Star Fox: Assault
|Star Fox: Assault|
North American box art
|Genre(s)||Rail shooter, third-person shooter|
Star Fox: Assault (スターフォックス アサルト Sutā Fokkusu Asaruto?) is a 3D scrolling shooter and third-person shooter video game developed by Namco and published by Nintendo for the GameCube. It is the fourth released title in the Star Fox series. It was released on February 15, 2005 in North America, on February 24, 2005 in Japan, on April 29, 2005 in Europe, and on June 16, 2005 in Australia. The game was available at Blockbuster and Hollywood Video stores starting February 1, 2005 as a promotion.
Assault returns the Star Fox series to its space-combat roots after the previous game in the series, Star Fox Adventures, which took a more action-RPG approach. Assault takes place one year after the events of Adventures and introduces a new enemy named the Aparoids, a race bent on the assimilation of the Lylat system into their collective mind. Assault contains orchestral arrangements of music from Star Fox 64.
The gameplay of Star Fox: Assault is divided into three distinctive types. The player can either fly an Arwing (a spacecraft), drive a Landmaster (a tank), or perform certain tasks on foot. All three play types are available for multiplayer mode although some levels on multi-player mode are specific. For example, Level 1, "Fortuna: A New Enemy" is specifically Arwing. The game follows a completely linear track, unlike its predecessors Star Fox and Star Fox 64.
Arwing missions in Assault are similar to those of the first two games in the series. The player flies in space or close to the ground and shoots down enemies. Some levels are on rails, while others allow full freedom of movement in a relatively small area. As in previous games, the wing mates of Fox, the main character, occasionally call for help when chased by enemies. Additionally, in some levels, the player has the ability to hop in and out of the Arwing at will.
While in the Landmaster, the player has complete freedom to move about the level. They are free to shoot or run over enemies as well as assist their wingmates when necessary. Playing on foot essentially turns the game into a 3D third-person run 'n' gun shooter; the player starts armed with the blaster, a type of gun, and can acquire a variety of other weapons, including but not limited to a machine gun and a homing launcher. In two shooting gallery levels, the player rides on the wing of an Arwing or a Wolfen fighter, shooting enemies on the ground and in the air with a plasma cannon.
As an added bonus, by collecting all silver medals throughout the game, the player can unlock the NES port of the scrolling shooter arcade game, Xevious. The Japanese version of Star Fox: Assault also has the Famicom games Battle City and Star Luster as unlockables.
The game features multiplayer with support for up to four players simultaneously. This mode starts off very limited, with only a few playable characters, weapons, items, and maps; but many more can be unlocked by either playing a certain number of multiplayer games or achieving certain accomplishments in-game. Players are able to fight on foot or in a vehicle (a Landmaster, Arwing, or Wolfen), though some stages prohibit certain modes of travel. Playable characters include the entire Star Fox team (including Peppy) as well as Wolf O'Donnell.
Multiplayer mode offers several stages for playing, including stages from the single-player mode, "Simple Maps" (which look like they're made of building blocks), and other new maps. There are also several modes for play available, which can force a certain weapon (sniper, rocket launcher, etc.) or change the style of play (capture the crown, etc.). Also, there are a few customizable options, such as turning radar on/off, turning special weapons on/off, and turning Demon Launches on/off.
Multiplayer has a number of items and weapons, most of which are taken directly from the single-player mode. There are also special unlockable weapons such as the Demon Sniper and Demon Launcher (dubbed "The Loser Gun" by the gaming community, because one gets it when one is losing) which have the ability to kill in one hit. In addition, there are a couple special items such as jet packs (which give a player on foot a hovering ability similar to Landmaster's hover), and the "Stealth Suit", which can make the player invisible for a long period of time.
Weapons and items
Assault features a number of projectile weapons, such as the blaster, machine gun, Homing Launcher, sniper rifle and the hand grenade Also used is the Plasma Cannon, a rapid-fire gun with unlimited ammunition. This, however, is only used at two specific points in Assault. The game also has a number of special items, including personal barriers which deflect enemy attacks. The usual rings seen in other Star Fox games that restore a vehicle's shield are also present.
Setting and characters
Star Fox: Assault takes place in the Lylat system where the player visits the rest of all planets in the game, except Venom. It also introduces the Aparoid Homeworld
The game features the Star Fox team members, including Fox McCloud, Falco Lombardi and Krystal, while Peppy Hare and ROB stay and ride in the Great Fox to oversee every missions. It also features the return of the Star Wolf team, including leader Wolf O'Donnell, Leon Powalski and Panther Caroso (the new member), with Pigma Dengar and Andrew Oikonny not siding with the team. Slippy Toad's father, Beltino Toad is the scientist.
The game features the Aparoids, villainous insect-like creatures between machine and life form. The Aparoids are capable of infecting other life forms and machines and transforming them into Aparoids and also known as Aparoidedation. Large Aparoids contain a core memory that contains instructions as well as information on contacting the Aparoid Homeworld. The Aparoids, led by the Aparoid Queen (Aparoid Mother in the Japanese version) on their home planet. The Queen believes that all things in the universe exist for the Aparoids to infect, and that becoming an Aparoid is not infection, but rather a form of evolution. All Aparoids are networked together in a hive mind, meaning destroying the Queen would lead to the destruction of the entire species.
