Star Fox 64
Star Fox 64 (スターフォックス 64 Sutā Fokkusu Rokujūyon), known in Australia and Europe as Lylat Wars due to trademark issues, is a scrolling shooter video game for the Nintendo 64 video game console. It was released on April 27, 1997 in Japan, on July 1, 1997 in North America and on October 20, 1997 in Europe and Australia. It was later ported to the China-only iQue on November 21, 2003. Additionally, it is a reimagined remake of the original Star Fox, and the first and only to be released on the Nintendo 64. It was made available for download on the Wii's Virtual Console on April 2, 2007 in North America, April 17, 2007 in Japan and on April 20, 2007 in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The PAL version of Star Fox 64 (Lylat Wars) has an option of the Lylat language which is similar to the original Star Fox.
The planned second game in the series for the SNES, Star Fox 2, was canceled due to the upcoming release of the Nintendo 64, but some of its features were used in Star Fox 64, such as all range mode. It was the first game to introduce support for the Rumble Pak. The game received positive ratings from reviewers and critics who praised its smooth animation, detailed visuals, and use of multiple gameplay paths. It has been called one of the greatest games of all time, and is the most popular game in the series.
The music in Star Fox 64 was composed by Koji Kondo and Hajime Wakai.
- Fox McCloud
- The famous leader of the Star Fox team. He is the playable character throughout the game.
- Peppy Hare
- One of the original Star Fox members, he helps Fox McCloud with data on his enemies.
- Falco Lombardi
- Ace pilot of the Star Fox team. His flying capabilities are unmatched and having him on the team allows Fox to travel to different areas.
- Slippy Toad
- Mechanic of the Star Fox team. He helps Fox by sending him damage reports on the enemy.
- An evil scientist who has plans to take over the Lylat System.
A player can play one of many modes in the game. There is Main Game mode, which goes through the storyline, Training, which teaches the player how to play the game, VS, which can have multiple players compete through Point Match, Battle Royal, and Time Trial, Ranking, which ranks players with their name (limit 3 letters) and number of hits, Sound, which allows the player to modify the game's sound, and Data, which lets the player delete saved data.
The evil Andross is banished to the deserted wasteland of Venom by General Pepper after trying to conquer Corneria, major planet of the Lylat System. Later Pepper detects strange goings on so he sends James McCloud, Pigma Dengar, and Peppy Hare to investigate. Upon arrival Pigma betrays the others and Andross captures them. In the fighting, Andross kills James while Peppy escapes to tell James's son Fox McCloud.
Years later Andross attacks the Lylat System again and declares war. Pepper sends the new Team Star Fox, consisting of Fox, Falco Lombardi, Peppy, and Slippy Toad. They go through Corneria to defeat Andross's forces there, and eventually end up fighting Andross's soldier Granga inside a mech, and destroy him. Alternately, Falco can lead Fox to the Attack Carrier, which Fox destroys sending it crashing into the ocean.
Level 1. Enter Star Fox
The first level along all difficulty paths, this is Fox McCloud's homeworld. The team must fly over the ocean route to Corneria City, repulse the invaders in the city, and proceed past it to fight a boss.
- Mission Complete: Go through this stage without saving Falco and/or going through all water arches then fight Granga to get to Meteo.
- Mission Accomplished: Save Falco, fly through all arches, then fight the Attack Carrier to get to Sector Y.
Level 2. Into the Asteroid Field
While progressing towards Venomian forces, the team encounters the asteroid belt of Meteo. Many enemy fighters lie in ambush along the way.
- Mission Complete: Fight the Meteo Crusher to get to Fichina.
- Mission Accomplished: Go through all blue warp rings and warp to Katina.
Level 3. Enter Star Wolf
The Venomian army has taken over a base on Fichina and planted a bomb there. When Star Fox became aware of this, Star Wolf showed up and attacked the team.
- Mission Complete: Leave Star Wolf alone and let the bomb explode to go to Sector X.
