Star Fox Command
Star Fox Command is the fifth Star Fox game, which was released on Nintendo DS in 2006. It was developed by Q-Games and published by Nintendo. The game was later ported to the Wii U's Virtual Console in 2015 in North America and PAL regions, although it was not released in Japan.
Star Fox Command takes place two to three years after the events of Star Fox: Assault, and tells the story of the invasion of the Lylat System by the Anglar, as well as the recently separated Star Fox team.
According to the prologue, every member of Star Fox except for ROB 64 and Fox McCloud himself have disbanded from the team. Fox broke off his relationship with Krystal and forced her to leave the team for the sake of her safety. Slippy Toad found amphibian love with a frog named Amanda, and Peppy Hare was made the general of the Cornerian Defense Force as a result of General Pepper's forced retirement due to illness. Falco Lombardi became somewhat of a loner, and simply drifted from job to job. There are also new characters such as Dash Bowman, who is the grandson of Andross, and for the first time ever James McCloud is also playable during the Dash Makes a Choice level.
Throughout the course of the game, however, the team can reassemble and thwart the Anglar Empire, or take entirely different paths.
Several other characters make playable appearances, such as Wolf O'Donnell, Leon Powalski, and Panther Caroso, who want to remove bounties from their heads, and Katt Monroe, who usually appears when Falco needs a hand. Other familiar, but unplayable, characters are also present, such as Andrew Oikonny, who had joined forces with the Anglars.
- Main article: List of Star Fox Command endings
Star Fox Command is notable for having nine different endings based on which path the player takes. According to designer Dylan Cuthbert, none of the endings are canon because the game is set in an alternate timeline. However, on the contrary, the 261st issue of Nintendo Power has stated the standard ending, the Anglar Emperor, is the standard one.
In a 2006 interview with IGN, Dylan Cuthbert and Takaya Imamura mentioned that the next game would start in the middle of Command without being related to the different endings. Another interview states that the Star Fox series may be over, but if a sequel is made, it will determine which ending is canon, or whether the game (or even its prologue) is canon at all.[You need to reference that, Fox]
Gameplay in Star Fox Command is far more rooted to the styles of Star Fox 64 than Star Fox Assault was. The levels start out with a turn-based movement system similar in style to Advance Wars. Players are marked by Arwings, enemies are marked by red dots, and bases are marked by small building sprites. This is very similar to the map system from Star Fox 2. "Fog of War" covers the field and the player can remove a certain amount of the fog once every turn. A player's flight path must intersect with that of an enemy to engage in battle. After engaging, the battle goes to a fully 3-D "All-Range Mode" stage. Here, the player uses the stylus to move their ship about and perform various maneuvers, while they can use any of the face buttons to fire their main weapons.
Star Fox Command has two types of play within the single player game: a strategic map mode and a battle mode. The overworld-like map mode is where the player takes command of several ships. This mode is used to get ships into the battle mode and is essentially a simple turn-based strategy game. Up to four ships can be maneuvered at a time. The object of this mode is to prevent enemy ships from reaching the Great Fox. This mode also allows players to fire missiles from the Great Fox that they have picked up from exploring in this mode, or from meeting certain conditions in the battle mode (usually destroying all enemies). When a craft that is controlled by the player encounters an enemy group or missile in this mode, the gameplay switches to the battle mode. Battle mode is similar to the "all-range mode" employed in Star Fox 64 for some bosses and levels. Like the canceled Star Fox 2, the game is completely all-range as opposed to the "on-rails" levels featured in most other Star Fox games (however, the game will sometimes force the player to engage in classic "chase" missions in order to complete an objective). The usual objectives are to destroy a base ship, destroy all enemies, or collect a number of cores to complete the battle mode. Once the battle mode is completed, the game returns to the map mode.
As players progress through the game, they will be able to choose to go different routes upon completing certain levels. Each route has its own character dialogue to accompany it, and players will be able to visit differing planets depending on what routes they choose. The game features 9 different endings altogether. Players can access all of them by playing the game multiple times, selecting different routes each time. Instead of merely giving different perspectives on what happens to the Star Fox team, each ending is unique — the characters go in various directions depending on what ending is watched.
