Tag Archives: Star Fox

SG88 Star Fox Guard Header

Star Fox Guard (Wii U)

Developer(s) – Nintendo EPD & Platinum Games

Publisher(s) – Nintendo

Director(s) – Yugo Hayashi & Teruaki Konishi

Producer(s) – Tadashi Sugiyama & Atsushi Inaba

PEGI – 7

 

Developed alongside the long-anticipated Star Fox Zero with the working title Project Guard initially attached to it, Star Fox Guard is a tower defense game that much to my surprise received mixed reviews from critics upon release. Stephen Totilo of Kotaku, on the other hand, hailed the game as one of Nintendo’s most distinct titles in a long time, and I would agree with him; not only is this one of the best entries in the Star Fox series in my opinion, but it is certainly also one of the best games on the Wii U, and very much worth investing a great deal of time in.

 

Graphics – 7/10

Critics have described this game’s visuals as bland, and in my opinion, that couldn’t be further from the truth. There’s a fair amount of variety in enemy and boss design in particular, as well as stage design, with the game taking place on several planets and locations synonymous with the series, and featured in Star Fox Zero. Whilst it’s easy to criticize the game for recycling the graphics and conceptual design of an already existing title, there are still many visual elements that make it stand out from the former, and do well enough to outweigh what elements have been re-used.

 

Gameplay – 8/10

The concept of the game is to defend each base featured in each level from robots looking to invade and destroy them. The player must utilize a series of camera turrets positioned around the base to destroy the enemies before they reach the center of the base. There are over 100 missions to complete, as well as the added facility to create customized levels and share them online with other players. I personally found it to be an extremely enjoyable and experience, as well as a challenging one without it being too inaccessible. There is also an RPG element to it in the form of leveling up and unlocking new weapons and items to help along the way, which gives it that much more replay value and always works well in conjunction with a tower defense game.

 

Controls – 10/10

Amidst some critic’s concerns over the somewhat sketchy control scheme of Star Fox Zero, the controls in Star Fox Guard are seamless. Despite the fact that numerous different buttons can be used to shoot, the way in which the motion controls work is extremely well-executed and makes for some of the most fun that can be had with the Wii U’s GamePad. I can’t help but think that if this game had been a launch title, the Wii U would have had a much more successful launch period than what it did. It does a better job of showcasing the potential appeal of the console than many other games released before it.

 

Originality – 7/10

As I alluded to, I agree with Stephen Totilo on his view that this is one of Nintendo’s most unique titles in recent years. It’s reminiscent of something that may have been found in Nintendo Land, which in my opinion, and many other critic’s opinions, is a game that deserves more credit than both the initials and current commercial success of the Wii U would seem to suggest. Arguably this game is better than Star Fox Zero, but although I can’t yet make that assessment for myself, I certainly found it to be an immensely unique and fun game.

 

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Happii

Overall, Star Fox Guard is a distinct, challenging, and enjoyable gaming experience; certainly one of the better of which to have been released since the Wii U’s launch. With the Wii U likely being phased out soon by the NX’s launch next year, this game is on the fast track to becoming a hidden gem, and it deserves a lot more recognition than that in my opinion.

Score

32/40

8/10 (Very Good)

SG88 Star Fox Header

Star Fox (Super Nintendo)

Developer(s) – Nintendo EAD & Argonaut Software

Publisher(s) – Nintendo

Director – Katsuya Eguchi

Producer – Shigeru Miyamoto

PEGI – 3

 

Designed by Shigeru Miyamoto and Takaya Imamura, Star Fox, or Starwing as it was known in Europe due to copyright issues, Star Fox launched yet another successful Nintendo franchise, with the game receiving commercial and critical acclaim upon release, including an award for best shooter of 1993 by Electronic Gaming Monthly. As a kid, I thought much less of this game, but after revisiting it a few times over the last few years, my opinion of it has improved vastly, and I consider it a must-have for anyone who may own a Super Nintendo.

 

Graphics – 8/10

The first Super Nintendo cartridge to make use of the revolutionary Super FX chip, Star Fox was the first 3D video game I ever laid eyes on, and as a kid, it at least captivated me in this respect. As I alluded to earlier, I would also go on to learn about the various references to Japanese folklore that are present within this game. The four main characters are based on four well-known Japanese stories, which I wrote about in greater depth in a previous article.

 

Gameplay – 9/10

The objective of the game is simply to get from A to B like many others, but it plays out much more differently from the archetypical 2D platforming games that took precedent at that time. It was a rail-shooting game, which required players to fly through a multitude of different dangers and obstacles, shooting down as many enemies as possible to accumulate as high a score as they possibly could. Though it took me too much time to realize what a positive change from the norm it was for the longest time, I would eventually come back to it frequently after religiously playing its sequel; Lylat Wars.

 

Controls – 9/10

Though there isn’t anything wrong with the game’s control scheme in the conventional sense, what weighs it down significantly is the extremely slow frame rate, since that the Super FX chip was inside the cartridge, the console still had difficulty running it. Giving it about the same frame rate as Bubsy 3D; though the controls of that game were far more annoying, and harder to get to grips with. It all depended largely on how much was on the screen, and how much graphical information the console had to process at any one time, which was usually a lot.

 

Lifespan – 7/10

Though one playthrough can take up to an hour tops, multiple playthroughs can present multiple challenges, since the game is actually non-linear to a certain extent. Players have the option of changing course depending on their preference of difficulty, giving the game a fair bit of replayability, making it last slightly longer than what the average was at that time.

 

Storyline – 7/10

The story of the game follows the members of the Star Fox team, Fox, Peppy, Slippy, and Falco on their mission to free the Lylat System from the Venomian army, and their leader Andross. Though the basic structure of the story was extremely typical of most other video game stories at the time, it was, of course, kept fresh by the conceptual design of the scenery, style, and design of the characters themselves, as well as their dialogue-driven displays of personality throughout. These principles would be carried on and further developed in further games, but it was in this era where it will have stood out most, I think; especially as the idea was extremely new at the time.

 

Originality – 8/10

Most of everything about this game is original, from the conceptual design to the gameplay to the graphical rendering techniques to the basic story structure. It was a shining example of Nintendo wanting to extensively innovate as they did throughout the third and fourth generations of gaming, which would go on to inspire the creation of many different games in the future, leaving behind a long legacy that would be renewed by the likes of Star Fox Zero and Star Fox Guard.

 

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Happii

In summation, Star Fox is undoubtedly one of the greatest games on the Super Nintendo, and I would highly recommend it. Though I believe the sequel would improve on this to a massive extent, it served as more than a mere template for greater things to come.

Score

48/60

8/10 (Very Good)