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EDIT: Why StarFox Assault is a great, and yet not so great game.


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.....Where do I begin?

How about with a little background....now I first got into StarFox when I played StarFox 64 as a kid and instantly thought it was awesome, but it was always overshadowed by Zelda and Halo and things; those are the games I really cared about, I also remember being pissed at Adventures until years later when I actually played it.

With StarFox Assault particularly, I first played that when it was on the old GameCube demo-set at any commercial store or gamestop, I liked the game right off the bat of course, but I pretty much forgot about it when I saw the Zelda Twilight Princess trailer and was completely blown away by it.

Fast forward years and years later; I don't care about StarFox all that much, until I saw Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D, and StarFox 643D; two of my favorite childhood N64 games on a new 3D handheld? I was freakin' out, I played OOT3D and thought it was great aside from the annoying lighting the game had, and then I had also played 643D and....I was hugely disappointed, I thought it would be a lot better than Command, which it was.....but still not good enough, as a game it was ok, I managed to talk my friend into playing the multiplayer with me, and it wasn't bad I'll admit, the 64 vs mode was a lot better despite that you were actually flying in 643D.

After facing facts with how much 643D let me down, I decided to play another game in the series, after getting 100% in 64, so I looked online, and despite some harsh criticism here and there, Assault had a pretty positive track record, and some even said it was one of their favorite GameCube games so I ordered it up online and got it a couple weeks later in the mail

Be in mind this was several years ago (about 2011) I played through the whole game and it honestly blew me away, StarFox Assault, is the game that made me give a shit about StarFox, it actually made me take the characters, story, and music seriously, the gameplay was mature enough for me to enjoy without finding it too silly. I still found it pretty campy, but in the way and atmosphere that made it fit the StarFox Universe.

The game was obviously far from perfect, but not enough for the flaws to come anywhere near to dimming the lights emitted by what made the game great.

I'll start with the story; it has been several years since Adventures apparently, Krystal's part of the team, Peppy's now more of an XP Command-support now, Andross's forces have once again assembled enough to present a feasible threat to Corneria. The team are sent to quell the fleet of Venom lead by Andrew Oikonny, pinned against Fortuna, of which where their fortress is located, one mission later we are introduced to an old enemy called the Aparoids; closely familiar to the Borg, from the Next Generation. 

I'd say the story and cutscenes were pretty great for a Nintendo game, much less StarFox, it helped me take the story of the whole series seriously, now I think it's a Story that holds it's own as a Nintendo franchise, as it goes deeper than I thought...either that or I'm overthinking it. Would if the Aparoids were what Andross created that devastated the Lylat System in the past when Fox was young? that makes perfect sense to me, Andross was a weapon scientist so it only made sense that he created a bio-weapon like the Aparoids and they became self aware or something, a good reason for him to be banished.

The whole story was a somewhat decent balance between being campy and cheesy to fit the StarFox label, yet also taking itself just serious enough to pull the player into it. I liked the ending, though it was kind've a lack of closure looking at  what I went through to see it, and how Command; the very next game in the series--No.....let's just move on....

The story had some flaws though, the cutscene when Fox and Krystal are on Sauria after the Aparoids were defeated, and Tricky shows up...uggh he was an eye-sore, why couldn't he just be forgotten about the moment Adventures ended!? it seemed sorta pointless for him to have that area of dialogue how he said Fox and friends were here to fight'em....but the fight's already over, and then it tried too hard to be cute when they talked about shipping Fox and Krystal...wasn't it obvious enough for a Nintendo title? not to mention they turned her character into just another Nintendo cliche, just another Princess, even if she's actually on the frontlines, she's also just a cliche StarFox support; they're all WORTHLESS I tell you!! Just another ass to be saved. "Help me Fox!! for some reason, none of us are competent pilots in the actual game!!" She's awesome and all, and...I really Lo-like her character but....she's just another Peppy-Falco-Slippy but with bewbs....wow, Namco, you sure changed the name of the game now!

