Review by SNESBOSS
My Wine and My Grandma Aged Better Than This Classic!
3D polygon graphics and virtual reality were the next big things in the early 90s. "Shigeru Miyamoto" and his team wanted to develop a fully 3D game, but faced a dilemma with the "Super Nintendo Entertainment System", which wasn't made to handle 3D polygon graphics even when considering its Mode 7 capabilities. Nevertheless, after noticing that a British company called "Argonaut Software" was developing polygon games for personal computers, "Miyamoto" decided to find out if it would be possible to develop a chip which could possess the technology and implement it into a "SNES" cartridge...
Fast-forward a bit, and we get the "Super FX" chip!
"Miyamoto's" move popularized both the chip itself and a franchise that is very well known worldwide today: Star Fox! With the real polygon graphics they were looking for, together with awesome backgrounds the "SNES" was able to deliver, and an amazing soundtrack, Star Fox went to become - for some people - one of the greatest games of all time. Now, how does it hold up in 2017 and onwards?
GAMEPLAY: In a "shoot 'em up", gameplay is mostly self-explanatory. You go from point A to point B, shooting things in the way to either kill enemies or acquire items, blasting your way through space, and maybe beating some bosses here and there. But at the very beginning of Star Fox, not only you are given the choice to choose your control style, but you can also practice your flying and shooting abilities, and master them before getting into the real deal.
In my opinion, it is imperative to practice at the beginning to see how each control type feels! Also, pay special attention to commands that most players tend to forget, such as braking and the awesome barrel roll which is activated by pressing either "L" or "R" twice. These moves can save your behind during tight corridors and encounters with fast incoming enemies, and help you preserve energy (or life, however you wanna call it) which is extremely valuable in Star Fox! After all, the game can be very hard at times due to somewhat sluggish controls and low frame-rate, so go practice your flying skills beforehand and have fun doing barrel rolls and FLYING THROUGH RINGS! - Insert "Superman 64" joke here -
Once you're done with the practice mode, choose out of 3 paths ranging from easy to difficult, and defend the "Lylat Star System." The game does not tell you which one is easy and which one is hard, so good luck figuring that out and have a blast going through all 3 courses; at least you'll get the help of 3 other characters who form the "Star Fox Team" together with you.
Also, keep an eye out for perks, extra bombs, save points, and extra lives scattered throughout space!
STORY: An evil scientist named "Andross" has come back to "Corneria", habitat of "Fox McCloud" and his buddies and planet from which the scientist was kicked out by "General Pepper" due to his evil desire to rule the "Lylat System." He brings his army to destroy "Corneria", which prompts "Pepper" to count on the "Star Fox Team" to defend the star system.
Honestly, the plot in this game was the last thing I was interested about. It's pretty much a typical early 90s sci-fi/"Star Wars" kind of thing, and this type of plot never resonate with me so well. However, I gotta point out that the members of the "Star Fox Team" ("Fox McCloud", "Falco Lombardi", "Peppy Hare", and "Slippy Toad") are quite charismatic, and have become "Nintendo" iconic characters, who appear on later sequels in the series as well as games such as "Super Smash Bros."
GRAPHICS: God, this game looks awful today!! I am a HUGE "Super Nintendo" fan, but even I have to admit that the early polygons of Star Fox look like garbage today. In fact, I believe most "SNES" 2D games aged WAY BETTER than not only Star Fox, but even early "Playstation" games. For the sake of comparison, when I take a look at "Final Fantasy VI" and "Final Fantasy VII", many times (not always) I find myself choosing the graphics of VI over the polygons of VII. Sure, all of that is subjective, but to say Star Fox looks good in 2017 is very unrealistic for me. The only 3D game on the "SNES" that looks worse than Star Fox in my opinion is "Dirt Trax FX!"
First, let's begin with the lack of texture on the floors, many walls, ceilings, buildings, etc. While it was quite acceptable in 1993, these things were vastly improved by as early as 1997, when the sequel "Star Fox 64" came out. That's pretty understandable, considering the "Nintendo 64" was designed to run 3D polygon graphics with ease, while the "Super Nintendo's" area of expertise was obviously 2D. Long story short, if the graphics for the first Star Fox already looked pretty dated by 1997, they look even worse exactly 20 years later.
The second thing that pisses me off is the GIGANTIC black bars around the screen, if you're playing on a TV instead of an emulator that is. Those black bars completely ruin the game for me, and even if I zoom in to eliminate them, the polygons will look even uglier. Do yourself a favor and emulate Star Fox on your computer instead of playing the old fashioned way... unless you're stuck in 1993.
SOUNDTRACK: The only section of the game that still impressed me during my 2017 longplay was the music. Star Fox has some of the best tracks on the "SNES", and such an upbeat vibe! My favorite tracks are "Corneria" and "Space Armada," but there are many other good tracks in the soundtrack as well.
The sound effects are also great, very realistic and perfectly representing what they're there to represent. Laser shots, the airwings flying, the bombs, the crashes, the animals talking gibberish, etc. That said, it's pretty safe to say that the best part of this game is the soundtrack.
LENGTH and REPLAY: The average gamer will beat all 3 courses of the game in between 6-8 hours. I am no expert in this game, so that is just an estimate! And as far as replay value this title has it good, considering the difficulty and the 3 different courses you can go through.
LEGACY and FINAL THOUGHTS: This "groundbreaking for the early 90s and not-so-groundbreaking for 2017" title is responsible for giving birth to one of "Nintendo's" most popular franchises. Star Fox sold around 3 million copies worldwide, which for the time was a respectable number. Also, the "Nintendo 64" sequel took the franchise to a different and better level, and many sequels came afterwards due to the success of both titles...
But, what about "Star Fox 2?"...Yeah, that 1996 cancelled game for the "SNES" which we were eagerly anticipating while reading our "Nintendo Power" magazines, and maybe even played its leaked ROM during the following years but had to wait until 2017 for a proper release?... Is it any better than the original? Does it look as bad?! Find out in the next "SNESBOSS" review, coming soon to "GameFaqs!"
Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Product Release: Star Fox (US, 03/31/93)
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