- Mission Accomplished: Take out Star Wolf and let Fox take care of the bomb to go to Solar.
- Note: Fichina is mistakenly called Fortuna in the English version of the game. The actual Fortuna is actually an entirely different planet.
4. Sector X
Level 4. Mystery of the Space Base
Andross has built some secret weapon and used it to destroy the base at Sector X. The team must find and destroy this secret weapon. This is the only level where all paths are available.
- Mission Accomplished (1): Shoot and go through all 4 gates and warp to Sector Z. *
- Mission Accomplished (2): Take out Spyborg before Slippy gets hit to go to Macbeth. **
- Mission Complete: Slowly take out Spyborg and get Slippy shot down to Titania. **
(*) If you came from Katina, Bill will help you with the warp.
(**) If you face the secret weapon with Slippy out, he'll appear right before the battle.
Level 5. The Search for Slippy
In order to rescue Slippy, you must use the Landmaster to navigate through the desert planet of Titania. After navigating through the desert, Fox rescued Slippy from one of Andross' bio-weapons and headed to Bolse. Even if Fox beat the Spyborg fast enough to save Slippy and ended up diverting here, the mission still focuses on searching for Slippy.
- Mission Accomplished: Save Slippy and take out Goras to go to Bolse.
Level 6. The Last Hurrah
Fox had to destroy the Bolse Defense Outpost in order to reach Venom. After taking down the shield that was guarding the core and the Invader III fighters, Star Wolf appeared if they weren't defeated on Fichina. If they were, Fox just needed to shoot the many yellow spots on the massive enemy core and decimate the satellite.
- Mission Accomplished: Destroy the Bolse satellite core to go to the easy Venom path.
Level 3. Reunion
An assault is occurring on the central base on planet Katina. You must assist the Cornerian Army (led by Bill Grey) in defending the base. After desroying ten of the Invader II fighters, the enemy mothership appears to destroy the base. After the core appears, you have a short amount of time to dispose of it.
- Mission Complete: If the mothership's core is not destroyed in time and it destroys the base, Fox goes to Sector X.
- Mission Accomplished: If the mothership's core is destroyed in time and the mothership falls to the ground before exploding, Fox goes to Solar.
Level 4. Out of the Frying Pan...
Solar is a planet in the middle of the Lylat System. Fox's team was sent here by General Pepper to deal with one of Andross's bioweapons. If Fox came from Katina, Bill helps him in the beginning. Due to flying over the lava of the genesis state planet, the Arwings will take damage during the level. The amount and speed of the damage you recieve is determined by how close they fly to the plasma.
- Mission Accomplished: Take out Vulcain to go to Macbeth.
Level 5. The Forever Train
Macbeth is the closest planet to Venom. It appears as a mass-machinery planet. You must take out the base there. Your approach to the base is following a supply train called "The Forever Train" in the Landmaster, towards the end of the level you travel past 8 switches that open the lock on the train tracks, (If you came from Zoness, Katt shoots two for you) with Falco taking one off your hands.
- Mission Complete: Take out Mechbeth without shooting all 8 switches to get to Bolse.
- Mission Accomplished: Shoot all eight switches, the switcher, and then Mechbeth will explode at the enemy base to go to Area 6.
10. Sector Y
Level 2. Fierce Melee
A battle is occurring in Sector Y. General Pepper asks Star Fox to take out the Venomian forces and help Corneria win it. Star Fox fought two Shogun Warriors and one piloted Shogun.
- Mission Complete: Get under 100 points to go to Katina.
- Mission Accomplished: Get 100 points or over to go to Aquas.
Level 3. Terror of the Deep
- Mission Accomplished: Destroy Bacoon to go to Zoness.
Level 4. Invasion Aftermath
Andross's army had polluted Zoness's sea. Star Fox must find the leader and defeat him. You are assisted by Katt Monroe, who appeared to know Falco. After destroying the enemy tanker fleet, Fox does battle with the pirate-like boss, Sarumarine.