Star Fox Command does not feature traditional voice acting. Instead it outputs gibberish akin to the "voices" in Star Fox for the SNES, or the "Lylat speech" present in Star Fox (but not Star Fox 64). Players can also record their own voices into the game’s "gibberish generator" using the built-in DS microphone where it is converted into the garbled speech of the various characters.
In Star Fox Command, multiplayer mode is supported from both local wireless and via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, from the "Download Play" and "Wi-Fi Battle" matches respectively. Up to six players can compete via local multiplayer, while Wi-Fi supports up to four players. The main objective is the same for both modes: players must defeat enemies and compete to collect the most Stars. They can even pick up Stars from enemies they have not defeated. In Wi-Fi Battle, players can only use the Arwing II for a vehicle.
- Plasma: Equips player with plasma lasers.
- Twin: Equips player with twin lasers.
- Stealth: Makes players invisible on screen and radar.
- Time Bomb: Gives a modified Smart Bomb to the player. When dropped, it leaves a five second countdown visible to others and explodes after the seconds.
- Supply Ring: Health.
There are five different multiplayer stages, each being randomly selected. They also appear in single player adventure.
- City: City with buildings. Buildings are intangible but cause damage if flown through.
- Mountains: A green landscape with canyons and rivers.
- Ocean: A flat arena above water, very simple.
- Space: A space-like arena.
- Fichina Mountains: Snowy mountains on the planet Fichina.
- Enemy Cores: Similar to an Aparoid's ore Memory, an Enemy Core contains all of an enemy's information. When a pilot destroys all enemies that hold Core Memories, all other enemies are destroyed and the pilot is able to leave the battle field. Collecting all the Enemy Cores in an area with an enemy motherships allows ROB 64 to help the pilot target and destroy the mothership. Similar items appear in the multiplayer mode when a player is shot down. The item is used to keep track of a player's score and can be collected by any player, not necessarily the one who earned it.
- Fuel Cells: These items only appear in Story mode. They are used by pilots to refill their fuel gauge during flight. This increases the amount of time the pilot can stay in a battle. Fuel Cells are the most common item found in item rings.
- Laser Upgrades: They appear in two forms and only appear in the multiplayer mode. The two forms of the Laser Upgrade include the green version, which gives the player's ship the Twin Laser, and the red variation, which gives the player's ship the Plasma Laser.
- Smart Bombs: These are used by placing the bomb on the Nintendo DS's touch screen and the bomb will harm all enemies in its vicinity. Smart Bombs can be found by flying through item rings.
- Stealth Upgrade: These items are multiplayer-exclusive, and allow the user to become invisible on the enemy radar. The player's ship can still be slightly seen when shown on the main screen.
- Supply Rings: These restore a ship's shielding power by an amount. Supply Rings can be found by flying through item rings.
Star Fox Command debuted on the Japanese best seller list as number 14, selling over 20,000 copies on the first day. In the United States, it was the 5th best seller in the first week. Star Fox Command has received mostly favorable reviews. IGN gave it an 8.0, or "Impressive", calling it a "surprisingly rich and faithful action game" that had similar gameplay to Star Fox and Star Fox 64. Star Fox Command received IGN DS's August 2006 Game of the Month Award for capturing "the fun and essence of what made the series so significant. Fox is finally back in the Arwing -- where he belongs, Stylus control is mostly excellent, Strategy elements work well." The Associated Press noted the game for having developed the game to work well with the DS controls, but had mixed feelings about the turn-based sections of gameplay. Electronic Gaming Monthly claimed that while the game has its own charm, it lacks the original gameplay from Star Fox and Star Fox 64 and becomes repetitive. UK website Mansized gave Command a three out of five stars, stating that "Star Fox Command can’t hold a candle to previous games in the series." Command was nominated in three categories in Nintendo Power's annual vote-in awards, although it did not win any of them.
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