Review by Life_Is_Great
"For the first time ever, Fox McCloud's next adventure is on foot, turning out to be one of the cleverest ideas yet."
Although it seems like when Fox is not in his Arwing in this game as much, gamers may think twice about getting this game. Especially the fact that his laser beam is not in this game either. Well, you thought wrong, because the new weapon he possesses in this game, Krystal's staff, puts you right in the hands one of the greatest adventures in gaming history.
A perfect, intriguing plot as follows: Krystal is a female fox that is the only last survivor of her planet. She is traveling around the galaxy on her cloudrunner in search of the demise of her family and her home. She gets a distress call from Dinosaur Planet and when she encounters General Scales and his ship, an evil dino-dictator, ruler, and tyrant of Dinosaur Planet. She learns that he has caused panic to Dinosaur planet, as he removed the four spellstones from their force point temples, the ocean and the volcano, both home to two of each.
The spellstones are what literally keeps Dinosaur Planet together, if they are removed, then the planet separates into pieces. And now the krozoa spirits, the ancient spirits that keep the planet peaceful, has disappeared and are in hiding in secret shrines. Krystal visits the nearest palace, which you play as her during the prologue and she takes one of the tests that prove to the Krozoas that they can trust you to bring them back to their shrines to be released in harmony. Some of the tests include the Test of Observation, Strength, Fear, Knowledge, and Combat. But you as Krystal, pass the test of observation and you go and release the spirit. But something goes wrong and Krystal becomes a prisoner of the palace and is held captive, unconsious, in some kind of glass shard.
This is where the Star Fox team comes in. They get a call from none other than General pepper telling them the bad news that is going on at Dinosaur Planet. When you fly your Arwing there, you land in Thorntail Hollow, a nice little area where you find Krystal's staff that she dropped when she was flying on the cloudrunner. Throughout the game, the more you progress, the more you learn about what Scales is up to, about the Spellstones, the spirits, and the planet to finish up what Krystal started, and bring harmony back to the planet and defeat Scales and his army of Sharpclaws (enemies that you fight in combat) once and for all. Not to mention you have a cool sidekick with you for practically 85%
percent of the game called Tricky. You rescue him when you chase after Sharpclaws on an awesome jet-bike race.
Despite the 7/10 for gameplay, this doesn't mean the gameplay is horrible, although there are no side-quests and that combat gets a TAD boring since there aren't enough moves and also the game locks onto the enemy for you. Although this may make everything easier, it's too simplistic and doesn't make fighting fun, the one exception being bosses.
With a long and interesting plot, beautiful environments, some cool items, puzzles, and strategy there is almost nothing you can go wrong with this game.
Some of the environments, like the Force Point Temples, have you going into rooms, solving puzzles that seem like mini-games, fighting enemies, and retracing that make the experience long and challenging. Repetitive, but fun.
Using items are kind of simple, all you do is use the C stick to scroll through your items, your staff powers like 'Ice Blast', 'Fire Blaster', 'Sharpclaw Disguise', 'Rocket Boost', 'Ground Quake', and 'Portal' which allows you to unlock certain big doors. Scroll through Tricky's commands like 'Stay', 'Heel', 'Play', 'Flame', and 'Find'. Some items like Alpine root gives Snowhorns strength for command, or when you're riding on them. Snowhorns are like elephants with really big tusks. Bafomdad's revive you when you die, blue grubtubs feed Tricky, Fuel Cells power up the Arwing. The only times you use the Arwing is to fly to places like DarkIce Mines, Cloudrunner Fortress, and very few other places in search of the hidden spellstones.
Controls are alright, but the combat system needs a tiny bit more work. All you do when fighting Sharpclaws is repetitively hitting the A button until the die. Although it seems simple, it's actually kind of fun compared to the boring combat in Mario games when all you do is stomp on Goombas and Koopas, not to mention if you use the control stick in certain position, you may have a couple of new attacks and fun ways to kill enemies.
Boss fights are way different, because they have you use strategy and good practice and combat. In fact a lot of strategy that's fun. There are only four boss fights in the game but they're all worth fighting. Like Galdon in DarkIce Mines, you must beat him in steps. First you hit his tail when pink to make him swallow you, Tricky distracting him by your orders. When Galdon swallows you, you have to hit his throat or uvula or whatever it is and then you have to use the Fire Blast at his chest and when he swallows you again you hit his uvula a few more times before you get the first spellstone.
When you pause the game and when you're on the screen with Slippy, Peppy, General Pepper's heads floating around, each gives you important advice during the game. Slippy gives you a small hint when you need help (his advice doesn't really help you, and sometimes in certain places you can't contact any of them at all), General pepper shows you your stats and current percentage in the game towards completion as well as the amount of Spellstones and K.S's you've gotten, and Peppy shows you the map of Dinosaur Planet to help you know where you are, and a memory card that allows you to save (thank god there are no save points or anything, you can save anytime anywhere).
There are tons of dinosaur tribes in this game, like the Lightfoot Tribe, a group of annoying creatures that you encounter a little past half-way the game when you pass through Lightfoot Village, you must pass their tests for them to help you find the next Krozoa Spirit. The Red-Eye Tribe are like T-Rex villains who are taking over the Walled City. Unlike the Lightfoots who aren't evil just obnoxious, you have to fight the Red-Eyes with the Super Ground Quake, an upgrade to your Staff power the Ground Quake. Staff Upgrades are hidden and half of the time they give you more magic power so your staff can use powers more times before you run out of power. Staff gems fill up your staff power. And half of the time you get a new Staff power. The Hightop Tribe isn't evil, they are imprisoned at Dragon Rock and you encounter quite a few. Note, this doesn't affect the game's plot so don't think I just let out a spoiler. Then there are the Thorntails, friendly, and the SnowHorns, grumpy but friendly.
They're amazing. Rare makes it look so realistic. Especially the characters. Not only do they look 3D but on the dinosaurs you can easily see their cool scales and smooth, rough skin and perfectly animated appearance as well as the fur on Fox.
When you play this game through the first time, you'll feel so addicted to it that the police will have to file a missing person report. I know I loved this game, and played through it and beat it four times more before it started getting a tad boring. Problem is, there aren't any side-quests to keep gamers going aside the same storyline although there are some hidden cheat tokens and a cool Scarab-gambling game in the Thorntail shop in Thorntail Hollow.
Awesome, cutscenes are worth watching and they grab your attention so much. They did just the right amount of both American and British voices. Music is pretty good, they still play the old Star Fox theme music.
Overall, this game brought a huge success to the gaming world and deserves more credit and popularity then it got. However, this game was famous for the fact that it was Rare's last production on a Nintendo game and now Namco helped make Star Fox Assault which was released earlier this year in February 2005. Despite the fact that there was not as much as the Arwing as everyone expected, Rare successfully managed to cover this up with cool levels (especially the Cloudrunner Fortress, which looks like you're in the sky), Dinosaur riding, dialogue, graphics, jet-bike racing, there's nothing that you can go wrong with this game, let alone side-quests.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 03/07/05
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