Star Fox 64 / Lylat Wars (Nintendo 64) Reader Review

Posted by By Phoenom 0 Number of reads 1233 Posted 09.04.2008

Thought I might try something on the Virtual Console this time around, and given that this is the best game I have from there (bar Sin & Punishment, I'll probably cover that in the future), it seemed the ideal choice.
Let Review Number 6 commence!

The Star-fox series had a humble beginning on the Super Nintendo. The creation of the series' origin, Starfox (or Starwing in Europe) was one of the first console games to utilize 3D polygons as a basis, here deemed the Super FX chip. So popular and well received was this game, that Nintendo devised a sequel, this one possessing the same look and feel, but with different gameplay elements. But with the impending Nintendo 64 approaching, it was decided that a clean break was needed between the 2D heavy SNES, and the groundbreaking (at the time) purely 3D N64, and Starfox 2 was cancelled close to completion.
Most of Starfox 2's more unique traits were eventually passed along to other games in the series. The world-freeroaming and tactical parts were revived in StarFox Command, on the Nintendo DS, and the experience with the overall structure and design was brought forward to the next game in the series, Lylat Wars (or Starfox 64 outside of Europe), on the Nintendo 64.

Lylat Wars, at the time, was notable for two main things. One, the cinematic feel it brought to gamers, in particular the intro sequence. And Two, the introduction of the Rumble Pak, now a videogaming staple that remains to this day in most, if not all console controllers.
But, a decade on, how does the game itself hold up? The answer is; Incredibly well.

The story goes that an evil genius named Andross, previously banished to an inhospitable planet in the Lylat System, called Venom, has unleashed war on the capital of the system, Corneria, and the StarFox team, an elite band of mercenaries, are sent to stop him.

The gameplay of this title, and Starfox games in particular, revolves around what can be likened to as an on-rails-shooter in 3D. You control the leader of the team, Fox McCloud, in an Arwing (ship), and progress through the levels, defeating any and all that stand in the way.
Usually you are accompanied by the other members of the team, Peppy Hare, Falco Lombardi, and the ever-annoying Slippy Toad. In most cases, they'll help you out with obstacles and Bosses, although it'll mainly be you saving them from a kicking.
The progression of the game is another of the series' unique points, the starting point and finishing point will always be Corneria and Venom respectively, but the planets you go through in-between are of your own choosing.
There are unfortunately no save points, but since the core game is beatable in an hour or more, it's not much of a hindrance. Plus, with the multiple branching pathways, two different endings, and the fun and addictiveness of the concept as a whole, there are plenty of reasons to replay this game.

From one of the earliest N64 titles, the graphics are what you would expect, functional and effective. Laser blasts and Bomb explosions (well, explosions in general, there are a lot of them here) generate some fireworks, and the main HUD (where you see shield strength, number of Bombs left etc.) is clear and kept out of the way.

The sound in this game is a particular highlight, complementing the cinematic feel mentioned earlier. Excellent stage melodies and Boss Battle constructions add to the atmosphere of the game.

Other notable features include a multiplayer dog-fight mode; where up to 4 players can duke it out in Arwings, although this mode feels more like an add-on than a true part of the game.
For beginners there is the Training Mode that teaches the controls and functions of the game, and there is also a high score table for die-hard shooter fans to aim for.

Unfortunately, one particular part of the original game did not make it to the Virtual Console, and that is the Rumble Pak support. Whether that is because of the rumble-less classic controller, or the function being reported as difficult to emulate, is uncertain, but don't let that put you off the game, as it still stands tall amongst the other classics of the time.
Lylat Wars is known for being the best game of the StarFox series to date, and I urge you to download it and find out why firsthand.

Phoenom's Rating Rated $score out of 10  9/10

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C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (13 Votes)

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