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VC Review: Star Fox 64

We changed our review format a bit so it’s much more…ya know…to the point.

Check it out:

Many gamers fondly remember the original Star Fox for the Super Nintendo as a showcase for what game developers could do with limited resources. Star Fox was a 3D game on a 2D system, as well as a preview of what was to come in the next iteration of gaming when the industry took what was possibly its greatest leap thus far: the third dimension. Many fan favorites like Mario and Zelda made the jump into what are considered some of the best games ever created. Star Fox 64 may not be quite as epic and fully-fledged as those masterpieces, but it’s just as refined and is a very noble reinvention of a franchise.

 

Star Fox 64 isn’t a direct sequel to it’s predecessor: it’s rather a re-imagining of the story told in the original, but with a fleshed out storyline, atmosphere, and gameplay that wasn’t possible on the Super Nintendo. Most stages of Fox’s adventures play out like an on-rails shooter: players will control their ship, moving it around on the screen, but the perspective flows forward on its own. However, there are some areas and boss fights which open up into “Full Range Mode,” giving the player complete freedom to navigate.

As a result of the arcade-like setup, the action is spot-on and the reflexes required to master the game are razor-sharp. While the main game can be completed by most players within a few hours, there are multiple pathways to travel down which can branch into different story lines: players will need to go through the game a minimum of three times to experience every level, and that’s assuming that they can figure out what to do in every level to reach their destination.

The levels themselves are designed very well, ramping up in challenge nicely and offering an excellent sense of pacing. Furthermore, despite the sometimes blurry textures and crude 3D models by today’s standards, the art design in Star Fox 64 holds up well enough, mainly because every level feels distinct, making the trip to each new planet captivating.

The ambient sound (for an N64 title) drives the experience to solar heights with excellent compositions from Koji Kondo himself, spot-on effects, and surprisingly good voice acting. Granted, this game is a product of the 90s and, as such, the quality of the voice acting could use some work. However, for its time, the localization and quality of the acting is, as a whole, very fitting and dramatically aids the presentation in sucking the player into the Lylat System in a way no Nintendo-made game had done before.

The one major factor hurting the presentation is the distinct lack of rumble, something very key to the original version (Star Fox 64 was the first game to use the N64 Rumble Pack, a device which inspired the industry standard). Also, the controls can feel a tad too sensitive at times if you’re trying to hold a steady and precise aim. The title has its blemishes, but make no mistake: this is one of the best games for the N64 and a classic title worthy of any collector.

 

 

Final Verdict:

 

Think About It

For ten dollars, Star Fox 64 is not recommended to everyone. While it has poignant arcade gameplay and excellent presentation, it is also very lacking in physical content. There are 15 levels, and though the mediocre multiplayer mode and the medals (and subsequent Expert Mode) help to add play value, only those who really get into the experience and wish to master it will truly get their money’s worth. Others may feel disappointed with Star Fox 64’s brevity. This is a classic title that anyone should try out due to its quality and addictive gameplay, but take into consideration its short-lived nature (designed to be replayed and mastered) before you purchase.

“OK, I’ll admit it…You did good, Fox.”

Awards:

Sharp Gameplay

Score: 4/5 Stars

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One Response to “VC Review: Star Fox 64”

  1. Do a barrel roll!


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