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Star Fox Adventures

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Star Fox Adventures
Star Fox Adventures GCN Game Box.jpg
North American cover art
Developer(s) Rare
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Director(s) Lee Schuneman
Producer(s)
Designer(s) Steven Brand
Shaun Read
Programmer(s) Phil Tossell
Artist(s) Kevin Bayliss
Johnni Christensen
Keith Rabbette
Composer(s) David Wise
Ben Cullum
Series Star Fox
Platform(s) GameCube
Release
  • NA: September 23, 2002
  • JP: September 27, 2002
  • AU: November 15, 2002[1]
  • EU: November 22, 2002
Genre(s) Action-adventure, beat 'em up, shooter
Mode(s) Single-player

Star Fox Adventures is an action-adventure video game, developed by Rare and published by Nintendo. Although the game's original concept was intended for the Nintendo 64, Shigeru Miyamoto convinced Rare to re-design the game to be both a part of the Star Fox series and as a launch title for the GameCube. The game was released on September 23, 2002, and was the final Nintendo game that Rare developed, before it was acquired by Microsoft to be a part of its PC and Xbox division the day after the game's release in North America. The game's story takes place after the events of Star Fox 64, in which players take control of Fox McCloud who is sent on a mission to visit a planet in the Lylat System and save it from destruction.

The game received mostly positive reviews, notably on its detailed graphics, new character designs on characters including Fox, and its dynamic environments. However its Legend of Zelda-influenced gameplay received mixed feedback, while there were mixed reactions from critics and fans alike in regards to Rare's departure from Nintendo following the game's release.

Gameplay[edit]

Fox McCloud in combat with enemies. The interface displays the player's lives, controls, and timer.

The game is played from a third-person perspective with full camera control in most areas and the ability to use a first-person perspective for looking around a location, with the players able to use a widescreen mode, provided that their console is hooked up to a television set that has widescreen capabilities.[2] The game's story focuses on two different styles of gameplay which the player switches between at various points.

The first style of gameplay is "Adventure Mode", which is the main mode of gameplay that Star Fox Adventures focuses on, and operates in a similar manner to that of the games from The Legend of Zelda series; in particular, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.[3][4][5] In this mode, players control the game's protagonist as they explore thirteen different locations on foot, each of which unlocks when the player completes a specific task/acquired a new skill that is required, in order to progress the story.[6] Some of the gameplay mechanics are similar in fashion to those in the Zelda games - Adventures features a form of currency called "Scarabs", that can be used to purchase healing items, new equipment and maps of the various locations; the main character's health is divided into hearts consisting of four segments, with the player beginning with three hearts and earning a new one after completing key stages of the story; the character can climb ladders and ledges, swim, and jump between platforms, but cannot freely jump themselves; some areas require the player to solve a puzzle to acquire something and/or move on; and the game features a day-and-night phase, though this is more gradual than in Zelda games.[6][4][6][2]

The main character comes equipped with a staff after the initial stages of the game, which functions as both a weapon, and a tool for exploration and puzzle-solving. Combat is mainly melee-orientated, with players locking-on to an enemy upon moving in close. Once in combat, an enemy's health is displayed as a heart icon above them, with players able to strafe and roll around a target to dodge attack, while using the staff to either block incoming strikes, or attack an enemy.[3] As a tool, the staff can be used to open containers, operate mechanisms, or lift up stones to uncover hidden caves and boulders to find items. As the player progress in the story, the staff can be upgraded with powers that can help in combat or assist in solving puzzles and exploring locations, including the ability to fire projectiles at enemies or trigger switches, and a special jump ability to reach places that are inaccessible through normal methods. However, using such powers requires magical energy, which the player can recover by retrieving special crystals from the environment.[2] Along with the staff, the player can also has a sidekick that joins them after a certain stage of the story, who can help by finding them items and using certain abilities to open up new areas. Such abilities, referred to as tricks, require the player to feed them with special mushrooms, with each one constituting one trick that can be performed, with the sidekick able to perform a maximum of six tricks when fully fed before needing more mushrooms. The game's inventory system focuses on three areas - items, staff powers, and tricks - with the player able to use three scanner systems in the game - a mini-map of a region (provided a map has been purchased first), a scanner to give information on objects in that are approached, and a fuel cell radar.

