Star Fox 64
Call it a case of better late than never. More than two years after Super NES owners were supposed to get a sequel to Star Fox. Nintendo has finally delivered; for a new system and with nary a Super FX Chip in sight. But is this 64-Bit update to the classic 3-D shooter worth the wait?
Well, fans of the original need not fear (and critics need not apply). Star Fox 64. like the N64 version of Mario Kart, stays true to the first game, except-to use an apt industry clich6-with more of everything. The game throws more enemies at you than just about any other shooter. And when you're not dodging enemy fire, you're zigging and zagging through caves, around asteroids and beneath crumbling buildings. The Bosses are as huge and outrageous as before (not the least of which is the giant head of Andross you face at game's end).
Star Fox 64 packs 15 levels in all. and most have your Arwing battling along a predetermined path (although it was previously believed that your ship could turn around and fly back to the beginning of each level, this is not the case). Yet a few stages-the Boss levels especially-let you cruise around in 3-D freedom, sort of like the snowspeeder level from Shadows of the Empire.
As in the first game, you'll traverse the entire Lyat Star System, starting in Corneria's capital city, moving on to an asteroid belt, then battling on through a variety of other interplanetary locales. But you'll have more than the Arwing at your disposal. One level has you driving the bandmaster, a hefty, highspeed tank whose jumpjets can rocket you into the air for brief, chasm-crossing spurts. Another level sends you on a deep-sea search-and-destroy mission in a one-man (er...one-fox) attack sub.
All three vehicles share the same basic capabilities. Kick on turbo for a boost of speed or slam on the brakes to avoid collisions. As in the original, the Arwing can perform barrel rolls to dodge enemy fire, but now it can fly loops and U-turns, too. The Arwing's guns have also been supercharged. By. holding down the Fire button and sweeping your crosshairs across a wave of enemies, you can lock onto them and unleash ultrapowerful guided laser blasts.
Story-wise, Star Fox 64 isn't so much a direct sequel as it is a variation of the original game's theme. As before, the evil scientist Andross is besieging planet Corneria-home to millions of talking animals with weird metal feet. General Pepper. Comeria's canine head honcho, once again sends the Star Fox team out to battle Andross' minions. All the first game's familiar furry faces are along for the ride, including wing-leader Fox McCloud (whom you control). Slippy Toad. Falco Lombardi and Peppy Hare.
The McCloud crew is much chattier than they were in the first game. According to Nintendo, a third of the cartridge's memory is used to store digitized voice. So you can expect to hear your wingmen shoot their mouths off throughout the game. They'll call for help when under attack, for instance, or give advice when the heat gets extra thick.
You'd better keep a close eye on your wingmen. too. Each one brings a certain ability to the battle-an ability that's lost if he should be shot down. Slippy, for example, will analyze the Bosses and display their health meter when you engage them in combat. Peppy gives you advice during normal combat, telling you when to barrel roll or fly a loop. And Falco will lead you to the secret mission areas.
Each level has one of these hidden areas, which open when you complete certain objectives (and when Falco leads you to the area's entrance). For instance, to reach level one's hidden area-where you'll battle the Boss from the Super NES game's first level--you have to fly under several archways, then protect Falco from an enemy squadron. In addition to these secret missions, you can also earn access to an ultra-tough Expert Mode, if you destroy enough enemies in each level.
Whatever secret missions you accomplish determine your path through Star Fox 64. Discover no secrets and you'll take the easiest, most direct route through the Lyat System. But once you complete a hidden mission, other, more difficult levels become available. And it's a good thing the game's so full of hidden stuff. Seeing as how it'll be a while until Nintendo's next N64 title (possibly Yoshi's Island 64. not due until at least the fall). Star Fox 64 will have to last.
- MANUFACTURER - NCL
- THEME - Shooter
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1-4
Download Star Fox 64
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
"StarFox, yeah I hearda that. That's a game for little kids, right? Wait, what's that weird lookin' thing, a Rumble what? Hey, did that ship just do a somersault? Whoa, what was that?! Wait a minute, let me try this ... Wow, this is actually FUN!!"
