STARFOX ASSAULT (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, February 11, 2005
It's been a while since there has been a true STAR FOX game, in fact, it's been since the N64. There was the disgraceful game, STAR FOX ADVENTURES (developed by Rareware), that really just hurt my inner being for the amount of time I wasted on it. Heh, suddenly seems like Nintendo might've been smart to dump the British developer for the slick cash.
Nintendo contracted out STAR FOX ASSAULT to Namco and the result is somewhat of an uneven game. At its best moments, the pure shooting moments, ASSAULT lives up to everything we loved about the previous games in the series. However, there are moments where you are stuck in a tank on the ground, and this is where STAR FOX is thoroughly grounded. Fans of the series and gamers in general will be irritated to death about having to play through these areas, but will probably do so anyway just to get to the next space sequence.
For those of you who may have somehow never played a STARFOX game, it's essentially a rail-shooter with lots of enemies, tons of explosions, and smooth gameplay. That part of the game remains intact. The first levels of the game will have you sweeping through an enemy fleet eliminating opposing snub fighters and having a blast of a time. The problem that you may find involves when you arrive in a level that puts you into a tank. The controls are really sluggish and it just isn't that much fun anymore.
Perhaps in this day an age we are far too dependant on having lots of different experiences in the same game. Honestly, I would've been content with having the entire game being space combat, even if that meant it'd be a level or two shorter. The space missions are an absolute blast, and it seems like the tank missions just screw us out of more flight in the name of diversity.
As in the N64 version, there are different difficulty levels and you are graded based on how well you did in the level. This adds much replay value to the game for those of us obsessed with proving our piloting skills and earning all of the golds will probably take some time.
There is also a multiplayer component that tacks on some extra replay value, but in all reality, it's not that huge of a deal. It's a shame that Nintendo hasn't embraced online gameplay, this would've been a blast for online dogfights.
From a graphics perspective the game doesn't look too bad, with lots of ships flying around, plenty of color and lots of nice effects. The worst part is that the textures aren't that great, and when you're on foot this is really apparent. Once again the voice work is as annoying as hell, and the music is pretty grinding too. The sound effects are excellent though.
In the end STAR FOX ASSAULT's biggest mistake was the non-flight levels. Outside of that, the game is more than worth playing, and the non-flight levels are worth putting up with in order to play the flight levels.
Mania Grade: B
Platforms: GameCube Exclusive
Suggested Retail: $49.99
Fun Factor: B
Reviewer’s Wild Card: B