Review by lufia22
"Simply classic fun."
I recently just picked up Star Fox 64 at my local GameStop for five dollars. What a bargain! I also got a couple of other games cheap as well (Banjo Kazooie and Jet Force Gemini). I forgot how fun this game was. Immediately when I popped the cart into my 'ol N64 system I had nostalgia of me sitting with my friends playing and mastering each level, trying to figure out to get to the other levels. What fun.
Some of you may remember the old Super Nintendo Star Fox. You probably remember its 3D'ish graphics. You also probably remember them looking sort of crummy. I know I did. Star Fox 64 improves on graphics A LOT! When I popped this game into my system after purchasing it from GameStop and shot down a ship to see it go splashing into the water on the first level I just said to myself, ''Wow, this has pretty good graphics for a N64 game.'' Having good graphics on the N64 is nothing to be proud of but it is in this case. Star Fox 64 was one of the earlier games on the N64 and it looks a lot better than a lot of N64 games, in my opinion.
The graphics do sport a few, minor flaws. When the characters talk, their mouths move at insane speeds. It's just funny to see them talk, and quite annoying. The other is the fog. Single player mode doesn't have TOO much fog but it exist. However, multiplayer mode has tons of fog and is just plain ugly. But since you can just consider this game's multiplayer nonexistent then this isn't a big flaw.
The music is real unnoticeable. It never really rises above midi level sound and none of it is really that great.
There just isn't a lot of SFX. You'll mostly here your lasers firing and ships blowing up. What can you expect in a game like this? Maybe I'm expecting too much from the N64's sound.
Ok, some guy, who Fox's dad thought he had taken care of, decides to mess with the galaxy again. Too bad Star Fox is on his tail. Beyond the fact that Fox's father died trying to defeat the same evil doer, there really isn't much story here. I'm going lenient here. I even reduced the story score from 20 points to 10 points just so it wouldn't hurt the overall score as much. You also meet up with your friends, one who fought along with Fox's father before he died. There's not much you can expect story wise from a ''mindless fun'' type of game.
If you're wondering where the 10 points I deducted from the Story score went, then here is where it went. Scores that tend to have more flaw and more importance to the game get a bigger score. Gameplay started out as 40 but to just help out the game (as a lot of games don't have great stories but are great anyways) I just added ten points here, which will probably help the overall score.
This game can be looked at as a watered down version of Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, but that's not a bad thing. I would even go as far to say that this game paved the path for Rogue Squardron. In Star Fox 64 you take pilot of your ship. It's equipped with lasers that can be upgraded with power-ups in the level as well as charged for a blast that can home in on the target. The ship is also equipped with bombs and a shield. Bombs can be collected throughout levels (you start with three) and can be launched to create a massive explosion. Your shields start low but you can repair damage via silver and golden rings. You can also increase your shields by collecting three golden rings and it will double the size of your shield meter (your shields reset at the beginning of each level and can only be doubled once). Checkpoints also lay around the worlds and both heal you and save you from having to do the whole first portion of the level in case you die.
Gameplay consists of regular Star Fox type levels. Some levels you are flying through space, dodging asteroids, some levels you are flying through an abandoned city, and some you are driving in a tank that is a blast to control. One thing stays true to all the levels, shoot what's in front of you. Most levels consist of flying straight forwards and shooting but some levels break off into a ''free range mode.'' This is sort of like Rogue Squadrons gameplay. You can basically fly anywhere. However, these sequences are short and few in numbers.
So what's bad about Star Fox 64? Immediately you'll notice your comrades. Your team of star fighters has got to consist of the most annoying people in the whole Star Fox universe. Not only are they almost completely useless but they can annoy the daylight out of you. There always screaming, ''Fox, get him off my tail!'' or ''Fox, what's taking so long!'' What, am I supposed to save your hide, complete the mission, and protect my hide as well when you are doing nothing at all?! And then you decide to take the occasional shot at your own teammates, either by accident because they were stupid enough to fly right out in front of you or just because you're pissed off at them and then they reply, ''Hey, what's the big idea!'' I wonder...
There are a few other minor downsides to the game. Sometimes it's hard to target an enemy, sometimes you can't even target or even shoot and enemy until it's a certain distance to you. Don't ask me. Multiplayer is also a drag. It's not fun at all and quite boring. Besides all that, Star Fox is one hell of a fun game to sit down an play in your spare time.
This control is superb. It does everything you would want your ship to do and does it all with great reaction. You can barrel roll, turn sharp, do a loop-de-loop, and even do a complete u-turn in the opposite direction. I do dislike the fact that you can't just hold down the A button to keep firing because the ship will just charge up so you can do a homing blast but it's also a good thing as tapping A faster will shoot faster, but it eventually wears out your thumb and wrist. Let's also not forget that this game was the very first game to sport the Rumble Pack capability. It was even sold with it.
This game is made around replay. It's very old-school. You can't save your progress but I don't see why you would. It probably take about an hour to and hour and a half at max to beat this game, but that's not where the replay lies. When you first play through the game you probably wonder what all those other worlds/areas on the map are. Well this is where Star Fox 64 is unique. Depending on what you do in some levels depends on what level you go to next. There are several different paths you can take in this game and it's a decent challenge to try and go through each path and beat every level. Not to mention this game is just a great no-brainer game in the first place.
Overall: 78/100 (rounded up to a 8/10)
This game is a great old-school classic that should be in anyone's N64 line up. It was fun to play back then and still is fun to play now. Today's games lack a lot of no-brainer fun and this game simply reflects how fun games used to be. It also probably set the path for games like Rogue Squandron to build off of. With the emergence of games like Ikaruga and Viewtiful Joe, hopefully the no-brainer type games become in style again, and what better time than now to bring them back?
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 10/18/03
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