Game Review

Mania Grade: C+

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  • Platform: GameCube
  • ESRB: Teen
  • Genre: Adventure
  • Players: 1
  • Online: No
  • Developer: Rareware
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Suggested Retail: $49.99
  • Graphics: A
  • Sound: A
  • Gameplay: C
  • Replay: D
  • Fun Factor: C
  • Reviewer's Wild Card: C


It's a pretty fox with no substance

By James Stevenson     October 02, 2002

One of the final N64 games that was going to be released was DINOSAUR PLANET. The game was coming along well from the excellent design studio Rare, before it was moved to the GameCube, and the STAR FOX franchise was injected in. After a long wait, the game is here, and it officially hails the end of the Rare/Nintendo relationship.

Fox and the boys (minus Falco) are just minding their own business when the good General gives a call about Dinosaur Planet breaking apart. Fox is sent to investigate, but can't take his blaster because of technology concerns (yet he can land an Arwing right in the middle of a forest clearing).

Soon he discovers a plot by General Scales, and it's all interwoven with four spellstones and six Krazoa Spirits. Within minutes, you'll find yourself back in the typical Rare "Gotta collect it all" mindset.

The game as a whole basically takes everything about the Zelda control scheme and combat system as its own. The only big difference is that you don't really assign more than one skill at a time, and your menu is accessible from the C-Stick. The combat is a little more reliant on your moving the control stick around, and it's rather disappointing when basically getting one hit on an enemy means you can quickly dispatch them.

The gameplay is severely flawed. Half of the time, the puzzles aren't really puzzles, rather, you have to search this large area for four items. There are a couple of very ingenious puzzles, but these are few and far between. Often you find yourself wishing you had to do something more interesting, as the game gets repetitive.

Early on, the whole game is like this: the bosses (relatively few) and puzzles are mainly focused on collecting. The end of the game actually picks up a bit, but the final boss is rather disappointing. The combat is also fairly unchallenging; once you break into an enemy's defenses, it's over.

Half the time, playing through STAR FOX ADVENTURES is aggravating. You just want to get back to something cool, and not have to search, or just look behind you and up to open a door. Quite simply, after fifteen hours, you're more than ready for the game to end. But at the same time, you still want to finish it, in the vain hope that it will get better.

The best is the shooting sequences. These are like the original STAR FOX shooters and are lots of fun, but very easy. The last one (flying to Walled City) is the hardest, and most enjoyable. It's too bad there aren't more of these parts.

As far as replay is concerned, I can see no reason to play it again. There is no multiplayer, and the game isn't that fun the first time.

Graphics-wise, STAR FOX is beautiful. From the grass to the fur-rendering, the attention to detail is excellent. The effects and magic are very well done, especially the heat wave effect. Rare's typical lighting effects are also top-notch. It's really pretty and is a great show piece for the GameCube. The only downside is some weird hitchups when the game is loading the next area (not bad, but noticeable).

The music is very good as well. I really love some of it, and other parts are more forgettable. The voice acting is also pretty well done, and from a technical standpoint, STAR FOX is great.

STAR FOX ADVENTURES is a major disappointment, much as is the sale of Rare to Microsoft. The gameplay isn't innovative, and while it's pretty, it's more mind-numbing than anything else.


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