Star Fox 64 – Definitive 50 N64 Game #8

The list so far: The Definitive 50 N64 Games

The original Star Fox, with help from the Super FX chip, pushed the limits of the Super Nintendo. It demonstrated the potential of polygonal graphics, and offered a tantalizing glimpse of what the future had in store. Unfortunately, it was also just too much for the old system to handle. The game was choppy, and movement controls were difficult.

Thankfully, Star Fox was given another chance on hardware built for pushing polygons, and the results were staggering.

Borrowing elements from the original Star Fox as well as the unreleased Star Fox 2. Star Fox 64 is part remake and part sequel, but it’s all awesome. From the first glimpse of the calm waters of Corneria to the menacing face of Andross himself, Star Fox 64 is a constant roller coaster of thrills, challenges, and, surprises.

Star Fox 64 is, for the most part, a 3rd person rail shooter, where the player pilots a small ship, called an Arwing, and takes down swarming enemies as they swoop and swirl in front of them. Forward movement is automatic, although braking, boosting, and somersaults are also possible.

Occasionally though, you go into what’s called all-range mode. Here, you’re not restricted to a single path forward, but can move freely within a set space – and things get really thrilling. Suddenly you’re fighting ship to ship, trying to shake off enemies while still completing objectives.

Throughout the game, you play as mercenary Fox McCloud, but you’re joined by three wingmen: Falco, Peppy, and Slippy. These guys are always getting themselves in trouble, but keeping them alive ensures a flow of helpful mission information.

Although the Arwing is the most frequently used vehicle in the game, there are a couple of others that come up. The are two Landmaster levels, where you fight from a ground-level tank, and one Blue Marine level, where you command a submarine. Nothing else lives up to the fun of the Arwing, but these stages provide some nice variety.

Star Fox 64 was actually the first Rumble Pak compatible game, and came bundled with the accessory. The N64’s Rumble Pak is inserted into the controller’s Controller Pak or memory card slot.

The accessory went on to be widely supported on the N64 and built-in controller rumble is now industry standard.

Star Fox 64’s campaign is intended to be played through in a single sitting, and a single run consists of just seven levels, but that’s not even close to all the levels in the game. Depending on a variety of criteria, a branching path of routes between levels opens up to be explored, and there are a total of 15 levels all together.

High scores are recorded on a leader board, and medals can also be earned on each level for particularly high kill counts. Numerous playthroughs are a must.

Star Fox 64 also includes several 4-player splitscreen VS modes where players can take each other on in Arwings, Landmasters, and even on foot. I’ve certainly poured many hours into protracted dogfights with my friends here.

Of course, Star Fox 64 isn’t just one of the funnest games on the N64. It’s also probably the single most quotable game in history. “Do a barrel roll.” “Never give up. Trust your instincts.” “Can’t let you do that Star Fox!” and so many more lines echo through the ages. The dialogue seems like it’s constantly quoted, referenced, and even remixed online.

Further Star Fox sequels on the GameCube and DS were met with mixed success. Only the 3DS remake of Star Fox 64 really lived up to the legacy of the older titles. There is still hope for the franchise, however, with a Wii U entry recently announced.

Let me know what you think of Star Fox and the Definitive 50 in the comments section below. Don’t forget to like this video, share this video, and subscribe. Check back next week for entry #7 on the Definitive 50 N64 Games.