Star Fox 64
Review by D'Hoost
"McCloud rockets away into stardom"
Star Fox was originally a video game released on the Super Nintendo. With the attempts that they made to be 3D on a 16-bit system, Star Fox was a good game, but the graphics were downright horrible. Lots of polygons, and it generally was a total eyesore.
However, Nintendo released Star Fox 64 and presented Star Fox to us again, this time with graphics to back up the gameplay and the storyline. This time around, there's little complaint about how shoddy the graphics were. This time around, Nintendo pulled it off nicely, and to this day it stands as the best Star Fox game.
You (obviously) take control of Fox McCloud, the young star fighter pilot of the Lylatt system. Your mission is to rid the system of the presence of Andross.
It's a forward scrolling fighter game. That is, your ship flies forward automatically, and all you do is fire at things as they come at you, hopefully killing them before they kill you. Of course, it does get a bit more exciting than that- you can also boost forward and brake, allowing you to manipulate your surroundings and avoid groups of enemies or various obstacles.
Your primary weapon is your standard laser blaster. It comes with a charging feature, and you can charge it and fire a laser cannon shot that homes in on groups of enemies. Your laser can be upgrade to dual cannons and hyper (blue) cannons, and with those babies you completely tear through all of your opposition. However, sometimes your laser just doesnt' cut it- you also get bombs to lob at opponents. Bombs are POWERFUL, and can kill a screen of enemies if you aim it right.
Now, you're not fighting this battle alone- you are the commander of an entire squadron of Arwings. You have three other members. Peppy the hare, an old friend of your father's and your apparent mentor, he provides advice for newer players and can be an invaluable asset when you're not sure what's going on. Slippy the toad shows you the HP of enemy bosses, and is the mechanic of the group. Falco doesn't really serve a purpose, but he's a damn good fighter pilot. You'll also get visits from Bill, an old friend of Fox, and Katt, the girlfriend of Falco. While Bill and Katt are not important, your three friends are your priority- they have health bars of their own, and are easily taken out by the enemies if you don't watch after them.
Due to Slippy's amazing technical skills, you get to use three transports. First there's your standard Arwing flying vessel, and you also get the Blue Marine Sub and the Land Master Tank. Each vehicle is specifically used for certain levels- you don't get to pick one or the other, unfortunately. Each vehicle has advantages and disadvantages to it, making it ideal for the level it's on. (Although I'd always choose Arwing over the Land Master if given choice...)
Now, while the game is generally forward scrolling, there are some dog fights. In certain levels and boss battles, you will enter " All - range " mode, and when you're in all - range mode you can turn your ship around and fly in circles, and whatnot. You can also use somersaults to quickly make a U - Turn in battle. Generally speaking, the controls are the same, but there are more complications. While the game is 3D, the dynamics are more 2-dimensional when you're forward scrolling. When you hit all - range, the 3rd dimension comes into play, and your skills are better put to the test.
There are over a dozen planets for you to visit in this game, however you're only allowed to go to seven in any given game. Therefore you have to choose your path. Of course, you don't often get a lot of choice. Some levels can only be acquired by killing a certain number of enemies in a level, while others can only be acquired when you pass through the gates. Ultimately, you will arrive at the final level, Venom, on one of two possible paths. One leads to the true ending, and the other to a false one. It will take some practice to unlock every stage, but it's well worth it- it's lots of fun.
Andross is a crazy dude with a snowy white beard. After killing your father several years ago, Andross is on the loose again, wreaking havoc in the Lylatt system. You've been asked by General Pepper of Corneria to travel to Venom to stop him.
However, you can't simply knock on the door. You have to travel across the system, and you're going to have your hands full. Andross has a reach all across the system, and you have to go from sector to sector in order to stop Andross.
One of the smaller stories is your nemesis. There are three possible dog fights in Star Fox, and they all involve your rival; Star Wolf. Working under Andross, he too commands a fleet of 4. Star Wolf opposes you, Andrew the goat opposes Slippy, Leon the lizard is against Slippy, and Pigma, who apparently was the traitor that handed James McCloud over to Andross, stands opposite Peppy. All of the fights will take some skill to beat, as it's a very different game to have a 4v4 dog fight than it is pumping lasers into an enemy the size of a building. They never really explain anything between the characters, but you do get snippets about each character.
Beyond that, the story line shows up in the banter between characters. There isn't much depth to the story, just a clean-cut good vs. evil conquest of space.
Excellent. As I said, the N64 finally gave Nintendo the ability to show the world what they had meant to show in the original Star Fox. The polygon aspect is gone, and it's a beatifully crafted space environment.
Also quite excellent. Lots of good songs. Each one fits the level very nicely. It's always nice to see that a composer hooked up the right songs to each level, don't you think?
Lots. With so many different planetary routes, you can replay it fifty times and not get bored. There are also medals to be earned for particularly good flying, and a hard mode for the seasoned players.
Versus is quite entertaining, although really limited. You won't get much replay out of it, but for a short while you should have a blast.
Few N64 games were actually good. Starfox was good. Trying it is something you'll be glad you did
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 08/01/05
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