- Mission Complete: If you are spotted by any searchlight (including the ones beyond the base), the searchlights will go red-orange and you will face more enemies, Star Fox must also go to Macbeth.
- Mission Accomplished: If all searchlights are destroyed, there will be fewer enemies and Star Fox can go to Sector Z.
13. Sector Z
Level 5. The Ambush of Great Fox
While heading through Sector Z, the Venomian Army sent 6 missiles towards the Great Fox. If Star Fox came from Zoness, Katt appears and helps to destroy one. If any of the teammates are not being chased by enemies, they will also destroy one.
- Mission Complete: Let one of the missiles hit Great Fox to go to Bolse.
- Mission Accomplished: Destroy all 6 missiles to go to Area 6.
- During the stage, Fox's Arwing can be completely repaired, including wings, by flying into the back entrance of the Great Fox.
14. Area 6
Level 6. Through the Middle
This is the last outpost before Star Fox reached Venom. The Star Fox team flew straight through the middle of Andross' Defense Fleet. After making it through the 3 lines of defense, Fox destroyed the planet crusher Space station named Gorgon before flying on to Venom.
- Mission Accomplished: Destroy the planet crusher Gorgon to continue on to Venom
Final Stage: Venom
Venom Arriving From Bolse
Level 7. Battle with Andross
The Star Fox Team fought their way across the surface of Venom, through wave upon wave of enemy fighters. They flew through a temple, defeating a rock golem boss called Golemech, before reaching Andross' base. Fox continued on and plunged into the depths of the base, deep below the crust of Venom. At the end of a long tunnel, Fox fought Andross. Fox defeated him before fleeing the base as it begins to explode. However, it is revealed at the end of the credits that Fox only defeated an android form of Andross, and Andross' image is seen at the end laughing maniacally.
Venom Arriving From Area 6
Level 7. The Final Battle
The Star Fox team flew down directly over Andross' base. Before they could enter, however, an updated Star Wolf team arrives in their new ships, the Wolfen II. The Star Fox team was forced to fight them before they could proceed. Since the Wolfen II's were heavily upgraded, bombs and lock-on lasers had no effect. After Star Wolf had been shot down, Fox flew alone and plunged into the depths of the base deep below the crust of Venom. Fox flew through a maze of tunnels and corridors before reaching Andross and fighting him. After destroying his disembodied hands and head, Andross's True Form was revealed to be a gigantic brain with bio-mechanical eyes. Moving into all-range mode, Fox destroyed the eyes and then the brain. As he dies, Andross self-destructed. Fox screamed at his impending doom, but, out of nowhere, the supposedly dead James McCloud appears to lead Fox out of the maze of tunnels. If Fox takes a wrong turn at any time, he runs into a wall of fire coming the other way and is destroyed. As they leave the base, James praises Fox's efforts before disappearing, leaving Fox to wonder if it really was his father or not.
Peace was restored to the Lylat System and General Pepper asks Star Fox if they want to join the Cornerian Army. Fox says they prefer to do things their own way, and return to the Great Fox. Pepper gives Fox a lot of money for defeating Andross and his forces (64 dollars for each Venomian unit destroyed).[You need to reference that, Fox]
False ending: If Slippy is snatched during the Spyborg battle, if a single missile hits the Great Fox at Sector Z, or if the eight switches are not hit in time on Macbeth (so that only Mechbeth and not the train is destroyed), Star Fox will attack Venom through Bolse rather than Area 6. Arriving at Venom from Bolse, Fox will fight a golem and then face Andross at the core, revealing him to be a robotic, false version of Andross, which is destroyed while the real Andross survives. This is the non-canon ending, given Star Fox Adventures.
- Arwing - The player uses the Arwing for 13 of the 16 levels in the game, and much of the rest of the series. It can store and fire up to 9 Smart Bombs, and its lasers can be upgraded to twin and hyper. It can also perform special maneuvers such as somersaults, half-loops and the famous barrel roll. However, you will have to help your team mates in all the levels you use the Arwing in.
