Star Fox Adventures is a pretty decent addition to anyone's Gamecube console collection of games in my opinion. Fox McCloud is the star of this action game and is the furry hero who explores vast 3D worlds. In this particular game he spends alot of time on foot, whereas in previous games he's been flying about on all manner of vehicles. As said, on foot in this game he explores the detailed 3D world of Dinosaur Planet. Although it's not the best game you'll ever play it is still a great action adventure game which is full of variety and impressive graphics.
I found Star Fox Adventures to be a very lighthearted game with a cast of characters I could warm to and were likeable. They are cute and cool at the same time. Not long into the game, Fox and his crew who form a mercenary squad, get their orders to investigate some sort of disturbance on Dinosaur Planet. The reward money being offered is too tempting to turn down for the group so they set off to the planet but are surprised by what they find.
Unfortunately the planet is an awful mess. It is being destroyed by the evil armies of General Scales. Fox will need to sort all this out and in doing so restore the planet to it's peaceful self. I have to admit that unlike alot of action games this one is a bit different and is not that fast paced with combat not being too high on the agenda. You need to display a fair amount of patience and stealth to succeed with your mission.
One of my favourite things about this game is the variety of things you can do. You will get the chance to explore, fight and sneak about. You can also run, jump, fly and shoot and also swim, crawl etc. The environments you search in are vast and really give you a sense of how large the game is.
If you're expecting a thrill a minute game with frantic shooting then this isn't the game for you. But if you are after a game that requires a bit more patience and stealth then this game is great and great fun.
Star Fox is one of Nintendo's most loved franchises, and put in the hands of rare, there is no reason to expect anything but a brilliant game. Sadly, Rare took the game in a slightly disappointing direction by creating a plaatforming game as opposed to the sort of flying game I would have expected (although there are some limited flight sections). This is something you should really be aware of if you are considering buying the game because if not you could be really disappointed.
Apart from the unusual direction, the game itself really isn't too bad. It is a little slow paced, and you will spent plenty of time collecting things and travelling etc. You are equipped with a magic staff which you rely on for various puzzles and to fight enemies. The graphics are absolutely fantastic, particularly the water ripple effects that are some of the best I've seen. The most annoying part of all for me (quite possibly not an issue for anyone else!) was when you have to use the analogue stick to keep a marker within a bar as it sways about - I simply could no0t do it and it took me hours of frustration to get past! Nonetheless, many people will have no issue with it.
You can immediately tell what I am doing with my time when I come up with a second games review for the Gamecube, a console which I've never had any great interest in before we got to this time of year! Whether or not you like the game Starfox Adventures really depends entirely on whether you are expecting the typical Starfox shoot 'em up in his classic Arwing. Because if you are, you may well be disappointed. There are aspects of that in getting to the other worlds, but by and large Starfox Adventures is more of a platform puzzle game, and to give credit a good one at that. (And yes, I know I should be revising, but where's the fun in that!)
Title: Starfox Adventures
Genre: Platform Game
Release Date: 10 Oct 2003
Number of Players: 1
Memory Card Usage: 3 blocks, and it gives you 3 files
Price: £6.45 used at Amazon, or one of Gamestations 4 games for £20 so £5.
Starfox has been around since the SNES and players quickly fell in love with the brave fox, and his quirky companions flying through space in the Arwing and doing the typical shoot 'em up style games. It was only really in N63 that Starfox really took off however, as this was where proper dialogue and 3D graphics came in and made Starfox into the game that is so well known today and is still one of the more popular games in the series. The ship based shooting of these previous games was lost in Starfox Adventures, but regained in Starfox Assault also on the Gamecube. There was also a game released on the DS called Starfox Command which again goes back to the aircraft based gameplay, and is the only game to feature 9 different endings.
There has been a series of other media based on the Starfox series, a monthly Starfox comic strip was published in issues of Nintendo Power all the way back in 1993. The best way of describing this is that it was almost a background storyline of what happened in the original Starfox with some additional characters who haven't been seen in anything else, it followed the Star Fox team as they went from outlaws on Papetoon, to an elite Arwing fighter squadron. There was also a 64 manga which more or less explained the storyline of the N64 computer game and gave some scenes which were not seen in the game. And then finally 'Star Fox: Farewell, Beloved Falco' which chronicles the events between the N64 game and Starfox adventures, also explaining why Falco left the Starfox team. What I find most amusing is that the ending of that Manga and the beginning of the Adventures clash, in the manga it ends with the Starfox team seeing the Dinosaur Planet being torn apart and deciding to go and save it, whilst in the adventures they are ordered to do so by General Pepper. (And before anyone asks, yes I am sad enough to own the manga...)
