Star Fox (1993 video game)

Last updated
Star Fox
Star Fox SNES.jpg
North American box art
Developer(s) Nintendo EAD
Argonaut Software
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Director(s) Katsuya Eguchi
Producer(s) Shigeru Miyamoto
Designer(s) Shigeru Miyamoto [1]
Programmer(s) Dylan Cuthbert
Giles Goddard
Krister Wombell
Artist(s) Takaya Imamura
Composer(s) Hajime Hirasawa
Series Star Fox
Platform(s) SNES
Release
  • JP: 21 February 1993
  • NA: 26 March 1993
  • EU: 3 June 1993
Genre(s) Rail shooter, Shoot 'em up
Mode(s) Single-player

Star Fox, [lower-alpha 1] released as Starwing in Europe, is a 1993 rail shooter video game co-developed by Nintendo EAD and Argonaut Software and published by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). The first game in the Star Fox series, Star Fox follows Fox McCloud and the rest of the Star Fox team defending their homeworld of Corneria against the attacking forces of Andross. It ultimately sold over 4 million copies.

Argonaut Games British video game developer, founded in 1982 and liquidated in late 2004, with the company ceasing to exist in early 2007

Argonaut Games was a British video game developer, founded in 1982 and liquidated in late 2004, with the company ceasing to exist in early 2007. It was most notable for the development of the Super NES video game Star Fox and its supporting Super FX hardware.

Nintendo Japanese video game company

Nintendo Co., Ltd. is a Japanese multinational consumer electronics and video game company headquartered in Kyoto. Nintendo is one of the world's largest video game companies by market capitalization, creating some of the best-known and top-selling video game franchises, such as Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and Pokémon.

Super Nintendo Entertainment System home video game console developed by Nintendo and first released in 1990 in Japan

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), also known as the Super NES or Super Nintendo, is a 16-bit home video game console developed by Nintendo that was released in 1990 in Japan and South Korea, 1991 in North America, 1992 in Europe and Australasia (Oceania), and 1993 in South America. In Japan, the system is called the Super Famicom (SFC). In South Korea, it is known as the Super Comboy and was distributed by Hyundai Electronics. The system was released in Brazil on August 30, 1993, by Playtronic. Although each version is essentially the same, several forms of regional lockout prevent the different versions from being compatible with one another.

Contents

Star Fox was Nintendo's second 3D game after the release of X for the Game Boy in 1992. However, it was Nintendo's first game to use polygonal graphics. It accomplished this by being the first ever game to use the Super FX graphics acceleration coprocessor powered GSU-1. The complex display of three-dimensional models with polygons was still new and uncommon in console video games, and the game was praised as a result.

<i>X</i> (1992 video game) 1992 video game

X is a three-dimensional first-person shooter video game released for the Game Boy in Japan on May 29, 1992. The game was developed and published by Nintendo, with assistance from Argonaut Software. X was followed by an internationally released DSiWare sequel, X-Scape, in 2010.

Game Boy 1989 portable video game console

The Game Boy is an 8-bit handheld game console developed and manufactured by Nintendo. The first handheld in the Game Boy line, it was first released in Japan on April 21, 1989, then North America, three months later, and lastly in Europe, nearly a year after. It was designed by the same team that developed the Game & Watch and several Nintendo Entertainment System games: Satoru Okada, Gunpei Yokoi, and Nintendo Research & Development 1.

Polygons are used in computer graphics to compose images that are three-dimensional in appearance. Usually triangular, polygons arise when an object's surface is modeled, vertices are selected, and the object is rendered in a wire frame model. This is quicker to display than a shaded model; thus the polygons are a stage in computer animation. The polygon count refers to the number of polygons being rendered per frame.

It was rebooted as Star Fox 64 on the Nintendo 64 in 1997, which itself was remade as Star Fox 64 3D on the Nintendo 3DS in 2011 and reimagined as Star Fox Zero on the Wii U in 2016.

<i>Star Fox 64</i> 1997 video game

Star Fox 64, known in the PAL region as Lylat Wars, is a 3D scrolling shooter game themed around aircraft combat for the Nintendo 64 video game console. It is a reboot of the original Star Fox, and the only game in the Star Fox series to be released on the Nintendo 64. An autostereoscopic remake, titled Star Fox 64 3D, was released for the Nintendo 3DS in 2011.

Nintendo 64 1996 video game console

The Nintendo 64 (N64 for short, model number: NUS), stylized as NINTENDO64, is a home video game console developed and marketed by Nintendo. Named for its 64-bit central processing unit, it was released in June 1996 in Japan, September 1996 in North America and Brazil, March 1997 in Europe and Australia, and September 1997 in France. It was the last major home console to use the cartridge as its primary storage format until the Nintendo Switch in 2017. The Nintendo 64 was discontinued in mid-2002 following the launch of its successor, the GameCube, in 2001.

