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Star Fox (game)

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This article is about the first game of the Star Fox series. For the series itself, see Star Fox (series). For the team and namesake of the franchise, see Star Fox (team).
First of the seriesRelease datesStar Fox 64
Star Fox
Star Fox SNES box art.png
Developer Argonaut Games
Publisher Nintendo
Console(s) Super NES
Release date(s) Super Nintendo:
February 21, 1993 (Japan)
March 26, 1993 (North America)
June 3, 1993 (Europe)
Super NES Classic Edition:
September 29, 2017 (NA/Europe)
October 5, 2017 (Japan)
Nintendo Switch Online:
September 5, 2019 (worldwide)
Genre Shooter
← N/A Star Fox (game) Star Fox 64
Switcher.gg Find Star Fox (game) friends online
StrategyWikilogo.png Star Fox

Star Fox, released as Starwing in Europe, is a rail shooter and the first and titular game of the Star Fox series. It was developed by Argonaut Games and published by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1993. The game stars Fox McCloud as the playable character, and it involves him and the Star Fox team traveling around the Lylat System, defeating Andross's army and liberating planets that are under his control.

Star Fox was Nintendo's first home console title to use 3D and polygonal graphics, which were rendered by the Super FX graphics coprocessor. The game received praise because the ability to display these graphics on console video games was new and uncommon at the time.

There is a promotional, truncated version, Star Fox: Super Weekend (or Star Wing: Super Weekend in Europe), which released shortly after Star Fox. These cartridges were used in the Star Fox: Super Weekend competitions across the United States and Europe. After the event, the remaining carts were given away to a select number of Nintendo Power subscribers.

In 1997, Star Fox received a sequel for Nintendo 64 in the form of a reboot, Star Fox 64. The game was originally planned to have a direct sequel, Star Fox 2, which was canceled because of the Nintendo 64's forthcoming release at the time and Nintendo's decision to make Star Fox 64 a reimagining of the first Star Fox.

In late 2017, the Super NES Classic Edition was released, with Star Fox as one of the 21 games included on the console. Its previously unreleased sequel, Star Fox 2, was also included as an unlockable game, and it could be unlocked by completing the first level, Corneria. In September 2019, Star Fox was added to Nintendo Switch Online.


Most of the game's backstory is written in the instruction booklet.

The events of the game take place in the usually-peaceful Lylat System, located near the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. The planets worked together in harmony; three of them were industrialized and had established civilizations, while other planets provided lots of natural resources. This one day changed change when the main antagonist, Andross, tried to conquer the entire Lylat System.

Andross grew up on the Earth-like planet, Corneria. As a young boy, Andross excelled in all subjects and would eventually became a doctor. He proceeded to work in an advanced lab on an engine that utilized hyper-spatial energy. The planet's ruling council warned Andross several times not to conduct experiments using this engine in Corneria's most populated city. Blinded by selfish ambition, Andross ignored them. In response, the ruling council banished Andross from Corneria.

Many Cornerians forgot about Andross until one day, when a Cornerian Defense Force detected strange activity surrounding Venom and within its atmosphere. During his time on Venom, Andross enslaved a primitive lizard-like species he found dwelling on Venom and drafted them for his military. Andross polluted the planet with toxic waste and developed the Telekinetic Amplifier to brainwash and control the species. He set out on the system with thousands of warships and before long, he controlled every one save for Corneria. The self-appointed "Emperor Andross" declared war against Corneria as revenge for his exile.

Back in Corneria, General Pepper deployed prototype advanced fighters known as Arwings. Due to the urgency of Andross's threat, Pepper had no time to train pilots to use Arwings, so he called on a mercenary group, Star Fox, to use the Arwings. The team was led by Fox McCloud, and his teammates consisted of Falco Lombardi, Peppy Hare, and Slippy Toad. Together, they departed in their Arwings and started their mission to free the Lylat System from Andross's control.


Fox pilots his Arwing in the first stage, Corneria.

