Star Fox: Assault (GameCube) Preview

By James Temperton 01.01.2004 2

Star Fox makes a more than welcome return as Fox McCloud, Slippy Toad, Peppy Hare and Falco Lombardi all bring their equally stupid names onto the GameCube. First seen in any details at E3 2003, it was greeted by a somewhat lukewarm press. As is happening more and more in Nintendo gaming at the moment, this title has been 'loaned out' to the more than capable hands of Namco.

So how does it all work? Well this isn't anything like Star Fox Adventures; in fact it couldn't really be too much different. This title is all about conflict on air and land. The plot is a simple one, Lylat Central Command get word of a new threat spreading throughout the solar system, and so they all bugger off to attempt to avert universal disaster. Of course the biggest ideas are not always the best, and this title could all too easily fall to poor execution, but somehow we just refuse to believe that. Switching between an Arwing, the Landmaster Tank and simply by the use of your trusty feet. All you have to do is battle through various death match style levels, with you being able to hop into various crafts dotted about the levels, which adds a superb twist to the gameplay.

The emphasis on the land levels is very much of interaction and action. For example you might find a rail car, which can be hopped onto as a moving platform from which to blast the opposition into submission. There are various things like this on the numerous ever-varying levels which means that a great deal of thought comes into the way in which this game is played, meaning there is more to it than just hitting shoot and running about like a mad-man.

Screenshot for Star Fox: Assault on GameCube

The controls are odd to say the least. The analogue stick does not make characters move, instead holding down the R button makes you run, the L trigger enables you to strafe in conjunction with the analogue stick. Whilst running the main control stick changes the character's direction, it feels awkward at first but when enjoyed for a while it supports of fast moving, quick thinking style of the game very well. With the A button being used to fire of your killing sticks various and the Y for jumping about, there is a massive emphasis on fast paced play. Finally, the C-stick is used for aiming at anything that moves, an essential that slips in wonderfully well.

Screenshot for Star Fox: Assault on GameCube

Perhaps the best feature of the game, as we mentioned before, is the ability to run about a level and randomly hop into various vehicles. Getting into an Arwing will launch you into the sky, and after sharply turning around you can move in on your enemies and shoot their ass to hell and back, marvellous and satanic fun. Whilst this might seem a tad unfair, at this point may we remind you that all is fair in love and war...

Controlling the Arwing is a whole new problem. With A there for the control of your blasters, R and L spinning the craft in its respective directions, you are able to flip, shoot, dive, rise and turn in perfect sync in some beautiful and deadly airborne moves, superb. Better still, a tap of Z makes you jump out of the craft and jump onto the wing allowing you to control the wing-walker and shoot down foes on the ground with ease. The only downside? Who is controlling the plane, we can feel a collision coming!

Screenshot for Star Fox: Assault on GameCube

Being heavily broadcast is the multiplayer modes. You can participate in loads of co-op missions, played on a split screen with each player commanding their own vehicle or, rather nicely, one person can fly an Arwing, whilst the other teeters on the wing shooting everything in sight. Perhaps most fun is when you get the chance to hunt your mates down in an Arwing, with them in the same craft, Diving through small gaps and spinning about like mad, this is multiplayer dog fighting at its best! Of course, being on foot also has its advantages. You can take cover and hide behind objects biding your time before you blast an Arwing when it flies by, you really can play it how you want.

Graphics wise, what we have seen so far of Star Fox 2 is all pretty basic stuff. The environments are huge, but lacking in detail whilst in characters are beautifully created. We are sure that Namco will spend some more time on the graphics and we will see massive improvements on this side of the title. The animation meanwhile, is superb. Slick, speedy and very realistic.

Screenshot for Star Fox: Assault on GameCube

Final Thoughts

Whilst many might not be amazed by what they have seen so far, the closer we get towards the release things will no doubt get even bigger and better, We are hugely excited about the prospects for this wonderfully exciting looking title, one to look out for sure.

Developer

Namco

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Shooter

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (10 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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