Nintendo's decision to go with cartridges for the Nintendo 64, combined with the lack of a dedicated sound chip, has really put a damper on creating the best music possible for many games. "Zelda: Ocarina of Time", for instance, suffers from very pinched and lifeless instruments, and even the geniuses at Konami couldn't make too great of a sound system for Castlevania's wonderful soundtrack.
Thankfully, when Nintendo decided to make a sequel to their SNES favorite, F-Zero, they decided to go the streaming route. While space issues forced it to be in mono, F-Zero X's soundtrack still has excellent sound quality that just can't be done otherwise on the system. All this wouldn't matter if the music itself wasn't good, but luckily the complete opposite is true.
There's really only one way to describe the style of music in F-Zero X - hard rock. Every single track on the CD has wailing distortion guitars, heavy percussion, and fast bass. Everything from the title screen to the staff roll to the winning fanfare is loud and hard.
The main features on this soundtrack are the nine pieces that accompany the normal races. Every one is what great hard rock should be ?Ea good melody, a great beat, and something to get your blood pumping. Two of the tunes from the original F-Zero are back and remixed, the Mute City music ("Endless Challenge") and the Big Blue music ("Decide in the Eyes"). Both are great - faithful to the originals and providing a fresh new sound. Of the other seven, my favorite is probably "Dream Chaser", which gets right to the point immediately and never loses steam.
While most of the other tracks from the game are small tunes like "Ranking" and "Game Over", there are still a couple longer tracks. The blood-pumping "All Need is 30 Deaths" is from the Death Match in the game, both "Grand Prix Ending" and "Staff Roll" are great, and "Title BGM" features an excellent guitar solo.
If you've played the game, you may know that if you get under a certain time on any of the tracks, you will unlock a "Staff Ghost" for that track. Well, the last nine tracks feature the first nine pieces of the CD, played with openings and endings as well as sound effects and announcer, to a person who is essentially playing the game and beating the Staff Ghosts on nine specific tracks. On the one hand, it does add 10 and a half minutes to the CD, but on the other hand it gets kind of annoying, especially with some of the more annoying sound effects.
Overall, this is a nice purchase. If you can get past the repetition in the last nine tracks, then the CD is great. It's a testament to creative programming as well as a great listen whenever you want to get your spirits high.