The Zero Hour

Reviews, rants and oddities on video game and film culture.

Starfox Adventures

First of all, before I begin, its possible you don’t consider the following game retro and I can understand the reasoning and you don’t have to look at this as a retro review if you choose not to, just a review to a previous generation game, but its my feature, I make the rules!!!

Today we’re looking at Starfox, the arialosoft shooting game on the ZX spectrum and Commodore 64. I’m lying. Of course, I obviously mean the furry baiting, star wars style action adventure on rails shooting titles that are only remembered by one phrase.

For those not aware, Starfox is the courageous tale of a team of anthromophic creatures who dogfight in space ships. Led by the brave but boring Fox McCloud, the team changes slightly depending on the game, but usually and unfortunately consists Krystal, a blue clairvoyant fox who makes Claire from Team America’s psychic powers look like Merlin. Peppy Hare, the one joke catchphrase with legs, Falco McDouchebag, who’ll constantly undermine you with saracasm, because that’s cool…and Slippy Toad, a character so unlikeable, no-one bats an eyelid if you accidently shoot him down.

The series started in 1993 with the game Starfox, but because someone had made a game with the same name 5 years earlier, they had to rename it in Europe, adding another thing to the cool stuff we either get renamed or don’t get. Instead of settling for a more accurate name such as Space Fox goes shooty shooty bang bang, they named it Starwing. The game is basically. Shoot shoot, upgrade weapons, shoot. Fight boss. Level over.

This was repeated in the highly successful sequel Star Fox 64, again renamed in Europe as Lylat Wars, and effectively a remake of the original game, it gave the series more backstory and brought in a villainous team with a wolf voiced by a generic evil british bad guy, a pig that makes Slippy look likeable, a man ape hybrid who talks like a moron and Katie Price.

Lylat Wars has since been considered the high point of the series, despite it’s painful voice acting. It offers a considerable amount of replay value and is pretty fun, the same can’t be said for its sequel however.

Back in the turn of the century, 2nd Party developer Rare were making an un-related Zelda style game starring a fox called Dinosaur Planet when someone at Nintendo said, “This completely different idea to what we’re doing, but it’s exactly the same, put it on the new console and make it a Starfox game” and the result is Starfox Adventures.

Cutting almost everything that made Lylat Wars great, Starfox Adventures is an action adventure romp through Sauria or the terribly named “Dinosaur Planet” as it’s known by the natives. Imagine if all Sci-fi planets had imagination like that in their planet names. Tatooine would be “Jawa Planet” Super Mario Galaxy would be “Plumber Planet” Pandora would be “Blue Man Group planet” and the planet in Lost In Space would be “Planet of the douches” or something.
The plot of the game is that Fox has to collect the Spell Stones and Krazoa spirits to bring the planet back in alignment and to rescue Krystal, who’s trapped in a giant…wait for it…crystal. None of this has in no way anything similar to it than any of the magical plot coupons or motives in Zelda, not even the way Fox picks up items…

Anyway, so Fox pretty much decides to do all this because he clearly fancies Krystal, as evidence by the Sexophone in the background of the scene. He’s not alone, mind, He’s joined by Prince Tricky, the son of the earthwalker tribe leaders and king of spouting inane rubbish. Unfortunately for all of you with working hearing, the game also doesn’t treat you fairly, whilst it’s nice that especially coming from a largely mute N64 era that all the characters have full voices, it seems Rare went out of their way to find the most annoying possible, whilst some characters like Fox are well voiced, others aren’t quite so lucky. Also, what’s with the regional british accents? It’s like everything old has to be British, just like in every Hollywood movie ever and I maybe 96 years old, but I find that offensive.

It maybe a few years old, but the game looks stunning, look at that warpaint!

Amidst all this chaos, the main villain of the game is an old pirate military T Rex wolverine…thing in the form of General Scales. He looks big and intimidating, despite basically doing nothing for the entire game except spouting in a bizarre dialect and killing terradactyls “for the lolz”. and you want to punch him one by the end of the game, but don’t worry about it, there’s a big twist at the end that just appears out of nowhere, slaps you in the face and insults you and Scales just disappears for no reason. Fighting enemies is a bore as well, it auto targets and you basically hammer the A button until they die. It’s about as exciting as watching a paint drying contest…after the paints dried. Of course, there are boss battles and the ones that don’t rip off Yoshi’s Island are pretty challenging and at least make you think about hurting them in other ways than PRESS A TO INFLICT MASSIVE DAMAGE!!!!

Fox voids his bowels after turning round.
However, actually playing the game is a fairly enjoyable experience, sure it’s stuffed with stupid padding sections, it’s fairly annoying and is a clear Zelda rip-off, but Rare actually paid attention to the good aspects of Zelda and this comes across as more of an homage to the adventure genre. It’s clearly rushed and the entire second half feels tacked on, but the game does look fantastic and is a well-designed adventure game.

I’d give it a score out of ten, but quite frankly, I can’t be bothered, so let’s say…Smarch out of 10.


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