One year after Star Fox Adventures, Andrew Oikonny assumes the leadership for Andross and starts a rebellion against the Cornerian Army. The Star Fox team, consisting of Fox, Falco, Krystal and Slippy, fly in to assist them. They pursue Andrew to Fortuna, where he attacks them with his flagship emulating Andross. It is destroyed by a strange, insect-like creature, which then attacks the team. Fox destroys it, and takes a partial "core memory" from it for research just before a large number of identical insects arrive. Back at the Great Fox, Fox and the team learn from Beltino that the attacking creature was an Aparoid, one of the powerful species that destroyed the fleet seventeen years ago. The team finds a distress signal being sent from Katina, where Fox destroys a giant four-legged UFO infected by the Aparoids and finds another Core Memory. Soon, Pigma arrives there, takes it and leaves Katina. The Star Fox team infiltrates the Sargasso Space Zone, a criminal hideout, recruited by Wolf O'Donnell. However, Wolf, Panther and Leon tell Fox that Pigma was no longer part of the team.
After saving the planet Fichina from the Aparoids, the team head for the asteroid belt, only to see Pigma's ship infected by the Aparoids. As Fox defeats Pigma and retrieves the core memory, Pepper and the team reveal the information for the Aparoid Homeworld. After Krystal senses that the dinosaur planet Sauria is invaded by the Aparoids, she and Fox arrive there to destroy the hatchers. Back on the Great Fox, Pepper informs the team about the Aparoids invading Corneria. Fox, aided by Wolf's team, fight back against the Aparoids. They are forced to fight with Pepper's infected ship. Fox defeats it, before Peppy saves Pepper and soften the crash. Back in space, Beltino discovers that all Aparoids are vulnerable to apoptosis, creating a program to force all Aparoids to self-destruct. The Star Fox team head to defend the large warping space station, the Orbital Gate from the Aparoids. They destroy the missiles, while Beltino finishes creating the self-destruct program.
The team reaches the Aparoid Homeworld, where the entry to the core of the planet is blocked by a base and a large shield. They infiltrate the base to disable the shield, but quickly regenerates. The damaged Great Fox, infected by the Aparoids, destroys the base and opens the shield long enough for the team to get through before it explodes. The shield then regenerates and destroys the Great Fox. With Wolf, Panther and Caroso distracting the Aparoids, Fox, Falco, Slippy and Krystal enter the core of the planet onward to the Queen's lair. There, the Aparoid Queen uses the voices of Peppy, Pepper, Pigma and James to deceive them into joining her. The team ignores her and Fox shoots the program inside of her. However, the queen represses it and attempts to escape. The team follows the queen deeper into the planet, until Fox defeats the queen. The program then makes the Aparoids self-destruct and the destruction of the planet. Back in space, Fox and his team see Peppy and ROB alive in the escape pod. Fox mentions the surviving possibility for Wolf's team and General Pepper, and thanks his friends for their efforts.
Star Fox: Assault was first announced on May 8, 2002. It had a tentative release date of April 2003 for Japan, and would be developed by the same employees who worked on Ace Combat 2 at Namco. New information about the game didn't show up until a short video montage at E3 2003 in Los Angeles, which showcased the game's first-person perspective. According to Electronic Gaming Monthly, the video was booed by viewers, and EGM itself said the video was "remarkably unimpressive".
During development, the game had the working title: Star Fox Arcade, but eventually came to be known as Star Fox: Assault. In 2003, the game was intended to be multi player oriented, and the ground missions of the game had a control scheme similar to the on-foot multi player mode in Star Fox 64.
At E3 2004, EGM, the same magazine that wrote poorly about it a year before, wrote a follow-up that said the game looked "much better than...a year ago". Assault was scheduled for a November 2004 release, but was delayed to the beginning of 2005.
Assault uses middleware provided by the Japanese company CRI Middleware as a game engine. Yoshie Arakawa and Yoshinori Kanemoto provided Assault with a musical score and sound effects with the music performed by the Tokyo New City Orchestra. Most of the score pieces use themes from Star Fox 64, composed by Koji Kondo and Hajime Wakai.
Star Fox: Assault was met with mixed to positive reception, and currently has an average score of 71% on GameRankings and 67/100 on Metacritic. Some complaints were aimed at the control scheme during on-foot portions; IGN worded the complaint as "ground missions suffering from sloppy control". GameSpot noted that the multiplayer portion of the game has little lasting value, an annoyance that IGN felt as well. IGN went on to say the design was too simplistic. However, IGN noted that being able to switch between the Arwing and Landmaster at will was a "welcome addition". In Electronic Gaming Monthly, two of the reviewers gave it an 8 out of 10. Play Magazine gave the game 8 out of 10. Thunderbolt gave it 9 out of 10. Kevin Gifford said that "the game is aimed less at the Mario club and more toward the hardcore crowd". EGM also noted that Assault had an epic feel, helped by a great soundtrack.
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