RetroViewer: Foxes in Spaaaaace! Part 2


Foxes in Spaaaaaaaaaaaaace! Again!

Welcome to part two of the Star Fox review! As I mentioned before, I wanted address this game from the ground up. But Star Fox for SNES is merely the foundation for the main event. Without further adieu, Let’s get it on!

Point 1: Back, and Better than Ever

Wait… what happened to the other 62 versions?

Deep in the future days of 1997, the recently released Nintendo 64 was already sweeping the nation with awesome games with incredible 3D environments! Suddenly, Mario and Link were no longer trapped in the confines of merely 2 dimensions! They can move about freely, and it was a dream for many of us. However, there was already one game that seemed to break that wall. StarFox already gave the illusion of 3 dimensional space, so where do you go from there? Well that very same year, Nintendo answered that question.

Although updating on the design and no longer limited by the SNES’s graphical limitations, StarFox 64 kept to its roots. We’re still on a rail-shooter/flight sim, but we have actual 3D space to explore! And voice acting! And plot! Holy crap do we have plot!

Point 2: History! Intrigue! Danger!

James McCloud wears sunglasses at night. And in Space. You will never be this cool.

So in the first game, we know that Fox and his team are ace pilots who are fighting against a space tyrant. That’s cool, that’s fine, there may be some more stuff there but I don’t remember. StarFox 64 decided to elaborate juuuuuuuust a touch on the story. And by that, I mean they added all KINDS of stuff to it.

The game intro lays down the history, wherein Andross has been around for a while and messin’ stuff up in the Lylat System. Fox’s father, James McCloud, used to run the StarFox team (which is now a mercenary group, not part of Planet Corneria’s Military). His partners were Peppy Hare and Pigma Dengar, who ends up betraying the team and causes the death of James. Peppy escapes and Fox grows up to take over the team, enlisting Slippy and Falco. Andross starts crap up again, and General Peppy of Corneria hires StarFox to do what they do best. Now with this simple addition of background, we have a new understanding of Fox’s motivations! There’s a new sense of empathy and purpose, and the idea that Andross is actually this persisting looming threat. And a new mechanic is introduced, which also leads to a new antagonist!

Point 3: Can’t Let You Do That!

Look at that smug jerk. I love him.

A new bad-guy is introduced in StarFox 64, a rival group called StarWolf, led by Wolf MacDonald. They engage you in an aerial, ahem, “Dog Fight”, where you now have access to a circular arena where you have almost full control over the environment. It’s a phenomenal addition to the game that really emphasizes the fact that you’re a fighter pilot! No longer tied to the rail, you have to make the calls of when to employ evasive maneuvers (such as barrel-rolling), identify your opportunities and shake bogeys of not only yourself, but your team. It’s a solid addition to the game that I feel is very underrated.

Point 4: MultiPaths are Back, Jack!

Each one is worth a play-through.

Much like the first game, there are several paths to go through, and each one reveals interesting features about the characters, depending on what actions you take throughout each level. Will you take the normal path through the Asteroid belt, leading to Slippy crash-landing on Titania? Or will you keep Falco alive through the first stage and fight the secret boss, leading you to Sector Y and eventually to his old girlfriend? Do you face off with StarWolf at the Power Station/Defense System, or do you take them down in Katina and have a showdown in Venom later? How do you get to Aquas??? You decide! (FYI: I totes know how to get to Aquas. Hit me up if you need help).

StarFox 64 is an amazing game, much more deserving of further elaboration, but alas, I do not have words to describe how I love it so. It’s one of my favorite games, and is actually one of the only games I have ever played to 100% completion. It’s got an intriguing story, solid controls and replayability out the wazoo. So much, in fact, that I still prefer it to any iteration of the StarFox series to date. It’s my go-to for 64 games, and to this day the strongest in the series.

Now about my bill….

That’s one steep bill… but it’s worth it.

-Joe

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