When you buy StarFox 64, be prepared to hear words like these from your friends. The more you see it, the more you will want to play this game. If you're old enough to remember a game called Galaga, you've probably spent a small fortune and countless hours playing new games that simulate flying a spaceship. Well, play StarFox 64 and all those other spaceship games you've played will seem they were designed with an Etch-A-Sketch.
You play Fox McCloud, star pilot and leader of the 4-member StarFox flight team. The evil Dr. Andross has declared war on the territories of the Lylat System, and is slowly taking control, planet by planet. General Pepper has asked for your team's assistance in defeating Andross and his henchmen before they take control of the last free planet in the solar system, Corneria. Travelling aboard the flagship Great Fox and guided by a robot named ROB64, you and your teammates (Peppy, Slippy and Falco) travel to dangerous, distant worlds, battling Andross and his army in the hopes of restoring peace to the system.
You are piloting the lead fighter, or Arwing, at the forefront of the StarFox team's attack. You and the rest of your team must work together to fend off enemy fighters and other assorted creatures, and achieve certain goals on each world before advancing to the next one. Your team will advise you on maneuvers, talk you through sticky situations, and shoot down enemies, too. They will help you, and you must help them, if (and when) they get into trouble. Each of them have different strengths and abilities which may be needed in the next world you visit -- if one of them takes too much damage, they must retreat to the Great Fox and wait until the next stage for their ship to be repaired. So it's important to try your best to keep them safe. The ultimate goal of StarFox 64 is to earn medals from shooting down lots of bad guys, and get the highest score you can.
The one-player game consists of two parts, or two different modes of play: 3-D Scroll Mode, where you can move in all directions but are basically always moving forward, restricted to a wide tunnel-shaped area, and All-Range Mode, where you can fly anywhere you like within a large, box-shaped area. Most stages have a combination of both of these modes, which adds a really nice touch to gameplay.
The training level is a good idea for beginners to get used to the controls and to learn the special flying maneuvers. I always have trouble making somersaults and U-turns, but after a few refresher minutes these moves do become easier. I got pretty far the first time I played the game, completing five stages in less than two hours. But here's where StarFox gets interesting -- there's basically one starting point (Corneria) and one goal (Venom), but several available paths to take among the 13 worlds between them. The path you are on depends on the conditions you meet in each stage you complete. If, for instance, on Macbeth you successfully destroy the flying boss above the train, you advance to the area called Bolse. But if you can avoid the boss and instead shoot all eight switches and destroy the switcher box, the train takes a different path (careening into a building for that matter), and you advance to Area 6. This multiple-outcome scenario is an interesting twist to keep the game challenging enough to make you want to play it again and again, to maybe use a different strategy or try to visit a previously unseen area.
The control set is another strange one for a Nintendo game, but after a while it makes sense why they chose this button configuration. The right shoulder (R) button tilts you to the right, and the Z button (the trigger) tilts you to the left; double-tapping either of these quickly will give you a nifty barrel roll in that direction. The four yellow C buttons are slightly complicated; too often I press the wrong one and I take on damage trying to recover. Use C-down to brake, C-left to turbo, C-up to change camera angles (to an inside-cockpit view), and C-right to respond to incoming messages from ROB64.
Prizes to pick up while flying include: laser power-ups, shield rings, smart bombs (for really getting your point across), and an occasional wing repair for when you have severe damage to your Arwing. On at least one of the worlds you are piloting a Landmaster -- a swift little anti-aircraft tank with the same power and flexibility of your Arwing, but on the ground (of course). This puppy is equipped with dual jets too, perfect for making sharp left or right turns, or combined for temporarily hovering. And check out the barrel rolls now ...
The main game is for one player only (bummer), but there are three different multi-player battle modes for up to four players to challenge each other for points, or even for fighting head-to-head against each other. The 4-panel split screen is similar to Mario Kart 64, which takes some getting used to, and would be painfully straining if you have a smaller TV screen. One of the best features of multi-player action is that you can set a handicap for yourself, if you have better skills than your competitor(s), to make the challenge/fight a little more even; before you start a match, choose a skill level of one, two or three (basically adjusting your shield level). An annoying feature of the multi-player mode is that when you reach the edge of the map, you automatically appear on the other side, instead of doing that cool U-turn like you do in the main game's All-Range Mode. Not to mention when you first play this game with your friends, you'll all be fighting over who gets to use the Rumble Pak, at least until you plunk down twenty bucks apiece for three more.
