Star Fox Adventures

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Star Fox Adventures
Star Fox Adventures GCN Game Box.jpg
North American box art
Developer(s) Rare Ltd.
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Director(s) Lee Schuneman
Producer(s)
Composer(s) David Wise
Series Star Fox
Platform(s) GameCube
Release date(s)
  • NA 23 September 2002
  • JP 27 September 2002
  • AUS 15 November 2002[1]
  • EU 22 November 2002
Genre(s) Action-adventure
Mode(s) Single-player

Star Fox Adventures is an action-adventure video game developed by Rare Ltd. and published by Nintendo for the GameCube video game console as part of the Star Fox series. It was released in North America on 23 September 2002, Japan on 27 September 2002, Australia on 15 November 2002 and Europe on 22 November 2002. It was the final game developed by Rare for a Nintendo home game console, as well as Rare's only GameCube title, before the company was acquired as a first-party developer for Microsoft's Xbox division the day after the game's release in North America. It is the third installment in the series, succeeding Star Fox 64.

The plot centres on Dinosaur Planet (named "Sauria" in later games) of the Lylat System, where Fox McCloud is dispatched by General Pepper to restore the planet after pieces of it have broken off and pose a risk to the system. After arriving, Fox discovers a mystical staff from a blue fox named Krystal and sets off to save the planet. Development of the game began as an unrelated game named "Dinosaur Planet", initially intended to be Rare's last standalone title for the Nintendo 64 system. The game was changed many times during development before Shigeru Miyamoto noticed similarities in the original game and convinced Rare to re-brand it into a Star Fox title for the upcoming GameCube.

The game received mostly positive praise from critics upon release. Notable praise included the advanced graphics, Fox's new character design, dynamic environments and The Legend of Zelda-influenced gameplay. However, the game was criticised for being too much of a departure from previous Star Fox games and mixed feelings were produced from critics and fans alike for Rare's departure from Nintendo.

Gameplay[edit]

Star Fox Adventures has gameplay similar to that of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Its graphics were very sophisticated for its time, receiving particular attention for its real-time fur rendering. Like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Star Fox Adventures has a day-and-night phase, but a more accurate and gradual one. Also, a language called Dino is used similar to that of the Al Bhed language in Square Co.'s Final Fantasy X, except that the letter Y is used only in proper nouns.[2] The game also has a widescreen mode, designed for widescreen television sets.[2]

The gameplay mechanics themselves closely mirror those of Ocarina of Time, as Fox McCloud is on foot for most of the game and pilots his Arwing only to reach another piece of the planet.[2] Similar to Link wielding his Master Sword in the Zelda series, General Pepper forbids Fox from using any sort of blaster, quoting "This mission is about saving the planet, not blowing it up". Fox instead relies on Krystal's staff which he discovers on the planet, to attack and defeat enemies as well as interact with the surrounding environment. While Fox uses the staff primarily for attacking enemies physically, he can later gain power-ups for the staff which allow it to fire projectiles, freeze enemies, or help him reach high up areas that are normally inaccessible.[2] Fox cannot jump unless he runs off the edge of an object or a cliff, and can roll after landing on the ground, in the same fashion as Link leaps off edges in Ocarina of Time.[3] One key difference between the two games, however, is that Fox acquires his targets automatically when he approaches them, while the player has to manually trigger a lock-on when controlling Link.[2] IGN called this new system "a beneficial addition",[4] and GameSpot stated it "makes targeting a cinch".[3]

Plot[edit]

The in-game graphics in Adventures were commended for their high quality.

Characters and setting[edit]

Adventures features the core Star Fox team, with Falco Lombardi appearing only at the game's end, as well as adding new characters, such as Krystal The Blue fox, Prince Tricky, the tyrannical General Scales, and other dinosaurs. Krystal goes on to become a full-fledged member of the Star Fox team, while Tricky briefly appears in Star Fox: Assault.

