Review by Ninja Munkey128
"Rare leaves Nintendo with a slight fart and fizzle"
In the beginning there was a game called Dinosaur Planet. It was in development by Rare as the last great hit for the Nintendo 64 console however Rare decided it would be better for it to be released for the next console, the Gamecube. It was planned as an adventure game along the lines of the Legend of Zelda series. Meanwhile Nintendo was developing their next Star Fox game which would supposedly let players finally control Fox in a true on-foot style. It was later realized that both these games were based on similar principles and therefore, Dinosaur Planet did release but however it released with a brand new title and a new host of characters. The game instead featured the Star Fox Team and an assorted motley of other characters and thus Star Fox Adventures was born.
The story begins with the introduction of a new character, the slightly more feminine fox Krystal, who is currently investigating a distress signal from you guessed it Dinosaur Planet. After a bit more hoopla and cutscenes, you finally land up with the Star Fox Team, Fox Mcloud, Slippy Toad, and Peppy Hare. Apparently Falco Lombardi is no longer with them. Anyway they receive a transmission from General Pepper who gives them a new mission: To investigate Dinosaur Planet's recent planetary breakup and reunify the floating pieces before some cataclysmic event happens, and that's the basic premise of the story. All I can say is that this isn't what I call captivating. There are some mystical elements in the story and one plot twist but nothing really draws you in to the story. It's just the original plot with the Star Fox brand clamped over it. It's pretty obvious that Nintendo just wanted Star Fox to be in this game in order to attract his fanbase into purchasing the title. Unfortunately Nintendo and Rare failed to realize that they actually could salvage the plot to make it more interesting but its obvious that this was a missed opportunity.
There's no doubt about it, this game is very pretty. Everything looks great from the rippling water and the intricate detail on Fox's fur. It all comes together quite nicely. The lighting is also certainly impressive in this game. There's quite a few moments when I just like to look at Fox and see the way the light casts a nice blue color to his fur and his surrounding terrain. My only complaint is that some of the effects lack any real pizazz, fire being the main problem. It looks so very plain and uninteresting. It reminds me of the primitive fire graphics on the Nintendo 64. Also the flying missions seemed to have been shoved into some obscure little cubby hole as they don't really showcase any visual eye candy. The enemy ships are plain and not very well detailed. Explosions are very dull and are nothing like the gigantic explosions that were in the previous two Star Fox titles. Overall though, Star Fox remains an excellent tech demo and showcase of the Gamecube's graphical capabilities.
Rare is well known in its sound department. In many games from Banjo-Kazooie to Conker's Bad Fur Day, there were plenty of neat sounds and atmospheric music. There is however none to be found here unfortunately. The music is strangely MIDI in sound which in my opinion does not take full capability of the sound system onboard the Gamecube. Some music sounds like, meh, conveying no feeling or mood. The character voices were decent to say the least however some were a little sketchy to say the least. Fox had a decent voice however that isn't much to say for the rest of the cast. Krystal has a slightly sexy British voice which in my opinion would never guess considering her tastes in clothes. Peppy has that same roughneck accent but it sounds slightly duller than the one found on the original Star Fox. Slippy still sounds like helium ingested monkey and his voice is less annoying than the one found in Star Fox 64 but it's certainly not an improvement to say the least. General Pepper has a good voice though but that's expected as military officers are easy to get right. Overall Rare didn't take much time in the sound department as many of the music and character voices don't inspire any feelings of anxiety or adrenaline which many of Rare's previous titles did.
The game feels and plays like Zelda clone, however it lacks the fundamental elements tha actually make it worthwhile. My first peeve about this game is the incessant button mashing. There are little varieties in your attacks and they usually do the same damage. Fox wields his spear with lethal efficiency and machismo but that's about it. The attacks are just nice to look at but don't offer any real gameplay purpose. The main grunts of the enemy horde you face can be beaten with simply pressing the same button constantly until it bites the big one, some fun. Another problem is that there isn't any variety in the enemy ranks. The standard Sharpclaw grunt is the mainstay enemy throughout the world. The only variation I saw was different colors to differentiate difficulty. There are some other enemies but the majority can be beaten by either shooting them with fire bolts or repeated button mashing. There are some enemies that require a little more finesse, however it doesn't really offer anything to the predictable gameplay. There are some bosses in the game but they're easily defeated with some wit and skill. They just seem like tutorial bosses that you would fight in a Zelda game. The puzzles in this game can sometimes be good enough however they can be quickly spoiled by one thing: Slippy Toad, the in-game strategy guide. The game merely becomes too easy due to the walkthrough nature of Slippy's advice. Instead of merely giving you hints and tidbits in order for you to figure out how to solve the puzzle, Slippy gives you the complete word by word strategy in order to accomplish your task. It's pretty dismal I know. The majority of the game is spent on foot while sporadically littered around are a few flying missions and mini games. Some of these are fun whi;le others are downright frustrating and ridiculous. One example would be the Test of Strength. Fox must push another dinosaur into a pit to prove his worth to a tribe and the key is rightful timing of rapid button mashing. The problem is you'll be too frustrated when you lose perhaps several times in a row. It's these kinds of mini games that deserve a bit more looking over when polishing a game. The flying missions are what any veteran Star Fox player might expect, an on-rail shooter. The only problem is that they're too simple and too easy. Your objective in each one is to pass through a certain number of rings and that's pretty much all I can say for the flying missions. Rare obviously was more concerned with making cheap profits off the Star Fox franchise than creating good games, at least that's my opinion anyway.
Lasting Appeal 6/10
Well there are some extras in the game and usually they involve the search for these special coins that can be used to unlock special things. Unfortunately these so called 'extras' aren't really worth your time. They only serve the purpose to lengthen your time on this beautiful albeit boring planet. Some of these include a black and white mode, and some hidden messages. It's nothing really special or noteworthy frankly.
Star Fox Adventures offers nothing in terms of original gameplay or actual fun. It's obvious this game was made for the proverbial quick buck as to cash in on the always successful Star Fox brand. This was Rare's last game for the Gamecube as sometime after they were sold to Microsoft to develop for the XBOX. It is in my opinion that Rare had the ability to create a true masterpiece that could have stood tall with the original Star Fox, yet those bumbling idiots decided to take the easy way out and make their last mark on the system a totally abysmal and minuscule one.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 07/19/04
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