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Star Fox 64 (Nintendo 64) Review
Review by 
9.19/10 from 70 user ratings


*engine sound*

Fox: Alright team, we're here.

Falco: Fill us in, Fox. What's the scoop?

Fox: The General wants us to post a review of Star Fox 64 in this place.

Peppy: Everything here looks so twisted... like it's the opposite of what it should be. Better be careful.

Slippy: I've got a bad feeling about this!

Falco: Public Poll, eh? Ocarina of Time 3D... a 3DS killer app?! Yeah right, I'm thinkin' that's a job for another game.

Fox: ROB, what's the situation?

ROB: Game Database analysis complete. Zero reviews found for Star Fox 64.

Fox: Someone's gotta do something about that. Let's go!

Emphasis on presentation. Cinematic feeling. Voice acting. Those words do anything but describe your typical Nintendo game, however they are appropriate for the awesomeness that is Star Fox 64; a different type of game from what people were, and still are, used to seeing by Nintendo, but also one of the best. It is a bit of a reboot of Star Fox for the SNES, however this Nintendo 64 beast is much bigger, badder and better. You play as Fox McCloud, leader of the Star Fox Team, a group of mercenaries who do what they're told as long as they get paid. Joined by his teammates, Falco Lombardi, Slippy Toad and Peppy Hare, Fox must jump on his high-powered, ultra stylish spaceship, the Arwing, to defeat his enemies and complete his objectives.

Star Fox 64 is an on-rails shooter. That is, you control a character that scrolls forward on his own (in this case Fox inside his Arwing), which can be moved around, but always within a restricted space. Not only that, but it's the best kind of on-rails shooter: a space shooter. You fly around in your Arwing and shoot stuff across 6 or 7 levels (the number may vary, more on that later). It's right behind shooting zombies as pure, authentic video game bliss. Fox can shoot lasers, charged shots, fire bombs, do loops, boosts, breaks, and, of course, barrel rolls. You have to make it through action-packed levels, and at the end of the level face a boss, which sometimes retains the same style of gameplay as the level, and others goes into All-Range Mode, in which you can fly around in all directions across a large enclosed area. It's a simple, yet extremely well-made 3D space shooter with tons of originality packed within.

Falco: Man, these guys are tough! I'm lookin' like a rookie over here!

Peppy: It's no use. We have to try something else!

Fox: Ow! ROB, have you found their weak point?

ROB: Enemy analysis unavailable. Information restricted to users.

Slippy: What does that mean?

Fox: We'll break through their perimeters! Close the wings. Adjust your G-Diffuser system. And... blastin' off!

Like I said, while the gameplay is almost perfected, it's the splashes of originality and uniqueness that make Star Fox 64 shine. What's gonna catch your ear as soon as you fire up the game is that it features voice acting. Quite a lot of it. All members of the Star Fox team speak, and they do so often during missions. Not only do they give helpful on-the-fly advice on how to progress, but they'll also converse with each other, and say lines that were remembered by not only fans of the game, but all gamers until today, and most likely the future. The voice acting is alright at best, and "so bad it's great" at worst, but you'll enjoy it. It just makes the game feel more alive. There's nothing more satisfying than shooting Falco and hearing "Hey Einstein, I'm on your side!". You'll also often run into your rivals, the Star Wolf Team, which also provide funny dialogue. In an antagonist kind of way, of course.

The game also features great music (the Main Theme is one of the most memorable tunes in video game history), great graphics in all their polygonal N64 glory, and even the Rumble Pak, which is an accessory for the N64 controller that was bundled with the game, and allowed for rumblings to be felt in coordination with the gameplay. This feature felt so good, it's now standard fare for all controllers to include it. If they don't, people get pissed. (coughsixaxiscough). Yeah, it was good.

Aside from being on his Arwing, both in on-rails and all-range mode, Fox also gets to jump on his Landmaster tank in a few instances, and on a submarine in the level Aquas. Both provide a nice diversion, though feature essentially the same style of gameplay as the Arwing. Still, it's nice to have. I continue to mention Fox, because it's the character you control, but in all missions, your three teammates are flying with you, helping you complete your goal, and they are somewhat substantial to the gameplay. One minute they'll ask you to help them take care of enemies that are chasing them, another they'll give you an item. They also have a life bar, and if it's depleted, they back off the mission and won't be available throughout the entirety of the following mission. And, of course, they provide the amusing dialogue I discussed earlier.