Star Fox is a rail shooter in both a third-person and first-person 3D perspective. Fox must navigate his Arwing through environments while various enemies attack them. Various power-ups are placed along Fox's path to assist him along the way. The Arwing is equipped with an autopilot device which keeps Fox a fixed path, where he has to navigate through a series of obstacles and enemies. If Fox ventures too far towards the edge of the flight path, arrows guide him back on track. At the end of each level, Fox must defeat a boss before he can progress to the next level. Once he defeats the boss, the level ends. Fox's score is then shown, based on the number of enemies he destroyed and how well his teammates were defended.

Star Fox has certain elements to differentiate it from the standard scrolling shooter. Most scrolling shooters force the character forward at a constant speed. While this is also the case for Star Fox, the Arwing can allow Fox to temporarily speed up and slow down. It can maneuver around enemy attacks and other obstacles. The Arwing has a certain amount of shield energy to represent how much damage it can take before it gets destroyed. The game can detect which part of the Arwing takes damage; if the Arwing's wings clip against obstacles or the ground too much, they break off, which affects the vehicle's handling and removes its ability to upgrade weapons.

The game's difficulty is not based on gameplay but rather which of the three routes that Fox decides to take: Easy, Medium, or Hard. Every route has unique stages, although all of them have Corneria as the first level and Venom as the last level; both stages have different versions depending on which path is taken.

In each level, Fox is accompanied by Peppy, Slippy, and Falco. At certain pre-scripted points, one of them fly on-screen, usually either chasing an enemy or being chased and asking for assistance. If Fox does not help his teammate, they take further damage or their Arwing breaks and crashes. Fox's teammates help by battling some enemies along the way; this helps add to a stage's final score. If Fox fires a laser at a teammate, they do not take damage, although they complain. Fox's teammates are not present during boss battles, but they rejoin Fox shortly after the boss is defeated.


Screenshot which shows all three paths through the Lylat System

The game allows the player to choose between four control configurations, the default being Type A.

Type D-Pad (Left, Right) D-Pad (Up, Down) Start Select L R A B X Y
Type A Left and Right Dive and Climb Pause Switch Viewpoints Roll Left Roll Right Fire a Nova Bomb Retro-rocket Speed Boost Laser Blaster
Type B Left and Right Dive and Climb Pause Switch Viewpoints Roll Left Roll Right Laser Blaster Retro-rocket Speed Boost Retro-rocket
Type C Left and Right Climb and Dive Pause Switch Viewpoints Roll Left Roll Right Fire a Nova Bomb Retro-rocket Speed Boost Laser Blaster
Type D Left and Right Climb and Dive Pause Switch Viewpoints Roll Left Roll Right Fire a Nova Bomb Laser Blaster Speed Boost Retro-Rocket


Star Fox lets the player choose the difficulty by selecting a path for the Star Fox team to travel. Some stages are different in each path, and their overall difficulty level is measured through levels 1–3:

There are two bonus stages, the Black Hole and Out of This Dimension.

Andross is the final boss of the game, regardless of which path is taken.


  • Extra Ships: These items appear in certain levels, created by an formation of three small objects. When Fox fires in the middle three times, an Extra Ship appears. By touching it, Fox receives an extra life.
  • Laser Upgrade: Upgrades the Arwing's laser-firing capabilities
  • Power Shields: They defend the player from the next few hits of an opponent.
  • Small Energy Supply: This small ring appears after certain enemies or missiles are destroyed. When Fox flies through it, some of his shield energy gets replenished.
  • Smart Bombs: Fox can carry up to five Smart Bombs
  • Supply Rings: If Fox flies through this ring, most of his shield energy is restored, and it also serves as a checkpoint if Fox loses a life in the stage.
  • Wing Gyros: If Fox's Arwing has a broken ring, a Wing Gyro can fix it.

