Now, now, don't get me wrong, I love F-Zero GP Legend, ever since I was a late teenager. It has actually helped me thru high school during junior year, especially when the large state standardized test was approaching toward March; I still have some fond memories with both the English Dubs as well as the GBA game of the same name.
However, nothing's perfect, and as I was creating my F-Zero fics back in the day, there were quite some unpleasantries that needed to be pointed out. So, here are my 10 Flaws in GP Legend, and I'm even including its successor, Climax.
One of the biggest and most glaring flaws about GP Legend was the fact that it often ignores the F-Zero lore that was prevalent throughout the series. Sure, there were a few games that had inconsistent intel, such as guessing what Pico's age is, but since both GP Legend and its sequel, Climax, were NOT set in the original timeline like they should be, a lot of fans such as myself couldn't possibly ignore it. There were some examples, but I'll describe as best as I can:
In Lap 2, there was Planet Nintae, where Jody was describing to her team, minus the rookie, Rick, when she said the loop is the most difficult part of the course. My F-Zero buddies had pointed out to me that this was just a copy-paste, perhaps a homage, to one of the Mute City courses introduced in X. This was kind of a problem when fans noticed this, as the anime paid total disregard on what its trying to rip off.
Zoda was originally a bounty target for Capt. Falcon and was from the Planet Uma-51, according to his profile page. However, since this was loosely in 2051-2201, they gave him a completely different origin as a criminal from 150 years that was put into cold sleep and mutated to a completely different freak than the one fans are familiar with.
Some pointed out that James McCloud was portrayed badly as a scoundrel who's not just in charge of the Galaxy Dogs, but oddly enough, trains just anyone for a hefty fee thru brutal training, as well as being an ex-veteran who abandoned his fellow soldiers, including his friend, O'Donnell. Of course, they were trying to come up with some Starfox references, but they made a complete overhaul of his origin and who he is. Although it wasn't too much of a problem since I included both stories in Ending it All; I was never fond of him anyway.
The anime, and perhaps the games too, had completely uprooted what made most pilots important such as Leon, the Arrows, Beastman, Silver, Gomar & Shioh, Blood Falcon, Deathborn, etc. And it was just heart-wrenching when Blood Falcon was still created by the champ's DNA, but they had no mention of the fatal accident, nor how Black Shadow managed to steal his chromosomes as Falcon was being hospitalized.
Not to mention, the high-flying medico has the generic name, Dr. Stewart, NOT ROBERT! They just gave him a title and surname and no inclination of his family background; not even his father, Kevin, who piloted the Golden Fox in the original Grand Prix then passed it on to him as he died. Nor did they give Jody Summer any credit on climbing Mt. Everest or attending an academy that specializes in advanced technology with John, nor her father who was replaced by her brother whom we won't know his identity until the end!
Memorable locations were either discarded (Aeropolis, Green Plant, Cosmo Terminal, Death Wind) while others had been altered (Lightning, Silence). Some didn't receive too much of a makeover like Fire Field, Mute City, Big Blue, Port Town, White Land, or Sand Ocean, Red Canyon, and one was altered such as Phantom Road/Illusion, so...those were pretty decent. Outer Space in the anime, as well as Mist Flow, were awesome too, though.
It's no wonder fans wanted to have GP Legend splurged in between GX and Maximum Velocity, including me. Overall, the interesting storylines and legends were completely omitted in GP Legend AND Climax, which could leave many devoted fans in the dust and hate these alternations! Hell, those machines/courses from BS Grand Prix 2 weren't brought back; it's a real shame...
