Star Fox Adventures
|Star Fox Adventures|
North American box art
Star Fox Adventures is an action-adventure video game developed by Rareware and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo GameCube 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 video game system, as well as Rare's only Nintendo GameCube title, before the company was acquired as a first-party developer for Microsoft's Xbox division. It is the third game in the series, succeeding Star Fox 64.
The plot centers on the remote 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 Krystal (whom Fox does not know at the time) and sets off to save the planet using the staff for help. Fox later finds out from a Krazoa that Krystal needs Krazoa spirits to be saved.
The response to the game was positive, with review scores ranging from 7.0 out of 10 to 9.0 out of 10. The visuals, including Fox's new character design, gained much praise. The Zelda-like gameplay was also considered one of the game's strengths, but some argued that it was too much of a departure from previous Star Fox games.
Star Fox Adventures uses a gameplay engine similar to that of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Its graphics were very sophisticated for its time, receiving particular attention for its real-time fur rendering. Like 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. The game also has a widescreen mode, designed for widescreen television sets.
The gameplay mechanics themselves closely mirror those of Ocarina of Time, as Fox is on foot for most of the game and pilots his Arwing only to reach another piece of the planet. Similar to Link wielding his Master Sword, 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, in order 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. 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. 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. IGN called this new system "a beneficial addition", and GameSpot stated it "makes targeting a cinch".
Characters and setting
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, 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.
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.
Eight years following Andross' defeat (in Star Fox 64), Krystal, a mysterious fox 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. 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' favor and stop Scales. 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. 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. 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 and save Krystal's life.
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. Fox pursues him in his Arwing, and, with the help of Falco Lombardi, 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.
Originally, Rare planned to release Star Fox Adventures for the Nintendo 64 as Dinosaur Planet, a game unrelated to the Star Fox series. The plot concerned Sabre (who later became Fox) and Krystal, along with sidekicks Tricky and Kyte (who appears briefly at the beginning and near the end), and Randorn, a wizard who was Sabre's father and Krystal's adoptive father (who was dropped entirely). The SwapStone (which became the WarpStone) would let the player switch between Krystal and Sabre.
Shigeru Miyamoto mentioned in an interview that, after reviewing content of Dinosaur Planet for the Nintendo 64, 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. Before this, Rare released MP3s from the unreleased game, along with numerous trailers and screenshots of gameplay, many of which appeared in Star Fox Adventures.
The original title was Star Fox Adventures: Dinosaur Planet, but "Dinosaur Planet" was later removed. The game was Rare's final console video game released under Nintendo before the United Kingdom-based studio was sold and became a first-party developer for Microsoft.
Adventures sold over 200,000 copies in Japan following its release, and was the fastest-selling GameCube game at the time.
Star Fox Adventures was generally well received by critics. IGN said that the game is a "perfect companion" to The Legend of Zelda series, to which Adventures is often compared. The graphics were highly praised, with Electronic Gaming Monthly noting "the game is a work of art", and the UK magazine Edge wrote that the "visual splendour is immense". 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". The voice acting was criticized by some, with IGN 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. UK publication NGC magazine awarded the game 72%, which some fans speculated was due to bitterness over Rare's sale to Microsoft. Several issues later, NGC sarcastically published a score of 98%, which readers could cut out and place over the original if they chose to. This did not indicate a new score for the game.
Despite the mostly positive reviews, Star Fox Adventures is often criticized for its setting being too much of a departure from the other Star Fox games. IGN said that "Fans expecting a true Star Fox experience akin to the older games are in for a disappointment. The Star Fox license has been utilized sparingly -- to the point, in fact, where it feels totally out of place within the confines of this game universe. Fox is clearly only on this world at Nintendo's request, not because he belongs". Many fans of the original Star Fox games also seemed to dislike Star Fox Adventures because of the major gameplay differences between them.
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- Rare. Star Fox Adventures. (Nintendo). Level/area: Krazoa Palace. (September 23, 2002) EarthWalker: Only when the spirit has been returned back into the palace it can be used to stop this war.
- Rare. Star Fox Adventures. (Nintendo). (September 23, 2002) General Pepper: If Dinosaur Planet explodes, it could affect the entire Lylat System!
- Rare. Star Fox Adventures. (Nintendo). (September 23, 2002) Queen EarthWalker: You're right. Without all the spirits the magic cannot be channeled back into the planet.
- Rare. Star Fox Adventures. (Nintendo). Level/area: Krazoa Palace. (September 23, 2002) 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.
- Rare. Star Fox Adventures. (Nintendo). Level/area: Andross. (September 23, 2002) Andross: And now, to destroy the Lylat System!
- Rare. Star Fox Adventures. (Nintendo). Level/area: Andross. (September 23, 2002) Falco Lombardi: Hey, McCloud! Different time, different planet, and you still need Falco's help! It's good to see you, buddy
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- Official website (Fully functional, archived original site hosted on fan-site Starfox-Online.net)
- Star Fox Adventures - Dinosaur Planet - Rareware
- Dinosaur Planet - Rareware
- Dinosaur Planet - Nintendo
- Star Fox Adventures at the Internet Movie Database