Star Fox: Assault
Star Fox: Assault (スターフォックス アサルト, Sutā Fokkusu Asaruto) is an action-shooter hybrid video game for the Nintendo GameCube developed by Namco and published by Nintendo. Additionally, it is the fourth released title in the Star Fox series. Assault was released on February 14, 2005 in North America, on February 24, 2005 in Japan, and on April 29, 2005 in Europe and Australia.
Assault returns the Star Fox series to its space-combat roots after the previous game in the series, Star Fox Adventures, took a more action-adventure approach. Assault takes place one year after the events of Adventures and introduces a new enemy named the Aparoids, a race bent on the assimilation of the Lylat System into their collective mind.
When Assault was initially announced by Nintendo and Namco, it was also rumored that a Star Fox Arcade was under development. However, the arcade game was never heard about again in public.
Star Fox: Assault was first announced on May 8, 2002. It had a tentative release date of April 2003 for Japan, and would be developed by the same employees who worked on Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies at Namco. New information about the game didn't show up until a short video montage at 2003's E3 in Los Angeles, which showcased the game's first-person perspective. According to Electronic Gaming Monthly, the video was booed by viewers, and EGM itself said the video was "remarkably unimpressive".
During development, the game had three working titles: Star Fox Armada, Star Fox 2, and Star Fox. It eventually came to be known as Star Fox: Assault. In 2003, the game was intended to be multi player oriented, and the ground missions of the game had a control scheme similar to the on-foot multi player mode in Star Fox 64.
At 2004's E3, EGM, the same magazine that wrote poorly about it a year ago, wrote a follow-up that said the game looked "much better than... a year ago". Assault was scheduled for a November 2004 release, but was delayed to the beginning of 2005.
Assault uses middleware provided by the Japanese company CRI Middleware as a game engine. Yoshie Arakawa and Yoshinori Kanemoto provided Assault with a musical score and sound effects with the music performed by the Tokyo New City Orchestra. Most of the score pieces use themes from Star Fox 64, composed by Koji Kondo and Hajime Wakai.
Star Fox: Assault takes place one year after the events of Star Fox Adventures. The nephew of Andross, who is Andrew Oikonny from Star Fox, assumes leadership over the remnants of his deceased uncle's army and starts a rebellion against the forces of Corneria. The Star Fox team, consisting of Fox McCloud, Slippy Toad, Falco Lombardi, Krystal, and Peppy Hare (who has retired from piloting), quickly fly in to assist the Cornerian Defense Force in battle against Oikonny's armada above the planet Fortuna. After penetrating the fleet's defensive lines, the team pursues Oikonny's flagship to the planet's surface, where he turns to face them by transforming his ship into an imitation of Andross' initial form - that is, a large, floating head and pair of hands - but much weaker (despite his arrogant boasts). Before his battle with the team really lets their guard down, his ship is destroyed by a strange, insect-like creature, which then attacks the team. Fox destroys it, and takes a partial Core Memory from it for research.
Once back at the Great Fox, Fox and the team learn from Beltino Toad that the hostile creature was an Aparoid, one of many powerful, machine-like aliens capable of destroying entire fleets with little effort. The team then receives word from General Pepper that a distress signal is being sent from the Katina outpost, and suspect Aparoid involvement. Fox investigates the planet on foot, only to be trapped inside the base with the Aparoids. With the help of a Landmaster, Fox is able to fend them off, and even manages to recover an intact Core Memory from a large, saucer-shaped Aparoid. However, before it can be retrieved, the Core Memory is quickly stolen by Pigma Dengar, who as it turns out is the one who broadcasted the distress signal, and believes he can become rich from the Core Memory's sale.
The Star Fox Team tracks Pigma to the Sargasso Space Zone, a popular hideout for criminals, which is overseen by the leader of Star Wolf, Wolf O'Donnell, who quickly swoops in, along with Leon Powalski and the team's newest member, Panther Caroso, to defend his territory. After a quick skirmish, Star Fox learns that Pigma is no longer part of Star Wolf; however, Panther, in an attempt to flirt with Krystal, reveals that Pigma is on the planet Fichina. When Fox and his crew arrive at the planet, they discover that Pigma has deactivated its climate control center, turning it into a snowy wasteland, and what's more, that Pigma has been collaborating with the Aparoids. It is revealed that Aparoids have the ability to take over other machines. After defeating an Aparoid which threatened to destroy the control center reactor, the team then follows Pigma to a base under construction inside the asteroid belt. When they finally catch up to him, they find that Pigma has himself been assimilated by the Aparoids and he becomes fused with a large spacecraft, using its large grabbing arms to hurl meteoroids at them. Fox fights and destroys Pigma, and retrieves the core memory, which contains information needed to launch an attack directly on the Aparoid Homeworld.
