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StarFox - November 22, '00 by Dorsola
Game:StarFoxCompany:Nintendo
Type:ShooterPlayers:1

Okay, I figured it was time to do something a little different here. What say we look at a SNES game or two? Well, most of you SNES enthusiasts have heard of or played this game, StarFox, and I'd imagine many of you loved it as I did. (If you didn't, I just have to ask: WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE!??? ;-)
Well, let's see... StarFox, released by Nintendo in 1993, was quite a remarkable, revolutionary game for its time. It was the first to use the SuperFX chip, a sort of expansion to the original SNES hardware (which was already pretty powerful) which provided extra processing power and new effects. StarFox is best described as a flight/space simulator/shooter - you control the ship of Fox McCloud, the leader of a group of mercenaries whose job is to defeat the evil Andross and restore peace to the galaxy. Your squadmates, Falco Lombardi, Slippy Toad and Peppy Hare (yes, those are their names) fly along with you through 3 different courses consisting of 6-7 levels each, sometimes helping you out and sometimes needing help themselves. Each level has something unique to offer, whether visually or in terms of gameplay, and while each course is pretty much the same each time you play it, the challenge factor (even on the easiest setting) makes it worth playing again and again!
Okay, let's go through the technical details: StarFox, as I said before, uses the SuperFX chip to squeeze out the last bit of processing power available in the Super Nintendo system. It's the first *successful* vector-based game for a console that provided any decent amount of framerate and detail. The graphics are very simplistic in design - your ship is made of about 8-10 polygons total, which really doesn't lend itself to detail well. But the complexity of the scenes you fly through, despite them only being visible for seconds at a time, more than makes up for the simple nature of the graphics. Nintendo used all of the various graphics modes and abilities the machine had to offer to full advantage, creating very believable environments and exciting pathways, and even hiding a few secrets here and there. About the only problem with the graphics is that the framerate is quite low when any major complexity hits the screen - slowing the entire gameplay down at times. Unfortunately, this brings the overall performance of the game down by quite a bit.
Soundwise, the game is great! They spent a lot of time and effort giving StarFox a great, high-quality presentation. It features several spoken-English voice tracks, some simulated voices, a wide variety of sound effects (which, while low-quality, are usually pretty easy on the ears and make your enemies seem that much more real), and an excellent soundtrack! (Aside from Chrono Trigger, which I'll also be reviewing, StarFox has the highest percentage of music tracks that I listen to outside of the game.) I give this game a full 10 in the sound department.
Control-wise, StarFox is also quite good. Even though you have a 4-direction gamepad to work with, the controls are very intuitive, and you still have a considerable amount of variability with your aim and movement. In space levels, such as the Asteroid Field, you can play from inside the cockpit, moving a set of crosshairs around to aim at your enemies. These crosshairs move pretty much the way you'd expect them to - something I've found is not duplicated very often in similar games. You also have booster and retro rockets, the ability to bank and roll, your basic laser shot (which is upgradable) and the Nova Bomb - a powerful bomb that destroys (or damages) everything currently visible.
All around, StarFox is arguably one of the best games Nintendo ever put out. I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn't already played it. (I unfortunately don't have the same high opinion of StarFox 64, the Nintendo 64 sequel to this game. While it was fun to play, it's just not the same...) Enjoy it, and see how many tries it takes you to get to Venom on Course 3. ;-)
Graphics
8
10
Sound
Play Control
10
10
Challenge
Replay Value
10
4
Performance

Screen Shots

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