The games that shaped a generation: GameCube

8. F-Zero GX
Amusement Vision | Nintendo | 2003

The best racer on the GameCube and the ballsiest futuristic racing game out there. What's the catch? It might also be the hardest racer ever conceived

What made it so great?
Pure, unrelenting speed. It's one thing for a racing game to make it seem like you're driving 150mph, but it's quite another when the game can fling your hovercraft through a mile-high loop at 2000kph while 29 other racers try to bump you out of the sky... and make you believe it. Even with all the other cars on the screen, blasting at top speed in a fire-spewing cave with a magnetized pole acting as a course, F-Zero GX does not stutter. It's the fastest game on the system, not to mention one of the prettiest - widescreen and progressive scan support ensure this game will survive well into Wii's early days.

The racing intensity is blown into overdrive once you start getting into the harder circuits. The game goes from fairly challenging to rip-your-hair-out impossible, requiring you to race perfectly without making a single mistake. If you do, you'll see about 20 speeding hovercrafts go flying past in about a second and a half. It's this ultimate hardcore appeal that makes F-Zero GX such a standout game, for no other title on the system is so unapologetic about its infuriating difficulty. Then you dive into the story mode, where things somehow get even harder. Overcoming these races is a source of pride that any gamer would be glad to tout around.

Avid arcade goers could even transfer data from GX to AX, a standalone arcade unit that featured some of its own tracks. Throw in a customizable garage mode and you've got something to keep gearheads, speed freaks and hardcore nut jobs entranced for hours.

Get ready to play
By the time you get the hang of piloting these supercharged vehicles, you'll still have to keep a sharp focus on every single twist and turn on the track. Boost pads can rocket you forward, but get going too fast and you'll launch right off the floating course. Knowing you're one misstep away from being tipped off into the abyss below makes each race more nail-biting than the last. And to top it all off, the electro-guitar soundtrack will have your blood pumping right out your ears, adding even more layers of insanity to a game that's already soaked to the core with adrenaline.

Been there, done that?
There's not much in the way of big racing on the GameCube, but Extreme-G 3 is about as close as you're going to get to another F-Zero. Give it a shot while you wait for the inevitable (possibly online?) Wii F-Zero.