I agree with the people who are saying StarFox 64 is a wonderful achievement, an "apology for the ill-fated StarFox 2 for SNES" (when I look at the original StarFox I think of my Etch-A-Sketch again). It's a good thing Nintendo waited to take advantage of the 64-bit processor: the flawless 3-D graphics are staggering, with amazing detail for such a high speed of animation. As you scroll through hordes of spaceships, landmarks and all kinds of flying objects, you really can't help but be overwhelmed by this well-designed environment. You'll love to replay every stage just to try and catch everything you didn't see the first time around (and because it's so darn fun too). Oh, one of the more amazing planet terrains you'll encounter may look a little familiar to you, like a scene out of a certain popular movie that came out last summer, on July 4th ...
The music and sound effects are nice, but one quality of StarFox 64 that impressed me immediately was the crystal clear dialogue and narration, a feature sadly missing in a lot of good games. The radio chatter from your teammates is helpful for playing, but will quickly become annoying to pros; thankfully you can adjust the volume levels of the voices, music and sound effects individually.
When I first read about the Rumble Pak device (previously called the Jolting Pak and the Force Pak) a few months ago, my heart began to pump wildly and my mind began to race, thinking of all the games this new gem of technology would enhance. Imagine, actually FEELING a jolt when your Arwing gets hit, or when you get too close to an explosion, or bump into an object, or thrust your engines, or slam on the brakes... Oh sure, it's been done in arcade games before -- anyone privileged enough to visit GameWorks (in Seattle, Vegas, L.A., etc.) knows what I mean. But this tiny piece of equipment that fits in the end of your Nintendo controller is really an amazing achievement, especially for the price. That little buzz may not seem like much, but imagine what this breakthrough means to the home video gaming industry. What gizmos will they tantalize our senses with next? How about temperature, scent, or even weightlessness? Our world is truly expanding, my friend, and fun's the word.
You've just got to try the Rumble Pak. Think of it as more icing on an already delicious cake. It's great, and a great value too (free with this game!), but too bad it doesn't work with any other game -- yet. (Look for lots of new games plus the re-releases of Mario and WaveRace to have "RumbleAbility.") If you like space ships, flight simulators, and fast-paced shootouts, StarFox 64 is your bread and butter. Unless you're afraid of flying, hate cartoons, or don't like anything that might be (gasp!) FUN, you should find lots of entertaining hours playing this game that's destined for classic status. Once you complete the main game (1-player) and earn big medals, be ready for lots of cool surprises, especially in the multi-player mode.
Unfortunately, though, this game falls into the same disappointing trap that almost all video games do, what I call "repetitive motion syndrome." After playing a stage more than a few times, you begin to memorize the actions of everything on the screen, and it becomes easier and, in the long run, less of a challenge. C'mon, guys, it's okay to learn from your mistakes, but isn't this how they train lab mice? (There's cheese in here somewhere, I just know it... ZZZAP! goes the Rumble Pac). Although, even if StarFox ever does lose a little of its challenge, it sure is a wild ride.
The sequel to the Super NES Starfox has been shelved indefinitely, possibly because Nintendo wants to focus attention on the 64-bit incarnation of the game. Starfox 64 already looks smooth and fast, but with the extra power afforded by 64-bit technology, it could be the definitive shooting game. It's quite a way off yet and the graphics still need to be heavily tweaked, but the boss monsters and explosions are fantastic. Look out for Fox McCloud and his pals next September.
It's pretty difficult to try and keep our excitement about this title in perspective. I mean, StarFox for the Super NES was one of the greatest video games ever, and only the slow, 16-bit polygon rate kept it from being the ultimate masterpiece. Now that a 64-bit version is on its way, we're all pretty much having conniptions at the thought of it.