Both the anime and the game take place in 2201, but they'd technically started on 2051. When Rick became the champion of the NY Grand Prix for the 2nd year, and failed to propose to Haruka after he was fatally injured while chasing an escaped convict, Zoda. He was put in cryo-hibernation for a century and a half, as was Zoda though he woke up 5 years prior. Instead of occurring in the 26th century like the original timeline, it took place in the 23rd century instead. This can really be a problem since the F-Max Grand Prix occurred 2 centuries prior to the ORIGINAL F-Zero competition, and it was just auto racing leading up to the astronomical advancements mankind has made in terms of space travel and racing! I was so sick of counting GP Legend as F-Zero's predecessor, as well as just a lousy spinoff! It still has the main elements the series is well-known for such as the circuits, characters, their vehicles, soundtracks, you name it. Because it took place in 2201, not in 2560! I don't mind adding newer material and Canon Foreigners, but if you're following the same formula that was introduced as a launch title for the SNES, and as a middle finger to Sonic during the 16-Bit war, you guys got some problems! Disregarding all the lore and care put into the series its known for is no good way to start something fresh and exciting, not even sorely relying on just a new controller interface! It's just a cheap, backstabbing way to treat us fans, including me!! It's absolutely no different on how we were bashed over the heads by Shadow the Hedgehog being classified as a spinoff, it's not!
I know I'm being quite judgmental, but in more ways than one, I actually liked most of the voice cast from GX even more than the ones that portray the same characters in GP Legend. I'm only including English Voice Actors since I disregard the Japanese ones. Such examples include the GX actors for Capt. Falcon, John Tanaka, Samurai Goroh, Gomar & Shioh, Black Shadow, Michael Chain, and Mighty Gazelle. I do like some of those from the F-Zero anime like Jody, Dr. Stewart, Pico, Kate, EAD, Clash, Silver, Jack, and even the Canon Foreigners; although I would like Zoda to be voiced by the same guy that voiced Kefka in Dissidia. Everyone has done a lot of hard work for these things, but I just feel that some of the 4Kids voice actors hadn't done as well as several of the originals have; like a DC fan labelling the Dark Knight as the main guy from Batman: The Animated Series. Different voice actors tend to change your perception on how the character itself should be, even though it's subjective, a few were just lacking at best.
Made for the Wrong Demographic
Like I'd said in one Journal Entry/Blog, I said that I believed that F-Zero, especially GP Legend, could have been made for the wrong group of consumers. This reminded me of when 4Kids had decided to dub One Piece against their wills, which was originally created for late teens/adults because of its everlasting runtime and strong content. Yes, GP Legend was aimed at an audience with an age range of 7 or higher; however, when compared to the Japanese version, it didn't seem quite right. I always saw the anime since then as targeted toward pre-teens/teenagers, like how GX was; of course, Japan can get away with tons more content than being localized in the States, not counting Canada, but still. If GP Legend, much like Funimation's One Piece, was originally made for older kids, that would've given them a step up in ratings and success. And it probably would've saved it, Climax, and even the series in the long run as well. F-Zero is more intense and serious, plus more strategic, than Mario Kart is; as it's like a bike without training wheels. If any show is constantly sugarcoated or just has a lot of err moments, then practically your show could go little to nowhere and gradually decay into obscurity.
The 4Kids Treatment
Now I'm not counting the FoxBox era where it was released back in 2004, no. I'm talking about after the fact where the block was assimilated to 4Kids TV; the anime-dubbing company that everyone hates. Well, back in Christmas of 2004, GP Legend restarted their series lineup as it returned to the pilot, which was good since at the time I never had a chance to see. Then, on January 2005, 4Kids TV was officially on and, needless to say, it received the worst abuse as it was cut short. On March 2005, the English dubs had their reruns, only to have no sneak peek like they did every week, and just have it gone like several other anime. I was crushed, never to see the one and only favorite show/reason to watch the FoxBox itself. And it was only to air 15/51 episodes; such a waste!! While the dubs are so underpraised, I heavily defend the cast and crew that made it worthwhile, especially Greg Abbey and Dan Green for their outstanding work!
