling setup of any racing game that I've played - its smoothness, subtletly, and sheer depth and technical potential are unrivaled by any other (F-Zero GX feels annoyingly twitchy in comparison, though I do realize that both control schemes are optimized for different speeds), least of all Wipeout HD's (which feels awful with or without the Pilot Assist turned on). But, yeah, F-Zero GX has pretty much unmatchable content and speed, even though Wipeout 3 has better gameplay (it's certainly deeper) in my opinion. F-Zero GX is a pure, reflex-based adrenaline rush; Wipeout 3 is far more cerebral and tactical at the cost of speed. It all depends on which you prefer - I choose the latter.
  • blocpartier - October 17, 2008 5:09 a.m.

    Man F-Zero is balls out crazy. I remember that it took me forever to beat that. Though I've never played wipeout it seems like there's a certain art to playing it that takes time to perfect. But with F-zero, It's either you're good or you're not good. And it's way more fast paced. Like one of those casino levels.
  • broblaster - October 12, 2008 5:13 a.m.

    I think its clear that if nintendo were to make a new f zero using the ps3, it would be the greatest game ever made
  • Arkavist - October 10, 2008 4:10 p.m.

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^Aimed at all those wipeout hd numpties tryin to justofy why its better than GX
  • infinite doo - October 7, 2008 11:47 p.m.

    I'm hesitant to play either of those. GX seems WAY too hard, because I play games to (attempt) to relax, so games that are so hard that people gloat about succeeding are not my thing (i.e. Ninja Gaiden or the like), while WipEout seems a bit slower and just not my type of game. I guess I'll stick to NFS and GRID for my racing, thanks. If anyone wants to try to convince me I'm wrong or point out the flaws in my thinking I'm all ears. Im just more of an FPS kinda guy anyways...
  • Amatarasu - October 6, 2008 9:01 p.m.

    i have f-zero gx,the one came i didn't throw into the air and shoot when i got my wii ....i'm still failing and crying trying to get through master lvl -_-
  • sarge-ak47 - October 5, 2008 6:35 a.m.

    Honestly Gx is my fav cube game if not overall top 3 games of all time. There is so much value packed into that have 40 ravers.. 40 endings..unique musics to each character..back story..etc. But that's just the tip of the iceberg, you're looking at a top notch hardcore racer that still ranks among the hardest games to complete (on master and 100%). I love wipeout myself but Im glad to see someone remembered this overlooked gem from the cube era. Seriously go out and buy it.
  • CrAppleton - October 4, 2008 3:55 p.m.

    Oh.. and Dazza15.. he is refering to the title of the game.. not the year it came out..
  • CrAppleton - October 4, 2008 3:49 p.m.

    I own and love both. Anyone who says that F-Zero GX takes no skill, hasn't played it. F-Zero GX (for it's time) is better than wipEout HD. While wipEout HD is without a doubt one of my fav. games of 2008, it doesn't push the genre in anything but visuals. GX was the edge of the genre for quite a while IMO. If you haven't tried it I would Highly recomend it! Like I said, both absolutely great games! But I have to agree. GX has HD beat.
  • Herzeleid - October 3, 2008 3:21 p.m.

    @Dazza15 F-Zero GX made it to the 4th place of the most difficult games on GT ;)
  • cart00n - October 3, 2008 6 a.m.

    Wow, man! I had no idea that this game was this good. It's DEFINITELY going on my Goozex list, like, immediately!
  • JoeMasturbaby - October 3, 2008 4:03 a.m.

    i love F-Zero GX Soooooooo much!!!!!!! at first i bought it just to have some variety in my game collection, and for some here-and-there gaming, but damn. the first night i was up unitl 4 a.m. playing the shit out of that game. story mode, customizing, AND just racing for fun. oh Pico, take me away to your world!!!! :P
  • twishart - October 2, 2008 9:37 p.m.

    F-Zero GX is the tool of the devil. It's also the greatest racing game ever created. The gameplay corrects pretty much everything F-Zero X didn't absolutely nail (which wasn't much), the soundtrack is awesome, the graphics are incredible (even by today's standards), it's hard as FUCK, and it represents the loving embrace of two original rival companies finally settling their differences and coming up with one helluva game. I remember hesitating a bit at that first screen when you boot the game up - Nintendo and Sega. I guess it hadn't really clicked until that point, but this game brings to a close the whole rivalry I grew up with. I was a Nintendo fanboy, but I certainly respected Sega and many of the things they accomplished during that era.
  • Jimmyjammy - October 2, 2008 8:38 p.m.

    Personally I think that F-Zero X was better than F-zero GX and neither are as good a Wipeout.
  • Dazza15 - October 2, 2008 8:19 p.m.

    wait the origanal wipout was in 1995 and to be honest F-Zero looks like it takes no skill from what ive seen in your vids but only my opinion
  • Arkavist - October 10, 2008 4:06 p.m.

    GX is the game u can turn down an blare out the metallica black album to an it'd still piss all over HD an it's 'add ur own music'. GX all the way
  • Amatarasu - October 6, 2008 8:58 p.m.


Showing 1-20 of 34 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000