starfox adventures




Every Friday night my brother and I would get dragged along to the supermarket. This was one of those colossal bulk outlets, that sold everything, and then some. Adam and I would detach and busy ourselves in the electrical section - fiddling with the TVs, and when we were bigger than the other kids, commandeering the Nintendo 64. Our all-time favourite game to mess around with was StarFox 64. It was simple. It played well, and above all: it was fun.

Now, when I had to return Daikatana to the video store, Adam came to me and gave me $6 to rent a game. When I arrived, it was a choice between Daytona for the Dreamcast, Code Veronica for the Gamecube as well as StarFox Adventures. I snatched it up, looking forward to blasting sweet death into him with the tried and true Arwing. Wasn't I in for a suprise?

Gone is the day of Fox McCloud - a mercenary that has already vaped your ride just as easily as looking at you. If anyone could have a middle name of 'trigger-finger', it would be he. Now we have a Fox that has to use patience, and wile to solve strategies, and do a lot of running. A LOT. Uhh... it could work. Right?


It's the rain, not   
my; Pervert!     

   I knew it! I knew James
Doohan was still alive!

A big, magic phallus. 

Arise my undead army 
 of missing socks!   

Q... you've really   
let yourself go...   

There's a lot of this- 


-and nowhere near enough
of this        

Eight years after Adross was reduced to free-floating particles, The Great Fox has slipped into disrepair. This is why heroes normally let the bad guy get away to fight another day. Now Fox, Slippy, Peppy and some stupid robot named 'ROB' drift aimlessly around, waiting to be called to action. (Falco got bored and left before then, like the good plot coupon he is.) Waiting for a call to arms. Well - it's pretty obvious they get one right? Otherwise why would I still be typing. M-moving on- In a forgotten 'corner' of the Lylat system is a world. A world... under siege! *faux gasp* That's nice and all, but unfortunately it's Dinosaur World. And the denizens, unfortunately garnished with naming conventions straight of the mediocre 'Land Before Time' franchise, are powerless to stop "General Scales". And with the entombment of a mysterious vixen, and a call to General Pepper, it's now up to Fox McCloud to use brain over braun, and a nifty staff, as well as cameos from the Arwing, a handful of Dinos, some Speederbikes, and his team of misfits to save the day. Powerful magicks within the planet, that were kept in check by four SpellStones, and six of the ancient Krazoa Spirits, have been disrupted and the world has been torn asunder. I could go on, but I'd spoil things. In any event, the plot didn't disappoint, which managed to splice many static plot entities into a dynamic, and relatively original creation. It's pretty childish at times, and reads like a book: but you'll be spending far too much time running around to worry why Fox doesn't just get in his ship to get to the top of Tower X, or kill Enemy Y.

Now I don't think that my opinion has been coloured since the last game I played was Daikatana, but the world Rare created for Fox and friends is at times breathtaking. Such attention has been taken to detail. The levels are nigh photorealistic. The trees finally look like trees, there is a lack of fog (well, if there was much of it, I assure you I hadn't time to notice). The water effects, dynamic shadows, and all-around atmosphere was lovely. The lighting was effective, and each world was subject to day and night. It would have been more than fitting to have some corny little actions between Fox and Tricky at times, instead of being conscious for about 2-3 months, but I'm sure it would have just become trying.
The models, especially the playable ones were created in meticulous detail. By looking at Fox's furry appearance, he almost emits the sensation of soft warmth. Each model seems to be above average as far as motion capture goes, and there is almost no clipping. The colours are as rich as the environs, as well as the emotions these models are able to convey. We've come a long way as far as animating conversation goes for games, and the anthropomorphous mannerisms and mouth and face movements are as accurate as you could think. Speaking of which, the cutscenes were fluid and clear, and not being too dissimilar to what the models look under normal playing conditions, made the game feel a lot more like a traditional adventure game. All in all, visually wonderful with only minor flaws in texturing and the ever-present clipping.

Not to be outdone, the audio section of the game was almost as good. The background music was conditional, and made smooth changes through rapid times of peace and combat. The compilation was pleasing, and definitely wasn't overbearing, and just sank perfectly in to the experience. The sound effects were well done, and barely noticeable when concentration really set in. They could have hired more voice actors, more than one voice actor was responsible for more than a handful of characters, but they did execute each role well, a mix of accents adding some more texture to the game. My only gripe was the speed of the subtitles seemed to fluctuate, and sometimes required a controller input to move them on. I guess this is only a gripe to people that watch a lot of subbed stuff... but once more, a very tidy effort.

Now this is what let me down. Here I was, expecting a fast-paced space battle: at least with about as much combat in that respect as things like Shadow of the Empire, but instead the flight section is cut down to silly mini-game status, and multiplayer has been removed completely! But after recovering from my immediate disgust, the game recovered some points by being rather intuitive as far as control went. Action menus controlled by the yellow C stick while your normal analog stick controlled movement. Coupled with a hotkey setting, and my growing finesse with the GameCube controller, the game played well. Combat tended to be a bit on the static side, with a limited amount of attacks, and an even more agitating tenancy to merely have your strikes turned aside. But much more prevalent than combat is running and mini-games, a lot of which also require running. You are forced to return to prior levels, to use as thoroughfare to temples and the like, which means you have to run from your staging point ALL the way there, then ALL the way back. (Exaggerated cutscenes and slow movement actions like ladder climbing also attributed to slower progression) Mostly used as a plot trigger though, so it's a necessary evil that could have been dulled. The mini-games are rather static, most of the time requiring you to be a crack-shot with your staff (which shoots just like the ones of SG-1), or fighting a time limit while using either Sidekick or Staff powers consecutively. Add to this a heavy does of annoying puzzles to solve, commonly based on timing and once more, shooting with the staff. I tell you now, if you're bad at either pressing buttons quickly, or aiming with an analog stick, this game will give you nightmares. Not hard for a good part of it, the game has a very slight learning curve, but really hits you hard in the last few levels, but trial and error and pattern learning aids you. The boss fights, other than the last, are pretty unimpressive, and most of the time due to the awkward nature of the arenas. Of course, there is one silver lining: Slippy. Slippy's Advice can be taken during game times when you are stuck, and he well give you a few clues as to what you are supposed to do. Definitely speeds the game up. Despite the exceptional control you have while on Firma, the space section handles rather nastily, which is bad considering the end-boss is up there.

The game took me about 15 hours to complete. I could have taken my time, and explored everything, and absorb everything, but it's only a two day rental, and I had to be sure that is was good and finished in time. There is a % completion, but it isn't that amazing. I basically bull-rushed my way through the game, and still attained a 95% completion, so it can't be a very pivotal part of the game. Hopefully Rare will release another StarFox game, but this time actually make a flight-orientated game rather than a ground-heavy one. And multiplayer for that matter.

My only regret is that this game wasn't flawed enough to make some humorous comments about. A pretty clean effort: for one of these odd new style platformer. I'm not sure if it's a game that you should buy, but it's probably worth borrowing off a friend for a week. And maybe you'll be able to resist Ghostbuster jokes every time you hear the word "GateKeeper". A um kxo Boo Mujkoh! Uhh... check the Dino Alphabet at the back of the instruction manual for that one.

Oh, and: "Ak aj fherurco juvo ke juo kruk Bhojkuc aj u loho kujko mehjoc."

 starfox adventures
lack of flight and multi

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