Star Fox 64 (スターフォックス 64 Sutā Fokkusu Rokujūyon), known in Australia and Europe as Lylat Wars due to trademark issues, is a scrolling shooter for the Nintendo 64 and later for the Virtual Console. This game also received a remake, Star Fox 64 3D. It is a reboot of the original Star Fox, and the only game in the series to be released on the Nintendo 64. The PAL version of Star Fox 64 (Lylat Wars) has an option to use the Lylat Language which is similar to spoken language in the original Star Fox.
Graphically, Star Fox 64 takes full advantage of the power of the Nintendo 64 to produce realistic, 3-D environments full of alien adversaries. Skim over the surface of an alien sea, weave through the concrete canyons of a futuristic metropolis, or dodge planetoids the size of mountains. Between missions, you'll be treated to real-time 3-D movies that progress the story of the Star Fox Team of space mercenaries in their struggle against the evil ape emperor, Andross. The seamless transitions from action to story give Star Fox 64 a truly unique, cinematic feel.
Equipped with the Rumble Pak, the Nintendo 64 Controller becomes a new implement for fun. Not only does the Rumble Pak provide force-feedback in response to the game action, the Controller's analog Control Stick gives you total, precise control of your vehicle, be it a sleek "Arwing" starfighter, an armored "Landmaster" tank, or the deep-diving "Blue-Marine" submersible.
The planned second game in the series for the SNES, Star Fox 2, was canceled due to the upcoming release of the Nintendo 64. Some of its features were used in Star Fox 64, such as all range mode. Even the Star Wolf team was carried over from Star Fox 2. It was the first game to introduce support for the Rumble Pak and was packaged with one. The game received positive ratings from reviewers and critics who praised its smooth animation, detailed visuals, and use of multiple gameplay paths. It has been called one of the greatest games of all time, and is the most popular game in the series.
The evil Dr. Andross was once a brilliant scientist working for the Cornerian Army. However, he took his research too far, and the devastating effects on the planet's ecosystem prompted General Pepper to banish him to the barren planet Venom, where it was thought he would never survive. Five years later, General Pepper picked up strange activity coming from the Venomian surface. He then hired the original Star Fox Team, led by James McCloud and consisting of Peppy Hare and Pigma Dengar to investigate. Upon arrival, Pigma betrayed the team to Andross and Peppy and James were captured. Peppy barely escaped and returned to Corneria to tell Fox McCloud, James' son, about his father's assumed death. After a few years passed, Andross declared war on the Lylat system and his army made its way to Corneria. General Pepper then turned to the Star Fox team, consisting of Fox McCloud, Falco Lombardi, Slippy Toad, and Peppy Hare to stop Andross and end the Lylat Wars.
The game's fifteen missions link together in a number of possible paths to your final objective: a show-down on Venom, the home planet of the interplanetary tyrant, Andross. Throughout your adventure, you'll have to accomplish challenging objectives in order to reach and conquer every mission. There are two different mission modes in the game; 3-D scroll and all-range. A 3-D scroll mission thrusts you forward into the conflict, and requires intense, split-second reactions. Multiple paths are possible through these scrolling missions, depending on the choices you make. All-range mode missions enable you to maneuver in full 360-degrees, and to put your Arwing through radical combat maneuvers like loop-the-loops and high energy turns.
- Arwing - The player uses the Arwing for thirteen of the sixteen levels in the game, and much of the rest of the series. It can store and fire up to nine Nova Bombs, and its lasers can be upgraded to twin and hyper. It can also perform special maneuvers such as somersaults, half-loops and the famous barrel roll. However, you will have to help your teammates in all the levels you use the Arwing in.
- Landmaster - Fox uses the Landmaster to save Slippy in Titania, and to take out the base on Macbeth. He still has to save his teammates, but not as often. The Landmaster can fire bombs, but its lasers cannot be upgraded except in VS mode. Also, it cannot barrel roll, but instead, rolls out of the way of attacks, despite Peppy saying that you can on Titania.
- Blue Marine - You use the Blue Marine on planet Aquas, since the Arwings cannot go underwater. It has unlimited lock-on torpedoes, its lasers can be upgraded to twin and hyper, and it is barrel roll capable, making the Blue Marine the most powerful of the three crafts. However, its controls are slightly sluggish due to being underwater. Also, due to it being a Submarine, it cannot be used in space or in the air.
- On Foot (Fox, Peppy, Slippy or Falco) - The Player can use them only in multiplayer ground-having stages, and only after unlocking them by earning a medal in each stage of the main game and gaining a medal on either side of Venom in Expert Mode. The controls consist of using the Control Stick to look around, holding R to run, pressing Z to jump, A for lasers, and B for bombs. You cannot charge up shots in On-Foot.
Medals and Expert Mode
In addition to the main goal to complete the stage, every stage also has a secondary goal in the form of a target number of kills. Once the player has gotten enough kills, as long as all his allies are still alive, his score will turn orange and he will be awarded a medal for that planet upon completion of the mission. If the player earns medals on every mission, he will have the option to play the main game in "Expert Mode."
It has been reported that while playing Star Fox 64 on an emulator, if the game is turned off after Expert Mode has been unlocked then all game data will be erased, forcing the player to re-earn all medals and high scores. It is unknown how common this is or if it also affects cartridge games, but emulator users are advised to put aside an extra save state for the purpose of preserving the player's data should it be wiped.
There are three modes available:
- Point Match, where the first player to reach a set total wins.
- Battle Royal, where the last player standing wins.