- Landmaster - You use the Landmaster to save Slippy in Titania, and to take out the base on Macbeth. You still have to save your teammates, but not as often. The Landmaster can fire bombs, but its lasers cannot be upgraded except in VS mode. Also, it cannot barrel roll, but instead rolls out of the way of attacks.
- Blue Marine - You use the Blue Marine on planet Aquas, since the Arwings cannot go underwater. It has unlimited lock-on torpedoes, its lasers can be upgraded to twin and hyper, and it is barrel roll capable, making the Blue Marine the most powerful of the three crafts. However, its controls are slightly sluggish due to being underwater.
- On Foot (Fox, Peppy, Slippy or Falco) - The Player can use them only in multiplayer ground-having stages, and only after unlocking them by earning a medal in each stage of the main game and gaining a medal on either side of Venom in Expert Mode. The controls consist of using the Control Stick to look around, holding R to run, pressing Z to jump, A for lasers, and B for bombs. You cannot charge up shots in On-Foot.
Medals and Expert Mode
In addition to the main goal to complete the stage, every stage also has a secondary goal in the form of a target number of kills. Once the player has gotten enough kills, as long as all his allies are still alive, his score will turn orange and he will be awarded a medal for that planet upon completion of the mission. If the player earns medals on every mission, he will have the option to play the main game in "Expert Mode."
Expert mode is notably more difficult than the normal game. More enemies will appear in certain places, some power-ups will be replaced by lesser power-ups or absent altogether, and the Arwing's wings will break from a single hit instead of the normal three, altogether making for a more challenging experience. Fox is also given a pair of sunglasses similar to his father's, but this is purely aesthetic and does not affect the gameplay.
Since Expert Mode is different from the main game, none of the medals previously awarded will appear on the missions. The player can re-earn all of the medals in Expert Mode, and upon doing so will be shown an alternate title screen, but no other rewards are known to be given.
In addition to playing the main game in Expert Mode, there is also an "Expert Mode" option for the sound settings. This mode is a sound test which allows the player to listen to tracks of music from the game.
Simply called VS, the versus mode in Star Fox 64 is a rather simple one.
First, the players choose the Game Mode. There are three different Game Modes to choose from.
- Point Match: This is the basic mode, in which the player, who is the first one to shoot down the set number of other players, is the winner. The number of required kills can be set from one to five.
- Battle Royal: This is a very simple mode, in which each player has only one single life. The winner is the last man standing.
- Time Trial: This is a time-based mode, in which the players have a set number of time to shoot down enemies. However, if a player gets shot down by another player before the end of the match, his score resets back to zero. The player with the highest score at the end of the match is the winner. The time limit can be set from one to five minutes.
After choosing the Game Mode, the players choose their Handicap, which can be set from one (no Handicap) to three (significant Handicap). The higher the Handicap, the shorter the Shield Gauge. The players also choose one out of four Characters, which is determined by the controller slot in which a player's controller is plugged into. The screen is also divided into four equal rectangles between the players. In two and three player games, the unoccupied fourths of the screen will display various camera angles of players. The camera also kicks in Battle Royal if there are more than 2 players left and a player is shot down. The fourth of a screen each player gets is also determined by the controller slot.
- Player having the controller in slot 1 is Fox McCloud and gets the upper left fourth of the screen.
- Player having the controller in slot 2 is Peppy Hare and gets the upper right fourth of the screen.
- Player having the controller in slot 3 is Slippy Toad and gets the lower left fourth of the screen.
- Player having the controller in slot 4 is Falco Lombardi and gets the lower right fourth of the screen.
The characters are in no way different from each other gameplay wise, so they only differ by their looks.
After choosing their characters, the players set the number of required kills if they are playing Point Match or time if they're playing Time Trial. There are no this kind of special options when playing Battle Royal. In the same window comes the Stage selection. There are a whopping three stages in Star Fox 64's Versus Mode. To make things even worse, there are only two stages to choose from per Game Mode. If you reach the edge of the Stage, you will warp to the other side.
