Review by Dark Aldran
"A Good Game? Yes. A Good Star Fox Game? No."
Now that they're working for Microsoft, Rare won't be dishing out anymore of their highly anticipated games for Nintendo. The same developers that brought some of the hottest games of the late 90s to the N64 gets one last hurrah through to Nintendo gamers in Star Fox Adventures, the long-delayed, super-hyped platformer featuring the long absent Star Fox team. As great as this game turned out to be, however, it's hard to shake the fact that our furry friends just don't belong. Read on...
Star Fox Adventures (Formerly Dinosaur Planet among other variations)
An Action/Adventure Platformer developed by Rare for the Gamecube
What Do I See:
Most informed people may recall that Star Fox Adventures was originally slated to be Dinosaur Planet for the N64. After putting it off for the Gamecube and making it Star Fox, the game was then supposed to be out in the fall of 2001, then Spring 2002, then finally Fall 2002. After all these delays, one would hope they'd tweak some stuff and make it top notch. That's what you get here with graphic. SFA delivers some of the best graphics yet, with smooth textures, excellent special effects, and outstanding character models, complete with facial features that make our heroes look like they actually give a damn (Which can't be said for previous Star Fox games). While there's the occasional lack of obstruction (Tails go through walls, models clash), you can't really blame them. Go ahead and name one truly 3D game that's been perfect on the physics of the design, and I'll give you double...no, TRIPLE my salary for these reviews!
As for movement, it was done well. Not as lively as an animated movie, but since this isn't a movie, it can pass. SCORE: 10
What Do I Hear:
Having listened to the music of both Star Fox and Star Fox 64, I wish that some of the awesome tracks from the former were brought in to pump life into the faint scores of the latter. Unfortunately, SFA doesn't get any better on the music front. Most of the music is SFA originals, made specifically for the Dinosaur Planet environment. That means no rock music, mostly safari-esque stuff with drums and people going ''oh-ah oh-ah'' or something. Once you get into space, you get an updated version of the space-faring track from Star Fox 64, though the rehash doesn't make me like it any better.
The sound effects department, specifically voice acting, is where SFA steps up over its predecessors. You get a wide variety of voices in this game, complete with emotion (As opposed to Fox's previous lack thereof). While Peppy's voice seems to have become as distorted as his memory since last time out, Pepper, Slippy and Fox have retained some similarity in their voices, Fox more than Slippy. A lot of extras provide voices that will remind gamers that Rare is from the other side of the Atlantic (Expect some Scottish and British accents amongst the natives). Though comments outside cutscenes can get repetitive and annoying, it's as good as Rare has ever offered, and it's far better than anything provided in Star Fox games of old. SCORE: 8
What Do I Follow:
Oops, here we go. As I said, this game was originally called Dinosaur Planet. There was no intention to put Star Fox in the game, that is until Shigeru Miyamoto brought it up. Now that Dinosaur Planet is Star Fox Adventures, we run into a dilemma: How do we fit these two totally different worlds together? The answer: Tweak the Star Fox storyline.
Okay, this was just wrong. Any gamers can honestly say that Fox does not belong here on Dinosaur Planet. Star Fox was created to fight space pirates with Arwings not dinosaurs with magical staffs. Almost all elements of the Star Fox world vanish when you enter the world that is (literally) Dinosaur Planet. Yes, some high-tech gadgetry was added to the world to make it feel more like sci-fi future and not a Jurassic Renaissance (With a ''perfectly'' good explanation for how it got there). Unfortunately, it all feels too little like Star Fox to be considered Star Fox, though Rare should be commended for designing a storyline that actually makes sense once you accept Dinosaur Planet as a part of the Lylat System. SCORE: 6
What Do I Do:
DO NOT PLAY THIS GAME FOR THE ARWING MISSIONS! Yes, Star Fox has always been about flying in an arwing, blasting bogeys and all that physics-defying sci-fi junk. Unfortunately, Dinosaur Planet wasn't originally made to have space missions, so SFA has to settle for second-rate flying missions which offer no originality or fun for that matter. Your best bet is to find your fun on the ground, playing this for the platformer that it is and was meant to be.
On the surface, this game screams Zelda, right down to the controls. Most of what you do in this game is designed the same way (Though not quite as good) as the N64 Zelda games would be, so if you've played those, you already have a good idea of how SFA works. You'll find tons of puzzles, a few of which may persuade you to toss your TV out the window (Please don't, though), and there are some secret to find on the side. As for your weapon...well, fighting with the staff isn't all that fun. You have a few basic moves and combos, all of which is just a matter of repeatedly pressing the A button and moving your analog stick around, plus rolling and blocking. Bosses require a bit more strategy, and can be infuriating to fight, but it's the best fighting you'll get in the game. Oh, and then there's your partner Tricky, a little dinosaur who you'll need to solve many of your puzzles, though many times its anyone's guess what the heck he's trying to do or indicate. The game will take you a while, but the only reason you may want to play again would probably be to find what you didn't get the first time around. SCORE: 8
What Do I Conclude:
Do not buy this game if you are merely a fan of Star Fox games. You won't enjoy it very much on that level. This game is literally a one-shot deal, since Rare won't be making a sequel, and Nintendo's not likely to do something like this again. If it had stuck to a sci-fi setting, with Star Fox-type weapons and settings, it could've been better. For people into platformers. It's worth a rent at the least, but having the game for a while, maybe a week or two, is really the only way to get the most out of this game. FINAL SCORE: 8
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 12/11/02, Updated 12/11/02
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