Name: Star Fox Adventures review Category: Adventure Developer: Rare Publisher: Nintendo Players: 1
Star Fox Adventures 10/6/2002
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Rare says goodbye to Nintendo in it's farewell game!
Ah yes, StarFox Adventures. The former N64 game previously entitled “Dinosaur Planet” has finally made its way to a local gamestore near you. After countless, predictable delays from originally being scheduled for a system launch release, and almost a year later, we are graced with the last accomplishment that Rare will ever give us Nintendo fans. This game is a doozy, so read on if you’re interested!
Graphics Ok folks, this is what you’ve been waiting for. StarFox Adventures is the absolute most gorgeous game ever released on the system thus far. No lie! While playing, there were times when my jaw literally dropped wide open and I sat there for a moment, my heart racing, taking in all the lush environments. It is an incredible accomplishment for Rare, and I absolutely wouldn’t expect any less from such a great developer. The transitions between the different areas of the game are accomplished with impeccable attention to detail. Rare’s use of the GC’s hardware exceeds on so many levels that I couldn’t possibly describe them all. (but I’m gonna try) Intricate fur-shading, flawless real-time lighting and reflections, perfect water refraction, incredibly detailed textures, wonderfully elaborate and IMMENSE level design, smooth, hi-poly characters, camera blur, motion blur, and oh my God it even supports progressive scan high-definition TV’s and widescreen. Could it get any better? Oh yes it can! The only flaw in the graphics is that there are a few miniscule stutters at times when the game is loading one level to the next on-the-fly, but that is just being picky!
Sound Chalk up another completely awesome soundtrack from our friends at Rare. The game’s score and sound effects are of extremely high caliber throughout the entire game. And you can enjoy it in Dolby Pro Logic II. Even though most of the music is non-melodic, the moody ambience suits the game perfectly, and doesn’t become a distraction--just as it were a big-budget movie. There are a few tunes you might recognize as well, such as the StarFox 64 theme. Luckily, Rare has added a Sound Test for you to unlock so you can listen to these great tunes any time you want. The game also has superb voice acting, and the mouth movements of the characters are spot-on. I’m not sure if all the voices are the same from the N64 version, but they sound very similar. And where else can you talk to a Scottish rock-golem and British mammoths?
Gameplay Phenomenal graphics. Check. Immersive music and sound. Check. So how does it play? Well before I begin my beef with the game, let me make an analogy for you: Super Mario 64 is to Banjo Kazooie as Zelda: The Ocarina of Time is to StarFox Adventures. Rare has this infatuation, it seems, of taking tried-and-true successful formulas from Nintendo games, and making their own, enhanced versions. SFA is so much like Zelda in so many ways that it’s almost hard to look at this in a positive manner. A perfect example is that the day transitions into night extremely quickly, just like in Zelda, and makes it difficult to see and play the game. I guess some people will never learn! However, whereas in Zelda, you are usually doing one fairly large quest after another, StarFox is limited to multiple amounts of “mini-quests” which usually consist of item collecting. The game starts off a tad slow at first, and that may turn off a few people. Seriously, the second you think you are done collecting something, it goes and shoves you off in a different direction so you have to go collect something else, and then after you collect that, there’s probably another thing you have to collect. Looking past this aspect, what underlies is one of the most fun and largest adventure games released for consoles. The game is just breathtaking and trekking across these massive worlds alone makes it worth playing. The staff that Fox uses is very diverse and lets him accomplish a number of tasks, besides the obvious of fighting enemies. Speaking of fighting enemies, when you see one, if you have your staff out, the camera will automatically lock on to the enemy and you will begin to strafe. You can get out of this by pressing B, but I don’t like how it makes you fight sometimes without your permission, unlike Zelda where you would have to press Z to lock-on. The puzzles in the game are also not overly difficult, and some consist of breaking out your old-school gaming skills such as button-mashing contests and target practice. There are Arwing levels before you go to each major location, but are also very short and consist of flying through gold rings to beat the level. They are fun at first, but in the end they seem a tad half-assed and don’t seem to fit with the game. However, I’m sure people would complain if you didn’t get to control your Arwing, so it’s fun while it lasts. Another gameplay aspect is Tricky, your baby Triceratops companion. He follows you almost everywhere you go and helps you with puzzles. However Tricky doesn’t really need to be there, as they could have just made Tricky’s moves part of Fox’s regular arsenal in one way or another. So he is slightly gimmicky, but doesn’t ruin the overall experience.
Overall You should go through this game in about 15-20 hours. I personally finished in a little over 19 hours, in 6 days. That’s why you might want to consider giving this title a rental. If you are in dire need of an adventure game and can’t wait until the new Zelda comes out, then by all means go right ahead and buy, but I warn you, there isn’t much replay there. The cutscenes are also very prevalent, but are usually there to help give you tips on solving puzzles and such. While playing, I just got the feeling that they shouldn’t have used the StarFox franchise and had kept with their original characters and intentions. It might have been a lot cooler and no one could complain about not being able to fly your Arwing. The game can be a tad frustrating at times, but that’s when you just have to put down the controller and take some time away from it. There is also an extremely disappointing thing that occurs at the end, (which I will not give away) but is one of the reasons that docked this game a few points. It’s a very satisfying experience, and I recommend all Gamecube owners give it a try. After all, it’s the last game we’ll ever see from Rare on a Nintendo console!
GameDiscovery.com : GameCube : Star Fox Adventures Review : Adventure