Gotta say, despite some flaws, I still think it reflects what future games should be like. This is the first time in the dogfighting, THE ARWING COULD ACTUALLY FLY, FIRST TIME EVER. Before, in 64; the Arwing all-range gameplay was basically just a T-47 Snowspeeder; it hugs the ground and hovers up and down, to LOOK LIKE IT FLIES, in Assault, I actually had the ability to straight up and down, almost... It was actually tons of fun, and with how fluid and responsive it was, I'd say it was my favorite dogfighting of any game, even StarWars Rogue Squadron II. It always felt like I was in an actual space battle, especially at Sargasso and Orbital Gate; intense stuff. Best all-range in the series

The Rail shooting isn't as great as it was in 64, much less in SNES: both 64 and Assault the Arwing moved really slowly, and it felt like I could keep up with it on my Suzuki Motor Bike, in SNES: the Arwing was blindingly fast, and not even because of the choppy framerate, I played it on an EMU, and it runs perfectly, yet it gets the blood flowing a lot more than a rail shooting sequence in 64 or Assault; in either of those I can usually blast out almost everything on the screen, it still managed to entertain though, and got pretty intense at times, especially on the final mission and the battle with the Queen; which happens to be one of my favorite final boss battles, not just because of the music either.

I loved being able to take off and land as I please, and on the Sargasso mission; it opened up another concept for the series; boarding enemy ships on-foot, and being able battling their ships from the outside in the Arwing. on planetary missions, using the LandMaster felt great too; tight, responsive, fast, and maneeuverable, just like I'd expect from the LandMaster, one of my favorite land vehicles, I loved it almost as much as I loved using a Warthog in Halo....then there's the onfoot, not so good when you fight on foot, but it's still pretty cool seeing the characters outside the vehicles, the different weapons add a lot to it, make it passable, the controls are clunky, and frustrating, and for some reason Fox turns around about as fast as a lazy susan.

It all comes together quite well for most missions, some have both vehicles as an option, some had one or the other, and it always related to the "objectives" at hand and made perfect sense, it also helped give a little variety to the missions....

However, there was one outstanding problem over all the others to me;.....ALMOST EVERY MISSION IS ALMOST THE SAME GODDAMN THING, they're all too familiar to the last, I know SNES and 64 did the same thing; where there is like two or three different types of missions basically, but it was a lot easier to notice with Assault, given that it used a more modern gameplay style, that still made sure to be true to the originals. It was annoying, even if the briefings stated specific good reasons to do everything unlike in the past where it's like  "Hey Fox, shoot everything that moves and you win!!" Search and Destroy 6-10 missions just won't cut it, but it won't kill the game completely either, if you've played SNES and 64 too, than it only makes sense, I just wish they pulled a bit further from that and made each mission a lot more diverse. like...at least two more missions that weren't search-and-destroy and I would have been fine with the objectives rubric altogether.

The turret runs on the Arwing....I didn't like those, I don't know why people praise that more than the on foot in the game..

As for the AI: it's hilariously stupid with ground enemies, most of the time they're pretty bland, but still fun to shoot up. In the air; the Ai is actually decent, and they were even better than 64 in all-range; they actually tried maneuvers to dodge you, StarWolf Ai was meh, just tougher enemies with talking one liners, and it annoyed me how they only attacked you, and ignored Falco and Krystal; whom neither of them were doing a lot either, other than shooting down an enemy here and there.

Fox: Fox is just the same as he always is, slightly cocky, but not a whole lot else to him, oh and his VA sucked, he had absolutely no enthusiasm and sounded lazy.

Falco: he still has an attitude, and campy, funny one-liners, good enough for me, but just like every other Brooklyn-accent badboy I know in fiction, he talks bigger than he usually acts. Like Joey, or Yamcha, he's a badboy who often helps out a bit for the main hero, but he also gets his ass kicked a lot. I counted; and you actually have to save Falco, MORE than you have to save Krystal, OR Slippy...you have to help Falco...more than Slippy....let that sink in.