<i>Star Fox 64 3D</i> 2011 videogame

Star Fox 64 3D is a video game for the Nintendo 3DS and is a remake of the 1997 videogame Star Fox 64. It was co-developed by Nintendo EAD and Q-Games, and was published by Nintendo. It was released on July 14, 2011 in Japan, September 9, 2011 in Europe and North America, and on September 15, 2011 in Australia.

Nintendo re-released Star Fox worldwide in September 2017 as part of the Super NES Classic Edition, along with its previously unreleased sequel Star Fox 2 . [2]

Super NES Classic Edition video game console

Super Nintendo Entertainment System: Super NES Classic Edition, known as Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Nintendo Entertainment System in Europe and Australia and the Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Famicom in Japan, and also colloquially as the SNES Mini or SNES Classic, is a dedicated home video game console released by Nintendo, which emulates the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The console, a successor to the NES Classic Edition, comes with twenty-one Super NES titles pre-installed, including the first official release of Star Fox 2. It was released in North America and Europe on September 29, 2017.

<i>Star Fox 2</i> Canceled Super NES video game released in 2017

Star Fox 2 is a third-person shooter game developed for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System by Nintendo EAD and Argonaut Software and published by Nintendo. It is the 7th installment of the Star Fox series. Cancelled shortly before its planned release in 1995, it was to be the sequel to Star Fox (1993).

Gameplay

The game is portrayed from both a third-person and first-person 3D perspective. Gameplay is centred around aerial combat. Star Fox gameplay.jpg
The game is portrayed from both a third-person and first-person 3D perspective. Gameplay is centred around aerial combat.

Star Fox is a rail shooter in a third-person and first-person 3D perspective. The player must navigate Fox's spacecraft, an Arwing, through environments while various enemies (spaceships, robots, creatures, etc.) attack them. Along the way, various power-ups are placed in the stage to help the player. The player receives a score at the end of each level based on how many enemies have been destroyed and how well the player has defended their teammates. At the end of each level there is a boss that the player must defeat before progressing to the next level.

3D computer graphics graphics that use a three-dimensional representation of geometric data

3D computer graphics or three-dimensional computer graphics, are graphics that use a three-dimensional representation of geometric data that is stored in the computer for the purposes of performing calculations and rendering 2D images. Such images may be stored for viewing later or displayed in real-time.

In video games, a power-up is an object that adds temporarily benefits or extra abilities to the player character as a game mechanic. This is in contrast to an item, which may or may not have a permanent benefit that can be used at any time chosen by the player. Although often collected directly through touch, power-ups can sometimes only be gained by collecting several related items, such as the floating letters of the word 'EXTEND' in Bubble Bobble. Well known examples of power-ups that have entered popular culture include the power pellets from Pac-Man and the Super Mushroom from Super Mario Bros., which ranked first in UGO Networks' Top 11 Video Game Powerups.

Star Fox possesses certain unique elements that differentiate it from the standard scrolling shooter. Most scrolling shooters force the player forward at a constant speed. While this is also true for Star Fox, there are thrusters and retro-rockets on the Arwing that allow the player to temporarily speed up and slow down. These can be used to manoeuvre around enemy attacks and other obstacles.

The damage model is another difference. In the standard scrolling shooter, touching almost any object results in the immediate destruction of the player's craft. In Star Fox, the Arwing has a certain amount of shield energy that represents how much damage can be absorbed before the destruction of the craft. The game also has a small degree of locational damage detection: if the ship's wings clip against obstacles or the ground too much, they will break off, adversely affecting the craft's handling and removing the ability to upgrade weapons.

Reproduction of the game's heads-up display. From left to right clockwise, the interface displays the player's number of lives, ammunition, boost meter, and shield strength. Star Fox interface (English).png
Reproduction of the game's heads-up display. From left to right clockwise, the interface displays the player's number of lives, ammunition, boost meter, and shield strength.

The difficulty in Star Fox is also set in a unique way. Most scrolling shooters, if they have selectable difficulty levels, allow the player to set the difficulty by choosing an option (e.g. "Easy," "Normal," and "Hard") at the beginning of the game. This option usually affects variables such as the number of lives a player has, the number of enemies encountered in the game, the speed of enemies, and so on. In contrast, at the beginning of Star Fox, the player is given a choice of one of three routes to take through the Lylat system. Each of these routes corresponds with a certain level of difficulty, but each route has its own series of unique levels. This gives Star Fox somewhat more replay value than other scrolling shooters that have a fixed series of levels each time the game is played. The three game paths all contain the planet Corneria (the first level) and Venom (the last level), but they each have different versions depending on the path taken.

