Review by BlueKnight07
If you have never experienced this N64 treasure, download immediately!
The plot is essentially a remake/retelling of the original Super NES game's plot. Fox McCloud and his fellow pilots come to planet Corneria's aid in the 11th hour to save the Lylat System from the mad scientist Andross and his vast army of space fighters, warships, and 'bio-weapons.' The story is mostly told through real time cut-scenes immediately before and after the missions, and there are two endings depending on the route you take to the final showdown on planet Venom. This is personally my favorite Star Fox story; I tend to think the storylines went downhill with Star Fox Adventures and Star Fox Assault due to decisions Rare and Namco made about certain characters. Expect a cinematic experience with memorable dialogue and characters that will have you cheering the Star Fox team with every victory.
Easily in the top ten list for N64 graphics. I have always enjoyed watching the geometric pieces of the enemy ships fly apart after shooting them down in both Star Fox games. The planet missions are colorful and the space missions look like what you'd expect. The bosses are huge and impressive. The only annoyance I have (which other people may not mind at all) is that the jaws of the speaking characters seem to do little more than vibrate while communicating.
The music is not my personal favorite, but it keeps the action going. The game is really more about the sound effects and dialogue. Every sound effect, from the laser fire to nova bomb detonations to the really big explosions, is spot on. Where this game really owns the competition is the dialogue. This is more or less the first game to have full voice acting, and it is EXCELLENT voice acting! Voices match the characters and their intended personalities well, and really helps to create an immersive experience.
The 9.9 is symbolic to the fact that the Virtual Console version does not have rumble support. Star Fox 64 was also revolutionary for being the first game to use rumble feedback, and the N64's Rumble Pak was originally included with the game in 1997. But regardless of this, Star Fox 64 is a very playable, enjoyable game that you will play over and over again. Most levels are on-rails (which means you are constantly moving forward on a predetermined path) and as Fox you maneuver you fighter within the flight path and shoot everything that gets in the way. There are a few missions and parts of missions in which the playing field opens up and you can fly wherever you want, and both are equally enjoyable. There are also a couple of on-rails missions in which you pilot the Landmaster Tank, and let me say that they are a heck of a lot more fun than it was to drive the tank in Star Fox Assault. There is even a submarine level to keep things from getting too dull. Also key to the game is the ability to more or less chart your own course to Venom depending on decisions/accomplishments made during the previous mission. An actual playthrough only lasts about an hour and a half (and you can't save partway through) but trust me: you will replay this game several times so that you can experience all of the missions. You will probably keep playing to meet the medal requirements. The best pilots will win them all and unlock expert mode for a bigger challenge.
If you asked me to compare Star Fox 64 to the others, I would tell you that the SNES version provides the most challenging experience by far, and Star Fox 64 retains enough of the challenge and creates an immersive experience that makes it the most well-rounded game in the series. I have not yet played Star Fox Command for the DS, but I can assure you that Star Fox 64 and the original is leagues ahead of Star Fox Assault, so don't let any memories of disappointment from that installment dissuade you from downloading this game. You will not regret it!
Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
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