The Definitive 50 SNES Games: #18 Star Fox

Click here to view our list of the Definitive 50 SNES games. Links to each video and write-up are included.

Number 18 on the list of Definitive 50 SNES games is that famous 3D rail-shooter, Star Fox. Fox McCloud and his team of anthropomorphic mercenaries made their North American debut March 1, 1993. The game was released in Europe, where it was known as Starwing due to trademark issues, in June of the same year.

Many gamers are probably more familiar with Star Fox‘s remake/pseudo-sequel on the N64, and those people will surely find the SNES original a little disappointing. Without the polygonal power of the 64, Star Fox had to rely on the Super FX chip for its graphics. As a result, the game is letter boxed and sports a shoddy framerate. For its time, however, StarFox was revolutionary.

This title kicked off the now very well known StarFox franchise, and I’m sure most of you are already familiar with the basic premise. Emperor Andross has launched an all-out attack on Corneria and the rest of the Lylat system. General Pepper, as the commander of the Cornerian Defense Force, calls on the Star Fox mercenary unit to take on Andross. Along with Fox himself, this team consists of Slippy Toad, Peppy Hare, and Falco Lombardi.

Aside from training, Star Fox consists of only one real mode, story. From here, three “levels” are selectable. Each of these is a distinct path that will take Fox and company from one side of Lylat to the other through six or seven stages. The choice of levels can be considered a form of difficulty selection for the game, one which provides players with plenty of extra replay value, as each level’s stages are mostly unique.

Star Fox plays as a fairly standard 3D rail shooter. Players are continually pushed along a particular path through stages, with limited room for movement. It’s up to the player to accurately blast enemies as they fly into view, dodge terrain, and defend Fox’s often troubled coworkers. As this is going on, it’s important to grab health, bombs, and laser upgrades to keep your Arwing up to task.

There is no doubt that when measured by sheer fun, Star Fox can’t compare to its N64 successor. Nevertheless, this title was an important step in the evolution of polygonal graphics, and it established a great Nintendo franchise, which earns it a very deserving 18th place on this list.