Krystal: Better than in Adventures, they actually made her a relevant character, plot-wise she's a contributing character in combat, provides incite to her teammates, and differs from the rest, by being more like a Jedi; she's calm and relaxed most of the time, and only talks when it seems necessary; in the game...she's just another StarFox team member; you still have to save her every time something shoots at her. Her british accent seems to have faded too....huh.

Slippy: A lot more likeable than he was in 64, his voice is...slightly less annoying, he's shown a bit more to be the technical member of the team rather than combat which makes him forgivable in battle, he's still Slippy, just toned down a bit from what he was in 64.

Peppy: I always thought Peppy was pretty badass, he trained Fox, escaped Venom in the past, he provides wisdom to the team, and he blasted a way for StarFox team to get into the Aparoid Hive and defeat the queen, implying that he had died, and then yet again he escapes to meet the team at the end.

Wolf: I loved how much depth and character development they gave to him, he wasn't just a killer, he was a warrior with a code of honor, and he refused to kill Fox when he had the chance, and he set aside differences to defeat a common enemy, despite his history with team StarFox, which made him...a bit more interesting, even though it was still kinda cliche.

Leon and Panther: they, being Wolf's miscreits followed him, but I never saw them argue at all with Wolf when they set aside their differences, I guess they discussed it before they came to Corneria to help? Leon's voice annoys me, and Panther was pretty cool, even though he hit on Krystal in kind've a creepy way rather than charming. 

Than you got Beltino Toad, and General Pepper; Pepper's about the same as always, an old military leader who sorta reminds me of the colonel from the Rambo movies, Beltino Toad was hilarious and dank, and he along with the others, and many other things in the game helped make the Lylat system seem a little more believable, like it was a whole Universe rather than like a small group of people fighting and that's it.

THE MUSIC: The music....is absolutely spectacular, one of the best Nintendo soundtracks EVER, if it weren't for smash bros, Zelda Skyward Sword, and Xenoblade Chronicles. Very John Williams/Alan Silvestri like. Very suitable for Science Fiction I'd say

The visuals: some of the best of that whole generation at times, the character models looked decent, some looked better than others, Krystal, Falco, Peppy look great for some reason, Slippy looks meh, Wolf looks a little sloppy in-game, despite being a VERY COOL design, and Fox....Fox sorta looks like crap in-game, and his design could have been better.

The environments looked great, especially in space; the skybox's were spectacular, the aesthetics for character design, and vehicles all looked awesome; a nice, shiny original design with a mechanical look, yet they also resembled StarFox SNES, Arwings, and I think that tied the aesthetic together.

One of the best multiplayers on the GameCube, and again, one of my favorites, great stages, a good selection menu layout, all the characters...besides Leon and Panther for some reason, the vehicles and weapons to choose from each game put it all together, the multiplayer seemed to be more fleshed out than the actual main game. the multiplayer music could have been better aside from Sauria and Orbital Gate anyway; those tracks were great.

However, I think it was a bit underbalanced, Slippy is odd-job with an insane amount of HP, Wolf is as overpowered as it gets, Fox and Krystal are balanced fairly...although it annoys me how Krystal is a slightly debuffed version of Fox, sexist much? It makes up when she gets two shields; it actually gives her a pretty strong advantage when you use it right. Wolf wins almost every time with equally skilled characters which is a problem, Peppy is slow as hell and stands no chance, and then Falco is absolutely helpless outside a vehicle, with his puny HP bar.

At least the multiplayer is fun though, I have a lot of memories playing it with friends who had it long before I got the game myself.

Overrall, I think I've touched everything worth talking about, the game is not perfect, and it probably wasn't finished either, I think it needed at least a year and a half more to achieve it's full potential, add more complex missions, expand the story a bit more instead of just glancing over everything as fast as possible, and refine some of the on-foot controls, and it would have been a 9.0 easily.

