Star Fox Assault (GameCube) review
"The Star Fox team first appeared on the Gamecube in a platform game, called Star Fox Adventures. While, many considered it a quality game (and others a subpar game) it never really felt like a true Star Fox game, despite the occasional flying (simple stages). Namco, however, introduced the true sequel to the classic Star Fox games, that game being Star Fox Assault. While it does have its faults, overall it keeps itself true to many of the key aspects of the frist two Star Fox game; that aspect b..."
The Star Fox team first appeared on the Gamecube in a platform game, called Star Fox Adventures. While, many considered it a quality game (and others a subpar game) it never really felt like a true Star Fox game, despite the occasional flying (simple stages). Namco, however, introduced the true sequel to the classic Star Fox games, that game being Star Fox Assault. While it does have its faults, overall it keeps itself true to many of the key aspects of the frist two Star Fox game; that aspect being pure entertaining fun.
When you are talking about a Star Fox game, the first thing that should come up is the piloting of the Arwing. Arwing battles are a prominent part of "Star Fox Assault" and it definitely one of the most entertaining parts of the game. The controls are all back, including the U-turn, and the loop-de-loop to shake off enemies, with the typical power ups to shoot down opposing ships. The space battles are filled with hundreds of enemies with a soul mission of killing you. Also, whenever you are in the air, you need to keep an eye on your three other pilots, who once again need your help alot more than they actually give help to you. It gives the sense that is truly you against the great manifestation of opposition in this game, and that feeling that you are going against overpowering odds is something that makes the flight battles a memorable experience.
The Star Fox team, however, does not stay exclusively to the air. A good portion of the game, is Fox McCloud on the ground, in a 3rd person shooter. Namco does a great job with this new addition however, as Fox controls a good variety of guns, all with their own distinct uses (for example a sniper rifle, machine gun, rocket launcher, etc). These weapons are all useful in disposing hundreds of enemies in each stage. The only problem with ground battles, is that instead of just fighting against opponents, you are instead looking to just destroy typically like 4 or 5 targets. In some cases, you won't actually have to kill that many enemies, because you are instead just running to the targets trying to blow your way up to the next part of the land stages.
The other thing about the land stages, is typically you are not stuck solely on your feet. Usually at some point in the stage you are able to navigate the Land Master, a tank that has appeared in the past Star Fox games, and later on even the Arwing. The Land Master, however, is not as useful as you would expect from the large machinery, and the gun controls are not as easy to aim, as it would be on foot or in the air. The ground battles are usually long affairs, but they never seem that tedius as the controls are excellent, and it never stops bringing enjoyment.
The biggest problem with "Star Fox: Assault" is that it doesn't follow true to one of the greatest strengths of its predeccesors. In the past the Star Fox series was known for branching paths. If you succeeded in certain parts of a mission you would be advanced to a harder level. In "Star Fox Assault" there are different level of difficulties, but no branching paths. This means that when you first beat the entire game, those are all the original stages you will be seeing (although the change in difficulty definitely does increase the urgency as you delve into the game).
That also leads into the other biggest weakness; the games length. You could probably beat "Star Fox Assault's" story mode in a single day, or about five or so hours on the easiest difficulty. While this game does have huge replay value with all the badges, medals, and flags to unlock at the three different difficulties, a single play through is definitely not as long as any Star Fox fan would desire.
"Star Fox" also has a four-player split screen multiplayer mode, one that gives a nostalgic feel as you fly around the skies shooting at your friends. While it's not the most complex multiplayer game, just the single player mode it is just fun to go against your friends in a landmaster, arwing, or on your feet along.
Namco also put alot of time into the graphics of StarFox, and everything looks extremely crisp and detailed, whether it is the characters walking around on the ground, or the extreme details to the LandMaster and the Arwings. The stages are all huge with amazing visuals, and the enemies all looks good. Along with the graphics the sound effects in the game also have been proved upon. While some voices just don't feel right (Slippy for ones, has had a massive voice change) the sound effects of shooting are still slick and smooth. When it comes to visual and audio quality, I have had few better experiences on the GameCube.
Lastly, I will talk about the story mode, seeing it is one of the least important factors of this game. Now, I am definitely not saying that "Star Fox" has a bad story, cause actually it has a much better story than you'd expect. It advances quite quickly, and it brings back alot of memorable characters, and even has its moments where it will bring emotions to your face. It definitely does not extract from the experience, nor does it overpower the game to the fact that you overlook its pure entertainment.
I have loved Star Fox games for years, and I was extremely pleased to see Namco return the series to form with this excellent experience. I recommend all gamers to go out and at least rent this game for a play through, and for any true Star Fox game, to go out and actually purchase it, because there is alot you can do to lengthen the play time on this game. In a day and age where everyone expects everything to be outright amazing, it is good to find a game that actually brings back fun to the table.
Community review by ratking (March 23, 2005)
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