(Nintendo, August 1997)

This may be the best 3D shooter ever in my opinion! A very bold statement yes, but if any game deserve that honour it would be Nintendo's Star Fox 64. Although the graphics are really foggy and the music is very plain, the game easily makes up for it with 15 different levels and some fun multi-player modes to make for one awesome experience.

The story in Star Fox 64 is about an exiled ape professor named Andross and his mission to get even on his enemies of the Lylat solar system. A few years ago James McCloud led an investigation into strange activity on the planet Venom where Andross has been sent to. Unfortunately, James never returned and now his son Fox wants to seek answers and get revenge. Now the Star Fox team is finally send into battle now to stop a sudden Andross invasion before they manage to destroy everything in site.

"When good animals go bad, next on Fox!"

Many planets in the Lylat solar system have been already taking over and Andross has a giant army ready to finish off what's left. It's Star Fox's primary goal to kill Andross and shoot down whatever gets in the way therefore many of the levels in the game are rail based. But there are some levels that also involve some all new Free Flight action because the planets may need help or protection. One example of any Free Flight action would be an attack from the evil Star Wolf team, a rival Star Fox team sent to stop you. It's a good idea to practice Free Flight because that's how the fun two to fourplayer VS. games are played. Nintendo only offers two stages in the VS. games (Cornerina and Section Z), and only three modes too but I still never get tried of shooting down my friends.

Star Fox 64 is not really a sequel to the first Star Fox game for the Super Nintendo (the first Super FX game); it's more of a remake. This game should not be confused with the cancelled Star Fox 2 game which is sadly the real sequel to Star Fox. Still there are some notable changes to the game besides the new four player games, that were not in the old game like the ability to use a lock on shot similar too Panzer Dragoon and the ability to use different vehicles like a Tank and a Submarine. You'll also find new planets and new enemies as well but you can forget about the two secret stages Black hole and Lost Dimension.

"What's happening to my controller?!"

Don't forget that Star Fox 64 is the game that also started the whole Rumble Pak craze by being the first console game to feature joystick feedback and even came originally bundled with the Rumble Pak itself. The concept was simple, if you take a few hits in game from the enemy or if you use your boosters or something the Controller will shake a bit or a lot depending what happened. Talk about innovative!

The controls were easy to handle and anybody should be able to master the set up in just a half hour or so. It's weird though that you don't have the option to customize a preferred set up if you wanted or even select from per set controls like in the first Star Fox, I don't think everyone will like the reverse controls of Up is for 'Down' and Down is for 'Up' but you get use to it.

When I first played Star Fox 64 I was very impressed with its smooth polygon graphics. The frame rate was high and the detail was decent especially when compared the now ancient original Star Fox on the Super Nintendo. After a closer look though I noticed a lot of fog or darkness in the distance in all of the levels so it's not perfect by any means. I was hoping that Nintendo would release a N64 sequel to fix the ugly fog but it's not going to happen. I then noticed that the non polygonal backgrounds on the N64 were not as good as the Super Nintendo game for some reason and that alone hurts the score in terms of graphics. The bosses on the other hand were awesome like the trippy Andross end boss so the graphics are sure a mixed bag.

To give a more movie like feel to the game, Nintendo gave each character a voice as well as the worded text. Just imagine actually hearing your enemies (or Falco) mouth off for real instead of hearing gibberish like in the last game. I don't understand why there are no voices in the Multi-player games though, that would have been cool. The music itself was a big letdown and it’s easy to see that Nintendo ran out of memory because they spend it on the voice samples. The music in the original Star Fox was way better than what's on here yet it's suppose to be a weaker 16-bit machine now isn't it?

Despite some minor yet disappointing flaws Star Fox 64 still packs a lot of action and the alternate routes really keep the one player mode flesh. It's the cool little bonuses too that sky rocket the replay value like timing your lock on shots to take out multiple enemies for bigger points or earning secret medals to unlock some more goodies for the VS games. You can't forget about the awesome multi-player games either that really shows off those 4 ports in front of your N64. "Star Fox 64 is truly an excellent shooter!



overall Rating: 94/100

Find Star Fox 64 on eBay here!

For 1 to 4 players
graphics: 7/10
sound: 7/10
gameplay: 9/10
replay: 9/10

(Ryan Genno) 2007