Replay value

Replay value or replayability is a term used to assess a video game's potential for continued play value after its first completion. Factors that influence replay value are the game's extra characters, secrets or alternate endings. The replay value of a game may also be based entirely on the individual's tastes. A player might enjoy repeating a game because of the music, graphics, game play or because of product loyalty. Dynamic environments, challenging AI, a wide variety of ways to accomplish tasks, and a rich array of assets could result in a high replay value.

In each level, the player is accompanied by three computer-controlled wingmen: Peppy Hare, Slippy Toad and Falco Lombardi. At certain pre-scripted points, one will fly into the player's view, often either chasing an enemy or being chased and asking for assistance. Ignoring a wingman's pleas will result in him taking damage, or even being shot down. They cannot be damaged by the player's own lasers (although they will complain if hit). Regardless of their survival, wingmen are not present during boss battles but rejoin the player before the next stage. A player may choose to help their wingmen when they ask for assistance, as doing so will allow them to engage some of the enemies not destroyed by the player, helping the player to succeed and additionally making it easier to achieve maximum score in a given level. Additional points are also granted at the end of each level depending on the health of each wingman. If a wingman gets shot down, he will not return for the rest of the game.

Plot

This game takes place in a fictional solar system called the Lylat system, which is inhabited by anthropomorphic species such as foxes, frogs, birds, rabbits and apes. It contains the planets Corneria and Venom, representing good and evil, respectively. Andross, an evil scientist, fled to the planet Venom after being banished from Corneria, and declared war on the latter, unleashing an enormous army to wreak havoc on the Lylat System. General Pepper, the commanding officer of Corneria's defence force, dispatches a prototype high-performance fighter aircraft called the "Arwing". However, lacking in time to train pilots for the new fighters, he summons the elite mercenary team Star Fox to defeat Andross. Fox McCloud, the leader of the team, is accompanied by his teammates, Falco Lombardi, Peppy Hare and Slippy Toad. [3]

Development

Nintendo worked closely with Argonaut during the early years of the NES and SNES. [4] They developed a prototype on the NES, initially codenamed "NESGlider", which was inspired by their earlier 8-bit game Starglider , and ported this prototype to the SNES. Programmer Jez San told Nintendo that this was as good as it could get unless they were allowed to design custom hardware to make the SNES better at 3D. Nintendo assented to this, and San hired chip designers to make the Super FX chip, the first 3D graphics accelerator in a consumer product. [5] The Super FX was so much more powerful than the SNES's standard processor that the development team joked that the SNES was just a box to hold the chip. [6] Argonaut did much of the base programming for the game's engine, while the character designs and artwork were mainly done in-house by Nintendo. [7] The main game design was done by Shigeru Miyamoto and Katsuya Eguchi. Characters were designed by Takaya Imamura, and music was composed by Hajime Hirasawa. [1] Nintendo suggested the "arcade-style shooting" element of the game and Argonaut brought the idea of using space ships. [8]

Miyamoto stated that he wanted the Star Fox series to star animal characters since he was not interested in making a series with conventional science fiction stories with humans, robots, monsters, and superheroes. He decided to use a fox as a main character since it reminded him of Fushimi Inari-taisha, about a fifteen-minute walk from the Nintendo corporate headquarters. Miyamoto explained that he had always planned to use the English word "fox" instead of the Japanese word "kitsune"(キツネ). [9] Imamura used Japanese folklore as an inspiration to add a bird and a hare as two other protagonists. He also added a toad; the inspiration came from a staff member of Nintendo EAD who used a toad as his personal mascot. Imamura populated the Cornerian army with dogs and the enemy army with monkeys, and made Pepper a dog and Andross a monkey, since there is a Japanese expression about fighting like dogs and monkeys. Miyamoto created several puppets and photographed them to use as artwork for the cover of the Star Fox game; Miyamoto was a fan of English puppet dramas, such as Thunderbirds , so he wanted the game cover to feature puppets. [9] The game was released under the title Starwing in Europe due to the similarity of the title Star Fox to the name of the German company StarVox. [10]