The second style of gameplay is "Arwing Mode", and functions in a similar manner to other titles in the Star Fox series. In this mode, the player decides where on Dinosaur planet they wish to go; at the beginning of the game, the planet itself, the game's overworld, is only accessible, but upon unlocking a planet segment during the Adventure Mode, the player gains access to travelling there via Arwing. Upon choosing a destination, the player engages in an on-rail segment, in which players dodge obstacles while shooting down enemies, with the ability to fly through silver rings to recover some health, and being able to use super-bombs to eliminate groups of enemies. However, in order to visit a place, the player must fly through a set number of gold rings; each segment has around 10 gold rings, and the player will need to fly through more to reach later areas, or be forced to repeat the segment. In addition, the player must also acquire a certain amount of fuel cells during Adventure Mode, before they can use the Arwing to travel somewhere.[6][2]

Plot[edit]

Characters and settings[edit]

Star Fox Adventures features both the established main characters of the Star Fox series—Fox, Falco Lombardi, Slippy Toad and Peppy Hare (though Falco is absent from the majority of the game), as well as a host of new characters, including a mysterious blue fox named Krystal and the small dinosaur Prince Tricky. The entire planet is populated with dinosaurs, like the tyrannical General Scales, and other prehistoric animals such as pterosaurs and mammoths.[2]

The entire game takes place on the world of Dinosaur Planet (known as "Sauria" in subsequent games) and a number of detached pieces of the planet that are suspended in orbit around it. Dinosaur Planet is ruled by the EarthWalker tribe, resembling Triceratops, and the rival CloudRunner tribe, similar to pterosaurs and birds. The SharpClaw tribe are villainous humanoid theropods.[2] Andross also appears as the final boss.

Story[edit]

Eight years after the events of Star Fox 64, Krystal looks for answers to the destruction of her home planet, Cerinia and the death of her parents. She lands on Krazoa Palace, after receiving a distress call from the planet[2] and discovers that it was attacked by General Scales and the SharpClaw army. Krystal 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.[7] However, after releasing the first one, a mysterious being sends Krystal into the spirit's path, trapping her in a floating crystal atop the Krazoa Palace until all the spirits can be returned.

On the edge of the Lylat System, General Pepper contacts the Star Fox Team, asking them to investigate the invasion of the Dinosaur Planet.[8] Since the team are desperate for money and maintenance, Fox McCloud agrees to take a look, arriving unarmed at Pepper's request to avoid trouble with the locals. On the planet's surface, Fox obtains and wields the magic staff which Krystal lost earlier. Fox learns from the Queen of the EarthWalker Tribe that Scales stole four Spellstones from the planet's two Force Point Temples.[2] To prevent the planet from breaking up further and restore it to its original unity, Fox restores the stones to the temples, with the help of the Queen's son, Prince Tricky. As Fox retrieves the stones, he discovers that he must also retrieve the other five Krazoa Spirits to repair the planet[9] and save Krystal.[10] When Fox finds the last of the spirits, he discovers that it is guarded by Scales himself. However, just as Fox and Scales engage in combat, a mysterious voice orders Scales to surrender the spirit, to which he reluctantly agrees. Fox takes the spirit to the Krazoa Shrine and frees Krystal.

The spirits are forced into the head of a Krazoa statue, which reveals itself to be the revived Andross, the mastermind behind the spirit scheme, who flies off to resume his conquest of the Lylat System.[11] When Falco Lombardi arrives in space,[12] he helps Fox defeat Andross, restoring and repairing the Krazoa spirits to the planet. Afterwards, Falco rejoins the Star Fox team and Krystal is recruited as well.