The positive attributes of the game easily outshine the negatives for this game, which is why I think it's a great game, I'd give it at least an 8.3/10, the same score I give 64, now that I think about it, 64 was as perfect as it could have been, whereas Assault, despite being a lot bigger, and broader, it still wasn't perfect.

As an artist I think of it this way; 64 is an excellent, perfect and simple drawing on 6/8 inch paper, a great drawing that's simple and refined to the best it could possibly be for it's size. whereas Assault is a great, big painting on a 14/24 canvass; a beautiful painting with some splotches here and there, but not bad enough to ruin the entire thing.

I almost forgot to rally the nitpicks vs. the positives I have with this game.

The objectives of this game absolutely SUCK, I fucking hate how every free-roam mission that isn't about dogfighting is basically just search and destroy; it makes up with a fair amount of variety, but so does every game, making the idea of doing the same thing for Assault pointless in terms of advancing the series. The particle effects, explosions, and sound effects are all meh, I mean sure I have the same problem with SNES and 64, but it was worse in Assault, and 64 actually had pretty cool looking explosions for some of the normal enemies, and I like how with 64 AND Assault they show that the explosions and some of the particle effects are different in space vs in an atmosphere but that's just not good enough for me. Another issue I have are some of the in-game cutscenes, like I said Fox looks like crap when he talks unless it's a story cutscene, so does Wolf; it's the same copied animation, but at the time lip-animation for talking was never very good, but they look like fucking puppets in this game, I just can't take that seriously.

The onfoot is clunky like a lot of people say, but it still manages to be fun here and there but...it's saved solely by the LandMaster and Arwing gameplay and that's the only reason I can forgive the onfoot section, plus he turns about as fast as the LandMaster does, which makes no sense. A lot of the ground enemies are crap, aren't very impressive, they're just shit thrown together shooting at you, but 64 did a lot of the same crap. The Aparoid enemies with this were the worst, I actually thought the Sargasso enemes were pretty cool, they had a nifty design and felt like what I'd imagine Andross's infantry would be like.

To me, there were A LOT of problems with this game that hold it back, but the positive attributes of this game to me far outway the negatives and nitpicks, like how the Arwing flies in all-range, it is the first time the Arwing could actually fly, and it felt amazing, some of the best dogfighting and flight controls I've ever experienced, and I happen to be a big fan of dogfighting in games. The controls were highly fluid, and very responsive; the Arwing could outmaneuver almost anything with skillful piloting, while still posing enough challenge where you'd still be hit once in awhile regardless of your skill. The U-Turn and somersault seem a lot more realistic than they did in 64, and it only adds the feeling of flight and freedom the all-range had in this game.

the Arwing on-rails was still actually really good, despite that the Arwing was really slow, still plenty to see and shoot at, and the layout of the level is really nice too, a great part of the game. I really like the flashiness of the Arwing design especially in these parts, and the barrel roll effect has never looked better.

The LandMaster has been vastly improved vs it's meh-64 counterpart, the ability to cruise around like an actual tank was a plus, and another plus came for how maneuverable it has become, giving it a sense of superiority to your typical tank. It's repetitive slamming into enemies with it, but as satisfying as a sip of Cherry Pepsi. The cannon was like an actual tank round too, but with a shimmering beam of energy rather than a silly disk launcher like I see in Zero, I wish it went more the Assault route for the LandMaster for Zero and only improved that same design, instead they kept all the same problems from the LandMaster in 64.

I always loved the music, and the story cutscenes, the two attributes there gave it a strong cinematic feel that I'd expect from a space shooter made to be more like an actual science fiction type game, and I wish the Lylat Universe was drawn out a bit more in other games like it was here, the story cutscenes look stunning, better than a lot of CG movies out even today.

