Star Fox 2
|Star Fox 2|
|Genre(s)||Strategy First-person shooter Third-person shooter|
Star Fox 2 (スターフォックス2 Sutā Fokkusu Tsū ) is an unreleased video game for the Super Famicom/Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It was to be the second of the Star Fox series and the direct sequel to Star Fox. Both Argonaut Games and Nintendo developed the game, with Nintendo planning to publish it. The Japanese version was completely finished except for minor debugging tools that weren't yet removed. It is unknown if there are any complete official English versions, though an unofficial fan translation exists. This game was scheduled to be released in the summer of 1995.
Star Fox 2 continued the battle against Emperor Andross who seeks to conquer the Lylat system, with the Star Fox team assembled once again to defeat him. The game introduces a new semi-real time game play system, featuring new ship types and two new Star Fox team members. It also features a more advanced 3D game engine thanks to a new improved version of the Super FX chip.
The premise of Star Fox 2 was very different from the original Star Fox: Instead of following mostly linear paths inside predefined missions, the player moves a team of two ships freely around a map screen that represents the Lylat system. When the player's ships make contact with enemy forces, the game went into an action perspective, piloting the Arwing ship directly with controls and game play similar to the first Star Fox. When the player cleared the specified objectives in that encounter (destroying all fighters in the vicinity, for example), the game went back into the main map screen, where the player could select a new destination for his craft.
The objective of the game was to destroy all enemy forces present in the map while defending planet Corneria (located in the lower left corner of the map), preventing its damage level from reaching 100% due to enemy attacks. To protect Corneria the player would have to intercept fighters and incoming missiles, called IPBMs (Inter-Planetary Ballistic Missiles) in the game, while also dealing with the sources of these attacks: battleships, which will deploy more fighter squadrons, and planetary bases which would fire more missiles towards Corneria. To assist the player, General Pepper would employ an immobile space station that could shoot down enemies on a limited basis — the player also had to defend this installation from special enemy ships called viruses that could take over the satellite, and use its cannon to fire at Corneria.
If a player's ship makes contact in the map screen with a captured planet they would be transported into another action sequence located on the planet's surface. There they would have to open the enemy's base entrance through different means depending on the level (by pressing a switch, defeating a boss, etc.) Once the player had been able to gain access to the base interior, he/she would have to go through a complex and destroy the base's generator at the end. The planet would be then liberated and no more missiles would be fired from it. Starfighters from the Star Wolf mercenary team would be defending some captured planets, and they will have to be fought if the player wants to liberate one of those planets. They would eventually go after the player's Arwings when some time has passed. Bosses will also be dispatched to chase the player's ships at some point in the game.
The game ran in semi-real time — when the player took an action, time started counting and enemies would perform actions as well. This occurred whether the player was moving around on the map screen or has engaged an enemy in battle, making it possible for enemies to damage Corneria or new enemies to launch during that time. This forced the player to think tactically and defeat their enemies as quick and efficiently as possible. At times the player may even have to leave a battle to take on other enemies that are getting too close to the planet. In this way, Star Fox 2 bears considerable similarity to many real-time strategy games.
Once the player has cleared all enemy forces present on the map, his ships would then travel to Andross' base, located on the top right corner of the map, to face one last level and fight Andross himself at the end of it. Once Andross is defeated the player won the game, and his performance would be scored and ranked in a debriefing screen.
Difficulty levels had a great impact on the game, changing the layout of all levels and presenting stronger and more numerous enemy forces on each successive difficulty level. Each difficulty level also contained its own bonus items called "Pepper Coins", which would be hidden inside the game's levels for the player to find and collect. When picked up, they would completely restore the player's health
After his defeat in the original Star Fox, the game's antagonist, Andross, returns to the Lylat system and launches an all-out attack against Corneria, using his new fleet of battleships and giant missiles launched from hidden bases to destroy the planet. General Pepper again calls upon the Star Fox team for help. Armed with new custom Arwings, a Mothership, and two new recruits (Miyu, a lynx, and Fay, a dog), the Star Fox team sets out to defend Corneria by destroying Andross's forces before they can inflict critical damage on the planet. Along the way, Star Fox must also combat giant boss enemies, bases on planets throughout the Lylat system, members of the Star Wolf team and finally Andross himself.
Star Fox 2 features six playable characters, the highest number of any game in the series until Star Fox Command. Primary characters include Fox McCloud, a fox who leads the Star Fox team; Falco Lombardi, the cocky expert pilot with a sometimes contentious relationship with Fox; Peppy Hare, mentor to Fox and the wisest member of the team; Slippy Toad, the team technician and childhood friend of Fox; Fay, a white dog with a pink hair bow who is a new member of the team; and Miyu, a tomboyish lynx who is also a new addition to the team.
Development and cancellation
The game was extensively covered by the various gaming magazines of the time, with many screenshots provided by Nintendo to generate interest in the sequel. Since the leaking of the unfinished beta code, some individuals have managed to take and compile a large variety of screengrabs. These were taken using an emulator. The lack of media coverage about the compiled beta may be due to a fear of legal action from either NCL or NOA. Early in development, Fara Phoenix from the Star Fox comic (called "Lady" in the alpha) and the Andross look-alike "Saru" (Japanese for "monkey") were in place of Miyu and Fay. Fay replaced a female sheep character from the game's early development.
While Nintendo never disclosed the official reason for its cancellation, Star Fox 2 programmer Dylan Cuthbert shares the reasons for its cancellation:
|“||StarFox 2 was fully completed. I was the lead programmer and while Giles made Stunt Race FX, myself and the rest of the original Starfox team (ie. Nintendo's artists and designers) expanded Starfox into a full 3D shooting game. The reason for non-release was the then impending Nintendo 64 which of course was intended to be released a lot sooner than it actually was. Miyamoto-san decided he wanted to have a clean break between 3D games on the SNES and 3D games on the new superior 64-bit system. In retrospect, he could have released Star Fox 2 and there would have been over a year and a half before the N64 came out. But hindsight is always 20/20.||”|
On the Internet, a ROM image exists of an early alpha version of the game, which came from a source code archive dating to when the game was in early development. This version features a rudimentary multiplayer mode. Another ROM, compiled from the latest known source code before the project was cancelled, can also be found—this version is nearly complete and contains minor bugs, debug code, and unfinished features, however, it lacks the multiplayer mode found in the alpha version. These ROMs can be played using a SNES emulator and can be run on real hardware if burned to a cartridge with a Super FX chip. Additionally, a fan-made patch can be added to the near-final ROM—this fixes most of the bugs, removes the debug code and the unfinished features, and translates the game's dialog into English (a version of this patch also exists without the language translation).
According to Dylan Cuthbert, some programming elements done for the game, such as the camera programs, were adapted and reused for the development of Super Mario 64. Shigeru Miyamoto also stated that ideas such as All-Range mode, Multi Player mode, and Star Wolf scenarios came from Star Fox 2. He estimated that 30% of Star Fox 64 came from Star Fox 2. Additionally, several game concepts have been reused in Star Fox Command for the Nintendo DS — among these are the map screen gameplay element and the ability to choose from multiple characters, each with their own fighters and statistics.
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- Star Fox 2 English translation patch
- Star Fox 2 graphic resources
- StarFox 1 & 2 object viewer
- Star Fox 2 spc music