The new, updated version features all the characters and gameplay from the first game, but with a brand-new, fully texture-mapped appearance. Although we've only seen video of this game, what we have seen is enough to start the strongest of us drooling like fools.
Fox McCloud is back, of course, and his mission is uncannily similar to the last one. Shoot a bunch of filthy aliens and rescue the Universe from certain doom. Accompanying him are a bunch of animalistic misfits, all of whom can be called upon to help in a deep-space emergency.
The Nintendo 64 relies heavily on fog and other effects to keep the clipping area invisible, but there's a lot of depth here, and these are among the smoothest N64 graphics around.
Sound and music are nowhere near completion, so we'll just have to imagine them.Whoomp, Zarj and Fnfffkaa are all noises we expect to hear in the final version. Looking incredible.
StarFox 64, the sequel to the great SNES polygon shooter, has full texture-mapped polygons, multiple views, and other 3D effects that should make it a winner. Since the managing director of Argonaut Software, Jez San, was spotted at Shoshinkai, we believe Argonaut (the makers of StarFox and FX Trax) is making this title for Nintendo.
Star Fox never returned for its second round on the Super picks up the planet-busting space-shooter action. This is the „ game that introduced 3D polygon environments to 16-bit systems, and it seems set to go ballistic with the Nintendo 64. Argonaut, the outfit that designed the SNES FX graphics chip, created this cart. In the prelim versions, Fox McCloud, Slippy, and the rest of the gang were on hand for the shoot-em-up action using cockpit and behind-the-ship gameplay views.
Once again, Nintendo wants you to relive the thrill of its 16-bit titles, this time with a revamped Star Fox. Fox Mcloud is back at the helm with a hot new ship, cooler backgrounds, and tougher enemies. Star Fox 64 strives for a next-generation look and feel (although this polygon-based shooter was next-gen when it was released for the SNES two years ago), and it surpasses the shooters out now.
Based on the popular and technologically advanced Star Fox for the Super NES, Star Fox 64 on the Nintendo 64 looks like a big winner. The graphic effects that the N64 is capable of are used to their fullest potential with the fog effects and high speeds in this one. Whole new worlds will be introduced in the enhanced version of the wildly popular title originally released on the Super NES. While the gamer is restricted to flying along a set path through these worlds, the paths are wider than they were in the 16-Bit original, thus giving would-be McClouds more room to roam and destroy in the game. With the larger levels comes enhanced graphics. The greatly improved texture-mapped graphics in Star Fox 64 will give Fox McCloud and all of his animal comrades a more scenic ride as they fly their way to victory. From what EGM has seen so far, gamers will find all of their old friends on their wing.
Multiple animals flying in a polygon world made the original StarFox a groundbreaking title for the Super NES. Now to help the Ultra 64 out of the gate comes the sequel This revamped version gives the player the same two views of the outside world, but adds cleaned-up graphics. This time you not only battle enemies in outer space, but for the first time, you also must fly down on the surface of at least one of the solar system's planets.
After the massive disappointment of Nintendo canning StarFox 2 for the Super NES. Fox McCloud and his faithful wingmen...er. animals are finally making their grand reappearance on the Nintendo 64.
Easily one of the most anticipated N64 games. StarFox will flex its 64-Bit muscle in multiple levels of shooting action.
Willing fighters will once again take control of the Awing as they take to the sky in an attempt to rid the galaxy of evil. As before, your teammates will be there to lend a hand, or sometimes, get in the way.
With the incredible popularity of the original game. StarFox 64 should be fantastic.
Fans of the original Super Nintendo game Star Fox were cheated out of a 16-bit sequel (which was unfortunately dropped). But they don't have to fret as they are to be treated to a marvelous looking 64-bit update of the popular game instead.
Fox McCloud and his cast of domestic farm animal friends return in Star Fox 64. This new title goes beyond just graphically improving an old game. For example, Star Fox 64 will have a brand new four player-split screen mode! Now, you and three other friends Cor enemies) can dog-fight, or rather, fox-fight it out in the sleek Star Fox space crafts.
Another addition that should excite Star Fox fans and critics alike is open flight. In certain levels only, you can fly around in completely open 3-D areas! This is a welcome feature that people complained was missing in the original cart.
