FREE E-mail
address!! Sign up here!!

Get a FREE iPad or MacBook Air!!!!!!!

Star Fox 64

Get the game at!

Reviewed by Brian Taylor Star Fox for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System was the first game for that system to truly blow our minds. The graphics were unbelievable and the sound was extremely well done. Now, in similar fashion, Star Fox 64 has burst onto the scene. Gamers across the country have been scrambling to get their copy. Now that the dust has settled, I am writing this review to examine this masterpiece in all of its shining detail. When you first turn the power switch to ON, you become immersed in the first true "interactive movie". A brilliant cinematic sequence plays, and a notable scene occurs when the four members of Star Fox are introduced while sprinting through a strangely lit corridor to their waiting Arwings. There are many options in Star Fox 64. There is a 15-stage Story Mode (16 if you count the two variations of Venom), 3 different types of Vs. Mode, and a Training mode. In the story mode, you progress through the besieged Lylat System in a non-linear fashion en route to the final encounter with the evil scientist Andross on Venom. There are 15 planets. You start on Corneria and progress through the planets in the system. Which stage you go to next depends largely on how the mission went. For example, on Corneria (the first stage), you can go either to Meteor or Sector Y. If you fail to rescue Falco or do not pass through all of six archways over a lake in the stage, you will proceed to fight a boss that leads you to Meteor. However, if you rescue Falco when he is in trouble, and pass through all of the stone archways, Falco will tell you to follow him and you will pass through a waterfall to a secret boss. Blast the boss and you are headed to Sector Y. If you go to a harder route, such as Sector Y, you have the option at the planet screen to go back to an easier route (Meteor). A definite plus in the game is the spectacular Vs. Mode. There are three different game modes in the Vs. Mode, including a Point Match, Battle Royal, and Time Trial. In the Point Match, 2 to 4 players fight in one of two arenas and try to destroy a specified number of ships. The first to reach this number is declared the winner. In the Battle Royal (my favorite), each player is given one Arwing, and if he loses it, his game is over. The last one standing wins. Finally, in the Time Trial, up to 4 players play a timed match (1 to 5 minutes) and try to kill as many enemy ships as possible. The winner is the one with the most kills. In all of the Vs. Mode battles, there is a handicap for less skilled players. There are 3 levels of handicap. Level 1 has the longest shield gauge and can take many more hits, Level 2 is the medium, and Level 3 means your ship is very fragile. The Vs. Mode in Star Fox 64 easily beats any other multiplayer action games. Now, on to the game. You will quickly notice that this game has the cinematic quality of a motion picture. The story seems to unravel seamlessly. The cinematic scenes continue all the way up to the actual gameplay, which further immerses you in the game. There are cinemas throughout the game. There is a detailed introduction, smaller scenes before and after each level, and a great ending. The first thing players will notice about Star Fox 64 is the brilliant graphics. These are extremely well-detailed polygons, with beautifully rendered ships and obstacles. The terrain is modeled realistically and well detailed. The animation is smooth and there is no noticeable slowdown. The bitmapped explosions are spectacular. Star Fox 64 is the most impressive game graphically to date. One of the greatest qualities of this game is the excellent sound effects and music. The sound effects are extremely well done, and are timed well with the Rumble Pak. However, the most impressive music certainly gets the job done. I am surprised at how many people think that the music is bad just because it is different from the original Star Fox. This soundtrack is well composed and Koji Kondo deserves credit for it. I think that it is the best music found on the system to date. The most important aspect of a shooter is the control. No matter how well the graphics and sound are, if a shooter is unplayable, it immediately becomes a bad game. However, Star Fox 64 pulls of the transition from the digital control pad to the Control Stick masterfully. The control is fluid and responsive without being overly touchy. If you get shot down, you can't blame the controls. The best part about the controls are the special moves that Miyamoto has included. You can now to barrel rolls to deflect enemy lasers, U-turns, somersaults (loops), quick turns, turbo boosts, brakes, etc. These special moves add a sense of realism and fun to the fighting. Like the original, there are lasers and smart bombs. However, now you can lock on to your enemies by holding down the A button, and using either the laser or a bomb quickly afterwards, the projectile will home in on the enemy. This is a brilliant addition to an already dynamite control engine. The gameplay in Star Fox 64 is superb as well. Now there are 3 different vehicles for missions. The Arwing is the most common, for obvious reasons. However, for a welcomed change of pace, you now drive the Landmaster tank on the ground and the Blue Marine in the water. There are only 3 such missions in the game, so it is not a focal point, but it is impressive and enjoyable nonetheless. The 3 vehicles control very similarly, so a learning curve is not applicable. It is easy to assume that a shooter with only 15 levels will lack in the replay value category. However, that is certainly not the case with Star Fox 64. In an ingenious move by Miyamoto, he included many bonuses if you keep playing. For example, if all members of the Star Fox team survives a mission and you receive a certain number of points, you will get a medal similar to Blast Corps. Medals are good because they are a tangible way of displaying your mastery of the game. They are not easy to get. If you manage to obtain all of the medals in the game, you will open up new options. For one, a sound test mode appears so you can listen to Star Fox 64's excellent tunes. Also, a Landmaster Vs. Mode becomes available. In addition, an Expert mode is opened up. If you beat the game on the hardest route in Expert mode, you will be able to have Vs. Mode battles on foot with bazookas! Cool! This game certainly does not lack in Replay Value. The revolutionary Rumble Pak is included free with Star Fox 64. It is a great device which feeds back vibrations that correspond to the action taking place on screen. The vibrations are well timed and are realistic. You actually feel as if you are in the cockpit. There are several levels of vibrations. Despite many skeptics who believe that the Rumble Pak is a gimmick, it really adds to the game play experience and will be used with several games in the future. So far, the entirety of this review has been positive. In reality, there are no major drawbacks to this spectacular blockbuster game. However, the one minor drawback that I can find is the fact that your progress in the game cannot be saved. But since you can play through the game in less than an hour, it really isn't necessary. However, it would be nice, especially when trying to get those elusive medals. In conclusion, Star Fox 64 excels in every category. Kudos to Shigeru Miyamoto, E.A.D., and the staff at Nintendo for giving us the best N64 game to date. If you don't buy it, you are missing out on one helluva ride.


Graphics: 4.9

+ Well-detailed ships and obstacles + Excellent terrain + Good use of transparency

Sound: 4.7

+ Realistic, well-timed sound effects + Excellent music soundtrack + Separate volume controls

Control: 4.8

+ Fluid, responsive controls + Not too touchy + Great new special moves - Turbo power lost too quickly

Gameplay: 4.9

+ Excellent story mode format + 3 ships: Arwing, Landmaster and Blue Marine + Rumble Pak provides excellent vibration feedback - Landmaster and Blue Marine tough to control at first

Lastability: 4.6

+ Medals for all 15 levels available + Several bonuses for medals and game completion - Difficult to get some medals - No game progress save feature

Overall: 4.9

Want this game? Find it on!!

Tips and codes - Game Endings - Java Games - Reviews - Fun Stuff