If there's one glaring flaw in Star Fox 64 (and it's only a flaw if you want to look at it that way), is that the game is short. Like I said in the beginning, it's 6 or 7 levels long, and it doesn't save in-between missions, because it's meant to be played in one sitting, Arcade style (the game does save high scores and medals, though). That might turn some people off, because they think they don't get enough "bang for their buck"; however, the game is not only meant to be played in one sitting, it's also meant to be played multiple times. And that's because there are branching paths which take you to entirely new levels. No matter how you play the game, it's impossible to see every level in one or two playthroughs. Like many other things in the game, the way you get to see these new levels is quite unique. It doesn't happen in the menu, but rather inside the missions. There are certain requirements you need to accomplish, like destroying a certain amount of enemies, or taking a turn in a specific area, which make you see not only a different area (sometimes a different boss too) of a level, but also an entirely different level afterwards you wouldn't have seen otherwise. There is a main, simple path you can take if you don't accomplish any of those in-game tasks, but some of those extra levels are definitely worth seeing.

Fox: We're heading out. All aircraft report!

Slippy: You did it! I was worried for a moment.

Peppy: You're becoming more like your father.

Falco: I'm fine. You OK over there, Fox?

Star Fox 64 is a video game. In the most pure, authentic way of the term. It's short, it's straightforward, it's simple. But man, is it so much fun. You may not get as many hours out of it as most games these days (I did, because I love replaying the game), but the gaming bliss will be just the same. I can't give it a perfect score because it's a bit too simple, and maybe not quite daring enough in a few select areas, but I will not hesitate to call it a masterpiece. You need to try it out. If you haven't played it yet, there's a remake coming to 3DS with much better graphics, and of course, 3D. You have no excuse.

Falco: Quite the hard-cases, eh? Yeah, Adventures and Assault were different, but they were still good! No need to kill us over it!

Peppy: Yeah, and to think all we had to do is join the forum to post that review.

Fox: I'm thinking of sticking around. Even if StarWolf is already here. This place looks fun.

Slippy: Yeah!

Fox: But not before getting our fee. Let's head out, team.

(Some details about the site mentioned in this review might not be accurate. You know which ones)

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Posted: 06/05/11, 20:17:32  - Edited by 
 on: 06/05/11, 20:36:40    
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Great review! Game is brilliant, can't wait for the remake.

You're right about it being short though, I never really thought about it but I guess I beat in one sitting the first day my friend got it. We spend weeks playing the multiplayer though. I hope the 3DS version has online, with voice chat, and when you say something a little icon of your character pops up on the other players screens and you voice is ran through a filter to sound like a cartoon animal, lol.

Posted by 
 on: 06/05/11, 20:28:48
3DS version is confirmed to have 4-player local multi, but no online.

Posted by 
 on: 06/05/11, 20:30:01
Yeah I know, but they still have time to change their minds ala Metroid Prime Hunters.

Posted by 
 on: 06/05/11, 20:31:13
Great review! I love Star Fox 64 as well, other than Super Mario 64, it was probably one of my most played games despite it's short length. It took me a lot of tries to get the true ending, and I took the bottom path which is easier. I never even saw some of the upper levels because I sucked at it as a kid. :P

I have the game on the virtual console now, but whenever I get a 3DS, I'll definitely get the remake, it's gonna be sweet.

Posted by 
 on: 06/05/11, 20:31:23
You've inspired me to break out Star Fox Assault again, maybe I'll even write a review. I don't want to play SF64 because I played it on VC a couple of years ago and I want the remake to seem fresh since I've surely forgotten a lot of the levels.

Posted by 
 on: 06/05/11, 20:34:11
Great review! I agree, I love Starfox 64! I think the area I have read people saying they have been most disappointed was the music. I see this alot. So, awhile back I went and listened to the soundtrack of the original Starfox and then Starfox64. Yes, the soundtracks are different, but I really can not say the first one is soo much better than the second game.