It's also the final game produced by Rare for Nintendo before they went over to Microsoft's Xbox but everyone seems to have said that before me!
Adventures was originally meant to be a N64 game called Dinosaur Planet, which was more or less finished before Nintendo hired them to do a game for them, at which point they just changed parts of Dinosaur Planet to make Adventures. Most of the game takes place on land with Fox having to solve a variety of puzzles and kill rather a lot of enemies rather than in the Arwing killing random enemies to gain points. The only occasions on which you have to use the Arwing is when you want to get between planets, and even then less attention is focussed on destroying enemies than on flying trough golden coins to get the necessary total.
The game is set eight years after the N64 version of Starfox on the hours and is based on the ancient Dinosaur planet which is in major trouble...and continues to get itself into major hassle throughout the game leading to Fox's frequent complaints of 'I'm not getting paid enough for this...' The game itself starts with the vixen Krystal, although this is more of a tutorial to the game itself, she goes to try and save Dinosaur Planet because the evil General Scales is taking the planet over, except she fails and gets trapped in a block of ice. And so the task falls to...Fox.
This is where Fox's team get an assignment from General Pepper (the dog in case anyone doesn't know) calls them to save Dinosaur Planet as the chunks of rock coming off the planet are endangering the entire Lylat solar system. When they get to Dinosaur Planet Fox finds Krystal's staff which she dropped, and ends up both trying to save the planet and trying to save the mysterious vixen.
Dinosaur Planet is populated by a series of different tribes of Dinosaurs (umm...how to state the obvious), the EarthWalker Tribe which are more or less Triceratops are one of the two ruling tribes on Dinosaur Planet and are the tribe which Fox comes into contact with most (repeatedly having to save them from some threat or another). The Queen's son Tricky becomes your major playing companion through the game coming in very handy with his ability to breathe fire, although he is very cute and definitely adds an 'ahh' factor he is also highly annoying on occasions as he keeps asking where you are going and in general getting under foot. The other ruling tribe is the CloudRunner Tribe who are Pteranodon (the flying dinosaurs), they come in very handy when Fox needs to fly over the surface of a planet to do whatever task it is at the time. There are several others but the only other one really worth mentioning would be the RedEye Tribe, who resemble the fearsome T-Rex, they used to be under the control of the EarthWalkers but General Scales kind of messed that up and so Fox also has these deadly killers to contend with.
Fox has to collect 4 SpellStones, which are powerful stones made out of dark matter which hold the planet together. The reason chunks of the planet are tearing away is because General Scales (the evil one) removed the SpellStones, so to save the planet (and the rest of the solar system from flying chunks of rock) Fox must find these SpellStones and bring them back to the Force Point Temples on Dinosaur Planet. This isn't as easy as it seems however, as before Fox can even gain access to these separated parts of the planet he needs to find the GateKeeper to open the force field to that section of the planet.
The other thing Fox has to do is find all 6 of the Krazoa Spirits and return them to Krazoa Palace, these are the bringers of life to Dinosaur Planet and when General Scales attacked were hidden. It is now Fox's job to find them all and restore them, usually having to do some strange mini game style task to prove that he is 'worthy', this is both to save the planet and to save Krystal, who unless Fox can find all of the Spirits will die. It did mildly amuse me that for all their great wisdom the Krazoa have to depend on a rag tag band of adventurers from a distant planet to save them!
Gives Fox a rather large amount to contend with really...
The controls for the game are simple, analogue stick to move Fox around, A button to talk, attack or investigate with the X button being used as a shortcut for attacking with the staff, and the Y using the roll to keep you out of an enemies reach. This means that the controls are easy to get the hang of and not to tricky for a child to use. One of the problems that I've found with it however is that the analogue stick doesn't always do exactly what you want it to, it's just not sensitive enough, which means particularly on icy parts of the game getting Fox to go where you want him to go can prove quite a task.