- Corneria: This stage is available in Point Match and Battle Royal. There are only some pyramids and buildings on this otherwise simply flat stage. The players have no vehicle restrictions.
- Sector Z: This is stage is playable in every Game Mode. There is some space junk on this stage, but not much else. It highly resembles its Main Game's counterpart. Since the stage is situated in space, the Arwing is the only vehicle available here.
- Katina: This stage is inaccessible outside Time Trial. It is very much like Corneria, but has only one giant pyramid in the center of the stage, much like in the Main Game. The players have all the vehicle options available.
After choosing the stage, the battle is almost ready to start. The players now have five seconds to choose one of two vehicles or to not use one. If nothing is chosen within the five seconds, it will be randomized.
- Arwing: The player fights with an Arwing, which has an advantage over the other two options, for its flying capability and speed, which the other options more or less lack. The Arwing is chosen with the A Button.
- Landmaster: The player starts the battle with a Landmaster anti-aircraft tank, which can dodge by rolling as well as hover for small periods of time. The Landmaster is chosen with the B Button.
- On foot: The player has no vehicle at all and their character fights with only a huge blaster on their shoulder. The characters are also very slow without vehicles. The on foot option can be chosen by pressing the C up Button.
After the vehicles have been chosen or the five second time limit has passed, the battle starts. There are two different power ups available. They highly affect the outcome of a battle. Only one of each upgrade appears on a stage at a time.
- Laser: The Laser of your character gets its firepower doubled. The player with this has a serious advantage over other players.
- Smart Bomb: The Smart Bomb is a one use, enormous damage causing bomb. Lock onto another player and use the homing feature to guide the bomb into its target to cause some serious damage.
Star Fox 64 received critical acclaim and was one of the top-selling games of 1997, second only to Mario Kart 64. In the first five days of the game's U.S. launch, over 300,000 copies were sold, surpassing the record previously held by Mario Kart 64 and Super Mario 64. Sales were considerably less in Japan, where it sold 75,595 copies during the first week of sale. The game also took the #73 spot in Nintendo Power's "Top 200 Nintendo Games Ever". GameSpot declared Star Fox 64 "an instant classic" and was impressed by the voice acting. Glenn Rubenstein, the reviewer, noted that the game is "a pleasure to look at" and liked the cinematic quality of the storyline. Although other reviewers such as IGN said that the game is "extremely repetitive" and that the music quality was not as good as the original Star Fox, they still praised the branching system and "intelligently designed levels" which compensate for those points.
The Gamespot review of the Wii Virtual Console version of the game paints a similar picture. It earns a (8.3/10), praising for simple, enjoyable shooting gameplay, lots of voice-acting, nice to look at despite its graphic age and the added replay value in finding hidden paths, but found the lack of rumble support "alarming", especially since it was the first game to support the 64's Rumble Pak.
Star Fox 64 is listed as the 45th greatest game of all time by Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition in 2009.
References to other works
- The Katina level is homage to the movie Independence Day. Bill Grey's name is likely homage to that of a character in the film. Slippy's reaction to the Bolse Fighters being shielded and the ending musical score for Star Fox are also homage to the film.
- The Sector Y level has many armies of mechs similar to many of the mobile suits from the anime franchise Mobile Suit Gundam, for their beam rifles, shields and mobility. They can even be launched out from battleships in battle. One red-colored mech is said by Peppy to be very quick. This is a reference to Char Aznable because all of his mobile suits are red and have high mobility (hence his name, "The Red Comet"). Not only that, the boss however aside from the first two colored mechs is known to be white and launched from its own launch ship is a homage and resemblance to the RX-78-2 Gundam which is also from the same series.
Other Game Art
- Destructoid Review of Star Fox 64
- Where would modern gaming be without the Nintendo 64? - "Fear The Claw's" Video Game Blog
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