One of the biggest new features of Star Fox 64 will be sold separately. It will either be called the Shaker or Jolting Pack. This add-on will plug into the back of the N64 controller (where the memory cart is plugged in) and will shake your controller every time your ship takes a hit. Imagine feeling the damage and impulse of the shock of real combat! This revolutionary device will bring you much closer to the action.
Still not satisfied? How about a new vehicle? In addition to the Star Fox spaceship, a new battle tank will be available for the times when the fights take place on the ground.
Besides all these new features, the game designers put in extra little graphical tidbits that will impress you. Some of the things you'll see are the awesome reflection of your ship over water, laser shots making blackened marks on the ground and the fire and smoke spewing from the cracks of your damaged ship.
StarFox 64 looks to be a hot addition to the Nintendo 64 library. You can expect it to hit the United States sometime in March of 1997.
Set to be released on June 23 is Nintendo's second game starring the infamous Fox McCloud and his motley crew of wingmen.
The original plans for the sequel to SlarFox were first revealed a few years ago, when Nintendo debuted a Super NES follow-up. But StarFox 2 was indefinitely delayed and then finally canceled. Some of the concepts from that game are intact in this Nintendo 64 title, which will be the next true Nintendo game released for the system StarFox will be released simultaneously with the Nintendo ForcePak, a vibration-feedback device which straps to the back of your Nintendo 64 control pad. The sensation probably will be similar to a pager s vibration alert. It won't make you drop your control pad. but that'd be pretty cool if it did!
Fox and company will have more missions to explore than ever. Some of them are fully explorable 3-D levels where you are free to roam, and others are fixed flight path missions where you can only go forward or backward. Foxs R-Wing also gets a redesign, able to morph into different forms to take on enemies.
The other addition to the StarFox universe that gamers are sure to enjoy is a four-player simultaneous feature that allows gamers to take on the game s levels with any of the four wily wingmen. It's not known whether the Four-player Mode will allow four people to play through the entire game or just a few missions. Either way, it's an exciting addition to the game.
You normally are able to control Fox McCloud's R-Wing throughout the game's flying levels. Like the original design for StarFox 2, gamers will also be able to control a land-based tank vehicle.
The original StarFox set a precedent on the Super Nintendo, being the first Super FX chip-based game to appear on that system. The power of the Nintendo 64 wife push this space adventure to the limit. Not only is the Nintendo 64 able to display many more polygons than the original Super FX chip, but it gives gamers freedom of movement in a world much more detailed than ever imagined. We will have more information on this game in a future EGM.
It took me about 10 minutes of wild teetering and tottering in my seat to figure out that StarFox 64 is an even better game than its 16-Bit predecessor. What we have here is the ultimate twitch shooter. Its screenfuls of enemies and onrushing obstacles never cut you and the rest of the McCloud clan any slack. OK. so the original StarFox was relentless, too. but this sequel gives you a hell of a lot more to worry about. For starters, your wingmen (yes. that would be the cloyingly cute trio of Peppy. Falco and Slippy, as well as a few new furry faces) are no longer expendable; each contributes something to the mission and is worth protecting-even if they do get in trouble way too often. Let Slippy buy the farm, for instance, and you won't be able to see the life gauge of Bosses (a real shame, since it'll probably be every gamer's fantasy to whack Slippy, who sounds as if he's voiced by a 6-year-old girl). And only Falco can lead you to the secret areas scattered throughout each level. Starfox fans wanting a little more freedom this time around may be disappointed that most of the game's 15 levels still stick your Arwing on rails, but at least now the track is wider, giving you more room to maneuver. And a few levels-namely the Boss stages-do switch to a fly-anywhere mode. While these stages are OK, they're not as exciting as the railed levels, which toss more enemies and obstacles in your path. Graphically, the game looks as good as we expected, although large enemies look pixelated when they're far away. Starfox 64's $80 price tag is steep (at least for a first-party N64 game), but don't forget that the Rumble Pak is included. and this little ticker is worth the extra bean. The Pak's varying vibrations add more than you'd expect to the game's already excellent control (I was skeptical myself until the first time the pad started humming along in tune with my ship's afterburners). I only wished the Pak worked with Blast Corps. The game's only letdown is its Multiplayer Modes, which divide the screen into fourths even if only two people are playing. If you thought following the action in Mario Kart 64's four tiny screens were hard, try spotting targets-many smaller than a dime-in four-player StarFox 64. Yet I consider the Multiplayer Modes more of a bonus than a true part of the game. And besides, at least Battle Mode gives you an excuse to blast Slippy into slimy green pieces.
