- “OUT OF THE COCKPIT:
When you leap out of a vehicle, you'll be at your most nimble and you'll be able to draw upon a wide variety of weapons, but you'll also be at your most vulnerable. If you master the on-foot con¬ trols, you'll be able to take down even gigantic foes—with the right gun in your hand.”
A Pilot is normally an aircraft pilot or aviator, which is a person who actively and directly operates the directional flight controls of an aircraft while it is in flight. In the some games within the Star Fox series, Pilots are playable characters that can be controlled outside of their vehicles depending on the game, but can only be played as within an All-Range Mode area that has ground space.
In the games, Pilots are more slower moving and vulnerable without the defensive advantages of vehicles, but are often more nimble and able to enter smaller areas not intended for large vehicles and they can also use the opportunity to use a variety of weaponry and special items.
The Super Smash Bros. series uses its playable characters in an identical manner to Star Fox Pilots, in that they are characters fighting outside of vehicles, although it is 2-D side-scrolling rather than third-person gameplay.
In the games
- “Once you earn medals in every mission playing in Expert Mode, you will be able to use Rocket Launchers in VS. Mode. ”
- —Star Fox 64.com
After gaining every medal in Expert Mode, the four Star Fox team pilots can be used in Versus Mode as playable characters, except in the Sector Z stage because it is a space quadrant with no ground. Pilots are selected before the match starts or a player is downed by pressing the top C button which is marked by a fox head. Pilots are very slow and easily targeted compared to the Arwings and Landmasters, armed with large, shoulder mounted "Rocket Launcher" blasters, controlled and looking similar to the Homing Launcher and Plasma Cannons in Assault. The pilots are controlled by holding down the R button to run, pressing the A button to shoot, B to launch a Smart Bomb and Z to jump. Pilots cannot charge or lock-on their laser, but can still pick up Laser Upgrades and launch Smart Bombs. Laser upgrades will give the player's laser twin spiralling bolts like the Landmaster's. Their death animation is reused from that of the Landmaster.
Like the communications channel and radar, characters are colour coded by their ammunition to tell their shots apart. They are controlled by whichever player has the following controller in the Nintendo 64's console socket:
Fly / Drive
- “Once certain conditions have been met you'll also be able to select a Landmaster tank and a hologram of yourself armed with a bazooka!”
- —Official Nintendo Power Player's Guide, pg 114
Fox Vs. Falco Vs. Peppy Vs. Slippy
- “You can also earn medals in the expert missions, giving first-class pilots some fresh challenges. If you collect another full se of medals, you'll enable one last special feature: the ability to select Star Fox team members in Vs. Mode. Along with spaceships and tanks, you'll be able to pit bazooka-toting animals against each other in combat!”
- —Official Nintendo Power Player's Guide, pg 120
In Adventures, gameplay is mostly restricted to outside of the Arwing, likely because of the game being an adaptation of Rare's Dinosaur Planet. Fox remains on foot unless needing to travel to other lands in orbit by Arwing or riding a certain dinosaur or vehicle.
- “Instruction Booklet
Stages where you control Fox and move around a contained area are all-range stages. You clear these stages by destroying a set number of targets. You can also pilot Arwings and drive Landmasters on some all-range stages. When you change weapons in Pilot Mode, the name of the new weapon is displayed.”
Similar to both Star Fox 64 and Adventures, Assault features third person stages in both Single Player and Versus Modes, depending on the mission or stage. With the exceptions of Missions 1, 5, 8 and 10, all stages use ground based gameplay. Pilots are controlled like before, but now feature unique skills on certain categories unlike previous games such as running speed and jumping height. Vehicle management comes into effect in both single and versus modes where situations will require characters to proceed on foot if places that are too small for vehicles are near to enter. Every pilot can pick up and use the various weapons on the ground using the cursor aim like the Landmaster, while each pilot has the standard Blaster as their default weapon as it is impossible for a pilot to be unarmed. Pilots can enter and exit vehicles to fit situations and will be forced to continue on foot if their vehicle is downed, but can be KO'd inside a vehicle if there is not ground or enough damage has been done to the pilot's health gauge. Pilots can use Rolling like a barrel roll but will only dodge attacks rather than shielding them. Unlike in Star Fox 64, they have their own death animation, namely falling to the ground and then uttering a grunt, or in the case of falling down a bottomless pit, screaming as they're falling. If the player chooses to fall down a pit after completing missions 8 and/or 10, it will continue to show Fox falling down as the characters are calling out Fox's name, but otherwise the game treats it afterward as if Fox never fell down.
Versus Mode Characters
- No character in Assault's Versus Mode has a below 3 star Jump or Pilot skill, or below 2 star Arwing skill.
- Star Fox 64 3D does not include the option to play as pilots in its Versus Mode making the pilot mode the only manner of playability not to return.
- The Nintendo Power Star Fox 64 guide implies that the characters are holograms of themselves.
- NINTENDO POWER Star Fox 64: Official Nintendo Player's Guide. Redmond, WA, Nintendo of America. 1997.
- Star Fox Assault; Nintendo Power's Official Player's Guide; Nintendo of America Inc, 4820 150th Ave NE, Redmond, Washington 98052; (C) 2004-2005 Nintendo
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