On the weekend of April 30 to May 2, 1993, the "Super Star Fox Weekend Competition" took place at approximately 2,000 retail locations within the United States. Competitors received a limited edition Star Fox pin, and those who accumulated a particularly high score received Star Fox tee-shirts as prizes. The competitors who achieved the highest score at their respective locations were entered into a randomized grand prize drawing for a choice between an all-expenses-paid trip for four to a choice of London, Paris, Sydney or Tokyo, or a lump sum of $15,000. [11] The grand prize was won by Trevor Petersma of Garland, Texas, who opted for the cash prize. [12] In the United Kingdom, the competition was known as the Star Wing Challenge and was held in gaming shops across the country on 29 May 1993. Nintendo Netherlands held the Starwing competition at various game selling stores in early 1993; the winner of each day won a large Starwing poster. Annual Starwing competitions were held during the Dutch Nintendo Championships, held in October, from 1993 to 1996. After the original competition, a limited number of the game cartridges created and used for the competition were sold through the Nintendo Power magazine, listed in the Spring 1994 "Super Power Supplies" catalogue that was mailed to subscribers, with an original list price of $45. The cartridges feature a time-limited single-player mode on modified stages, as well as an exclusive bonus level. The altered start-up screen displays "Official Competition Cartridge". [13]

Reception

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
GameRankings 88% (7 reviews) [14]
Review scores
PublicationScore
EGM 35/40 [15]
Famitsu 34/40 [16]
GamePro 5/5 [17]
Nintendo Power 4.1/5 [18]
Cubed39/10 [19]
Electronic Games 95% [20]
Nintendo Magazine System 96% [21]
Super Play 93% [22]

Star Fox received positive reviews and was a commercial success on its release. It holds an aggregate score of 88% at GameRankings, based on an average of seven reviews. [14] Nintendo sold over four million copies of the game worldwide by 1998. [23]

Star Fox was awarded Best Shooter of 1993 by Electronic Gaming Monthly. [24] The game took the No. 115 spot on EGM's "The Greatest 200 Videogames of Their Time", and 82nd best game made on a Nintendo System in Nintendo Power 's Top 200 Games list. [25] [26] It also received a 34 out of 40 from Famitsu magazine, [16] and a 4.125 out of 5 from Nintendo Power Magazine. Next Gen Magazine pointed out Star Fox as helping pioneer the use of 3D video game graphics. [27] The game has been used as an example of how, even with a fully polygon design, the game was still very similar to older games in that there was a set path to travel through each level. [28]

Entertainment Weekly gave the game an A and wrote that "The first game to incorporate Nintendo's 'Super FX' computer chip, this pseudo-3D space shooter moves so fast that it practically qualifies as virtual reality. Unlike most games of this genre, though, Star Fox (Nintendo of America, for Super NES) shows some heart behind the hardware — rarely have such powerful spacecrafts been piloted by so adorable an array of frogs, birds, and bunnies." [29]

Legacy

Star Fox has become a Nintendo franchise, with six more games and numerous appearances by its characters in other Nintendo games such as the Super Smash Bros. series. A sequel titled Star Fox 2 was developed but never released for the SNES, although programmer Dylan Cuthbert says that the game was actually completely finished. [30] Although Star Fox 2 was never released, some of the ideas and gameplay were salvaged for 1997's Star Fox 64 (released in Europe under the title Lylat Wars) for the Nintendo 64. Eventually, a handful of ROM dumps of Star Fox 2 at various stages of its development were leaked onto the internet, and a fan-made translation of Star Fox 2 from Japanese to English was released in the form of a patch that could be applied to one of the ROM dumps. A finalised version of the game, obtained from a complete ROM located in Nintendo archives, was released on the Super NES Classic Edition on 29 September 2017.

In 2002, Rare's Star Fox Adventures was released for Nintendo GameCube. Adventures was the first Star Fox game to incorporate an action role-playing element, where the player acts as Fox McCloud on the world of Sauria, also known as Dinosaur Planet. In 2005, Star Fox: Assault was released for the GameCube, this time developed by Namco. It incorporates a third-person shooter aspect into the game. Star Fox Command , released for the Nintendo DS in 2006, is the first game of the series on a portable system, and the first featuring online gaming. It uses many features from the unreleased Star Fox 2 . [31]

During the game's release, Nintendo teamed up with Kellogg's and Nelsonic to develop and release a promotional Star Fox LCD game watch to those who bought a box of corn flakes and sent the order form to Kellogg's to receive the Star Fox game watch for free. In the game watch, there are four levels and the object is to fly towards an attack carrier and destroy it while dodging plasma balls and falling structures. The game watch also includes a pair of earphones and a headphone jack due to the game watch missing a volume control. [32] Nelsonic later released it in stores in a different watch appearance. [33]

Notes

  1. Star Fox(Japanese:スターフォックス Hepburn:Sutā Fokkusu)

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Bibliography