I'm starting to see a pattern with games released by Nintendo for the N64-a nice pattern. StarFox 64 is close to the best N64 game I've played thus far-almost as good as Mario 64. Why? Simply because StarFox 64 not only has the same awesome control and play the original had, but it also adds so many things (like graphic effects, number of enemies, etc.) that make this version so much better. The graphics and gameplay are simply stunning. Problems? I would've liked to see different choosable views for the tank. Also, when big enemies came close to your R-wing. it was often hard to judge whore you were. If only Nintendo would release 20 more games real soon.
StarFox 64 is a shooting fan's dream come true. Each of the game's 15-plus stages is jam-packed with incredible graphics, huge enemies (and hundreds of them), and best of all. challenging gameplay. Two of the coolest enhancements are the addition of real voices to the characters (all of which sound very good, though after an hour or so of listening to Slippy whine, I was ready to shoot him down myself just to shut him up), and of course, the ability to man different vehicles (such as a tank and a submarine) on certain stages. The Rumble Pak adds a nice touch, but the novelty does wear thin rather quickly. Otherwise, StarFox 64 is probably one of the best N64 games yet. and well worth the wait.
StarFox 64 is an awesome sequel, worthy of Nintendo's name. The graphics are superbly done, with little breakup. The Bosses are huge and shockingly detailed, sometimes spanning the entire screen. You get treated to multiple paths, based on skill, so it will take one hot blaster to get through Section Z. the hardest road to victory. The Battle Mode is a little tarnished, needing more options, but it was still fun to fight against real people. The other disappointment was the inability to play with others in the Normal Mode. Sorry, everyone, that's for one player only. The background music wasn't very inspiring, but with all the action going on in the missions, it was hardly missed.
Nintendo's spectacular F/X chip game that wowed players on the Super NES has a sequel (there was a 16-Bit sequel, but it got scrapped in favor of this one) that will blow you away. This cart has smooth scrolling, texture-mapped polygons and all-new levels teeming with fast-paced shooter action.
StarFox 64 offers players two separate viewpoints. One from inside the ship, and one from behind it. The scrolling is much smoother than the 16-Bit version, and the texture-mapping adds a lot ot detail. This cart is still early, and many story elements will probably be added.
Right now, the levels look similar in concept to those of the original, with your ship following a specific track.
You can still do barrel rolls to throw off enemy shots. Overall, StarFox 64 looks like it's a lot of fun.
An update of, rather than sequel to, SNES Starwing. Looks stunning, but competent players will see it all in a short time.
Perhaps not as perfect as it could've been (it really needed a level select, for instance) but another tour-de-force for Shigs.
Well, it's only taken six months or so to get here, as opposed to the best part of a year that some N64 titles tend to take to circumnavigate the globe, but Starfox 64 has finally arrived. Only it hasn't, because as everybody should now know (if they don't, the large title somewhere on this page should sort of give the game away) Starfox has suffered a change of name to the less than awe-inspiring Lylat Wars. We don't like it. THE Games, Nintendo's UK distributors, don't like it. In fact, nobody likes it except Nintendo Japan, from whose twisted minds the new moniker sprang, but since they call the shots we're rather stuck with it. Obviously Japan doesn't have a certain brand of female sanitary products with a similar-sounding name. Cue all manner of 'amusing' 'mis-heard' title gags!
Duff titles aside, the game remains the same, which is a good job because it is one of the best titles on the N64. Plus it still comes with a 'free' (more or less) Rumble Pak, and at a remarkably reasonable price. £59.99 gets you the game and the little vibe-merchant, which when you consider that NBA Hangtime (also reviewed this issue in its UK incarnation) is the same price for decidedly less fun turns out to be a rather good deal.