The game play itself resembles Zelda's Ocarina of Time, and this has been mentioned on several occasions by other critics. Similar to Link wielding his master sword Fox is expressively prohibited from using his blaster on the planet because 'This mission is about saving the planet, not blowing it up', leaving Fox only with the staff he found on dinosaur planet. Likewise, the game has a day and night system again like the Ocarina of Time although it's a more gradual and accurate system which seems more realistic. This staff can be powered up throughout the game giving you new abilities such as freezing enemies or doing a massive ground shake.
Jumping's an interesting part of the controls as there is actually no button to allow you to jump, Fox will do this himself providing you move Fox to the end of the ledges. This can be useful at some points as it allows the player to only focus on what you are meant to be doing and not on how to jump from ledge to ledge, however there are occasions when because of the insensitivity of the control stick you can end up jumping when you don't want to.
One of the things that did get me about the game though is the sheer inconsistency of puzzles, some of the puzzles involved are fairly simple, fun and suitable for children. These may take a little bit of effort and thinking but they're easy enough to figure out and quite amusing to do. However other parts of the game would take either a mastermind or an internet strategy guide to work out, for a game that is meant to be aimed at children and adults alike there are a fair few occasions when they massively over shoot the level of difficulty in the game. When me and my boyfriend as supposed adults have had to look up answers on the internet because we have got completely stuck it says something about the difficulty in the game. Although I have to admit the sense of satisfaction when you complete a tricky puzzle is long lasting and a definite bonus.
Possibly the best bits in the game are when Fox is going between planets and you get to actually use the Arwing in the style of previous games. These are great fun and far less tricky as you don't have to figure out strange and far too difficult puzzles, instead it's the traditional killing things in a space machine!
In typical Nintendo style the graphics are of the cute and furry style rather that the Playstation realistic graphics, but with this style of game that is what is really required. The fur on Fox and Krystal is very detailed and to a point life like. But in general the graphics do what Nintendo wanted them to do, being cute, colourful and cheerful. The graphics are attractive to both adults and children and have a mix between being downright cute and rather scary. Although they tend to be cartoony, that is the game was meant to be, and there is no lapse in attention to detail, both in the characters and the backgrounds to the game.
The sound in general is pretty decent, the music tends to match the scenes in which you are playing with for example with the Dinosaur Planet the music fits the kind of tribal air of the place, and although it isn't the best of quality it's decent enough not to annoy the living jeepers out of you! The conversations aren't up to the sound quality of say Final Fantasy XII, but to give credit the game is 5 years old and the voices are just about realistic enough to be passable, and again don't annoy you. They've even got the cocky arrogant tones of Fox just about right, there's no phoney modesty there - he's after results!
It's not a bad length for a game with at least 20 hours of play first time round, and if you're a slow mo like me you could easily double that time with exploring and trying to get the most out of the game. Replay value is a little more tricky as because it is a puzzle game you know the answers second time round. It's not too bad as puzzle games go on second play, because a lot of your time is spent in killing bad guys, but not one you will automatically grab to replay after you've done it once.
As a whole I very much enjoyed this game, and could find very little to fault it on aside from some of the puzzles being a little too difficult for it's intended audience. It's a cute game, with cartoon style characters and rather addictive once you get started on it. I just wish they had more of the gameplay in the spacecraft itself rather than on foot...
While never quite on par with the Mario or Zelda franchises, theres no denying that Starfox, known as Starwing and Lylat Wars in its 2 previous incarnations in Europe, has been one of Nintendos most reliably entertaining and successful series, with its arcade style shoot em up gameplay standing out amongst Nintendos more epic single player titles.
However, when Nintendos Gamecube came around, it was decided to take the series in a different direction, and at the time 2nd party company Rare were drafted in to produce their last game for Nintendo. At the time Rare had been working on an adventure title named Dinosaur planet, and instead of starting a new game , they simply applied the Starfox license to Dinosaur Planet, sending Fox McCloud on his first adventure that wasnt played entirely from the cockpit of his trusty Arwing space fighter.
The games plot is set quite a bit after Lylat Wars, the N64 franchise entry, with Team Starfox drifting through space, bored out of their minds awaiting their boss General Pepper to pop up and issue them a mission. Its grown so boring in the Lylat system that Falco has left the team in search of solo adventure, but one day Pepper crops up with what Fox and his allies have been waiting for.
Dinosaur Planet, a small world on the edge of the Lylat system, home to various tribes of Dinosaurs, has began to explode, the result of the evil General Scales stealing sacred stones to steal their power for himself, and unleashing the power of the Krazoa Spirits, the Gods of Dinosaur Planet. Fox must retrieve the 4 stones and 6 Krazoa Spirits in the hope that this makes the planet whole again. To do so he enlists the aid of Tricky, Prince of the Earthwalker tribe of Dinosaurs, whose father has been imprisoned by General Scales.