Just before the team departs to the Aparoid Homeworld to take on the Aparoid Queen, the source of all Aparoid will, Krystal receives a sudden distress call from Sauria, the Dinosaur Planet, which is under attack by the Aparoids. Fox quickly lands on the planet and destroys the Aparoid hatchers before the Aparoids are able to assume total control. After the battle, Fox and Krystal reunite with Tricky, now a teenage EarthWalker. He questions them about returning to Sauria for a honeymoon upon which Fox nervously stutters and Krystal laughs. Back on the Great Fox, General Pepper informs that while the Star Fox team was on Sauria, Corneria City was hit with a full-scale attack by a large Aparoid armada, leaving it devastated (along with much of the Cornerian Defense Fleet). Fox, with the help of Star Wolf, which arrived to assist in defeating a common enemy, is able to take out most of the attacking Aparoids. They soon find out, though, that General Pepper's flagship, and the General himself, have been infected and taken over by the Aparoids. Consequently, the flagship begins to attack Fox. However, General Pepper, speaking against the Aparoids' influence, insists that Fox destroys the ship and himself. Fox is able to take down the ship with his plasma cannon, but before the General crashes into the ground, Peppy swoops down in an Arwing and softens the fall by flying between Pepper and the ground (He also mentions that Fox should contact the Medical Corps. this along with his groaning implies that he may have injured himself from the action). After the battle, the Star Fox team heads for a large space station above Corneria, the Beltino Orbital Gate, which is used for warping to other planets. Before they are able to travel to the Aparoid homeworld, they are forced to defend it, with the help of Star Wolf again, from a series self-guided Aparoid missiles ranging from small to big. They manage to destroy all of the missiles, just in time for Beltino Toad to finish creating a program which should cause all Aparoids to simultaneously self-destruct once it is uploaded into the Queen.
Upon arriving at the Aparoid Homeworld, the Star Fox team realizes that the entry to the core of the planet, where the Aparoids originate and where the Queen is believed to reside, is blocked by a large shield which is powered by generators located throughout a small base directly above it. Though the Star Fox Team is able to infiltrate the base and destroy the shield generators, another shield is erected which is presumably powered from within the planet and is impervious to laser fire. Just then, Peppy and ROB fly down out of the sky towards the planet in the Great Fox, which has been covered with infectious Aparoids. ROB diverts all power to the laser guns on Peppy's orders and obliterates the base which housed the shield generators, giving him room to ram the Great Fox into the shield and open it long enough for the team to get through. Its hull integrity compromised beyond its limits, the Great Fox explodes, leading the team to believe that Peppy and ROB were killed in the explosion.
The team enters the core of the planet, with Star Wolf flying close behind to assist them. Right before they reach the Queen, they are attacked by an extremely durable swarm of Aparoids. Wolf, Leon and Panther decide to distract them to allow Fox to proceed onwards to the Queen's lair. The team confronts the Aparoid Queen, who uses the voices of Peppy, ROB, General Pepper, Pigma, and James McCloud, who is Fox's father, in an attempt to deceive them into joining her. The team sees through the Queen's deception and blasts through her tough armor, allowing Fox to fire a parcel containing the self-destruct program into her. However, the Queen is able to suppress it, and attempts to escape. Slippy informs Fox that if he does not destroy her and initiate the program, the Queen will create an antibody. Once the team defeats the Queen, the program is executed, and Aparoids everywhere, as well as the structures on the homeworld which were part of the Aparoid collective, behind to self-destruct. The team escapes from the core of the homeworld, and soon discovers that ROB and Peppy survived the explosion by finding an escape pod just before the Great Fox blew up, giving hope to the team that General Pepper, Wolf, and all the others who made sacrifices in the struggle against the Aparoids may also be alright.
The gameplay of Star Fox: Assault is divided into three distinctive types. The player can either fly an Arwing (an aircraft), Landmaster (a tank), or perform certain tasks on foot. All three play types are available for multiplayer mode. The game follows a completely linear track as opposed to one the player chooses, unlike its predecessors Star Fox and Star Fox 64.