Now...here's where I get angry. These days, I don't have as much fun playing StarFox games as I used to, I know Assault has an overrall positive fan reception that still earns it some recognition, but I can't help but be annoyed by how the same people worship 64 like it's a religion, if the game never evolves, it's not gonna get better.

People have ruined the games for me, so now when I play StarFox I can't help but be annoyed by the smell of horseshit that surrounds the whole series, from what I've seen with Zero, I think StarFox is doomed to be limited by the nostalgia bigots forever; slowly sucking the life out of it until it shrivels; and that is exactly what happened. Zero is pretty much nothing new, and it has already been brutally violated by nostalgia bigots who haven't heard of SF2, complaining about the graphics, or how the game isn't exactly the same as a game they played when they were 8 so.....that's all that's left for me...what now?


Edited by AlGore'sleftshoe
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  • 1 month later...

Hope that the delay improves the graphics. Fans have always asked for nothing more than what Star Fox's true identity is. Star Fox Adventures threw that identity out of whack, and when SF Assault came out, what it didn't have of Star Fox's identity, and the technical flaws it also had, stopped it from ushering in dominance. Star Fox Zero, being a reimagining, will be made to re-establish Star Fox's identity as a franchise Shooter genre, while adding features that set it apart and will help to modernise it, such as HD graphics, co-op, and online 1 on 1.

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Seriously, I was a StarFox fan since the SNES days, but never owned a GC nor played any games from that console.  I was always under the impression that Assault was a bad game from the reviews I'd read, until I watched a Youtube compilation of all the boss battles in Assault.  And that was today.

I was blown away by the creativity.  The Arwing looked like a spaceship instead of the fighter jet imitations in 64/Zero.  This was one of the things that pissed me off about SF64.  You had the SNES Arwing, which was 100% starfighter.  Then when SF64 appeared on the scene, it's no longer a starfighter but a fighter jet hybrid.  I mean seriously how could they call it StarFox when it became more like AirFox.  And, those airfoil flaps look really goofy when you're in orbit/outer space with no air.  Assault did its best to try reverse the damage done by SF64 by having wings that belonged to a starfighter with no visible air mechanics involved.  This was what made the original SNES Arwing great, b/c it was a polygonal UFO equiped with lasers, not an airplane...

The other things I liked about Assault was Krystal, and Fox surfing on the wing of an Arwing/Wolfen.  These add more creativity to the universe than the Arwing's ability to transform into a robotic chicken, which IMO looks quite silly.  And oh yeah, let's not forget, Wolf was actually a cool, likable character who befriended Fox in Assault, unlike some generic cold-blooded killer in 64.

Next, I think Zero is ripping off a lot of elements from Assault.  For instance, in Assault, the Arwing windows were transparent so you could see the characters in the cockpit.  The Zero Arwing is only now getting transparent windows.  And some of the Zero cut scenes look awfully familiar like the ones from Assault.

IMO, I was so impressed by what I saw today (of Assault) on Youtube, I'm thinking of playing it thru Dolphin emulator on my PC, or Wii U's backward compatibility with GC games, if I ever get one in the near future...

And btw, before I was so gung ho about Zero.  But the more I see of it (Zero), the more I don't like it.  It doesn't have the same essences that wowed me in SNES SF nor Assault.  And it tries to be too similar to SF64, which is the game in the entire franchise that I hate the most.  And most of all, it's got no Krystal, which IMO is one of the cooler additions to the universe.

I'd take Krystal over an Arwing Walker any day!  Hopefully, their next StarFox title will be more like a proper sequel to Assault, a title I'd love to see "remastered"/"reimagined".  Maybe I'll change my mind after its release, but for the moment being, I'm disliking AirFox Zero from all that I've seen of it so far...


The Arwing is not an airplane, I repeat the Arwing is not an airplane.  It doesn't need airfoils/flaps to do its job!  However, moving its wings outward to gain greater maneuverability in all-range mode does not make it any less a starfighter!

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