Original Release Date: 1997
The original Star Fox was a decent game for the SNES, but it’s largely been overshadowed by its sequel, Star Fox 64. Having played both games for the first time recently, it’s not hard to see why.
Star Fox 64 retains the gameplay and charm that made the first game so memorable, but takes it even further thanks to the additional power of the N64. In some respects, Star Fox 64 could be considered a remake of the first game, as it follows pretty much the exact same plot and structure as the first game. Where it shines, though, is in how it builds on what the first game established.
The characters are more fleshed out, and there’s greater importance placed on keeping your comrades out of harm’s way. Any characters who take too much damage won’t be present in the next mission, so keeping them safe is more crucial, especially in the more difficult levels of the game. The dialogue is memorable, if sometimes a bit silly, and gives you the sense that you’re flying with actual characters rather than just a set of bots.
The visuals have also been greatly improved over the incredibly basic ones in the first game, and while they do show their age, they’re still quite nice to look at. The music is also excellent, and compliments the gameplay perfectly.
The gameplay has been expanded upon, as the ship you fly now has much more capabilities and maneuvers, which adds new levels of depth and strategy to the game while still retaining the straightforward simplicity of the shooting of the first game. The level of difficulty is just right, naturally ramping up as the game goes on, and being challenging in a hard but fair manner.
There are some issues. The controls in the all range mode sections are a bit awkward, and these sections aren’t as well designed or fun to play as the corridor sections that make up the bulk of the game. This game is also very similar to the first game, so if you didn’t like the original, it’s unlikely the sequel will win you over, as it’s pretty much more of the same kind of thing, albeit expanded upon and done much better.
In the end, Star Fox 64 is a really solid title that has stood the test of time admirably well. It’s definitely not the best or most timeless game from the N64 era, but it’s still worth playing even to this day.
How well it holds up 3/4
Personal Enjoyment 4/5
Overall quality 8/10
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