Mention Star Fox 64 (or Lylat Wars for our American chums) to gamers of a certain age and they will go all misty-eyed over one of the Nintendo 64's most memorable titles. They'll start to talk to you about the 3D space combat, fluid animation, voice acting and fun gameplay. Of course, if, like me you never actually got around to playing the original game, you might wonder what on earth they are on about.
Now, those of us who missed out first time around have the chance to see what all the fuss was about with the released of Star Fox Command on the DS. Well; sort of.
The action takes places several years after the original game and the Star Fox team has long since disbanded. When the evil Anglar Empire threatens Corneria, Fox McCloud must try to reunite his old team and once again save his planetary system.
How this translates into actual gameplay is slightly odd. It is essentially split into two very different parts. The first section is a basic strategy game. You see a map showing your location and the location of the Anglar forces and must predict their flight path and then set your own ship on a course to intercept them before they can attack your home ship (it's game over if they reach this). It's a turn-based affair whereby you make your moves, then the enemy make theirs, and you only have a limited number of moves at your disposal.
Once you have intercepted the enemy, you move into the second element: a 3D combat game. This sees you get into the cockpit of your fighter, where you must located and destroy hostile shops Most missions carry a time limit and if your energy or time limit reaches zero, you crash and it's game over once again.
It's difficult to know what the thinking was behind this game. It's clearly trying to appeal to as wide an audience as possible by including two very different types of game. Sadly, it never really succeeds in properly integrating the two parts and so ends up falling between two stools. The strategy elements are rather simplistic and dull. I hated this part of the game and every time the map appeared, I inwardly groaned. For someone like me, who doesn't like strategy games, they are boring, repetitive and often require a lot of trial and error gameplay before you get it right. Having to replay the same map screen over and over again quickly becomes frustrating and tedious. On the other hand, anyone who enjoys full blown strategy games will find it simplistic and repetitive.
Combat sequences are better and it's a real shame the whole game wasn't based around this segment. It's this section which comes closest to capturing the Star Fox spirit and swooping around, picking off enemies is great fun. Battles can be pretty tough and some audacious flying is needed at times. Whilst the sensation of speed is never particularly great (something the DS doesn't do well in my opinion) you can overlook this, because the actual arcade flying segment is good fun. If the whole game had been a more straightforward mission-based arcade flyer, I'd probably have enjoyed it far more. As it is, the strategy elements slow the pace and lower the enjoyment levels.
The strategy/combat sequences are all held together by a Story Mode told through the use of cut-scenes. The story is well-told and interesting, but Story Mode is relatively short and quite easy . I admit I haven't yet completed it, but I'm nearly there and I'd say there's only about 10 hours or so of gaming time in it. The Story Mode is also very linear and you can't do anything outside of your mission parameters which feels very limiting and old-fashioned in the new era of open world gameplay. There are other game modes available, but I'm not sure the action is strong enough to make you interested in going back and trying those.
Graphically the game is rather disappointing and if anything is worse than the screen shots I've seen of the original Star Fox 64. Cut-scenes are nicely drawn with big, large characters that bring Fox and his team to life but the strategy sections look like they were programmed on a Commodore 64 and the 3D combat sections aren't that impressive. Sure, the graphics look fine, but they definitely lose something on the DS's small screen and look like they were drawn around 1998, not 2006. This DS version fails to capture that epic sense that by all accounts made Star Fox 64 so special.
Where sound is concerned, it's the other way round. The in-game sound effects are perfectly adequate (if nothing special) and there's a couple of nice tunes . The audio in the cut-scenes, on the other hand, is appalling. Rather than having proper voice acting, characters speak in the same squeaky gobbledegook which sounds as though it has been created by someone randomly pressing buttons on a synthesiser or fast forwarding through an audio tape. It is incredibly aggravating and within a few minutes of play made me want to either throw my DS through the window or chop off my own ears (in the end I opted for turning the sound off on my DS which was much less expensive and far less painful).
Where the game is most innovative is in its use of the touch-screen for pretty much every aspect of the game; from steering your ship to controlling its speed and (of course) directing your forces on the map section. I confess I was rather dubious about whether this would work for the flying/action sequences, but actually it's brilliant. The touch-screen gives you instant control over the direction and speed of your ship and flying is both instantly intuitive and highly responsive. The sole button you need to worry about is used to fire your weapon and you can use any button (including the D-Pad) to do this, so you can choose whichever is most comfortable.
Sadly, it was with the issue of comfort that I have to take issue with the controls. Having to hold and use the DS, the stylus and buttons can make for some uncomfortable gaming sessions. I just can't find an easy or comfortable way to hold the DS and use it in this way. I usually find that my sessions on Star Fox Command are limited to around 30 minutes or so because after that my hand starts to seize up with cramp.
At the end of the day, Star Fox Command is an odd little game. As far as I can see, it's not that much of an advance over the original N64 and some would argue it's actually not as good. It deserves credit for trying to expand on the original arcade based gameplay, but it never really does this in a way that works. Fans of Star Fox 64 will be sorely disappointed that they are not just getting their favourite game updated for a new console, whilst newcomers will wonder what on earth all the fuss is about. You can't help feeling that this a missed opportunity for Nintendo to re-establish one of its best-loved franchises for a new generation.
I got my copy of the game for £2.98 (second hand) which I was perfectly happy with. To be honest, though, I wouldn't be willing to pay more than about £5.
(c) Copyright SWSt 2013
The Star Fox fighter squadron returns in this solid flight combat game, which distinguishes itself with its strategies and well designed touch screen controls. I got this game about a year back for my DS at around £14.99 off amazon, though now as you can see on the amazon site it is £12.99.