- Time Trial, where the aim is to score as many points as possible in the set time.
The First two options have Corneria and Sector-Z as the possible stages, while the time trial has Katina and Sector-Z. At first, only the Arwing is available, but the Landmaster is available after winning a medal on Venom in Normal Mode, and an interesting primitive on-foot mode is available after gaining a medal on all missions in Expert Mode.
The music in Star Fox 64 was composed by Koji Kondo and Hajime Wakai. The soundtrack has new themes that differ from the original title and introduced leitmotifs that have become a staple in the series, including the Star Fox Team's theme.
Star Fox 64's sound effects and music add to the cinematic feel of the game. Over 700 voice samples allow for almost constant radio chatter between Fox McCloud and his wingmen. Enemy characters will also get in on the act, taunting you as you oppose them.
Star Fox 64 received critical acclaim and was one of the top-selling games of 1997, second only to Mario Kart 64. In the first five days of the game's U.S. launch, over 300,000 copies were sold, surpassing the record previously held by Mario Kart 64 and Super Mario 64. Sales were considerably less in Japan, where it sold 75,595 copies during the first week of sale. The game also took the #73 spot in Nintendo Power's "Top 200 Nintendo Games Ever". GameSpot declared Star Fox 64 "an instant classic" and was impressed by the voice acting. Glenn Rubenstein, the reviewer, noted that the game is "a pleasure to look at" and liked the cinematic quality of the storyline. Although other reviewers such as IGN said that the game is "extremely repetitive" and that the music quality was not as good as the original Star Fox, they still praised the branching system and "intelligently designed levels" which compensate for those points.
The Gamespot review of the Wii Virtual Console version of the game paints a similar picture. It earns a (8.3/10), praising for simple, enjoyable shooting gameplay, lots of voice-acting, nice to look at despite its graphic age and the added replay value in finding hidden paths, but found the lack of rumble support "alarming", especially since it was the first game to support the 64's Rumble Pak.
Star Fox 64 is listed as the forty-fifth-greatest game of all time by Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition in 2009.
References to other works
- The very sci-fi and war nature in general of the Star Fox series has several comparisons with the original Star Wars films, including space fleet battles, character personalities and scenarios. The Gorgon station is obviously modeled after the Death Star (in the 3DS release it is given the coincidental boss role subtitle of "Ultimate Space Weapon").
- The Katina level is homage to the movie Independence Day. Bill Grey's name is likely homage to that of a character in the film, General William Grey. Slippy's reaction to the Bolse Fighters being shielded and the ending musical score for Star Fox are also made in homage to the film. The Canine starfighters greatly resemble the Attacker ships from the same movie.
- The Sector Y level has many armies of mechs similar to many of the mobile suits from the anime franchise Mobile Suit Gundam, for their beam rifles, shields and mobility. They can even be launched out from battleships in battle. One red-colored mech is said by Peppy to be very quick. This is a reference to Char Aznable because all of his mobile suits are red and have high mobility (hence his name, "The Red Comet"). Not only that, the boss however aside from the first two colored mechs is known to be white and launched from its own launch ship is a homage and resemblance to the RX-78-2 Gundam which is also from the same series. Also the mechs in the beginning of Sector Y look much like the typical Zaku-II Troops found in Mobile Suit Gundam.
- The first line on the official Nintendo Power guide's rear cover reads "In space no one can hear you scream" which recites the tagline of the Alien film franchise. In addition, Goras has a similar body structure and feral nature in comparison to the Xenomorph creature, and that certain cultures have worshiped them as gods.
Releases and rereleases
- Star Fox 64 was released in a special, larger box with a Rumble Pak included in every copy. The game sold enough copies to make it into the "Player's Choice" range.
- Star Fox 64 was released on the Wii's Virtual Console on 2nd April 2007 in Japan, 17th April 2007 in North America and 20th April 2007 in Europe.
- Star Fox 64 3D is a remake of Star Fox 64 that was released for the Nintendo 3DS. This game has been released in Japan in July 14, 2011 and was released on September 9, 2011 in North America and Europe and on September 15, 2011. This game is the sixth Star Fox game officially announced, and the second handheld Star Fox game.
Nintendo of Europe released a manga adaptation in 1997, based on the events within the game.
Nintendo Power subscribers received a promotional video prior to Star Fox 64's release (the same tactic was used to promote Donkey Kong Country as well as Diddy Kong Racing, Banjo-Kazooie, and Hey You, Pikachu! for the N64) that advertised the game's cinematic presentation, as well as new features like the Rumble Pak and voice acting. It revolves around two agents of Sega and Sony (who, at the time, were Nintendo's biggest competitors) kidnapping Nintendo employees and forcing them to reveal information about the upcoming Star Fox title by "torturing" a Mario doll.
Nintendo Power released a strategy guide to accommodate with the game's release. Featuring highly detailed, exclusive map planning walkthroughs and character, planetary and mythos data, the guide is the primary source of Star Fox series information.
- In the Japanese version, if the player is shot down, one of Fox's teammates will scream Fox's name much like in Star Fox Assault. This was replaced with them shouting "No!" in the English version.
- Completing the game with routes that included Katina or Zoness will cause Bill Grey's Cornerian Fighter or Katt Monroe's Catspaw to appear in the Staff Credits. As they accompany Star Fox back to Corneria, Bill will fly above Fox and Peppy and Katt will fly above Falco.
- NINTENDO POWER Star Fox 64: Official Nintendo Player's Guide. Redmond, WA, Nintendo of America. 1997.
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