Original Release Date: 1993
While many older titles are highly respected for being pioneers, as pioneers they often lack the polish and depth of later games. This can be seen with games like the original Zelda and Metroid. While they had good ideas, they weren’t able to make the most of them due to the limitations of the time. As a result, they haven’t aged very well, and pale in comparison to their 16 bit successors, A Link to the Past and Super Metroid.
Star Fox suffers from a similar issue. While it was one of the first console games to utilize 3d polygon graphics, that very fact undermines the game in retrospect. The graphics haven’t aged particularly well, and it’s about as basic as you can get for polygonal gaming. The game is also rather short in length, as the SNES had limited space for this type of game, and Star Fox is generally not considered to be as great as its sequel, Star Fox 64.
Having said all that, I actually still had a lot of fun with Star Fox. While the graphics are dated, the art direction is still decent, and it makes enemies and obstacles clear to see and avoid. The gameplay is fast and frantic, and while it is hard, it’s also fair, and gives the player the tools they need to overcome the various challenges the player is presented with.
While the game is rather short, it spices things up with multiple routes. Rather than having a standard difficulty selection, Star Fox instead offers three different paths through the Lylat system, each with their own unique set of challenges and difficulty. This gives the game a fair amount of replayability despite its short length, and helps to make the Lylat system feel like a living breathing world rather than just a shooting gallery.
Another thing that helps is the inclusion of other characters that fight alongside you. Each one is unique and memorable, and it makes the dog fights feel more real and memorable. It gives the game much more personality than other, blander rail shooters.
Star Fox has not aged completely gracefully, and I have a feeling that I will like Star Fox 64 more. But Star Fox genuinely surprised me, and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Not perfect, but still pretty fun even all these years later.
How well it holds up 2/4
Personal Enjoyment 4/5
Overall quality 7/10
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