Star Fox


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 8

Sound: 10

Gameplay: 6

Overall: 7


starfoxsnes2.bmp (171290 bytes)Star Fox was marketed so well, Nintendo made polygon happy kids happy about polygons before they even knew what polygons were. It was sold as a revolutionary experience, and in a rare case of marketing being completely true, Star Fox was. Whether or not it actually holds up a classic shooter is debatable.

What those marketing materials failed to acknowledge is the games on-rails nature. When it comes time to be brutally honest, Star Fox is barely more advanced than a full-motion video title. Your controls are limited, you're on a stuck path with little room for exploration, and enemies appear on the screen only to line up in your range of fire.

As harsh and rough as that sounds, it's undeniable. That doesn't mean this is a waste of time. It definitely starts properly, with a booming soundtrack, huge ship coming from overhead, and the Airwings rushing from the hangar to begin their mission. The addition of voice, intelligible or not, was just the extra bit needed to complete the illusion.

It's still to this day easy to be impressed by this title if you're aware of the hardware specifications and understand what it's going through. The rough frame rate is what becomes the biggest problem, making it hard, if not impossible, to aim exactly where you want. Controls are sluggish, and a second behind where they should be.

Maneuvering the ship isn't a problem. Shooting at something is. Certain bosses, with small vulnerable spots, are frustrating. These encounters become epic because of how long you'll spend missing shots that should be connecting.

starfoxsnes6.bmp (171290 bytes)Still, there's no denying that Star Fox broke new ground, whether or not it controls as you want it to. There's plenty of replay value to be had with multiple paths, the sense of being in the air is strong enough to be (almost) believable, and the soundtrack is surprisingly powerful given how much needs to be processed for the graphics engine. It's simply lacking in the most crucial area.

If a game came out today with a frame rate like this, it would be slaughtered by critics. This is obviously pushing the hardware as far as it will go, the FX Chip inside the cart proving an extra boost where it can. This is marketing hype at its best, with a classic game buried on hardware that wasn't ready for it.

It does remain an experience like Nintendo wanted it be, or at least how they wanted you to think it would be. It's worth playing, that much is undeniable. What it's not though is a great game. A good game, yes, but hardly the classic some make it out to be. The N64 follow up should be the classic.


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Last updated: Thursday, September 15, 2005 12:18 AM