Review by EPoetker
Reviewed: 02/02/00 | Updated: 02/02/00
One of the first N64 games to come out is also one of the best...
There is one reason, and one reason only, why I gave this game a 9. It failed to produce the visceral thrill brought on by the excellent direction and even more excellent music of Star Fox SNES. It's noticable enough to take it down a point, and anyone who's played the earlier versions knows exactly what I'm talking about. Other than that, it remains one of the best scrolling shooters on any system, anywhere. Here's why...
Graphics. Of course graphics. The first crop of games for the Nintendo 64 were meant to emphasize the graphical capabilities of the machine, and Star Fox delivers where it counts, not so much in the sheer number of colors and polygons displayed, but in how the ships react to the environment when they turn, shoot, crash, etc. The fluid motion and lack of almost any type of edge-that suddenly-goes-off-into-pixelated-oblivion is a testament to how well the programmers kept everything neat and debugged. The graphics teams at Nintendo knew ther stuff, and it showed. Much time can be spent just staring at the artistry. Unfortunately...
...compared to the time spent on the graphics, the time spent on the music was a joke. Oh, there were a few notables, like the Aquas theme and the ending theme, but basically all of the creative talent was invested in the sounds and voice acting. And I must admit, hearing my old friends Falco, Peppy, and Slippy conversing was a salve to my gaming soul. But the lack of the REALLY AWESOME music from Star Fox SNES had me feeling cheated. (Remember the music from the Space Armada, Venom, Titania, Sector X???? Even remixes would have been nice.) However, my sadness soon melted away when I saw how good the CONTROL was. Seriously, being able to SEE your ship gave you a much better idea of when to turn, when to shoot, and when you were shooting at your friend or your enemy(something really hard to do with the too-confusing polygons of the original Star Fox.) Every button on the N64 pad was put to good use, and the way one could pass off those maneuvers was superb. Some said that this title was too easy; I say that the rather weird control and strange graphical views in the last Star Fox made it too HARD. When control is tailored to a player, it's only natural that their true talent shows. All is not lost with Nintendo.
As you play, you will be motivated to play again. And again. And again with friends. The two to four player feature makes this game a definite keeper. (Shooting down my friends always gives me a twinge.) The fact that you can unlock new vehicles by getting medals on all the levels makes it a classic. You can choose your own path to play in a wide variety of locales, from an asteroid field to the surface of a star to the cities on Macbeth. You will not get bored with this game easily, and that's part of the problem...you'll just play and play until you win. Fortunately, due to the items mentioned above, you'll keep pulling this cart out for years to come. Fly off into the mesosphere and relive the adventures with Fox McCloud and his crew!
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
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