Review by WhatTheDeuce92
Reviewed: 07/16/07 | Updated: 12/10/12
You know you want to hear Peppy say "Do a barrel roll!" again!
Ah, Star Fox 64, how I love you so. I remember back in the day (about 10 years ago, I suppose) when I rented this game. Honestly, I don't know why I never bought it and nowadays I think I must've been crazy for not doing so. Well, since I never got around to buying this game during the Nintendo 64 era, you can guess how happy I was when I heard that the game was coming to the Wii's Virtual Console.
So what exactly is Star Fox 64 anyway? Well, Star Fox 64 (known as Lylat Wars in Europe and Australia) is a scrolling shooter game. It could be classified as a space shooter, but not all of the levels take place in space, so I guess a scrolling shooter would suit it as a better genre. Anyway, it was originally released over 10 years ago on the Nintendo 64 video game system, and is now available for download on the Wii's Virtual Console system. Back in the day (well, in this case, 1997), Star Fox 64 was one of the top-selling games of its time, and it eventually earned its spot as a true instant classic, and it's no wonder why.
Well, that's enough with the introductions. Let's get right down to the game itself. Well, in Star Fox 64, you play as the character Fox McCloud, and you pilot a spacecraft-type vehicle called an Arwing (with the exception of three missions, where you either control a vehicle called the Landmaster or the Blue Marine, depending on the mission). Using the Arwing, you can fire lasers and Bombs, and also pull off certain moves, such as a somersault or the well-known barrel roll.
While you pilot the Arwing, you'll be progressing through a level, all while shooting oncoming enemies. So, the basic gist of the game is to move through a level, dodge enemy fire and other obstacles, and kill anything and everything that stands in your way. At the end of most levels, you will fight a boss, who will obviously be tougher than the other enemies you encounter in the level. As well as progressing through a level, at certain points in the game (some boss fights and some levels as a whole), you'll enter something known as "All-Range Mode". This is where you have free control of the Arwing, as you fly freely around a rectangular-type arena, fighting whatever enemies you wish to fight. Returning from the original Star Fox for SNES, you also have three wingmen who will aid you in your battles: Falco Lombardi, Slippy Toad, and Peppy Hare. They help you out in various ways. However, sometimes YOU have to help THEM out. Actually, it's not sometimes. It's a lot. It's alright, though, as it adds to the challenge of the game, not only making you save yourself, but your teammates as well. If you fail to save one of your wingmen during a mission, they'll have to retreat, and they won't be back for the next mission, either, as their ship will still be under repairs.
The levels in Star Fox 64 are truly unique. What's great about Star Fox 64 is that you can always play the game differently. This is because of the branching levels. You always start out on one level. Depending on how you complete that first level, you can go to two different levels. The choices continue, depending on if you complete the tasks of the level. This is what makes Star Fox 64 stand out. On each play-through, you'll play through seven different missions/levels, but there are 15 different levels in all, so this means that you can't see all the levels in one play-through.
Finally, to conclude the gameplay, we have the Multiplayer. Well, I wish we would, anyway. I haven't tried out Multiplayer in Star Fox 64 myself, so my knowledge of it is very limited. There are really only two things I know about Mutliplayer mode. First of all, up to four players can play simultaneously. Secondly, at first you can only play using the Arwings, but depending on your accomplishments in the main game, you can also use the Landmaster tank or you can walk on foot. Not sure how that works out...but yeah, that's multiplayer.
Next we move into the story of Star Fox 64. Now, this is the worst part of the game, but that's only because I thought every other part of the game was perfect. The story is still great, just not perfect. So what is it? Well, first of all, the plot is largely the same as the original Star Fox for SNES, except this game's story is more detailed. Well, here's the basic story: strange activity is spotted on the planet known as Venom, where the evil Andross resides. A team consisting of the pilots James McCloud, Peppy Hare, and Pigma Dengar are sent to investigate. Upon arriving at Venom, Pigma betrays the team, causing James and Peppy to be captured by Andross. Peppy escapes, but James doesn't return. By the way, none of that was a spoiler, because all of that is explained right at the beginning of the game, before you even start the first level. Anyway, now, sometime after that incident, strange activity is noticed once again, and a new team, consisting of Fox, Falco, Slippy, and Peppy, is sent to investigate. This is where I have to stop talking about the story, because if I do, I'll spoil it. All that's left to say now, is that the story will be different depending on what path you take. Also, there's two different ways to get to Venom, so that means that there's two different endings. All in all, story's pretty good, but it's not anything special.
Next up is the graphics. I always have trouble with this part during my reviews, as there's not much to talk about. The graphics are beautiful; what else am I supposed to say? For the game's time, the graphics are a visual masterpiece. Even today, the graphics don't look bad at all. The game was praised for it's charming visuals, and it's no wonder why.
Ooh, next we have the sounds. They certainly are great. Hell, what am I saying, they're not great. They're perfect! First off, sound effects are done well. Music is great. There are not many other games where you'll hear music like this. The music in this game is very memorable, and that's ALWAYS a good thing (unless, of course, you remember them for how horrible they are...then it's not, I guess). Good sound effects, very memorable music; can it get any better? Oh, it most certainly can. Next up is the voice acting. Yay! This is another area where Star Fox 64 truly stands out. If you played the original Star Fox for SNES, you'll remember that weird chatter that was in the game. In Star Fox 64, they replaced it with full voice acting, and it's done absolutely great. In fact, the game relies heavily on the voices, and together with the cinematic sequences, it really drives the game forward. Finally, the dialogue in this game is so great, that many fans of the game constantly quote it, the most famous being Peppy Hare's "Do a barrel roll!" quote. Memorable music and memorable voices truly make this a memorable game.
This brings us to our final part of the review: the play time and replay value. First off, I have to say that it only takes about an hour to go through the entire game. Now, this sounds bad at first, but believe me; you will play this game for more than an hour. Not only is there the branching paths and the fact that the game is extremely addicting, there's one other thing I didn't mention yet. In Star Fox 64, you have to get medals. There's one medal for each level. How do you get a medal? Well, you have to beat the level with all wingmen intact and with a certain score. Believe me, reading this makes it sound easy, but it's definitely not. Once you get all 15 medals, you unlock Expert mode. Expert mode is harder than the normal mode...well, obviously. There are more enemies and your Arwing takes more damage than usual. In Expert mode, you'll have to get all the medals AGAIN. Well, you don't have to. You don't have to do anything. I only got all the medals in Normal mode. I'll go back to the game eventually to get all the medals in Expert mode, but for now, I'm satisfied, as I've already put MANY hours into the game, and that's definitely not an exaggeration. Simply put, this game can last your hours and hours.
Well, that wraps everything up. Let's do a recap.
+ This is FUN.
- I challenge you to prove me wrong.
+ Pretty decent story.
- It isn't anything truly special.
+ Truly amazing for its time.
- They're probably not appreciated anymore.
+ "Do a barrel roll!"
- Let me know if YOU find anything wrong with the sounds.
Play Time/Replay Value: 10
+ Will last you hours, for sure.
- It's hard to list cons when there is none.
Well, that's that. I give this game a 9.6/10. It's truly a classic and shouldn't be passed up. I highly recommend it. And finally, to close the review, I have to say it one more time, in the words of Peppy Hare:
"Do a barrel roll!"
Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Product Release: Star Fox 64 (US, 04/02/07)
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