Let's make one thing clear: Speed Zone is not up to the standard of F-Zero, not one little bit. For all its talk of speed, this is a game that, while fast, certainly does not measure up to Nintendo's franchise in that regard. It's also a game with serious control issues; movement is overly sensitive, meaning you bash into walls or tumble off course a lot of the time, and for a double whammy the physics are also floaty - cars glide along tracks and can be knocked off the tracks with the slightest tap or late turn. The same happens even with the sensitivity turned right down to the lowest setting. This is not an issue with the Wii remote's motion, as it's an identical story using the Gamecube controller and the Classic controller and their analogue sticks. It also supports Logitech's Speed Force Wireless wheel, but I don't have one of those to hand to test it, unfortunately.
The best control option is actually the remote on its side, where turning is activated Excite Truck-style - tilt the ends up and down rather twisting side to side. It's still ridiculously sensitive, but with concentration and effort you can soon match how the game wants to be played, using only tiny motions. That's not to say it's forgiven, just that it is workable if you're willing to give it a chance. When you take a trip off the track, which happens all too often, you'll be respawned automatically. You can also choose to respawn by holding down the A button when you're left spinning on the course. When your car is placed down there will be the odd occasion where it's not set straight, causing you to careen right off the track again. Frustrating.
Visually Speed Zone is a mixed bag. The cars themselves look simplistic, while the environments range from 'basic' to 'pretty'; the difference is quite jarring, as some of the backgrounds, particularly the ones set in space, are quite lovely, whereas others will be just...plain. It's not a big issue, though, as once you're playing the game properly - to a degree - you cease to notice the graphics much of the time. While not F-Zero fast, it is still a speedy little number when you've got to grips with things. This is down to the boost pads that litter the tracks; slide over one of those and your speed ups considerably. In theory, if you can control the car well enough, you can keep running over these things constantly to reach blistering speeds. When you're able to do so, it feels fantastic - the problem is that, with the control issues, it's not as common a sight as it should be.
It would be fair to say that Awesome Play have at least tried to innovate with Speed Zone somewhat. The most obvious example of this is in the eight player splitscreen mode. Using a combination of remotes, nunchuks, Gamecube pads, Classic controllers and Logitech wheels you are able to play the multiplayer on one system, on one TV. As an idea it's fine, and the game actually seems to be able to handle it well, with the obvious concession of reduced frame rates, but it's doubtful that many people will be able to enjoy it due to the small screen size it will be played in. The TV is split into nine sections, with all player screens around the outside of a block containing the map, and it feels more confusing than anything else. It's a shame that there is no online mode in addition, as this would have probably gone far more appreciated. If you are going to play this mode it's best to use four Gamecube controllers and four remotes, as if you're using Classic controllers and nunchuks you are tethered to another person using a remote, so you're going to be knocking each other off your game by accident if not purposefully.
There are also three single player modes, with progression through each dictated by climbing a pyramid level select; beat two levels to unlock the one above. This is quite a good way of doing things as you don't necessarily have to beat all the courses on one level of the pyramid to make a start on the next - until you reach upper levels. Combat mode is as it sounds: you drive around an arena picking up weapons and firing them at other cars, though it's not very easy to do and aiming is quite bad, thanks to the handling. The race mode is your standard driving game staple, pitting you against seven other drivers who seem to have been designed with no compensation for human controls in mind; they zoom off, knocking into you if they have to, and there's not really much hope for catching up unless you're on the ball (or rather, on a boost) from the very start.
The best of the lot is the solo mode, which is literally just your car on the tracks with a ghost of a rival driving around to give you some incentive. It's this mode that I spent most time in by far, and without rival drivers or weapons bumping around you're able to give yourself the time to adjust yourself to the controls, admire the sometimes excellent tracks - when they're not doing too many hairpin turns and focusing on the fun bits like loop-de-loops and multiple routes - instead. This mode does not care if you come first or last, just that you hit certain speeds throughout. By going over the boosts and driving well, you will enter the titular Speed Zone; be in this zone for the required total over the course of the race (i.e. you can go in and out of it - and you will, with all the crashes) and you beat the level. It's in this mode that you can really see the potential of the game's speed, as it's the only time you get much opportunity to reach those peaks.