Star Fox: Assault

It is, however, a major shame that all that very well-presented and pleasantly deep content is hampered by numerous technical issues that affect about half of the gameplay presented in Star Fox: Assault. Had the same amount of care and thought that is showcased in its flying portions been employed in the making of the segments that try to push the franchise towards new directions, fans of the saga could have – in their hands – an excellent product of the same caliber as Star Fox 64. Yet, as it stands, Star Fox: Assault has ground missions that are just way too clumsy, and given they share space with flying objectives that are absolutely stellar, rather than coming off as satisfying additions to the formula they appear as blocks in the middle of the way that must be overcome so the game’s truly great moments can be reached. Consequently, instead of being praised for its inventions, Star Fox: Assault is defined by its irregularity, and most of the worthy new steps it tries to implement end up being disappointing.

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Star Fox 2

It is hard to overlook elements that, in the past, were major technological victories but that, in a context where tridimensional gaming has reached full maturity, come off as awfully clunky and outdated. Nonetheless, it would be unfair to let Star Fox 2 be fully defined by them when it does such a great job in building its own identity. The game is very much a sequel to an equally flawed classic; after all, it borrows a universe of spaceships, dogfights, and a whole lot of shooting from it. At the same time, though, it barely feels like the second chapter of a saga, because the changes it operates in structure, leaning to a strategic vein, and in gameplay, betting on free-roaming combats, create gigantic separation between it and its predecessor. Therefore, even if Star Fox 2 cannot be fearlessly recommended due to its blatant wrinkles, it can at least be applauded and given some praise for an audacity that does generate some exciting fruits.

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Star Fox Adventures

Star Fox Adventures is, therefore, irregular. On many fronts, it is a game that boasts visible qualities and a perceivable level of polish; nevertheless, when placed under a scrutinizing light, almost none of them remain unscathed. As such, while in many ways one is able to see that the always gifted hand of Rare was behind the construction of the title, it is not hard to realize the project was not among the smoothest and carefully carried out efforts the company put together during their partnership with Nintendo. Due to that, the last note coming out of that association is somewhat out of tune, signaling that the closing of an era was indeed fast approaching. In the end, Star Fox Adventures fails to fully convince fans and outsiders alike not because it presents Fox and his crew out of their natural habitat, but because it amounts to little more than a good adventure game that stumbles a lot and never truly establishes its own character.

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Star Fox 64

Overall, Star Fox 64 is nothing short of spectacular. It is the full realization of the concept of bringing arcade space shooters to a home console, and it reaches that status not just by perfectly translating the genre’s excitement and high-scoring thrill to television screens, but by finding ways to naturally expand the otherwise brief experience into a meaningful length. Be it by flying an Arwing, piloting a Landmaster, or diving in the Blue-Marine, players are bound to have an excellent time when blasting through Andross’ large army, and they will do so accompanied by likable characters, plenty of voice-acted dialogues, and stages that always succeed in surprising, testing gamers’ capacity to react quickly and shoot fast, and inviting them back for one more try. It is a source of joy that keeps on delivering for quite some time, and it is no wonder the absurd quality of the action it presents has been so hard to replicate.

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Star Fox

The conclusion is that, like many Super Nintendo classics, there is fun to be had in the original Star Fox. However, differently from other remarkable titles of the era, the first quest of Fox, Falco, Peppy, and Slippy has had a big portion of its glory eroded by the passing of time. Although it inaugurated a gameplay style that has served the franchise relatively well for a big amount of years and translated with grace the excitement of sidescrolling space shooters to the 3-D perspective, the fact it was one of gaming’s first huge endeavors into the world of polygonal graphics has caused its visuals and some of its gameplay components to lose luster. Going through its stages remains a thrill, shooting up as many enemies as humanly possible is still an appealing challenge, and trying hard to beat one’s best score in each of the game’s three routes is certainly alluring. Sadly, the reaching of those awards has to go through being able to look past very aged visuals and a few frustrating gameplay quirks that stem from technological limitations and clumsy implementation.

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Forgiving The Unforgivable

Through so many years of so many letdowns, it is clear that some fans turned their backs on Nintendo either due to one of those doubtful moves or because of the sum of all parts. However, the number of people who decided to forgive, wait and develop – once more – trust in the company’s abilities were fairly rewarded. For every appealing Eastern game that was not localized to the West there was an incredible RPG; for every year that Samus stayed in the limbo there were five hours of gameplay in the fantastic trilogy that followed the lull; for every horrible Mario game there was an adventure featuring the plumber that blasted into historical greatness; for every ridiculous song in Donkey Konga there was a stage exploding in creativity in Donkey Kong Country Returns and its sequel; for every CD-i Zelda game there were many unforgettable Hylian adventures; for every inadequate Star Fox game there was a new IP or a fun adventure starring a reborn Kirby; for every botched up relationship with third-parties there were unexpected partnerships that resulted in incredible titles; and for every disastrous system there were more than plenty of successful ones.

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Star Fox Guard

Star Fox Guard is a game that shows Nintendo acting like an indie developer: having to abide to tight budget constraints, which become visible in the graphics and sound, and being forced to come up with a simple yet amusing gameplay idea that can be developed within a strict scope. In the end, it all works. The game is an inventive use of an established property in a completely different scenario, and – most importantly – it is one of the Wii U’s few titles to justify the existence of the maligned Gamepad. Star Fox Guard is a rather unique experiment for Nintendo’s standards and, given it is quality, one can only hope the company will repeat the process with some of its other franchises, taking them out of their safe haven and using their universe as the trampoline to straightforward, yet brilliant, gameplay concepts.

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Star Fox Zero

In the end, the magic of Star Fox is that it is always exciting. When first stepping into the game, the challenge of its missions make up for an adrenaline-filled ride to even the most experienced gamers. After a while, when clearing the missions becomes automatic, the thrill lies in the fact that players will delight in pushing themselves to maximizing the number of downed enemy ships so that absurdly high scores can be reached. In Star Fox Zero, that first wave of excitement is diluted because it is sometimes overwhelmed by the initially convoluted control scheme. But the fact remains that it is hard to find a gaming experience this invariably thrilling; even in the face of its many flaws, in the long run Star Fox Zero is a game that endlessly yields a constant rush of excitement that is unparalleled and that is bound to keep players coming back for more.

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The Return Of The Fantastic Mr. Fox

Star Fox Zero’s problems and its lack of creativity to develop a full package of settings, dialogues, and bosses of its own instead of borrowing a lot of elements from Star Fox 64 are blatant. However, it is unquestionably a game with far more qualities than virtues; a title that fully understands what is the essence of the series and then tries to implement it as well as possible. Its new ideas do not uniformly succeed, but its structural overhaul – with a Story Mode where players can, after unlocking the levels, freely select which one they want to tackle; and an Arcade Mode where the Star Fox 64 joy of aiming for high overall scores in individual runs from Corneria to Venom is recreated – show that this simple formula, when correctly captured, still works quite well in contemporary gaming.

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