Much like Eternal Darkness, Star Fox Adventures made a lengthy, complex and ultimately worthwhile journey to the GameCube. What was a cancelled Nintendo 64 title called Dinosaur Planet has transformed into the action-adventure debut for Nintendo's spacefaring fuzzball, Fox McCloud. The fantasy storyline, non-player characters and prehistoric-themed levels might not have been originally designed for Fox and his pals, but the combination of beautiful graphics and solid gameplay make it worth recommending to most gamers.
The adventure begins with a prologue starring Krystal, a mysterious female fox who speaks a freakish foreign language. After a brief aerial battle, she confronts the evil General Scales, who roughs her up and imprisons her in an ancient temple. A distress beacon goes out to Fox McCloud. He arrives on the war-torn world of Dinosaur Planet with little knowledge of his situation, but his pals Peppy, Slippy and General Pepper (we knew him back in the '60s when he was just a sergeant) help out Fox with tactical support.
It's painfully obvious that the natives of Dinosaur Planet need assistance, and lots of it. For the first few hours of the game, Fox transforms into the ultimate Good Samaritan. Fle's nursing herds of tired mammoths back to health with turnips, collecting tasty mushrooms for dinosaurs and lighting torches to aid hungry critters scared of the dark. These fetch quests might start to grate on your nerves after a while, but you will learn the ins-and-outs of the gameplay while acting like a fuzzy Boy Scout. If you can stick through these middling bits, the game opens up into a full-fledged epic with traditional dungeons and bosses.
The controls are a no-brainer for anyone who's played a recent Zelda title. Fox controls just like Link, from the automatic jumping to the lock-on combat. You can activate items and special moves via a handy C-stick menu, and even map these abilities onto the Y-but-ton. An original gameplay element is Tricky, a sassy dino sidekick who helps Fox solve puzzles (see below).
Graphically, none of SFA's N64 roots show through. Impressive special effects like reflective water, lifelike shadows and amazingly realistic fur, show off the best the 'Cube has to offer. Huge environments stretch far into the distance, and every area features a full day/night cycle, as well as changing weather. The action runs at a speedy clip, only stuttering for one or two seconds when the game loads a new area. Rare had a long time to work on this game, and it definitely shows in the polished graphics.
The sound is also up to Nintendo's usual high standards. Music is catchy, vibrant and varied, building into a tense tune when danger's afoot. Unfortunately, not as much care went into the voices. Fox is great; he's a likable, self-assured hero. Whether you're able to stomach Slippy, Peppy and General Pepper depends on your past Star Fox experience. They're awfully annoying, and they talk a lot. Even worse, however, is the new language invented for the game. It sounds silly when the characters drop English words like "General Scales" and "Dinosaur Planet" into long strings of nonsense.
As you can tell by the scores, a strong rift of opinion divided our reviewers. The string of simple fetch quests that bogs down the first few hours could turn off players looking for an adventure that starts on a grander scale. Also, many of the game's puzzles require tons of experimentation to solve, so some patience is required. For most folks, however, Fox's quest will be a fun, challenging endeavor.
Download Starfox Adventures
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
It’s been five years since Star Fox 64 —the last time we saw Fox McCloud and his crew in action. But on June 10, Rare brings them back for a new Adventure.
Our story begins as the Star Fox team lands on Dinosaur Planet, a once-peaceful world now under the rule of the tyrannical General Scales. Armed with a transformable spear, you (as Fox McCloud) set out to help return peace to the planet. Helping you along the way are new characters Krystal, a blue female fox with ties to a mysterious race of ghost-like beings called the Krazoa, and Prince Tricky, a wisecrackin’ Triceratops.
Basic gameplay is reminiscent of Nintendo’s N64 Zeldas. You auto-lock (no button required) onto enemies for easier 3D movement in battle, find keys to get inside locked doors, etc. Fox’s staff is used for unlocking gates, throwing switches, or giving the scaly army of evil dinos and bosses a healthy beat-down. But you don’t always have to use hand-to-hand combat. Occasionally you’ll ride a jet-powered bike or pilot your Arwing (that’s the Star Fox version of an X-wing) for flying missions.
After defeating Andross eight years ago, the Starfox team has been waiting patiently for the next big reward mission. Although the team members have moved on to other things, they all stayed poised for the next opportunity and had no hesitation accepting it when it came. After receiving their orders, the Starfox team arrived at a planet that was being torn apart. With the potential to unbalance the entire system, Starfox heads down to the planet's surface as he attempts to uncover and reverse the damage already done.
Starfox Adventures, unlike previous Starfox games, is a third person shooter that takes place mainly on a planet inhabited by intelligent dinosaurs. A question quickly arises as to how a planet of dinosaurs fits in with the Starfox license and the short answer is 'not well.'? Originally, this game was called Dinosaur Planet and had nothing to do with the Starfox license at all. Nintendo came in and 'suggested'? the Starfox license be used to transform Dinosaur Planet into Starfox Adventures. The end result is a great game but the Starfox license is used little in the end.
As for the graphics, audio, and control, you'll find few complaints. The graphics in particular are some of the best seen on the Gamecube. The environments are well detailed, supporting the dinosaur theme, and the attention to detail is clearly visible down to Starfox's fur as the individual hairs can be distinguished.
Even with the great graphics, it's the gameplay that pulls the game together. With different puzzles, large maps, and a solid story line, the overall game will immerse most and make the small use of the Starfox license easier to swallow. Other additions like Prince Tricky, a young dinosaur who accompanies Starfox for most of the game, will also ease the license issue as he gives Starfox more abilities and possibilities.
With only a handful of great titles released for the Gamecube, Starfox Adventures will give another reason to purchase a Gamecube this year. With Nintendo only now releasing their juggernaut games many have been waiting to receive for over a year, this one is a step in the right direction and worth waiting for. Although it stretches the Starfox license, once the game begins, you'll hardly notice and the game's length will keep you busy for some time.
Snapshots and Media
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