Star Fox 64
Star Fox 64, known in PAL regions as Lylat Wars due to trademark issues, is the second game of the Star Fox series, which was released for the Nintendo 64 in 1997. It is essentially a remake of the first Star Fox for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Star Fox 64 was made available for download on the Wii's Virtual Console in April 2007, at a price of 1,000 Nintendo Points, and on the Wii U's Virtual Console in 2016. Star Fox 64 received its own port for the Nintendo 3DS in 2011, titled Star Fox 64 3D.
Star Fox 64 is notable for being the first game to utilize the Rumble Pak. It is among the first Nintendo 64 games with in-game voice acting, which replaced the chattering sound effects from the first Star Fox. Star Fox 2 was originally planned to be the second Star Fox title, but was canceled due to the upcoming release of the Nintendo 64, but some of its features were reused in Star Fox 64, such as all-range mode. In PAL releases (Lylat Wars), the player can re-enable the original chatter by selecting Lylat from the language option menu.
In 2003, Star Fox 64 was ported to the China-exclusive iQue Player, on its launch date, November 17, 2003. A timed demo of Star Fox 64 was preloaded as the fifth game on every iQue Player unit. This port is notable because the voice acting was entirely redubbed into Mandarin.
The music was composed by Koji Kondo and Hajime Wakai.
In Star Fox 64, the player controls a vehicle piloted by Fox McCloud, usually an Arwing, which travels on a fixed-rail that generally moves straight forward. The player's vehicle can be maneuvered around the screen to dodge obstacles and shoot incoming enemies with laser cannons. All vehicles except the Blue Marine can charge up their laser cannons to unleash a powerful lock-on laser.
As well as the forced progression of the main game, some levels and bosses take place in "all-range mode" (available also in multiplayer battles), where the player can move freely around a rectangular arena and engage in combat with various enemies. The Arwing can perform a U-turn in all-range mode.
Returning from the original Star Fox game are Fox's teammates, Falco Lombardi, Slippy Toad, and Peppy Hare, who fly beside him in Arwings. Each teammate can provide unique assistance to Fox, as Slippy Toad shows the life bar of a boss character, Peppy Hare provides useful in-game tips, and Falco can help by opening routes to harder levels. Fox sometimes receives an incoming message from ROB 64, who sends him an item in a Supply Crate. A teammate is sometimes chased on-screen by enemies, and request for help. Fox must defeat these enemies, as they slowly deal more damage to his teammates. The longer it takes Fox to save a teammate, the more damage it takes, until the teammate's vehicle becomes fully damaged and retreats into the Great Fox for repairs. That teammate does not return in the next level, but can help the one afterward.
Instead of the fixed series of levels of the original (determined by the difficulty level chosen), many of the levels branch out to two different levels, with the upper branch requiring the player to accomplish a certain task. If the task is completed, the end of the level will read Mission Accomplished. However, if this task is not achieved, the ending will read Mission Complete, and the player must take the "downward" route (some levels may also result in Mission Failed.) The levels correspond loosely to the difficulty levels of the original Star Fox, with routes color coded blue, yellow, and red to represent the easy, normal, and hard levels of difficulty respectively. Many of the forced paths bring the Star Fox team into contact with Star Wolf.
Finally, to add replay challenge, the game features rewardable medals, which are earned by accomplishing a mission with all wingmen intact and having achieved a certain hit total.. These totals are often a high percentage of the total enemies on the stage, leaving little room for error. Obtaining medals results in unlocking bonus features, such as a sound test and the ability to use the Landmaster and fight on foot in multiplayer mode. Acquiring all medals unlocks a new Expert mode in which there are more enemies per level, the player's Arwing takes more damage (a direct collision with solid obstacles will destroy any of the Arwing's wings in one hit), and Fox wears sunglasses similar to his father's. Acquiring all medals on Expert mode unlocks a new title screen.
- 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 stages on-land, 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.
- 1-up: These appear in various areas of each stage. They can also be obtained by collecting six Gold Rings, or after accumulating 100 total hits at the end of a stage.
- Laser Upgrade
- Smart Bomb
- Supply Ring
- Wing Repair
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.
- Main article: List of Star Fox 64 missions
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. There are up to 25 different paths that Star Fox can take.
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.
- Main article: Versus Mode
There are three modes available:
- Point Match, where the first player to reach a set total wins.
- Battle Royal, where the last player standing wins.
- Time Trial, where the aim is to score as many points as possible in the set time.
The First two options have Corneria and Sector-Z as the possible stages, while the time trial has Katina and Sector-Z. At first, only the Arwing is available, but the Landmaster is available after winning a medal on Venom in Normal Mode, and pilot is available after gaining a medal on Venom in Expert Mode.
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.
- Main article: Gallery:Star Fox 64
Names in other languages
Sutā Fokkusu Rokujūyon
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