Star X

Game Boy Advance

Review by Matt Paprocki

Bam!

Shooter

Graphics: 8

Sound: 6

Gameplay: 6

Overall: 6.5


Star X is an obvious (if not blatant) attempt to replicate the success of Nintendo's own Star Fox series. From it's graphical style to it's control, nearly everything is a carbon copy of the SNES classic. However, it's missing that special "something" that Star Fox had, which lowers it a few notches from greatness.

Guess what? Aliens are attacking your planet! Gasp! Guess what? You're the worlds only hope! Gasp! Guess what? Your ship is super-powered! Gasp! Ok, it's not going to win any awards for original story telling, but it's use of full polygons for it's graphical engine might. These are just plain polygons with no textures to speak of, but given the hardware, it's mighty impressive. Everything looks like it's been taken right out of Nintendo's classic, even the ship designs and falling pillars. In this case, it's a good thing.

The soundtrack, while mildly impressive, suffers from a very low, scratchy quality. Your shots are hardly audible over the music and the lack of any voice samples (settling for slow moving text instead) is a downer. It's not a game that will show off the audio capabilities of the portable, but what's here is decent enough to make it mentionable.

One of the nicer changes is the addition of free-roaming stages. Though you're still limited to an area by invisible boundaries, it's nice to be able to turn around on your free will once in a while. Yes, the majority of the game is made up entirely of stages on rails, but these intermittent stages break up the action nicely.

What brings this entire package down is the control. You're constantly forced to re-center the aiming cursor making shooting a near impossibility at times. You can change it's sensitivity in the options menu, but it hardly helps. The free roaming stages also have problems since you're not sure what exactly you're supposed to be shooting down. Most are timed and when you're told to simple "shoot the mines" without being told exactly what a mine looks like, you're pretty much screwed (Note: they're the green dots on your radar). Pop-up is also rampant, but it's hardly a flaw of the designers, just one of the hardware.

This is certainly one of the better GBA shooters and if you prefer 3-D, then this isn't a bad choice. The chances of seeing a real Star Fox game on the GBA is probably pretty limited and this is a nice departure from the norm. It's long, it's difficult, and it looks pretty cool running on the small screen. It would be a nice pick up at a bargain price.

Note: If you plan on cheating using an invincibility code (or anything of the sort), be prepared for major game crashes. It locks up constantly when they're used.

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Last updated: Saturday, June 18, 2005 09:28 AM