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. After the game was promoted at Blockbuster and Movie Gallery on February 1, 2005, 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 is set after Star Fox Adventures, and follows Fox McCloud and his team attempting to save the Lylat System from the enemy insect beings called Aparoids. It 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 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 and assisting 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 and Wolf).
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.
It has a number of items and weapons, most of which are taken directly from the single-player mode. Special unlockable weapons included 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 temporarily makes the player invisible.
Weapons and items
The game features a number of 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. The game 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
The game takes place in the Lylat system where the player visits the rest of all planets, 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 at the Great Fox to observe missions. It also features the return of the Star Wolf team, including 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 is the scientist. The Aparoids are villainous insect-like creatures. They are capable of infecting machines and life forms, and transforming themselves into Aparoidedation. The large ones have a core memory containing information on contacting their planet. They are led by the Aparoid Queen (Aparoid Mother in the Japanese version), who believes that all things in the universe exist for the infestation, and that becoming one of them does not, but rather a form of evolution. All Aparoids are controlled by the Queen, until Fox destroys her.
Andrew assumes the leadership of the Venomian rebellion, but Fox and his allies arrive to help the Cornerian Army. After a strange insect-like creature destroys the flagship emulating Andross, Fox does to it and takes a partial "core memory" for research. Fox learns from Beltino that the enemy creature was an Aparoid, one of the powerful species that destroyed the fleet seventeen years ago. After Pigma steals another Core Memory, Fox convinces Wolf to help the team. As Fox destroys Pigma's infected ship and retrieve the core memory, General Pepper reveals the location of the Aparoid Homeworld. Discovering that the Aparoids are vulnerable to apoptosis, Beltino creates the self-destruct program. The team reaches the Aparoid Homeworld through the large warping space station, only to discover the planet's core blocked by a base and the regenerative shield. The destructive and infested Great Fox opens the shield wide enough for the team to get through inside the planet. Fox and his allies enter the lair of the planet, where 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 on the queen, killing her. After the team escapes from the planet's destruction, Fox mentions the survival possibilities for the others.
The game was 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 multiplayer oriented, and the ground missions of the game had a control scheme similar to the on-foot multiplayer 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.
The game 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. However 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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