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Platform

GameCube

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Nintendo

 

Developer

Namco

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

February 2005

 

 

- Great space action

- Ability to switch modes of transport on the fly

- Presentation

- Was mostly worth the wait

 

 

- Fox on-foot is not much fun

- Sound is hit and miss

- Multiplayer is only fun if you have four people

 

 

Review: StarFox Adventures (GC)

Review: Legend of Zelda - The Wind Waker (GC)

Review: Metroid Prime 2 - Echoes (GC)

 

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Star Fox Assault

Score: 7.9 / 10

 

For old-school Nintendo fans, Star Fox Assault is a long time coming.  But after many starts and stops, it’s finally here and it was mostly worth the wait.

 

starfox assault review          starfox assault review

 

Sometime after the events of Star Fox Adventures, Fox McCloud and crew (including that amphibian Slippy) go back to their action roots, blasting anything that moves in the air or on long as they attempt to stop a full-scale invasion of the mechanical, bug-like Aparoids.

 

The opening level is the Star Fox I remember from the SNES days – the glory days of the SuperFX chip – with a mostly predetermined flight plan, lots of explosions, super bombs, powershots, and Slippy screaming, “He-e-e-e-lp m-e-e-e-e-e!”  All this with the added bonus of looking extremely good.  Star Fox isn’t always in his trusty Arwing though – a large part of the game sees Fox on-foot or behind the controls of the Landmaster tank.

 

Fortunately, you’re not forced to learn a new control scheme switching between the three, which is done on the fly and is often necessary during the course of a mission.  For instance, Fox must clear out a space station of an enemy presence while a couple of teammates outside engage the inbound support.  If the team outside is going to be overwhelmed, Fox has to leap into his Arwing and lend support.  After mopping up the space threat Fox can fly back into the station and resume his primary mission.  While the ability to leap from a vehicle and continue on-foot is hardly unique – Grand Theft Auto, Halo, Mercenaries – it keeps the action from growing stale.  However, the on-foot sections are possibly the weakest part of the whole experience and I always found myself rushing through those sections.  Fox’s turning speed is sluggish and his tail flaps so quickly that I found it distracting.  The on-foot portions are also very rudimentary – which is a good thing and slightly like padding.  The vehicle combat is much more fulfilling.

 

Another of Assault’s shortcomings is with the audio.  The music is great at conveying the theme of what it means to be a space faring adventurer/hero.  However, the sound effects are weak.  The Landmaster tank, supposedly a mechanized terror sounds more like a rinky-dink, remote-controlled kids toy!  This 

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contrasts not only with the music but also with some of the bigger explosions, which really rumble depending on your sound arrangements.

 

One other distraction to the proceedings is the inane squad chatter that constantly streams in.

 

“Aim for the power source, Fox!”

 

You mean like I did for the last two?  Tell me when I have a missile on my six!

 

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A bit of useful instruction or guidance is one thing, hitting you over the head repeatedly with what you’re supposed to do is just annoying.  (If you’ve played Sonic Heroes you’ll know exactly what I mean.)

 

starfox assault review          starfox assault review

 

Multiplayer is also included, for what it’s worth.  Most of the maps are huge – big enough to accommodate players on-foot, in tanks, and in Arwings.  It’s a Battlefield 1942 setup but with no options for bot participants, it’s a great big arena with not a lot going on.  If you manage to get three other players together there is some fun to be had if you’re playing on a screen that can comfortably accommodate the four-player split screen.

 

As per usual, I’ve managed to sound negative about a game I actually like and will play through a level again and again to claim a higher medal rating.  Star Fox Assault may not be what everyone wanted it to be, but I had fun.

 

- Omni

(March 7, 2005)

 

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