References in other games

  • Star Fox 64: The game's story and main gameplay were reused for the game. The ability to take different paths was also included in the game.
  • Star Fox Command: One of the stills in the game's prologue was reused from the first game's group artwork of the Star Fox team.
  • WarioWare: Smooth Moves - one of the boss minigames, also named Star Fox (or Starwing in PAL regions), is a brief reenactment of the Corneria stage, culminating in a final battle against R.O.B.



Although Star Fox is the first installment, it is frequently dismissed from the main continuity, most likely due to being retconned by Star Fox 64. In an interview, Shigeru Miyamoto reaffirmed Star Fox 64 as a remake or a series reboot of the first game. The recap in Star Fox: Assault's manual also ignores the original game and begins the series with Star Fox 64. The Japanese Star Fox Adventures website stated that the events of Star Fox and Star Fox 64 are two sides of the same coin, implying that they could directly co-exist within the same timeline. Both games are referenced in the Super Smash Bros. series, even comparing Andross's two forms and suggesting that the SNES incarnation was not the real Andross.

Elements from the original game are shown in the Star Fox Adventures prequel manga, Farewell, Beloved Falco—a simulation game resembling the original Star Fox is a popular pastime of younger members of the Star Fox team, and the Andross AI interface's design was borrowed from the human face in Star Fox 64.

Name controversy

In the PAL regions, this game was released as Starwing. Many fans believe to be because of a game released on the Atari 2600 ten years earlier, also called Star Fox, which bears no relation to this title. While the developers, Mythicon, could not obtain a trademark in the United States for the name 'Star Fox', they were granted one in Europe, despite never using it. It is believed that Nintendo changed the name on the game's box artwork and title screen to Starwing in PAL versions to avoid any possible court cases with the then trademark holders (Mythicon disbanded soon after the US release of their version of Star Fox). It should be noted that no other changes were made in-game, i.e. the phrase 'Star Fox' still appears as is in-game. For similar reasons, Star Fox 64 was renamed Lylat Wars in Europe four years later. Star Fox Adventures would be the first game to retain the Star Fox title in PAL regions.

According to an interview with Dylan Cuthbert in Britain's Official Nintendo Magazine, the game was renamed to avoid confusion with an unrelated European company called Star Vox, as the letter "V", in some languages like Dutch and German, is pronounced as the letter "F".[1]

Reception and release

Star Fox was praised by users and critics alike, and the game would go on to sell 4 million copies. At the time of Star Fox's release, the use of filled, three-dimensional polygons in a console game was considered revolutionary. A handful of earlier titles, including the Sega Genesis port of Hard Drivin', and Atari's helicopter shooter, Steel Talons. Before the game was released, preorders exceeded 1.7 million copies. To keep up with demand, Nintendo shipped a million game cartridges on the game's opening weekend, and some dropped by parachute to game stores such as Sears.

To promote the game, Nintendo created Star Fox-themed kiosks that loosely resembled an Arwing and sent them to Sears stores. A TV with a VCR stood next to the kiosk, and if one sat in a chair inside the kiosk then it would rumble in response to the actions on-screen. Another promotion was the Star Fox: Super Weekend competition, where players would compete on specially-timed Star Fox cartridges sharing a name with the event.

Next Gen Magazine noted that Star Fox was a helping pioneer to the use of 3-D video game graphics. Star Fox has been used as an example of how, even with a full polygon design, the game retained its similarity to older games in that each level had a set path to travel through.

Scores and awards

  • Electronic Gaming Monthly: Star Fox was given the Best Shooter of 1993 award. In a later issue, Star Fox was ranked at 115 on EGM's "The Greatest 200 Videogames of Their Time" list.
  • Famitsu: They gave Star Fox a 34/40 score.
  • Nintendo Power: The game was featured on the cover of volume 47. They gave Star Fox a 4.125/5 score. In the 1993 Nintendo Power Awards, Star Fox won two awards, "Best SNES Graphics and Sound" and "Best SNES Challenge".


Names in other languages

Language Name Meaning
Japanese スターフォックス
Sutā Fokkusu
Star Fox


  • In an interview, Dylan Cuthbert said that Star Fox was his favorite game to work on.[2]


External links