Retro Review: Star Fox 64 (N64)
Content Warning: This game is an awesome, clean affair that can be enjoyed by everyone.
Star Fox 64 is a cherished memory in my mind and yet whenever I pop it into my N64, the game still holds up beautifully. But I am getting a bit ahead of myself. Star Fox was a game on the SNES that was essentially a way to show off the Mode 7 graphics. Star Fox 64 was it’s sequel that introduced the rumble pak and has been heralded as the best game in the series. Star Fox Adventures was a neat departure for the series on the Gamecube before returning back to style with Star Fox Assault. Later on Nintendo released a Star Fox game on the DS but I don’t even recall it’s name… it was that disappointing. Star Fox 64 was re-released on the 3DS with updated graphics and it is fantastic! I am hoping there will be an amazing Star Fox game on the Wii U. However, in the mean time let us look back at Star Fox 64.
General Pepper: It’s about time you showed up, Fox. You’re the only hope for our world!
Fox McCloud: I’ll do my best. Andross won’t have his way with me.
Whenever I hear that opening before starting the first mission I get butterflies in my stomach. Ah… true love. The game doesn’t tell you much except that Andross is reeking havoc and as Fox McCloud you need to stop him! Luckily you have other pilots to assist you. Peppy Hare who flew with your father way back in the day and now spews advice constantly while telling you that “You are becoming more like your father”. Falco Lombardi is the Han Solo of the group and could easily carry a game if Nintendo ever wanted to do a spin off (get Star Fox back on track first though!). Slippy… well Slippy is worthless and constantly needs saving. I would purposely let him die/shoot him so I didn’t have to listen to him. All in all the story is simple but the cast of characters (including Star Wolf!) are amazing and really suck you into caring. If Fox McCloud were to ever go lone wolf it would never be the same…
Star Fox 64 is an on-rails shooter 90% of the time and it is amazing. The controls are tight and while the game is indeed challenging, it never reaches that level of diffculty that you throw your controller. While I must mention that there is an underwater submarine level that is terrible, it can be avoided. Every mission has two ways to go through it and finding out how to do the second path is a mystery. This makes for good replay value because once you Google (and I know you Googled) how to do a mission differently then the next level of the game is a different planet. There are many paths to reach the last world but no matter how you get there, watch out… It is brutal and Andross is no joke. I have played and replayed this game so many times that I could beat the entire game on one life in my sleep but for the unitiated it is a true challenge. Luckily Star Fox 64 provides you with double lasers, double blue lasers, and some awesome red bombs! Plus whenever you are in danger just “Do a barrel roll” as Peppy Hare would say. On occasion you will get off the rails and be allowed to roam free to fight enemies/bosses. This is a welcome change of pace that is never overused and allows more freedom to beat enemies in a more classic fighter pilot way. Might I add there is 4 player multiplayer to kick your friends butt at?
Graphics and Sound
Star Fox 64 is so impressive with it’s visuals, that it still looks good today.. While the character models look dated, naturally since this was released in 1997, everything else looks good on the N64. The music is beautiful as well and I can still hear the opening missions theme in my head as I write this. Everyone is voice acted and when you reach Andross… oh man… he is one ugly dude. However, he was designed to be ugly and menacing. My major complaint is that the submarine level is much too dark and makes me feel like I need a flashlight whenever I play it.
Anyone with an N64 should own this game. If you do not then go pick it up! Almost every used game store that has N64 games has Star Fox 64. You can easily get it for under 10 bucks and it is a great value. “Hey wise guy, I’m on your side!”
Flying on-rails has never been better... still
You can kill off Slippy... temporarily
Submarine level is too dark
Multiplayer is lacking