Wow, it's coming to America, and it's everything an arcade F-Zero should be!
There was a 30 minute wait to play this game once, for about 3 minutes. Let me say, it’s worth the wait in line.
What you see on the screen on AX is virtually the same as what you see on GX, with only the addition of a game timer. They are graphically similar as well, with the only big difference being the arcade unit’s higher resolution monitor. The cabinet is set up so that the whole seat and pedal structure rolls in place (as opposed to pivoting from a or swinging), while the steering wheel stays stationary, mounted under the monitor.
The steering wheel has full turning and altitude functionality, with wheel paddles behind for leaning to either side and for attacking with a side or spin attack. The wheel has the perfect amount of resistance when going into turns or pivoting your nose up or down, and turning tightly has a good feel to it. Mind you, this was happening as the whole thing rolls from side to side as you turn. It was really fun.
The big question for me was to see how the giant boost button in the middle of the wheel would work out. Despite the fact that placing a button anywhere on the edges of the wheel, behind the wheel, or adding a third pedal would have made a better booster, I found that you could reach over and hit it with your thumb just fine (or mash it with one of your hands for added effect) and still be in full control of a hovercraft going at Mach 3.
The machine on the floor was loaded with license cards as well. The cards let you store your name and points info for use again (though the ones at the show will only work at the show). They keep track of what courses you beat on the top of the card, so you can see for yourself.
I’m very happy that Sega and Nintendo decided to release this in the States. Combined with GX, and with healthy distribution, this could be greatest home-arcade connection since the Neo-Geo.