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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Namco
Genre: Action
Players: 1-4
Rated: T (Teen)
Release Date: Feb 14, 2005
Written By: UltimateZeldaGuru

March 8, 2005 - Since the days of the N64 has Fox McCloud seen his last battle in the skies, but that all changes now with the newly released Starfox Assault. The game that quickly captured the heart of gamers and the eyes of graphic lovers on the SNES is back after the staggering blow of the dismal Starfox Adventures. Fox and the rest of his team, including Krystal this time around, are back to hit the skies as they battle on foot, in tanks, and in the beloved Arwing. The game itself was produced by Namco this time around rather than Nintendo or Rare, but it seems they have done a decent job with such a high profile Nintendo series. Either way the game is going to catch your eye.

The game itself is very blowup and move on as the game focuses completely on killing enemies. The game itself has three different single player modes; Story, Mission, and Survival. In story mode you go through the main story of the game through a series of 10 different missions and completing each level to proceed. For those who played Starfox 64 the story mode only has one path this time around and there are no extra planets ou can travel to by finishing certain levels differently. The mission single player mode is just the levels of Story mode, but you can choose which level to play. Survival mode is again, just another variation of Story mode where you will just have to complete the entire story without being able to save. Overall the story modes offer a good deal of fun, but the main Story mode can be easily beaten in under six hours.

The disaster at the dinosaur planet has been averted, but it appears there are still remnants of Adross's fleet plaguing the Lylat system, Starfox, we need your help. So that's basically how the story starts, and it may actually take awhile to realize what is going on in the story. The story changes quickly, but with not much of a plot twist anywhere. The story of this Starfox game is confusing and may take you three times through the game to know exactly what's happening. Quickly after you deal with some of Adross's remaining fleet it seems that some Aliens are attacking the Lylat system and they are lead by Pigma. There are a few unexpected twists in the story, but nothing that is large enough to be called a plot twist. Either way the story is solid, and although it is confusing at times it leaves it open for a sequel.

The game itself has a good contrast of foot, tank, and air battles as in many of the levels all the vehicles are available. Overall the Arwing battles will probably be the most memorable and are reminiscent of the SNES and N64 days. The arwing battles don't go far beyond dodging asteroids and blowing up large amounts of enemies though, and the controls don't even allow you to do some higher level dodging. The foot and tank levels are really more of one in the same and they all offer the same tasks, destroy the targets. Although the levels are fun, it would have been nice to see a defend the base level or a capture the flag level. Either way the foot levels are really all the same, just in different levels. The ten levels offer a small amount of variation and boss battles are extremely similar to the 64 version. Like the 64 version you have your wing mates who really hinder your progress more then they help it. The gameplay is very linear in the game and you won't get lost easily. The different single-player modes do offer some replay value to them as there are unlockables by completing certain tasks in the main game. Other than the upfront shooting, there is not much more to this game. Never the less, the game is still very fun and the repetition isn't that obvious until you start trying to get medals on the levels.

Starting the game the graphics look amazing and the levels will be incredibly detailed and thorough, but the graphics and level design take a steady decline throughout the main game starting at the high point from the first level. The graphics them self are pretty solid though. Fox and the team have never looked better, but it seems that more detail could've gone into some of the levels. The enemies are all quite the same and there are approximately maybe 20 different variations of enemies, but you will see three main enemies everywhere. The multiplayer levels that are not unlocked have graphics that it looks like Rare made them. The graphics in this game really does not make a large difference as the levels are still fun complex. The graphics fit the game well though and have a certain cell shaded feel to them. The graphics are good, but nothing spectacular.

Classic, beautiful, and very repetitive describes the music and sound in the game quite well. When playing the game the sounds great, and the music seems like remastered version of the 64 music. For the first three levels the music and sound is great, but by the time you hit the fourth level you'll be saying 'this song again?'. This is not to say that the sounds aren't good, the voiceovers and little snippets that your team say are done perfectly and are annoying as ever. After awhile you will want to shoot down your team mates just so they shut-up. The enemy sounds and sound effects are done well from explosions and long range attacks sound perfectly cued up and dead on. The sound on this game is like a PlayStation 2, just satisfactory.

The controls can make or break a game, and in Starfox they do both. In Starfox you are presented with three different control type options, and if you don't choose the right one you may find the game harder then it has to be. The first control type option is similar to a Metroid Prime control type where you move with the joystick and aim with R+ the joystick. This is the first control type presented and if you choose this you will find yourself missing shots and having a hard time moving around. The second control type is by far the best out of the three options, and it is spawned of the controls of many dual-joystick first person shooters. The joystick is used for linear movement and the C-stick is used for camera and turning. This control type brings to mind the question of why other games for the GameCube did not come with this option, as it feels very natural, and would've suited Metroid Prime well. The third and worst control type is basically a reversal of the first one. In the third control type the joystick is used for camera, while to move you must hold R. The control types in the game do work fairly well in the game, but most people will find themselves choosing the first option rather then the second. If not using the proper controls in this game the game will become tedious. All control types are playable, but the dual joystick feels by far the most natural.

Originally we heard of Co-op missions with Starfox, and then we heard of LAN, but it seems that none of them made it to the final version. The only multiplayer in Starfox is plain, straight up sitting next to your opponent. This is not to say that the multiplayer is not fun, as it is the most used feature on my game. The multiplayer features many different maps, but to get decent maps you will have to unlock them through single player. The unlockables in multiplayer are great and it will keep the multiplayer new for a long time. In multiplayer you can unlock everything from stages, weapons, to new characters and some which aren't even in the main game. In terms of multiplayer modes the options are numerous, but are all just different variations of a death match. The multiplayer in the game is solid, and will make this game worth buying if you play a lot of multiplayer games with three friends.

The game is a fun escapade for a good weekend or two, but unless you plan on really using the multiplayer then this is probably a game you would just want to rent. The game is a solid play and it is good to see Fox back in an actual Starfox game. The game has its moments, but it could use more. The game is enjoyable and fun, but its not worth its weight in gold. I highly recommend renting this game if you have a chance, but a buy is really only if you have a passionate love for Fox and crew. Starfox Assault brings the series back to its roots with many new elements that you can plan to see be carried on in later additions to the franchise. Namco did a good job with a franchise that was so butchered last time around. Hopefully we will see the Starfox team back in the cockpit and on the screen again soon.


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