star fox adventures  

star fox adventures

 

star fox adventures

 

star fox adventures

 

star fox adventures

 

star fox adventures

 

star fox adventures

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Platform: Gamecube

Developer: Rareware

Publisher: Nintendo

 

Genre: Action/Adventure

 

ESRB: March 2002

Star Fox Adventures: Dinosaur Planet

Star Fox Adventures: Dinosaur Planet by Rare for Gamecube, originally announced last year as “Dinosaur Planet” for the N64, has gotten a GCN worthy facelift, a new name and a new cast of familiar characters. Our favorite furry astronaut, Fox McCloud, is climbing from the cockpit of his Arwing star fighter and giving it a go on foot in his newest outing that adds a new aspect of 3-dimensionallity to the Star Fox franchise.

The story continues 8-years (how do you measure time in space?) after the last game ended. Fox sets out on a journey to overturn the evil despot General Scales on the beautiful Dinosaur planet. Equipped with a magical multi-purpose staff that’s woven into many aspects of the game play, Fox makes friends with Dinosaur planet natives, Tricky the triceratops and Krystal the cat woman and they combine their efforts to save the pterodactyl princess kidnapped by General Scales. Although Fox’s old companions will not participate in the game as much as in previous installments, they return as support. Slippy the Frog and Peppy the Rabbit will provide weapons and mission control respectively while Rob the Robot will appear with new items for Fox as the game progresses.

Fans of the earlier Star Fox games might pine for the focus on spaceship dogfights but for those of us who’ve always wished to land the Arwing on one of those passing planets and explore, Dinosaur planet might be the most appropriate next step for the series. However, the exploratory game play, comparable to that of the N64 Zelda series, will be supplemented by spaceship combat sequences reminiscent of the old Star Fox games for you fanatics.

Lavish environmental design, large levels, breathtaking landscapes and beautifully crafted structures make this appear to be a next generation contenda’ for Zelda’s adventure/RPG crown -- at least in the graphics department. With Zelda making it’s first cell shaded appearance on Gamecube to the melodic whine of finicky gamers, Dinosaur Planet might receive run-off attention usually reserved for Miyamoto’s classic. The many reptilian creatures inhabiting or forcefully occupying Dinosaur Planet are painstakingly designed with cartoon-ish attention to detail and physical depth while the expansive locations are fog-free and non-linear for extensive free roaming.

Using the analog stick, players will maneuver through a fully 3D world, numerous puzzles, epic battles and highly detailed environments. The scope of exploration seems promising as Fox swims through realistically active water, flies and rockets through space. Hopefully, the strain of converting the game from N64 to Gamecube won’t show too blatantly once the finished product rolls off the line. Star Fox benefits from having been in development longer than other Gamecube first generation titles yet could be hindered by its 64 bit roots. There is noticeable disparity among some of the textures in the recent build of the game. Knowing Rare, this most likely won’t be much of an issue when it ships next year.

There are a few game play and control tweaks that make Star Fox unique. During combat, backgrounds blur to focus on enemies when you activate the “Z” targeting system. Also, the player can set four items or abilities to the “C” stick on the Gamecube’s controller so pressing in any direction readies the item or effect and pressing the “A” button uses it. It sounds ingenious and simple yet depending on the games design scheme, this could be a nightmare or a miracle.

Tricky the triceratops will also factor into game play as Fox will have a set of commands (accessed by pressing the “C” stick in like a button) that will order him to perform various duties. He can be used to dig, complete puzzles or distract enemies. Tricky’s roll can revolutionize the videogame sidekick - depending on whether the developers find creative ways to work him into the mix he can become either what Robin is to Batman or what Sideshow Bob is to Krusty.

Star Fox Adventures: Dinosaur Planet was originally scheduled to ship alongside the Game Cube this November but didn’t make it out the gate in time unfortunately. If we’re lucky, it should find it’s way stateside in late March but who really knows with the “Big N”. Either way, I’d rather wait while they craft it to perfection than play it now and scoff in disappointment.

- Doug Flowe