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Star Fox Assualt Review

Developer: Namco Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: February 15, 2005 Also On: None

Nintendo is self-reliant on first-party titles. The GameCube is on its last leg. As soon as Nintendo pulls that leg from underneath, the GameCube will fall. This didn’t happen with the PlayStation, as Sony’s reliance was on third-party publishers. Star Fox: Assault, a third-party developed/first-party published game from Namco and Nintendo is Fox McCloud’s reentry into the Star Fox universe, bringing it back to its roots with Falco, and Slippy, and also introducing a character from Star Fox Adventures, Krystal.

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While the arwing combat remains largely unchanged, which I view as a positive thing, the graphics have been spruced up to match the GCN’s potential. The arwing missions look absolutely spectacular. There are new additions, including the characters, enemies, and combat system. The presentation for on-ground missions are less magnificent, but far more tumultuous.

The on-ground missions act only as a change of pace. They feel as unnatural in the Star Fox universe as they did in Star Fox Adventures. At least you’re provided with competent weaponry. Fox can be fitted with a blaster, machine gun, sniper rifle, and even a rocket launcher. The blaster can be charged to inflict serious damage, or can be used as a quick-shot rifle to debilitate foes in a speedy manner.

What’s not new is the way in which you’ll be allowed to play the game. You still have single-player and optional 4-player multiplayer. As you progress through the missions of single-player, you will unlock new multi-player maps. The single-player, however, will take you no more than five hours, give or take.

Single-player is standard Star Fox fare. Blast space enemies, collect silver rings, and beat the boss at the end of each level. Speaking of bosses, they’re done very well in this game. Starting off in the first level, you’ll face Andross’ nephew, who happens to have two gigantic mechanical monkey hands and a large vertical head.

You’ll quickly turn to a galactic battle against the ‘aparoids’, an alien species that seems to infect those that it comes in contact with. They can quickly multiply using aparoid nests. If it’s not apparent enough, you’ll have to destroy these nests in various missions. For instance, they invaded the home-world of Krstal, Dinosaur Planet. It’s your job, as Fox, to rescue the planet by destroying the nests throughout the world.

The combat system is assisted by an integral part of the game, the user-interface, which includes the map. Without this, you would have judgment of where to go on the map, as there are oftentimes several destinations where these nests (or in one level, energy generators) will be needed to be destroyed. The map also lays out enemies, so for those with keen eyes, a decision on which weapon to use can be made.

Star Fox Assault’s combat system is three-prong. First you have the arwing. There are three controls settings to choose from, with sub-options such as inverted axes, etc. Second is on-foot, which involves running, strafing/lock-on, rolling, jumping and shooting. Third is the tank, which can be used to blast enemies at a distance, also providing firepower and heavy armor, with the ability to ‘fly’ for short distances.

The multi-player levels, as stated, are unlocked from playing the single-player mode. There are a limited number of levels unlocked for you to play off the bat, but throughout the single-player, you’ll probably unlock around 5 new levels to play on. Multi-player battles can range from being limited to the arwing, to on-foot, tank, and arwing, all in one arena. Namco crafted the game so that those with different skills can enjoy the multi-player experience, whether you’re one for space shooting, or the tank.

Star Fox Assault does a lot of things right. It displays some rather amazing visuals in the arwing missions, provides players with a large dose of gameplay variety (for a Star Fox game), and provides a multi-player that might not match games on other systems (namely Halo), but rivals them nonetheless, providing Cubers with an experience that they can at least smile about. Star Fox Assault accomplishes what Nintendo set out to do: return Star Fox to his space-shooting roots, while incorporating gameplay that makes it feel fresh. I recommend a cautious purchase, or at the least, a rental.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 8
Written by Kyle Review Guide