I used to think that poor ratings/sales of the GBA game were what led to the anime's demise, thinking it's probably made for the wrong demographic. Then, after seeing TASproductions' TV Talks vid of 4Kids, I figured it was all because of the 4Kids TV transformation! No doubt that they're bunches of greedy, corporate bastards that heavily edit scenes and never cared for the final product! Yes, it was responsible for Pokémon and Yugioh, and yes they were bastardized after dubbing One Piece which in their defense they couldn't stand making on account of a shady package deal involving Dinosaur King. But by 2005, this was when GP Legend as well as others excepting Yugioh and its faithless leech, Sonic X, which suffocated them to begin with! If only the staff knew better, or if Sonic X never existed, then maybe GP Legend and the faithful FoxBox could've stood better against the tests of time. God I always wished for the anime to rise from the ashes and get a second wind on Toonami or somewhere else!! Have our prayers been answered yet?? Miscellaneous Characters had been badly portrayed
Look, it wouldn't bother me if this could happen to those petty pilots like Silver Neelsen, Billy, the Arrows, or Don Genie, not even the masked figure riding the Red Bull. "Red Bull gives you WIIIIINGS!"
Sorry, I couldn't resist. But what really bothered me was, aside from the main/side characters, they'd been so badly portrayed for the sake of the anime adaptation. With such fan favorites like Leon, Beastman, Gomar & Shioh, Michael Chain, or just those that aren't in the Task Force/Dark Million in general. A lot of favorites of mine took the backseat after a single episode in the spotlight never to be seen again. Not to mention, I didn't like how those said characters were portrayed either.
The Furikakes were labelled as criminals for stealing auto parts to start a business, then they won a race with their NEW Twin Noritta, only to have them disappear with disgrace. Or having Beastman hunt down Leon who was a tragic soul on changing into a werewolf from such a kind human and a love interest to Lucy, only to have their relationship to never be resolved. Or having Octoman as a crook without any references to his mission on restoring the Takorans from poverty. Or making Tanaka a bona fide wimp, whereas he was stern and had a thing for Jody. Or the Mighty Gazelle having better development in the games. Haven't we learned anything from F-Zero X, or at most GX!?
A lot of the other pilots got some decency, particularly the Arrows, Michael Chain, Silver Neelsen, Baba, Bio Rex, Kate Alen and others I never cared for. But those I do are like salt on a wound. I'd loathe to see characters poorly acted upon and measly written for the sake of adaptation and an alternate universe without keeping their personalities and character traits intact.
But...this isn't the only flaw here...
I HATE Hyper Zoda and Jody Summer!
So, Zoda's the crazed criminal that barely killed Rick 150 years ago, then was resurrected by Black Shadow by a Dark Reactor Might and transformed into a deformed monstrosity at Alcatran's maximum security prison. He had become Rick's arch nemesis throughout the series, not counting the games from the ORIGINAL timeline like it should be. Later on, he had developed the ability to absorb the Reactor Might's power and manipulate it to become a more grotesque figure suited for his warped mind, as well as upgrading his machine into the Hyper Death Anchor. In all honesty, I NEVER liked Zoda at all! As seen in my fics, Zoda was killed off prematurely by Tinsel and Rick, before he was able to switch into his ultimate form and also utilize the Might to cause illusions and hallucinations to his enemies, specifically Rick and Haruka. Since I never defended Zoda to begin with, and maybe he was often meant to be hated, I just wiped him out entirely, never to be seen nor using his Hyper forms again unlike the anime itself.
Another character that I had despised from the anime was Jody Summer, the captain of the Mobile Task Force. She probably was supposed to be the next Samus Aran in terms of strength, personality, endurance, etc. But I was never fond of her in both versions, not even in the GBA title. Even though Rick's recklessness and hotheadedness can get the best of him, as well as his obsessions with Zoda, he always gets inflicted by corporal punishment from her! He always gets these deafening, eye-sore slaps in the face, as well as being put under probation a lot, even so close to getting terminated! Because I'm often fond of Rick, I felt she has crossed the line more times than I can count! I found Jody WORSE than Rick, and she's often very aggressive both physically and verbally and unsupportive, and cold as ice! While she's known for being the sister of Capt. Falcon/Andy Summer/Burt Lemming, I treated her more as an enemy. In my epic, Ending it All, my OC, Tinsel, had lost all self-control and let out all her rage onto that strict cyborg! As she tends to cause pain and suffering to her subordinates even if they're already hurt! For Jack, I don't mind since he rightfully deserves the pain, but I felt that even if they do attempt to rectify their mistakes, especially with Rick, they always receive the sour end of the stick! And these are the reasons why I found these two putrid, pompous pilots to be unredeemable and intolerant in the entire franchise!!
