So first, many of our international readers will be wondering about the name in the caption, well story goes there was a company in Europe called Star Vox, and afraid of being sued the game Star Fox starring the Star Fox team featuring Fox McCloud (no he’s not a Highlander) has a name that is never talked about, and then its reimagining on the N64 was called Lylat Wars instead of Starfox 64, but at least that made more sense.
Now these days we are used to 3d graphics on consoles. In fact all home consoles can do it easily to the point that we’re not really bothered by the graphics anymore (well at least I’m not give me good game play that’s what I give a damn about not some photo realistic horse balls.. you know what game I’m talking about) But back in the early 90s this was unheard of. We maybe had some primitive 3d on pcs but it was Star Fox powered by the super FX chip that brought polygonal graphics to home consoles and it must have been mind blowing back then. Yeah nowadays it looks dated, or to some people it might have a bit of charm to it.
Star Fox has you play as Fox McCloud ( nope can’t unhear Highlander stuff) head of the elite pilot team Star Fox all of whom are anthropomorphic animals, Fox a fox, Slippy a toad (before he got on everyone but my nerves in 64) Peppy Hare the hare and Falco Lombardi the falcon (who is still the arrogant guy we all know) as they fly their Arwings to save Corneria from Andross’s forces then fly all the way through his army to Venom and shoot the big monkey.
The game starts by letting you choose controls which effect if ‘UP’ points you up or down, which button shoots etc then nicely lets you run a practice game before sending you into the war zone. As you start proper you get three different routes, all start on Corneria and end in Venom but the routes are different difficulties: easy, normal and hard each with different courses. These levels range from cities under attack, icy planets, asteroid fields, space fleets and weird stuff. Though don’t get your hopes up you only really see amazing detail in the Future’s games in the franchise, these are basic 3d remember, but they do some nice work with that limited power, Andross the final boss is of note with his 3d face that shoots polygons at you (those who play Smash Ultimate will recognize him as an assist trophy)
The easy routes won’t take long, around half an hour with the only real trouble coming from the penultimate boss. Medium and hard however will be much more taxing, remember this is before homing shots but barrel rolls (do a barrel roll) are there to help, at least I think can’t say if it actually shrugged off lazer shots. You can still upgrade your lazer fire two times but those upgrades can be far between and if your wings get damaged you lose them.
The music while still 16 bit does have that fighting jet feel the original Corneria theme is definitely worth a listen to, sadly the boss music isn’t up to par. While it does give a foreboding feel it doesn’t have that same rush as some of the level tracks do.
I would recommend this game as it is a unique experience. However outside of the historical relevance of the game the Nintendo 64 remake Starfox 64/Lylat Wars does everything this game did and more. There is no real reward in this game for doing the levels at top grade just a higher score while its sequels will be far more rewarding for your efforts. But that’s not really a proper strike against it, it’s a fun memorable space ride that fortunately does not outstay its welcome, good for a short run, and maybe after that do the more challenging things, oh and try to find the giant space slot machine, not found that yet.
And then there is this…