Along with the series regulars, Adventures features a numerous amount of dinosaurs and prehistoric characters, all of them based on once living creatures. For example, the ruling EarthWalker tribe, featured prominently in the game, resemble Triceratops, while the rival CloudRunner tribe approximate to Pteranodon. The SharpClaw tribe, which are the major antagonists in Adventures, resemble humanoid Allosaurus. One year later, during the events of Star Fox: Assault, these various dinosaur tribes are decimated by the Aparoid attack on Dinosaur Planet, and in-game dialogue suggests that the SharpClaw may have been driven to extinction.[2]

The entire game takes place on the world of Dinosaur Planet (in later games called "Sauria") and the pieces of the planet itself suspended in orbit. To transit to the pieces, Fox must use his Arwing and avoid enemies. These areas include various terrain and climates, such as the grassy hub of ThornTail Hollow, alien-like Moon Mountain Pass, the icy-terrain SnowHorn Wastes, swampy LightFoot Village, and seaside Cape Claw.[2]

Story[edit]

The game takes place eight years after the events of Star Fox 64, in which Andross is killed by Fox McCloud. Krystal, a mysterious fox/wolf looking for answers to the destruction of her home planet, Cerinia, and the murder of her parents, lands on Krazoa Palace after receiving a distress call from the planet.[2] She discovers that the planet had been attacked by General Scales and his SharpClaw army, and is persuaded by a wounded EarthWalker in the Palace to help by collecting all of the Krazoa Spirits and returning them to the palace, which would supposedly tilt the war in the dinosaurs' favour and stop Scales.[5] However, after releasing the first one, a mysterious being pushes Krystal into the spirit's path, trapping her in a floating crystal atop the Krazoa Palace until all the spirits can be returned.

Meanwhile, General Pepper contacts the Star Fox Team and asks them to investigate a planet on the edge of the Lylat System called Sauria (Dinosaur Planet), which is falling apart.[6] Since the team is in desperate need of money for maintenance on the Great Fox, Fox McCloud agrees to take a look, arriving unarmed at Pepper's request to avoid trouble with the locals. On the surface, Fox comes across Krystal's magic staff, which Krystal had lost earlier when she was attacked by General Scales at the beginning of the game, and becomes his sole weapon in the game.

Fox learns from the Queen of the EarthWalker Tribe that General Scales has stolen the Spellstones from the planet's two Force Point Temples.[2] To prevent the planet from breaking up further, Fox must restore the Spellstones to the temples, with the help of the Queen's son, Prince Tricky. As Fox retrieves the Spellstones, he discovers that he must also retrieve Krazoa Spirits to repair the planet[7] and save Krystal's life.[8]

When Fox finds the last of the Krazoa Spirits, he discovers that it is guarded by General Scales himself. However, just before Fox and Scales engage in combat, the voice of the Krazoa spirit orders Scales to surrender the spirit. Fox takes the spirit to the Krazoa Shrine, and frees Krystal. The spirits are forced into a Krazoa statue, which reveals itself to be Andross, the mastermind behind the spirit scheme, who flies off to conquer the Lylat System.[9] Fox pursues him in his Arwing, and, with the help of Falco Lombardi,[10] who arrives during the battle, defeats Andross, restoring the Krazoa spirits to the planet and repairing it. After that, Falco rejoins the Star Fox team. Krystal flies to Great Fox to thank the team, particularly Fox, in person, subsequently joining the team.

Development[edit]

Dinosaur Planet artwork showing various characters, including Krystal's original design

Originally, Rare planned to release Star Fox Adventures for the Nintendo 64 as Dinosaur Planet, a game unrelated to the Star Fox series.[11] According to lead software engineer Phil Tossell, development of Dinosuar Planet began after the release of Diddy Kong Racing, with two teams to work on the latter title and Jet Force Gemini towards the end of the Nintendo 64's lifespan.[12] The game was changed many times during early development before Rare settled on the eventual idea of a open world adventure-game based around two interweaved stories.[12] The plot concerned Sabre (who later became Fox) and Krystal, along with sidekicks Tricky and Kyte (who both appear in the finished game), and Randorn, a wizard who was Sabre's father and Krystal's adoptive father (who was dropped entirely). The game featured elements such as the 'SwapStone' would let the player switch between Krystal and Sabre.[11] Dinosuar Planet was intended to be Rare's last game for the Nintendo 64 and was orientated with Ocarina of Time influenced gameplay and cinematics.[11] Dinosaur Planet initially utilised the Nintendo 64's 4MB Expansion Pak and was housed in a 512-megabit cartridge, which would have made it among the largest Nintendo 64 games.[11]

