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Drift Turn

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Drift Turning is a special technique present in both F-Zero X and F-Zero GX. In both games, drift turning significantly reduces the traction of the player's machine, allowing them to drift through turns at a sharper angle than during standard turn or even a Slide Turn; while this does allow for pilots to navigate sharper curves without crashing, it also significantly impairs their ability to control their vehicle, as well as causing a reduction in top speed.

Drift turning can be done via input, though it can also be the result of turning too hard at high speeds. Furthermore, some sections of tracks feature reduced traction, causing a further increased likelihood of inadvertent drift turning.

In F-Zero X

Drift turning debuted in F-Zero X, where the player can initiate drift turning by pressing a drift button (Z or R), then intentionally steering in the opposite direction; steering too violently while traveling at high speeds, however, can also cause the vehicle to begin drift turning. When drift turning is initiated, the player's vehicle will begin making a distinctive sound, similar to a real-world vehicle drifting on dirt, and the camera will no longer follow the nose of the vehicle. Furthermore, the player's vehicle will lose traction, while also experiencing a sizeable reduction in traction. Players can stop drift turning by ceasing to turn, which will cause the vehicle to re-orient itself.

In general, the technique is rarely used, as its speed reduction is considered too significant in comparison to the ability to navigate sharper turns. Setting a vehicle's engine to maximum acceleration, however, can actually cause the vehicle to gain speed while drift turning, in a technique called sliding.

F-Zero GX

Drift turning returned for F-Zero GX, though it is now performed by pressing and holding down both the L and R buttons. Like in F-Zero X, turning too sharply at too high a speed can also start a drift turn; that said, the speed at which this can happen was generally increased for most vehicles, and is more likely to occur with heavier vehicles. When drift turning is initiated, red sparks can be seen underneath the machine, alongside a metallic saw-like sound. Like in F-Zero X, the camera will also stop centering on the nose of the player's vehicle. Like the previous game, the vehicle's traction will be lowered, and a slight speed reduction is seen. Players can end a drift by letting go of both the L and R buttons, or by refusing to make any inputs on the control stick.

F-Zero GX significantly reduced the speed reduction vehicles experience while drift turning, while also increasing the speed boost gained when exiting a drift turn. While sliding did return for F-Zero GX as well, the changes to drift turning and slide turning caused Snaking to become a technique, arguably dwarfing the power of either of the former techniques.