With the recent reveal of Starfox for WiiU I thought it would make a good time to look back on the series and share my thoughts on each entry (I will be using the UK names not the US ones so sorry for any confusion!), starting with…
Made using the power of the Super FX chip (which has a really intesting history behind it!), Starwing was one of the first true 3D games of any video game console. Compared to something simmilar at the time such as Space Harrier it was a huge leap forward in game design and technology! It looks quite rough now, but back then it was mindblowing. The gameplay on the other hand, still shines just as strongly as the graphics once did!
Super fluid (In the 60HZ version at least) controls make for a great arcade like experience, with abilities such as upgradable your lasers and wings to doing stunts such as the famous “BARREL ROLL” slow down and speed up your ship for a certain period of time and fly with your Arwing entirely sideways, it’s a joy to play and feels like you’re always progressing… Until you get “WING DAMAGE!”
The levels were designed with these intuitive controls in mind with the inclusion of tight spaces to navigate and even a tutorial level with obstacles and challenges such as flying through close rings to practise the controls helped make this game more than just a simple flying game. Another usique inclusion is the fact that your team mates can be seen flying through the stage, and at certain times they will requre your help to defeat certain enemies or to save them from being destroyed! The team all have personalities too which helps add to the atmosphere! Who can forget the whining of Slippy Toad or the fighting spirit of Falco Lombardi?!
The game is also unique in the way it tackes level progression and difficulty levels. By using a map with three distinct routes to take to the final destination. Each one has completely unique levels to play through which makes for fantastic replayability! There are also hidden secret areas such as the famous “Out of this dimension” area, which is accessed somewhere in the meteor field.
There was actually a sequel in production, and it was fully completed, but pulled from distrubution so that customers would focus more on the 3D capabilites of the N64. A ROM of the entire game can be found online and played via an emulator!
Starwing was one of the games I would always play after school, I never managed to get very far though it wasn’t until much later that I finally defeated Andross and saved the Lylat System! Talking of the Lylat system…
This is how a sequel should be done! Taking everything that was good about the original and simply making it better! The graphics, the story, the gameplay, levels, everything about this game was amazing. It was also the first game to take advantage of the rumble pack which actually came with the game in a special big box editoon.
Lylat Wars has a very cinematic feel to it with action packed levels with huge set pieces and varying missions. This game does away with the choice of three separate maps to follow, instead, the player chooses which level comes next by completing a certain mission within the stage. This makes the game even more replayable than the first, having to hunt out all the objectives in a stage to find a way to a new location was a lot of fun and very challening too!
There’s a reason why, for many people, this is still considered to be the best in the franchise.
A very big departure from the previous games in the series, Adventures wasn’t even a Starfox game until late into development. In fact, the game had been almost finished as an N64 game called Dinosaur Planet, until Nintendo stepped in and suggested that Rare include Star Fox and re-make the game for the new GameCube console (Much like how Starfox 2 was cancelled in favour of the N64). The change in direction was met with mixed results…
I however, loved it! Taking the best parts of Starfox and mixing it with the Zelda formula made for a fantastic game in my oppinion. It retained Rare’s quirky game design and ability to create amazing 3D adventure worlds. The graphics were once again mind blowing. (and still are) The characters are fun and memorable, and the newcomer Krystal became a permanent member of the Starfox team! Even prince Tricky made several appearences since!
The game mostly takes place on the planet Sauria (At the time known only as Dinsaur Planet), with you as Fox McCloud exploring the land and trying to piece it back together.
The planet had been blasted out into space and became a threat to the Lylat System after a war broke out between the Dinosaurs and an invading force lead by the evil General Scales.
Through his journey he is also trying to save Krystal who has been inprisoned in a placed called the Krazoa Palace, which is apparently the place all the spirits need to be returned to if the dinaosaurs want a chance of stopping General Scales and piecing the planet back together! Of course, it turns out that Andros was the one to blame for the planet cracking open, and once again the Starfox team destroy him, with the help of Falco who flies in to help out… Although he wasn’t even in the game until the final battle!
The arwing is used to fly between parts of the broken up planet, and serve as a reminder that this is infact a starfox game!
It also deserves some attention for being Rare’s last console game for Nintendo before beight bought my Microsoft… RIP.
Taking the game somewhat back to basics, Assault was developed externally by Namco, as part of their new Triforce colaboration, there were plans for an arcade version as well though sadly, that never happened.
The game seemed to be going through development hell for a long time with several delays and to be honest, absolutely terrible early footage.
When the game finally came out though, all fears could be put to rest. It was another epic game with a style simmilat to Lylat Wars.
As well as the standard flying stages, Assault also had on foot and land master stages too. As well as some levels which combined all three. This made for a very varied experience, I find all three gameplay styles fun, although some complains can be made towards the odd controls on the ground sections. The graphics are once again, amazing. Though not quite up to Adventures levels of amazing.
This game really does feel like playing a movie, with much improved cinematics and a completely orchestral soundtrack with remixes of previous starfox music as well as some amazing original tracks. As well as some of the best boss fights and staged in the series history! One part of the game that always stays in my mind is standing on the wing of an Arwing and shooting down aliens on a snowy planet, then landing and running around the planet on foot!
All this adds up to one of my personal favourite Starfox games and a fantastic addition to the GameCubes library!
I really don’t have much to say about command, it didn’t grip me like the previous games did. I couldnt get used to the much slower pace of the game and constant talk from all the characters. The game has more of a strategic feel with you positioning the great fox on a map and occasianally entering battles which all take place in large open arenas, simmilar to the “All range mode” sections in Lylat wars and Assault.
Apparently it does have an interesting story and deep gameplay but I couldn’t get into it.
Long story short… I dont like it.
Starfox 64 3DThe latest game in the series is a remake of the fan favourite, Starfox 64. Not much has changed apart from the obvious inclusion of better graphics, and good use of 3D! There are some new gyro controls but I much prefer to stick with the stick.. pun intended. 😉
All in all a great game, but not the next step forward for the starfox series.
Looking forward to seeing what direction they choose to take the series next!
Thanks for reading!