Arwing missions in Assault are similar to those of the first two games in the series. The player flies in space or close to the ground and shoots down enemies. Some levels are on rails, while others allow full freedom of movement in a relatively small area. As in previous games, the wing mates of Fox, the main character, occasionally call for help when chased by enemies. Additionally, in some levels, the player has the ability to hop in and out of the Arwing at will.
While in the Landmaster, the player has complete freedom to move about the level. They are free to shoot or running over enemies as well as assist their wingmates when necessary. Playing on foot essentially turns the game into a third-person shooter — the player starts armed with the blaster, a type of gun, and can acquire a variety of other weapons, including but not limited to a machine gun and a homing launcher. In two shooting gallery levels, the player rides on the wing of an Arwing or a Wolfen fighter, shooting enemies on the ground and in the air with a plasma cannon.
As an added bonus, by collecting all silver medals throughout the game, the player can unlock a playable version of Xevious, a scrolling shooter arcade.
- Main Article:Versus Mode of Star Fox: Assault
Star Fox Assault features multiplayer with support for up to four players simultaneously. (Multiplayer can only be played with 2-4 players and not 1.) This mode starts off very limited, with only a few playable characters, weapons, items, and maps; but more can be unlocked by either playing a certain number of multiplayer games or achieving certain accomplishments in-game. Players are able to fight on foot or in a vehicle (a Landmaster, Arwing, or Wolfen), though some stages prohibit certain modes of travel. Playable characters include the entire Star Fox team (including Peppy) as well as Wolf O'Donnell.
Multiplayer mode offers several stages for playing, including stages from the single-player mode, "Simple Maps" (which look like they're made of building blocks), and other new maps. There are also several modes for play available, which can force a certain weapon (sniper, rocket launcher, etc.) or change the style of play (capture the crown, etc.). Also, there are a few customizable options, such as turning radar on/off, turning special weapons on/off, and turning Demon Launches on/off.
Multiplayer has a number of items and weapons, most of which are taken directly from the single-player mode. There are also special unlockable weapons such as the Demon Sniper and Demon Launcher which have the ability to kill in one hit. In addition, there are a couple special items such as jet packs (which give a player on foot a hovering ability similar to Landmaster's hover), and the "Stealth Suit", which can make the player invisible for a short period of time.
Star Fox: Assault was the least critically accepted addition to the series. It received an average score of 71% on Game Rankings. Some complaints were aimed at the control scheme during on-foot portions; IGN worded the complaint as "ground missions suffering from sloppy control". GameSpot noted that the multiplayer portion of the game has little lasting value, an annoyance that IGN felt as well. IGN went on to say the design was too simplistic. However, IGN noted that being able to switch between the Arwing and Landmaster at will was a "welcome addition". In Electronic Gaming Monthly, two of the reviewers gave it an 8.0 out of 10. Kevin Gifford said that "the game is aimed less at the Mario club and more toward the hardcore crowd". EGM also noted that Assault had an epic feel, helped by a great soundtrack.
The game has sold well enough for it to be included in Nintendo's Player's Choice line in North America, which also includes Star Fox 64 and Star Fox Adventures.
|Role||Japanese voice||English voice|
|Fox McCloud||Kenji Nojima||Jim Walker|
|Falco Lombardi||Hisao Egawa||Mike Madeoy|
|Krystal||Aya Hara||Alesia Glidewell|
|Slippy Toad||Kyoko Tonguu||Mike McAuliffe|
|Peppy Hare||Tomohisa Asō||Henry Dardenne|
|NUS 64/ROB 64||Yusuke Numata||Dex Manley|
|Wolf O'Donnell||Mahito Ōba||Grant Goodeve|
|Leon Powalski||Shinobu Satouchi||David Scully|
|Panther Caroso||Tetsu Inada||David Scully|
|Pigma Dengar||Daisuke Gori||Lev Liberman|
|Andrew Oikonny||Yusuke Numata||John Hugill|
|General Pepper||Arwingpedia:Michihiro Ikemizu||Greg Eubank|
|Beltino Toad||Hirohiko Kakegawa||Scott Burns|
|Tricky||Hirohiko Kakegawa||Chet Morgan|
|Aparoid Queen||Alesia Glidewell|
|James McCloud||Hirohiko Kakegawa||Jim Walker|
Gallery of Game Art
Screen Shot of Andrew Oikonny
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