The touch screen ability as one of the best features of the game, and I am sure if it never had that the game would not be at least half as good that it already is. You control which ways you fly by making a route of the path to go, though if you do it off track, you will bump into trees and stuff like that.
The storyline is really great which in mind takes place like so - Dr. Andross is a mad doctor which plans to take over the solar system. With that in find the star fox team are straight to the attention and set out to try and defeat the doctor and with his evil plan.
On your first play through the story mode, you'll take on a series of missions in a strictly linear order, though you'll notice Fox has various locked dialogue choices in between missions. Once you finish the story--which takes just a few hours and has a rather anticlimactic ending--those other choices will be unlocked. You can then go back through the story several more times, and depending on the choices you make between missions, you'll meet different characters, fight different foes, and eventually reach different endings.
Multiplayer is another feature of the game, and can be done with wi fi or simply if you have another DS in the household. Whats more if you have another DS in the household you only need that one game card to play which does save money!
The story mode missions and the multiplayer ones are really straight forward and don't have a real challenge in to them at all. And in the multiplayer zone there is only a small variety of levels to play on which is really bad.
You at some points go flying into space in attempt to catch the Dr. and so you will need to avoid falling rocks and boulders which come in your way here and then, and if you do bash in to them you will start from the nearest check point.
There are a few fairly tough boss opponents strewn throughout the game, but for the most part, the easiest way to lose a mission is by failing to prevent a cruise missile from smacking into the Great Fox.
Overall it is a pretty good game for the DS, and it is so good when I clocked it I started over again and clocked it again, that is how addictive it is!
Starfox has been around in many versions since his first outing on Super Nintendo years ago. Modern gamers will recognise him from Smash Brothers.
Star Fox Command is a game with an interesting concept. Cross a turn based top down strategy game (like say advance wars), with a futuristic first person aerial combat game (like Lylat Wars from this series on N64) and you get this game. You have to direct your pilots to the enemy in turn based fashion using the stylus to plot their course. Whilst doing this you must always protect the mother ship because if an enemy reaches it, its game over. Whenever one of your fighters comes into contact with an enemy, combat begins. This isn't a piece of animation. You take control of the fighter & have to shoot down the enemy.
This game is pretty unique. I can't think of another game which works in this fashion. Because of that, it has a lot to be said about it. It is fun to play. Trying to avoid the enemy or find them & protect the mother ship all at once is challengin & good fun. The combat sections are easy to control & just as good fun to play as they were in the past.
There are some downsides. If you come into contact with two enemy groups at once, you don't fight them at once. You fight them one after the other. Fighting them at once would be more realistic & harder but you don't have to worry about it happening because you take them on individually. Also, you pilot your fighter with the stylus. It's easy to do & doesn't spoil the game but to me, it's just an unecessary use of the stylus. It's like using the stylus just for the sake of it. It would have made more sense & probably more fun using the joypad.
On the plus side, the game is fun. There is a challenging single player mode. Multiplayer options include 4 players from one copy of the game along with online play too. I like the game. I enjoy it. I can only recommend it however if it sounds like your kind of game.
Starfox command for nintendo ds is a stradgey/ shooter game where you play as a number of different characters. I bought this game for £8 preowned at gamestation. I decided to buy it as the price was good and the game itself also did. The game didn't though live up to my expectation.
I loaded the game up, there was four different icons to pick. Single payer, download play, wi-fi battle and options. I wanted to play the single player camaign so I clicked on the icon. In the single player campaign you can do 4 different things. Start the campaign from the begining if you have never played it or start where you left off. You can pick a stage you have unlocked that you liked and play it agin. You can go to the gallery and see all the characters stats like the characters background, the ship they fly etc. In the campaign you play with different characters but the main character you play with is called fox mccloud. Fox mccloud is the leader of the star fox squadron and is the most courageous of the characters. Other characters you play with include Slippy toad, Falco Lombardi and Lucy Hare plus many more. Each character you play with has a different ability and spacecraft. The spacecrafts vary in size and power and speed.
I suggest that before you start the campaign you do train and learn the basics first so you no what you are doing which really does help later on in the game. What really lets the campaign mode down is the use of stragedy in it. You have limited moves in each stage and its near enough impossible to finish the stage with the number of moves given to you. The people that made the game should of decided whether they wanted a stradgey game or a shooter game instead of mixing the two. They just don't work. If they made it just a shooter game it would of been alot more fun to do.
In the single player mode and your playing the campaign when you actually fight and shoot things the game is very fun. You use the stylus to fly the spacecraft. To shoot you pull the right trigger and you shoot the enemy.
This is really fun as well as there is no stradegy involved your just fighting and flying against your mates which is really cool. Probably the best bit about the game.
Would of been a really good game if there was no stradegy invloved.
6 out of 10
An odd mix of two genres: 3D space shooter and strategy sim.
First off, I really wanted to love this game. A good looking space comabt sim with a heritage to be proud of.
The shooter element of the game is engaging but utlimatley flawed by a frustrating control system (use of the stylus is excelletnt - but could I fly where I wanted to and actually shoot at what I was aiming -- No). There is a range of ships to fly and a diverse range of "enemies" to try and blast.
The stategy element is frankly a joke. Limited options on where to place your ships. Choose some "super weaon" strategy and then zoom into the 3D combat mode to finish off any stragglers.
Visually, the game is appealing, with the ships and backgrounds rendered well on the DS.
It's a sign of how unengaging I found this game, that I played the first 5 maps and finally admitted defeat.
For those that have seen StarFox in previous incarnations in the N64 -- dig them out of the loft and see what this game could have been.
Using the touch screen, players can draw the routes they and their teammates will take, then battle the enemies they encounter as they take over bases and strategically advance across the map. Players can also blow their friends out of the sky as they dogfight with up to eight players over a local wireless connection or take on up to four players from around the world on Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.