The plot is workable, and has a neat sting in the tail, though the whole Collect 4 Sacred Stones and 6 Krazoa Spirits angle does seem a bit like 2 games stuck together (why not 10 of one thing? Itd at least be more consistent) and the game does lack a proper showdown with one of the main villains, but in general, the reinvention of Fox from ace pilot to planet hopping swashbuckler is made smoothly and respectably, if not emphatic in its brilliance. The only thing that really bothered me about the plot was actually Fox though. In some cases he comes across as a cocky, irritating git, which, Conker aside, isnt the best way to portray your hero who were really meant to be behind.
As I mentioned, this would be Rares last game as a Nintendo 2nd party before being bought by Microsoft, and as such received a somewhat mixed build-up. While many anticipated Rare to go out on a high, the game actually received what can only be described as a frontlash from some Nintendo fans, who automatically decided anything those sellouts at Rare did couldnt be good, and some went as far as to retcon their entire gaming history, now playing down how good Rares back catalogue was. As someone whose never claimed to be Rares biggest fan, but not someone who worships Nintendo either, I went into the game with a fairly unbiased perspective. Id enjoyed both prior games in the series, and was surprised it took Nintendo so long to transfer it to a genre outwith a shoot em up, so upon finding the game for a low price I set into it hoping it didnt prove a let-down like Super Mario Sunshine.
Starfox Adventures: Dinosaur Planet takes the form of a 3rd person adventure game, the closest comparisons I could draw would be with Ubisofts Prince of Persia and Beyond Good & Evil titles, taking an emphasis off platforming and shifting it to puzzle solving, with the immediately striking aspect of the game being a lack of a jump button. Its really quite bizarre after so many years of almost every game ever featuring a jump button to operate without it. Thats not to say the game doesnt feature sections that revolve around jumping, its simply achieved by running to the edge of a ledge and Fox doing it automatically.
This brings up arguably the games biggest flaw right off the bat, its controls. The actual control system, using A as your main action button, to activate switches and so on, as well as attack when you have your staff equipped, with Y performing an evading roll, X being used as a shortcut to a staff ability which you can select as your main controls, isnt the real problem, its the sensitivity of the analogue stick controlling Fox thats the main problem. The design of some areas of the game calls for a far more reliable means of control, with it being far too frequent to go skidding off the edge of a ledge when you in fact tried to stop a good 3 seconds beforehand.
Also a source of great frustration is the games Camera, which can, in most cases, be positioned behind Fox, however once again it really isnt reliable, and finding some way, ever if it meant holding down another button in unison, of using the C-Stick to control the camera, because it really can get quite annoying.
Sadly these arent even the extent of the games problems, the puzzles the game is based around are of an incredibly uneven level of difficulty, meaning one minute your dealing with a fun, and challenging but still kid-friendly puzzle, and the next your up against something so out-there youll only solve them either by luck or by looking it up online. The game also features an absolutely absurd amount of back-tracking involved in the game, which also leads to things growing rather tedious at certain stages.
The game isnt a complete wash out however, not by any means in fact. The best far, amusingly enough, are the Arwing Bonus Stages that take place when Fox travels in space, the game adopts the outer space shooter format, playing like a slicker Lylat Wars. As far as the meat of the game goes, even it isnt without its strengths. For a start the games general atmosphere is very well established and maintained. The Dinosaur Planet is portayed as an almost ancient Middle Easter culture, with Scarabs being the currency of choice and the landscape littered with various stone temples and caves, yet the futuristic slant of Starfox isnt totally lost either, which creates a nice tone, the Space Mercenary arriving on the primitive planet, and the game at least has the class to not overdo the fish out of water scenario.
Another of the games highlights is when Fox gets to climb on the back of a dinosaur and use it for a task. Be it flying on a Cloudrunner to shoot down turrets or using an Earthwalkers tusks to destroy field generators, these sections are all very enjoyable, and definite highlights.
