Review by nintendonut888

"Heroic foxes? Evil monkeys? Wise cracking birds? This must be the work of Rare!"

I have found many great series by accident. This was one of my earlier games, back in 1998 I believe it was. I was needing help finding a Christmas game, and this sounded cool. I opened it, popped it in my trusting Nintendo 64, and was dazzled.

The story is one of the most original stories I've ever seen. The evil monkey scientist Andross tried taking over the Lylat System(solar system of the game), but failed miserably. General Pepper of planet Corneria exiled Andross to the barren deserted planet of Venom. After five years of peace, strange activity was being noticed from Venom. A band of mercenaries called star fox, consisting of James Mcloud the fox, Pigma Dengar the pig, and Peppy Hare the hare were sent to investigate. Being the double crossing swine he is, Pigma betrays them and turns in James to Andross, who was murdered. Peppy escaped and told James' son Fox of what happened. A couple years later Andross attacks again. Fox, Peppy, Falco Lombardi the bird and Slippy, the feminine male toad are the new star fox team, and are out for revenge.

Despite being one of the earlier games for the system, Star Fox 64 has pretty good graphics. The arwings that you fly in are nicely detailed, the bosses look menacing, and the ground looks semi-realistic. The only complaint is that the characters in cut scenes look a bit blocky.

The music is all beautifully done. Almost every level has their own tune, and very few are recycled. For example, the fight tune against your rival enemies star wolf have a tense, and yet strangely calm tune. There are a ton of boss themes to fit the feel of each boss, and they all sound very nice. The sounds are pretty realistic, with their lasers and exploding bombs and booms in general. All in all, good sounds.

The controls are easy to use and learn. The control stick is used to move your vehicle around, the A button shoots your laser, holding A charges it so you can lock on to your target, the B button shoots powerful, but rare to come by bombs. Z and R turn your arwing sideways to make sharp turns, and pressing them twice does a barrel roll to deflect normal enemy fire. C up changes views, C left boosts you up for a few seconds, C down slows you down, C down while pushing the control stick down does a u-turn, and pushing the control stick down with C left does a loop. Once you learn the u-turn and the loop, you'll be a master.

There are 16 levels in the game, each different from each other in some way. Usually the aim of each level is to destroy as many enemies as possible while surviving, and defeat the boss. In this case, the ship is auto scrolling, and you can't u-turn for obvious reasons. The other type of level is called all range mode. These have you flying everywhere in a large area, defeating enemies. While most levels are auto scrolling, many bosses are fought in all range mode, so it's a good balance. Mostly you'll be flying in your arwing, but a couple times you'll be in the landmaster tank or the blue marine submarine. Only 7 out of the 16 levels will ever be played at once. You take different paths by doing certain tasks. For example: The level meteos has two ways to win the level. If you go through it normally, you will confront the boss and go to Fortuna. However, halfway through the level are warps that make you go faster. If you hit them all, you'll go into hyperspace and end up at Katina. Your wing mates also play a big part in the missions. Feminine Slippy is a horrible pilot, and is always needing help, but can display a bosses life meter. Old timer Peppy gives you advice on how to survive and hurt bosses, and wise-cracking Falco doesn't do anything in particular, but is much better at flying than the others. If they take too much damage in a mission, they retire and don't show up until the mission after the next. Depending on what paths you take, you can end up fighting a robot Andross or the real thing. The only things that are guaranteed to happen in any path are you starting on Corneria, ending on some part of Venom, and confronting your rival mercenary group star wolf in a not so friendly fight. Other than more levels, there's not a thing on the game play I would improve.

This is one of those games that is proof that length isn't everything. An experienced player can complete it in about an hour and a half, but it takes much longer to beat it the first time. The difficulty is huge if you don't know what you're doing, and the replay value is more than a Kirby game, as you can discover and take all the paths in the game.

All in all, this is one of those modern classics that just can't be duplicated. The later Star Fox Assault for the gamecube has a bit of the classic levels, but it just doesn't have the magic this does. In conclusion, if you don't have this game, buy it!

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 09/02/05

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