Review by Phange
"A Dino Identity Crisis"
The history of Star Fox Adventures is wrought with more peril than most companies would want to admit. Initially an N64 game under the title ''Dinosaur Planet'', the game starred a blue fox-girl named Krystal, and bore more similarities to Jet Force Gemini than it did Zelda. The game was anticipated perhaps a little more than Rare knew, and Nintendo acknowledged that though the Nintendo 64 was a dying system, the project could be salvaged. That is, with a catch. Why not insert the completely opposite universe of Star Fox into the game, giving Dinosaurs the ability to coexist with Arwings. This was a smart marketing move, no doubt, but it also provides a very unsettling dilemma. The game feels as if Fox and Co. were thrown in at the last minute to add somewhat familiar characters into the game. While distracting, the player will probably forgive this incursion when actually playing the game.
Star Fox Adventures is a rare breed of Flight and Adventure. However, the flight levels are few and far between, which will probably make the more avid fans of the Star Fox of yore a little uneasy. However, the main game is essentially Zelda with dinosaurs and spaceships. This should come as no surprise for followers of this game's long production cycle.
Fox utilizes martial arts and swordplay to advance through various areas in Star Fox Adventures. Fox's main weapon is a staff, which has various functions depending on the situation. However, the combat involved with this device is extremely complex, consisting of multiple combos and blocks. Here lies the first of the many problems in Star Fox. The targeting system is extremely fidgety, and attacks can only be performed if you are indeed locked on to something. Otherwise, your staff will only swing once.
Much like Zelda, Star Fox Adventures takes pride in it's puzzle solving. To this extent it does a great job. The puzzles are very complex and occasionally baffling. However, since the game relies so heavily on action the puzzles aren't utilized as much as a Zelda game would.
Items are collected throughout this super-long adventure, and all other aspects of the game can be summed up along the lines of a Zelda-clone.
Whoa. Rare is absolutely stunning on the Nintendo Gamecube. Their only game on Nintendo Gamecube, as well. They certainly went out with a bang. On that note, the graphics are just off the wall amazing. Fox and Krystal have fur shading, the grass is composed of thousands of petals, the dinosaurs have reactive skin, the lighting is in realtime. And the colors..... well.... the colors are just astounding.
And then came the framerate. Hiccups, anyone? While not a problem in small areas, the framerate does bog down considerably in the main Hub overworld and various areas throughout the game. It's no biggie, but it does hurt the otherwise flawless depiction of Star Fox Adventures.
Rare is just amazing at all things associated with composition. The quality of composition along with the quality of instrumentation is truly amazing. The soundtrack is very similar to that of Jet Force Gemini, which also had a phenomenal soundtrack.
The sound is there. What else do you want? A lot, apparently. Everything is voiced perfectly, except for the disturbingly annoying Slippy and Peppy. Rare even went so far as to invent a language for the dinosaurs, which they speak quite regularly. And it can be translated, too. Take that, Al Bhed fans!
Overall: You can't go wrong with Rare's final outing on a Nintendo system. Star Fox Adventures is a truly amazing piece of software for a truly amazing system. Get it and enjoy!
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 09/25/02, Updated 09/25/02
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