And as a tidbit, their vehicles are just as bad to use anyways...
Haruka's been brainwashed for FAR TOO LONG!
In case you don't know, Haruka Misaki (or the name reversed in the Japanese subs) was Rick's girlfriend 150 years before he and Zoda were put into cold sleep. She was also put under cryo-hibernation and soon after reawakened and brainwashed by Black Shadow and The Skull, as revealed in Lap 8. Much later in the series, it's also unveiled that she had been exposed and vulnerable against the potent influences from the Dark Reactor Might, erasing her identity and rebuilding her persona from the ground up, as if she was "born" and raised under Black Shadow's wing. This did make a very serious villain, especially as the Emperor's right-hand woman, and I personally loved to hate her, especially Revivedracer whom describes her as his absolute favorite. That was all fine and good, and she was pretty fun to use in the games. But...
Miss Killer/Luna Ryder was Haruka's true identity for FAR TOO LONG!! It all started when I first saw one of the later episodes, Lap 43: Awakening, in the sub, where Rick was captured one time and he was desperate to save Haruka after he put 2-2 together. And she herself had just returned to her senses soon after she had a flashback of Rick hanging out with her and offering his hand on how much he'd loved her before his tragic loss. Unfortunately, for him at least, he was still being beaten to a damned bloody pulp by her, and he claimed to her treacherous face that she'll never be like Haruka, as she was LONG gone to ever return! I was in such a deep rage/hatred to her, which was why in my stories I had her spilt in 2; one was the byproduct and abomination herself, while the other was her deceased kindred spirit that can't find rest. Kind of like Syndel from Mortal Kombat. It wasn't, however, until the last few Laps in which she officially returned to Rick's side! This was just devastating to me, especially because on how much I love Rick! This truly scarred me as an F-Zero fan, and the wound sort of healed once she met her deserving fate. Haruka, Rick's long, lost love, had been mesmerized nearly throughout the entire series since Lap 8-43 and STILL acted as the corrupted, conniving bitch that she was! This was one of the reasons why I've disliked the Japanese subs ever since!! TOO LATE!!! The damage was done!
The villain was 3 in 1? WHAT!?
It was fair to know that Black Shadow was a notable villain, and it only made sense when he was featured as the head of an evil organization named Dark Million. He had some promising opponents such as himself, Zoda, Pico, The Skull, and Miss Killer. Even though the English Dubs tended to make him less intimidating than his GX counterpart, he was a pretty decent antagonist. THAT WAS UNTIL HE WAS ACTUALLY 3 IN 1 CHARACTER!
I couldn't tell you how much it REALLY pissed me off! Black Shadow's "dream" was to collect all 6 Reactor Mights that were said to be created after the Big Bang, and use them to incinerate the galaxy and remake it as he saw fit! But the main agonizing thing was, he portrayed as himself as well as two other notorious roles, Deathborn and Don Genie! This never, EVER made ANY sense whatsoever!
In GX/AX, we saw them as 3 separate characters. One was the Emperor of Brutality, another was his master and a more formidable, scarier opponent, and the third was a trillionaire that wanted to manipulate the F-Zero Committee; not to mention he pilots the Fat Shark which was a broken machine on just how well it maintains its awesome acceleration. But in the anime, though, I was just ripping my hair out!
In some episodes later in the show, particularly in Lap 47: Fate, we've learned that Black Shadow was himself and the other 2 pilots simultaneously after Rick was captured in Dark Star. It laid total disregard to the other pilots, and just meshed them together on having the demon fulfill his dream, which ironically was the same as Deathborn's in GX's Story Mode, as well as climbing to the top and taking control of the F-Zero Commission. It would've been more logical for Black Shadow to do all three roles just as him, though the lousy creators had decided to have all 3 distinctive pilots present, have Black Shadow play them as puppets acting as himself, and reversing/omitting the role of Deathborn! For Chrissakes, HE was supposed to be the maniacal mastermind that was introduced to us in GX, and was also labelled as the culprit for the Horrific Accident that suspended F-Zero before the X competition several years later!! Those asinine writers couldn't get their facts straight! And having the MAIN VILLAIN play as both his so-called master and a diabolical moneymaker really rubbed me the wrong way! Even in my fics, the characters remained intact. Those cocky bastards could've given Black Shadow, Deathborn, and Genie separate roles and kept them as such! But they didn't! And THAT was one of the reasons why I could never defend the plot of the anime! Yes I know they were trying to revamp a villain since this is set in an alternate timeline, but this NOT how you do it!!!