In Starf... sorry, Lylat Wars, the evil Emperor Andross has launched a massive invasion force against the peaceful planets of the Lylat system (hence the name of the game) from his base on the toxic world of Venom. The defence forces of Corneria, home of the Lylat government, have been overwhelmed by the attack, so as a last resort they call upon the Starfox Team to strike directly at Andross himself.
The team is made up of a quartet of cuddly talking animals (bleah) led by Fox McCloud, equipped with high-performance Arwing fighters that are launched from their mothership, the Great Fox. The Arwings are used for most of the game, although some levels require more specialised equipment. In Thunderbirds style, the Great Fox is also home to a tank, the Landmaster, and a submarine, the Blue Marine, which are called into play for ground-based or aquatic missions.
The Arwings are considerably more capable than anything Andross has to offer, which makes you wonder why Corneria didn't just equip its entire armed forces with them. As well as powerful lasers, which can be constantly upgraded during the course of the game by collecting power-ups, the Arwings also have homing bolts (hold down fire to charge one up, then release when you're locked onto a target) and the environmentally unfriendly Nova Bombs, which nuke out large areas and cause massive damage to almost everything in the blast radius. The Landmaster fires similar laser bolts from its gun turret, while the Blue Marine has to make do with weedy torpedoes instead of Nova Bombs.
Unlike the original Super NES game, of which Lylat Wars is really an updated version rather than a genuine sequel, there are no selectable easy-medium-hard routes through the game. If you want to see all the stages in the game, you have to work for it by discovering secret exits from the levels, a task made easier with the English text and speech, as Falco often tells you what to do. Before you can take these routes, you have to destroy specific enemy craft, so skilful aiming is required.
The Big Giant Head
Lylat Wars is living testament to the fact that the N64 is unmatched in its graphical prowess. Everything in the game looks absolutely amazing, from the Arwings themselves (and even their occupants, whose heads can be seen through the cockpit canopies from time to time) to the evil Andross, who appears at the climax of the game in the form of a giant disembodied bonce who'll chow down on your Arwing and spit it out sans wings, given half a chance. The bosses are gloriously animated and more laden with special effects than Industrial Light and Magic's output for the past decade, and even the most basic enemy drones are packed with detail.
The sound, too, is superb - something like 32Mbits of the cart's total 96 are taken up with speech, the characters in the game (both good and evil) chattering away almost constantly. Lylat Wars is not going to win any Oscars for acting, or even a Best Screenplay award (you can almost play Spot The Cliche), but the dialogue dovetails perfectly with the pulp sci-fi feeling of the whole game. Slippy's voice has gone from kawaii to well annoying in the translation from Japanese to English, though! Let the slimy little pazzer die!
As well as the main game, Lylat Wars has a multi-player game to keep you occupied. Normally, up to four players can take each other on in the skies above Corneria or the debris-filled starfields of the Lylat system in Arwings, complete with colour-coded lasers. However, once you've earned all the Medals in the regular game by downing a set number of enemies on each level, you can access the Expert Mode and fight it out in Landmasters instead of Arwings. For the really good flyers, there's yet another mode of transport to find - you can have all four members of the Starfox Team duking it out on foot, armed with bazookas! For once, though, the multiplayer mode is actually less playable than the normal game. The useless radar doesn't help much, but there is a basic lack of tactics that can be used against other players, which limits your enjoyment a bit.
Pick, Pick, Pick
Another criticism of Lylat Wars is the tack of any way to save your position, meaning that you have to play the whole game right from the beginning every time. Corneria might be a pleasant enough place (when it's not under siege from war machines) but it is rather boring the 50th time you fly through it! Fortunately the game does save any medals earned, so once opened, the hidden options stay unlocked.
The main problem I had with Lylat Wars shows me up as a veteran Nintendo player, but I think it's valid - it's far too similar to Starfox on the Super NES, showing a certain amount of laziness at the design stage. The obvious graphical differences aside, many levels produce a strong sense of deja vu, right down to the fact that some of the bosses are despatched in exactly the same way as their 16-bit forebears. If you've never played the Super NES game, though, this criticism will be irrelevant, and if you have it's entirely possible you won't care even though I do. Huh!
