F-Zero has a quick learning curve, for starters. Dove right into ‘Training’ mode with the default vehicle, Hot Violet. As others have said, the graphics and colours are basic, but the speed and motion are exceptionally fluid. The basic gameplay is not as difficult as I expected: this is more two-dimensional (i.e. less up and down) than the more 3-D experience of Wipeout, which I always found difficult to control.
But this does not mean that F-Zero is not challenging. You learn soon enough to combine a Left or Right top button with the corresponding arrow direction for smooth and elegant turns. And where to apply earned turbo boosts. And how to use the pit stop lane to rejuvenate your damaged vehicle.
Meanwhile, the competition in Grand Prix mode, while fair, is tough! In five-lap series, you have to be in at least 15th place after lap 1 to continue onto lap 2, then top 10, top 7, top 5, and finally finish in the top 3 to proceed to the next course. Fail at any point and the race stops and ‘You Lose’.
There are two multiplayer modes, Single-pak Link and Multipak Link. I haven’t hooked up with other users with their own game packs, but I have used the single-pack multiplayer mode, and it is a blast! There is limited vehicles and courses with the single-pack multiplayer mode. However, this doesn’t bother me, as I like the benefit of not having to purchase additional packs to enjoy multiplayer mode. This single-pack multiplayer feature of certain GBA games is sweet, and I will prefer those GBA games that make this available.
My opinion of GT Challenge is favourable. I was only disappointed by the lack of a single-pack multiplayer mode. I’m not going to risk having to buy two of a new game to learn if the multiplayer mode is no good. As for GT Advance Championship Racing, it looked like it had too much of a learning curve to master, with the tweaking of so many cars and parts. That will attract others, but I like to just get stuck in.
Overall, if you like great racing games and aren’t fussed about vehicle spec perfection, then definitely get F-Zero. It has a fast and smooth motion, very manageable, and is simply great loads of fun!