The Games were Rushed and Underdeveloped!
We've all heard the former man himself, Shigeru Miyamoto, said that a rushed game is bad forever. While he hadn't been one of the developers in GP Legend nor Climax, I slightly agree with it. You see, the GBA game was first released in Japan in 2003 to coincide with the release of the anime, Falcon Densetsu. And it was pretty much the same case here in the States, as the FoxBox had presented it on Saturday mornings to coincide with the release of the game itself.
Now, I kinda liked that idea; however, there were some things that went wrong with both games. With GP Legend for one, the stories were so short for each character, especially with the vital roles such as Rick, Zoda, Capt. Falcon and Black Shadow; they technically have 5 Chapters with some alternate routes here and there, but their stories have a lot of lost potential. They should've been longer to give them a sense of finality by covering what other scenarios needed to be developed, like training for the Booster Fire, or meeting Black Shadow's demise in Dark Star, or even have Rick's story resolved properly as he reunites with Haruka, or Jody actually finding out who her lost brother is.
I was so disappointed that their episodic stories were cut so short and left very little room for development with each of the featured pilots. Some scenarios weren't even significant at all, like Lisa losing her memory, while others were just plain repetitive. I was expecting to be more climactic, even if it has to be as cheesy as GX's plot. But I was sorely let down with the improper endings.
Other issues I had were you could take shortcuts fairly easily without being penalized, the music constantly/inconveniently shifts from cutout to cutout, there's no Spin Attack, and sometimes the AI and circuits are too user-friendly; although I'd highly recommend for newcomers of the series to try GP Legend out first because of that reason.
And lastly, Climax. Due to poor sales and bad reputations of GP Legend, its successor was never released internationally, at least not legitimately unless you manage to order it overseas. It'd be no doubt pretty difficult, though, but there were some glaring issues with this underdeveloped project as well. First off, the announcer wouldn't shut the hell up! It nags you at every second, and you can't seem to find an option to turn the intrusive announcer off! Besides, I missed the one used for GP Legend.
Second, because its predecessor sold poorly, it was never localized, even though most of the subtitles and the announcer were still in English! It was a real shame it never got a chance to be released on US shores when most of its text were developed in our native language! It really missed a lot of potential as a result! It surely sucks sometimes to be in the States on missed opportunities like this! What's worse was that Nintendo's partner, Suzak, was going through rough financial times, and soon went into bankruptcy as a result. If only those 2 games weren't so unprepared, then maybe the franchise itself wouldn't go into a screeching halt! Shame on you, developers!! Put some more time and effort into your projects, even those that'd fail!
So, those were my 10 gripes on how F-Zero GP Legend had met its ill fate. Even to this day, since 2005, I always wanted to have the anime itself to have a second chance, whether it'd be in Toonami, Funimation, etc. Or at least have Rick Wheeler as a brawler in Smash Bros. I still love that installment to pieces, specifically the GBA game and the English episodes. And it's still my second favorite next to GX. Heck, it even got me into the FoxBox, then ironically left it when it died too soon. By highlighting their greatest weaknesses constructively, I wish that someone would catch wind of them and prevent it from being more of a dark horse in the series, and maybe have it rise like the phoenix, or vermillion bird/dragon. I'm the Ikran Rider, and I praise GP Legend a lot, and I'll never stop praying for the anime to pick up where it left off and receive a...semi-overhaul, maybe even keep most of the VAs, especially Dan and Greg. Please, if the series should continue, and if Miyamoto wouldn't interfere with the development, make this happen.