This week’s Nintendo Flashback features Star Fox Adventures. This was an amazing action-adventure game from the talented crew at Rare. It was the final game developed by Rare for Nintendo, before the company was acquired as a first-party developer for Microsoft.
Fox McCloud finds himself on a remote Dinosaur Planet of the Lylat System in order to restore the planet after pieces of it have broken off and pose a risk to the system. After arriving, Fox discovers a mystical staff and sets off to save the planet. Adventures includes the majority of the Star Fox team, with Falco Lombardi appearing only at the game’s end, as well as adding new characters, such as Krystal, Prince Tricky, the tyrannical General Scales, and other dinosaurs. Krystal goes on to become a full-fledged member of the Star Fox team, while Tricky briefly appears in Star Fox: Assault.
Along with the series regulars, Adventures features a numerous amount of dinosaurs and prehistoric characters, all of them based on once living creatures. For example, the ruling EarthWalker tribe, featured prominently in the game, resemble Triceratops, while the rival CloudRunner tribe approximate to Pteranodon. The SharpClaw tribe, which are the major antagonists in Adventures, resemble humanoid Allosaurus. One year later, during the events of Star Fox: Assault, these various dinosaur tribes are decimated by the Aparoid attack on Dinosaur Planet, and in-game dialogue suggests that the SharpClaw may have been driven to extinction.
Star Fox Adventures felt very similar to the classic “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time”. Everything from the gameplay, storyline and controls just clicked and reminded me of Link’s adventures in OOC. The graphics were very sophisticated for the time, receiving particular attention for its real-time fur rendering. As fun as it sounds, I remember being quite impressed with this fancy new fur technology. Also Like Ocarina of Time, Star Fox Adventures has a day-and-night phase, but a more accurate and gradual one. Another impressive feature was the addition of a widescreen mode, designed for those with the luxury of widescreen televisions.
Fox is on foot for most of the game and pilots his Arwing only to reach another piece of the planet. Similar to Link wielding his Master Sword, General Pepper forbids Fox from using any sort of blaster, quoting “This mission is about saving the planet, not blowing it up” despite the dangers around him and instead relies on Krystal’s staff which he discovers on the planet, in order to attack and defeat enemies as well as interact with the surrounding environment. While Fox uses the staff primarily for attacking enemies physically, he can later gain power-ups for the staff which allow it to fire projectiles, freeze enemies, or help him reach high up areas that are normally inaccessible.
Star Fox Adventures was generally well received by the game critics. It was by far one of my favorite Gamecube titles. It sold over 200,000 copies in Japan following its release, and was the fastest-selling GameCube game at the time. I’ve been waiting for a sequel ever since. What was your favorite Star Fox game? Would you rather see Fox McCloud return in another flying based adventure or follow up in Star Fox Adventures 2?