Theres also some things Im undecided about. For example, in the game Fox wields a magic staff, with his blaster pistols absence being explained by a throwaway, and stupid at that, line of dialogue. Now the staff, which is both used as a melee weapon and to perform various special abilities, such as blasting fire or ice, opening portals or even creating a disguise, is quite a neat weapon, and the system works quite well, but it just seems a bit out of place. They should have had more levels controlling Krystal, where she wields the staff, and maybe let us use Foxs blaster occasionally.
The other aspect Im on the fence about is Foxs sidekick, Prince Tricky, a small Triceratops like Dinosaur. Tricky is needed to dig up hidden items, scorch vines and ice with his flame breath and perform other tasks. The system works well enough, it just gets rather old relying on this sidekick, using the same tricks over and over again too many times.
Aesthetically, there genuinely isnt much you can fault Starfox Adventures for. Graphically it really is very impressive, while the characters are mostly of a cartoony appearance, Rare havent taken this as a liberty to get lapse with detail. While they may not compare to the best looking Xbox titles, minor details like Foxs fur and the Dinosaurs scales are all really well accomplished, and even elements like water and fire (where a lot of games fall short) look fantastic. Likewise the sound is all of a fairly high standard. The voice acting, while not stellar in quality, is definitely solid and convincing, and the music always works well with the corresponding gameplay experience. When on Dinosaur Planet, traversing temples and so on, the music has a very tribal, native feel, but when you take to space shootouts in your Arwing we get some sweeping heroic music, and the classic Starfox theme or course.
At the end of the day, Starfox Adventures: Dinosaur Planet is really neither here nor there. Its neither the great, system selling adventure Rare fans marked out for, nor is it the catastrophic rushed product of a group of heathen sellouts. Its a passable adventure title. It definitely has its share of faults, but at the same time, I dont regret playing through it, and would be lying if I said there werent sections and aspects of it I enjoyed.
If youve got a Gamecube, it probably is worth picking up Dinosaur Planet, its a decent enough little adventure title, and can be picked up for peanuts these days. I wouldnt say its worth buying a Gamecube to play, but at the same time, if you are looking to get a Gamecube and dont really know what games are worth checking out, its certainly worth looking at.
This is the final RARE game on a Nintendo home console, it is the first Starfox game based on foot, it mixes game styles of Zelda and Starfox together and looks better than Gail Porter skinny dipping in a vat of Dr. Pepper. So on paper Starfox Adventures was set to be the game to end them all. Instead that isn't quite what we got. True to form the Starfox team are assigned to yet another peacekeeping mission on Dinosaur Planet, with a new pay rise the team are more than happy to comply. Dinosaur Planet has been torn apart and Fox McCloud is sent to sort it. After discovering the planet had been attacked by the evil General Scales (groan) Fox sets about trying to locate the Krazoa spirits, the devices that hold the planet together. So typical RPG nonsense and so it begins. Starfox Adventures is notably gorgeous in that it is the best looking game on the Gamecube, the individual fur effects on many of the characters and the beautiful special effects found throughout. But graphics doesn't mean a thing if the game is crap, and it is far from perfect. SFA has some chronic gaming problems; the battle system is frustratingly repetitive, bugs haven’t been ironed out because you often use a different weapon to the one you selected, Tricky can appear in multiple places at once and have the ability to walk through things. The game is surprisingly simple, linear and easy and the voices of the characters are highly irritating. But that doesn't make this a bad game, because despite all those faults the game still reeks of the brilliance of Rare design. It is extremely good fun from start to finish, there is never a moment when you think to yourself “god this is dull”, even with the repetitive battle system. The story progresses at an exciting level and typically with Starfox games there is a dramatic twist at the end of it all. Probably one of the best achievements is Rare making Dinosaur Planet actually play and feel lik
e a Starfox game. The small levels that require you to fly your Arwing through rings are great, retro Starfox fun and despite only being small it is pulled off excellently. The traditional Starfox characters, the technological inclusions of jet bikes and communicators all connote futuristic gameplay. Ideas such as the Jet bikes and mammoth riding are one of the things that make the game stand out so much. Some really innovative ideas that keep you on your toes and all with a whiff of Zelda. Finding secret zones under the ground, having to move from flag to flag in a snowstorm or risk getting lost (*cough* Ocarina of time) and all round similar gameplay. Even the music is reminiscent of Zelda; the Starfox music has been remixed to give it that RPG feel. To say the game is as fun as Zelda is actually rather accurate but so many aspects stop it from becoming a true masterpiece. But hey the game is fun, and that, after all, is the most important thing. Dringo. (www.star-fox.com)