I think I can understand where people are coming from, but overall I just think its a preference. Both soundtracks are enjoyable in my opinion and overall I think Starfox 64 is the better game, hands down. Esp. in the graphics dept. Sure, Nintendo did a good job on the first game, considering the hardware, but I remember at first having a hard time playing the original Starfox cause the graphics were hard on the eyes, plus on those asteriod levels, there was so many little particles coming at you, well, it all looked kindof junky to me until my eyes got used to the game.

I was also bummed that SF64 was soo short. But after playing through all the levels, ect, I was pretty happy with the game. Overall, it has alot of replay value and its a fun game just to play over and over again. I think the game is worthy of a 9.5 rating. I cannot wait until the 3DS version is released!

Posted by 
 on: 06/05/11, 20:36:37
Am I the only one who was really UNIMPRESSED with Star Fox 64 when I first got it, but probably appreciate it way more now? I mean, you can breeze through the game in hardly any time at all, and considering how expensive N64 games were at the time, it was a HUGE disappointment. I think we got SF64 for like, $80 because of the Rumble Pak, and then promptly finished it that afternoon.

However, I was surprised how much playtime I got it over the years. I tried forever to unlock Fox with the sunglasses on. It was pretty cool to gain access to levels you hadn't been to before. Over time, you couldn't imagine NOT taking the harder route, because high scores and warps became second nature.

I definitely appreciate the game way more than I did when I first played it.

Posted by 
 on: 06/05/11, 20:43:41
deathly_hallows said:
You've inspired me to break out Star Fox Assault again, maybe I'll even write a review. I don't want to play SF64 because I played it on VC a couple of years ago and I want the remake to seem fresh since I've surely forgotten a lot of the levels.
I'd love to read a review of that game!

Posted by 
 on: 06/05/11, 21:20:13
I used to play Assault multiplayer all the time with my friends and it was awesome, it had this hilarious balancing system where it would give the players who were behind ridiculously overpowered weapons, including this giant yellow shoulder-mounted cannon that fired heat-seaking projectiles that could destroy an arwing or landmaster in one hit, we called it the "loser gun", it was hilarious.

The only problem with writing a review now is that I don't have anyone to play the multi with, and I think I only have one GCN controller even if I could russle some people up, maybe I should buy some more....

Posted by 
 on: 06/05/11, 21:33:44  - Edited by 
 on: 06/05/11, 21:34:39

Yeah the game had a LOT of meat in it if you were willing to put in the time beyond merely finishing it once. I don't know how many hours I spent unlocking expert mode, and then all the medals *within* expert mode. To this day, I feel that remains one of my biggest accomplishments in gaming. I only hope I'm still good enough to replicate that feat on the 3DS version.

Posted by 
 on: 06/05/11, 23:36:36
Nice review, man. I still remember when I got this game. It was my birthday, and I woke up to this really loud noise, like "What the fuck IS that??" I went downstairs, and my brother surprised me with the game.

Posted by 
 on: 06/05/11, 23:43:02
Awesome game. Unfortunately I lent my copy to the kid across the street a few years ago, who subsequently went away to college and took it with him (as far as his brother knows.) I guess I have various options for rebuying it now.

Posted by 
 on: 06/06/11, 00:15:26

That is where you go all man-hunter on the guy and find where he went and get your game back.

Posted by 
 on: 06/06/11, 01:08:23
Gelatinous presents us with another great review, and this game deserves all the praise that has been given.

The way Fox and the team infiltrate the Negative World domain and decide to stick around is a nice touch.

For a game like this, it might be good to mention that it's available on the Virtual Console as well. Except the Virtual Console version does not support rumble, which is a bit disappointing.

I agree that this game has excellent replay value. Back on the N64, I completely 100%'ed this game, getting all the medals on all the levels, playing through the game all over again in Expert Mode, and unlocking all the multiplayer options (running around on foot against Landmasters and Arwings is fun).

Assault was a let down, but I did like Command for the DS. Still, nothing beats SF64, with the SNES Star Fox being almost as good.

I'm disappointed that Wolf has not shown his face recently. Wolf: You're not so tough!

(And I love that final image of the team, I will have to add that my art collection).

Posted by 
 on: 06/06/11, 21:49:42
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