Review by Zylo the wolf
"The first game where we got to do a BARREL ROLL."
The Super Nintendo got quite a few strange games that managed to become games that many bought and have a precious memory to. Just to pick one is Mario Paint, which was just an ordinary paint game where you could paint Mario and Yoshi in different colors, make a few animations and a quick melody, maybe it was because it had Mario it was successful. A completely different game that also was destined to be a crappy game that still managed to sell a lot and even become a popular series was the first Star Fox game that had something called a Super FX chip.
The game is known as Star Fox in both Japan and North America, but over here in Europe Nintendo feared lawsuit since over here there was already a game on Atari 2600 called Star Fox. Another theory is that there's a European company called Star Vox so Nintendo changed the name to avoid confusion. However the only differences between the versions is the title screen, and nothing else like many other games at this time who got the German censor over here in Europe.
The game takes place in the Lylat system, which is a far as I can tell a high technology galaxy far away from our and instead of humans different animals are intelligent enough to pilot big battle space ships called Arwings. The evil Andross have launched an attack against the planet Coneria, as well as all the other planets in the galaxy. To counter this General Pepper have hired the elite space squad Star Fox to reach the planet of Venom and destroy Andross. The leader of this group and the character who you play as is Star Fox, and his three team mates are Peppy Hare, Slippy Toad and Falco Lombardi will do their best to help him to defeat Andross.
The first thing you do after that you've pushed the start button on the title screen is to select how you want the controls to be, there are four different type of controls and it's important that you pick the one that you think feels good. Since the key to beat this game is to handle your airwing and avoid all the enemy attacks, I suggest that you try to the training stage at least once before you actually begin the game just so that you are certain that you've chosen the correct controls.
Finally there one more choice you have to do before you begin the game, and that's to select one out of the three different routes you want to reach Venom. In most other shooters you can select the difficulty by going to the option menu and the harder the difficulty is the less life you got, the faster the enemy gets e.t.c, but not in Starwing. Instead each route has it's own difficulty, and all three routes got it's unique stages except in all you start at Coneria and your destination is always Venom. This gives the game some replay value that you at least have to play through the game three times in order to have played on all stages.
Starwing is unique that it's one of the few Super Nintendo games that actually is in 3D, which is all thanks to the Super FX chip which I mentioned before. You control Star Fox while he's piloting his airwing, and your mission is to shoot down all the enemy space ships and avoid all their attacks to reach the goal of the stage which ends with a boss fight. During the whole game your three team mates will pop up and talk to Fox and also might blow a few things up when they appear, just make sure that you don't aim on them instead of the enemy. After each stage you will see how many percent of the enemies you killed, and also how well your team mates managed to survive. Based on this you will get a score.
There are a few ways that you can control your airwing in order to avoid to drive right into a wall or to avoid the enemies. The first and most basic thing is that you can move in eight different directions, but there's more. There's a brake button that is very useful when you are close to drive right into a wall or another flying object that would damage you airwing, but if you hit the brakes than you will have much more time to avoid it, after a while the airwing will go back ot it's regular speed. You can also use the L or R button to turn the airwing 90 degrees, which make it a lot easier to turn either left or right. Press the L or R button twice and you will do the famous barrel roll, which can be used to deflect almost all beams that the enemy shoots at you.
There are a few power ups in this game that you should look for. First of all is the small yellow triangle circles that you get when you kill some enemies that you just killed. When you drive through them you increase some of the lost shield power on your airwing, which is very useful since driving right into a wall takes a lot of damage, and of course it also takes damage when the enemy beams hits you. Another similar power up looks almost the same but the triangles are gray instead of yellow works as a checkpoint in the game and this also lets you regain some of the shield power. If you die after you have driven through one of these, you will start there instead at the beginning of the stage.
You can also upgrade your own beam twice, and then the game gets a lot easier and I think you don't lose your upgraded beam until you've messed up your airwing to much. Just like in all other space shooters you can also find bombs which can be used to blow up every that moves. Do not waste these as they are hard to find and they cause a lot of damage so they should only be used as a last resort. There's also a shield power up that I really have no idea what it does, except that it makes the Airwing look like a space ship from the arcade classic Asteroids.
Starwing is really impressive that it could work so well on the Super Nintendo, but it's not without it's fault. Most of this is since the remake Lylat Wars on the Nintendo 64 was so much better which makes some think that this game is unplayable today. First of all the graphic is somewhat impressive, but now that we have seen how 3D games can look this looks, really really simple. One of the best things in Lylat Wars was how Fox communicate with his team mates, but in this game all they do is to ask you to shoot the enemy that's right behind them. And well the game isn't nearly as fun to play.
But lets forget that Lylat Wars was ever made and look at what this game really is. It's a new type of space shooter where you don't have the same control as in 2D shooters, and there are very few power ups, but the game still feels so different compared to everything else on the system which makes it stand out, and yes it's still possible to have fun while playing this game.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 07/24/09
Game Release: Starwing (EU, 06/03/93)
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