The long summer dry spell seems to be over at last, and though the number of games being released in the UK isn't anywhere near as high as it should be, when they're of this quality it does help take the sting away. Plus you get a free Rumble Pak into the bargain, which can't be bad. Lylat Wars is a very worthwhile purchase, and it can be genuinely said that it's a fox!
This is it. This is the big one. Since its righteous appearance on the Super NES, Star Fox (or Star Wing as it was known in the UK) has been a guaranteed Nintendo money-spinner, and with the Star Fox 2 project collapsing on Super NES, it was only a matter of time before Fox McCloud and his star rangers appeared on the N64.
The Japanese market is traditionally wary of 3-D exploration games, so the original Super NES game confined players to a broad, but fixed corridor through each level. Indications are that the N64 game will follow a similar format, right down to the spectacular end-of-level monsters.
Although this restricts freedom of movement, it allows Nintendo to orchestrate the experience for maximum impact.
A key issue for N64 Star Fox will be whether Nintendo can cram a suitably huge challenge Into an N64 cart, while still delivering on the spectacular graphics. From the screenshots, you can see that visually, Star Fox 64 is jaw-dropping. The frame-rate is nippy and texture-maps are functional, while built-in N64 tricks such as transparency (a realistic fog shading off the horizon) and lighting effects (for the engine flare and laser bolts) work well. Sound Is similarly effective, with good effects and an electric guitar re-interpretation of the old music.
The end of level bosses, always a focal point for the original game, are of course huge textured beasts which lumber around the screen until you can get enough hits on their weak spots. So far we've seen a mechanical dinosaur and a huge space starfish, but the best have not yet been announced.
As in the original game, the lead character is Fox McCloud, who has four wingmen, including a frog and a rabbit, and they frequently appear at the bottom of the screen in rendered form along with text messages, giving advice and often requesting help. The wingmen's ships do appear on screen, taking out enemies, so ifs essential you protect them when they need it You also get a long rendered intra sequence which shows the Star Fox team responding to a red alert situation; something which the Super NES could not handle. It is thought that the finished game will boast 15+ levels.
If N64 Star Fox recreates the payability of its forebear with truly 64-bit graphics, it should be a huge hit, especially given the fact that it features not only the two player split screen mode that was originally earmarked for the Super NES game, but also a four player mode as well! Save those pennies.
Prospects: Guaranteed bums on seats and a killer app for the n64.
One of Nintendo's updates of past Super NES glories, which provides a dazzling showcase for the N64's graphical abilities over 16 varied and beautifully realised worlds. If there's a problem with Lytat Wars (apart from the duff UK title) it's that it is a bit on the easy side -seeing even the hardest worlds isn't that much of a task once you know how to reach them.
Just in from Japan are some final, last-minute preview shots of Star Fox 64, whose release is now imminent.And it looks more stunning than ever, with some massive robotic bosses and a 3D spinning star map. If you look closely you can even see Fox McCloud and his pals sitting in their cockpits!
The new pictures also show in detail the new manoeuvres that Fox's team can do in their new, 64-bit game. The Arwing can now manage an exhilarating loop-the-loop, which is ideal if there's a baddy on your furry tail -- you simply zoom up and around and reappear on his tail. And .the tank does a nifty sideways roll move to avoid enemy fire.
One of the best things about Starfox 64 will be the use of voice-overs. The original SNES Starfox had the characters speaking, but they just sort of went "Wibbly-wibbly-woop", and you had to read the on-screen text to work out what they were actually saying. This time, Nintendo claim they've sampled 600 bits of speech, and that 20 characters -- including Fox's old friend Bill and the black-hearted mercenary Star Wolf -- will each have their own distinctive voices. So hopefully we'll now be able to understand every word.(except of course we'll have to brush up on our Japanese until the game's translated into English for its American and European releases in June and August respectively.)
Star Fox 64 will be released in Japan just in time for us to review it in the next issue of N64 Magazine. We can barely contain ourselves!