Shigeru Miyamoto mentioned in a retrospective interview that, after reviewing content of Dinosaur Planet, the similarities of Rare's anthropomorphic designs to Nintendo's Fox McCloud design were striking. The title was later changed to be a Star Fox-brand launch game for the Nintendo GameCube.[13] According to Tossell, the sudden change was not "accepted willingly by all" of the team as the plot had to be entirely re-written in places to accommodate the Star Fox canon.[12] The updated title was originally named Star Fox Adventures: Dinosaur Planet, but "Dinosaur Planet" was later removed.[14] The team later realised the potential of using the Star Fox licence in hopes of boosting awareness, and decided to switch development from the Nintendo 64 to the upcoming GameCube console.[12] Before the change, Rare released MP3s from the unreleased game, along with numerous trailers and screenshots of gameplay, many of which appeared in Star Fox Adventures.[15]

We were slightly disappointed at having to change Dinosaur Planet as we had all become so attached to it, but we could also see the potential of using the Star Fox licence.

Phil Tossell in a interview with NintendoLife [12]

With the Star Fox theme established, Rare begun re-working the game for the upcoming GameCube and was met with little interference from Nintendo. During development, the team was invited to Nintendo's headquarters in Kyoto to discuss progress and certain changes; with in return Star Fox creator Takaya Imamura came to stay at Rare's Twycross studio to oversee development.[12] Tossell admitted that "without a doubt", Nintendo strengthened their relationship through trust and respect, despite Nintendo only owning 49% of the company at the time.

The game was Rare's final console video game released under Nintendo before the Leicestershire-based studio was sold and became a first-party developer for Microsoft. Shortly after the game's release, Microsoft purchased Rare for £375 million ending Rare's entire assosication with Nintendo.[12] Many fans and critics do not consider Star Fox Adventures to be an 'essential' Rare title as the negativity was attributed to Microsoft's take-over, which led to some fans speculating that Microsoft were "buying out competition".[12] Since its release, Star Fox Adventures has been designated a Player's Choice game by Nintendo, recognising it as a game that has sold many copies and was available at a reduced retail price.[16][17]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 80.23% (75 reviews)[18]
Metacritic 82 out of 100 (39 reviews)[19]
Review scores
Publication Score
AllGame 3.5/5 stars[20]
Edge 6 out of 10[21]
Famitsu 32 out of 40[22]
Game Informer 8.75 out of 10[23]
GameSpot 8.3 out of 10[3]
IGN 9.0 out of 10[4]
NGC Magazine 7.2 out of 10

Star Fox Adventures received mostly positive reviews upon release, with an aggregate score of 80% at GameRankings and a score of 82 out of 100 from Metacritic.[18][19] It sold over 200,000 copies in Japan following its release, and was the fastest-selling GameCube game at the time.[24]

The visuals were very well received. Electronic Gaming Monthly noted that the game "is a work of art",[25] and Edge wrote that the "visual splendour is immense".[21] Matt Casamassina of IGN said that the game is a "perfect companion" to The Legend of Zelda series, to which Adventures is often compared.[4] The game's combat system garnered some accolades, with EGM noting that it is similar to the fluid style of Kilik from the Soul Calibur series of fighting games, and GameSpot adding that the combat is "simplistic, but it's good looking and it isn't frustrating".[3][25] The voice acting was criticised by some, with Casamassina remarking that it is "over the top" in some places, and EGM disliking the Dino (or Saurian) language used by some of the game's inhabitants.[4][25]

Despite the mostly positive reviews, Star Fox Adventures is often criticised for its setting being too much of a departure from the other Star Fox games. Casamassina said that "Fans expecting a true Star Fox experience akin to the older games are in for a disappointment". He also added that the Star Fox licence has been utilised sparingly to the point where the game felt "out of place within the confines of the Star Fox game universe". IGN asserted that Fox was "clearly only on 'Dinosaur Planet' at Nintendo's request, not because he belongs".[4] NGC Magazine awarded the game a score of 7.2,[26] which some fans considered low and speculated was due to bitterness over Rare's sale to Microsoft. Several issues later, NGC sarcastically published a score of 9.8, which readers could cut out and place over the original if they chose to. This did not indicate a new score for the game.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Star Fox Adventures". Nintendo Australia. Archived from the original on 2007-09-01. Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Rare, ed. (2002). Star Fox Adventures Instruction Booklet. Nintendo of Europe. pp. 2, 4, 8–9, 13, 18–20, 26, 28, 30. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Star Fox Adventures for GameCube Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 2006-08-23. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Star Fox Adventures Review". IGN. Retrieved 2006-08-23. 
  5. ^ Rare (September 23, 2002). "Star Fox Adventures". Nintendo. Level/area: Krazoa Palace. EarthWalker: Only when the spirit has been returned back into the palace it can be used to stop this war. 
  6. ^ Rare (September 23, 2002). "Star Fox Adventures". Nintendo. General Pepper: If Dinosaur Planet explodes, it could affect the entire Lylat System! 
  7. ^ Rare (September 23, 2002). "Star Fox Adventures". Nintendo. Queen EarthWalker: You're right. Without all the spirits the magic cannot be channeled back into the planet. 
  8. ^ Rare (September 23, 2002). "Star Fox Adventures". Nintendo. Level/area: Krazoa Palace. Krazoa spirit: I was released when she completed my test but she is now in great danger. And for her to survive you must continue what she started and collect the remaining Krazoa spirits. 
  9. ^ Rare (September 23, 2002). "Star Fox Adventures". Nintendo. Level/area: Andross. Andross: And now, to destroy the Lylat System! 
  10. ^ Rare (September 23, 2002). "Star Fox Adventures". Nintendo. Level/area: Andross. Falco Lombardi: Hey, McCloud! Different time, different planet, and you still need Falco's help! It's good to see you, buddy 
  11. ^ a b c d "IGN: Dinosaur Planet Preview". IGN. Retrieved 2006-09-16. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h McFerran, Damien. "Feature: The Making Of Star Fox Adventures". NintendoLife. Game Industry biz. Retrieved 30 April 2015. 
  13. ^ "IGN: Star Fox Planet?". IGN. Retrieved 2006-09-16. 
  14. ^ "IGN: Dinosaurs Travel to Japan". IGN. Retrieved 2006-09-16. 
  15. ^ "IGN: Dinosaur Planet Screenshots, Wallpaper, and Pics". IGN. Retrieved 2006-09-17. 
  16. ^ "Master Game List". Nintendo.com. Archived from the original on August 15, 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-16. 
  17. ^ "IGN: Rare". IGN. Retrieved 16 September 2006. 
  18. ^ a b "Star Fox Adventures Reviews". Game Rankings. Retrieved June 11, 2006. 
  19. ^ a b "Star Fox Adventures Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2007-09-20. 
  20. ^ "Star Fox Adventures > Overview". Allgame. Retrieved 2007-09-20. 
  21. ^ a b Edge, ed. (2002). Star Fox Adventures Review. Future Publishing. p. 90. 
  22. ^ ニンテンドーゲームキューブ - スターフォックス アドベンチャー. Weekly Famitsu. No.915 Pt.2. Pg.100. 30 June 2006.
  23. ^ "Star Fox Adventures". Game Informer: 130. December 2002. 
  24. ^ "Graphs: Weekly GCN Sales in Japan". IGN. Retrieved 2006-01-21. 
  25. ^ a b c "Star Fox: Charting Possible Courses for the Future". 1UP. Retrieved 2 May 2015. 
  26. ^ "Starfox Adventures review - NGC". NGC Magazine. GameCube Europe. Archived from the original on 2 May 2015. Retrieved 2 May 2015. 

External links[edit]