Development[edit]

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

What would become Star Fox Adventures was initially developed by Rare as Dinosaur Planet, a Nintendo 64 game unrelated to the Star Fox series.[13] According to lead software engineer Phil Tossell, development of Dinosaur 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.[14] 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 interwoven stories.[14] The plot concerned Sabre (whose role was given to 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', which would let the player switch between Krystal and Sabre.[13] Dinosaur Planet was intended to be Rare's last game for the Nintendo 64 and was adorned with gameplay and cinematics introduced by The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.[13] Dinosaur Planet initially utilised the Nintendo 64's Expansion Pak and was housed in a 512-megabit (64 megabyte) cartridge, which would have placed it among the largest Nintendo 64 games by stored data.[13]

Shigeru Miyamoto mentioned in a retrospective interview that, after reviewing content of Dinosaur Planet, the similarities of Rare's anthropomorphic design of Sabre 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.[15] 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.[14] The updated title was originally named Star Fox Adventures: Dinosaur Planet, but "Dinosaur Planet" was later removed.[16] 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.[14] Before the change, Rare released downloadable, limited full length MP3s from the unreleased game—many of which did appear in Star Fox Adventures—to video game websites, along with numerous trailers and screenshots of gameplay.[17]

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 an interview with NintendoLife [14]

With the Star Fox theme established, Rare begun re-working the game for the upcoming GameCube and was subsequently met with little interference from Nintendo. During development, the team was invited to Nintendo's headquarters in Kyoto to discuss progress and certain changes; in return Star Fox creator Takaya Imamura came to stay at Rare's Twycross studio to oversee development.[14] Tossell stated that "without a doubt", Nintendo strengthened their relationship through trust and respect, despite Nintendo only owning 49% of the company at the time.[14]

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, thus ending Rare's entire association with Nintendo.[14] Many fans and critics do not consider Star Fox Adventures to be an "essential" Rare title, as the negativity was attributed to Microsoft's takeover, which led to some fans speculating that Microsoft were "buying out competition".[13][14]

David Wise used Peter Siedleczek's Advanced Orchestra library in creating the music for Star Fox Adventures.[18] Wise said the tracks that referenced the music for the previous Star Fox games came very late into development, which was after the developers created Dinosaur Planet into Star Fox Adventures.[19]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
Metacritic82/100[25]
Review scores
PublicationScore
AllGame3.5/5 stars[20]
Edge6/10[21]
EGM7.17/10
Eurogamer6/10
Famitsu32/40[22]
Game Informer8.75/10[23]
GameSpot8.3/10[4]
IGN9/10[3]
Nintendo Life7/10[24]
Nintendo Power4.5/5 stars
NGC Magazine7.2/10[26]

Star Fox Adventures received "generally favorable" reviews, according to video game review aggregator Metacritic.[25] It sold over 200,000 copies in Japan following its release, and was the fastest-selling GameCube game at the time.[27] By July 2006, it had sold 800,000 copies and earned $30 million in the United States. Next Generation ranked it as the 73rd highest-selling game launched for the PlayStation 2, Xbox or GameCube between January 2000 and July 2006 in that country. Combined sales of Star Fox games released during the 2000s reached 1.2 million units in the United States by July 2006.[28] Star Fox Adventures was eventually designated a Player's Choice game by Nintendo, signifying over 250,000 copies sold, and was thus available at a reduced retail price.[29][30]

The visuals were very well received. Edge wrote that the "visual splendour is immense",[21] whilst in a similar fashion Matt Casamassina of IGN noted that the game is a "perfect companion" to The Legend of Zelda series, to which Adventures is often compared.[3] Casamassina noted that elements of its graphical rendering were sophisticated for its time, in particular the advanced real-time rendering of the movement of the characters' fur.[3] NGC Magazine praised the game's vibrant atmosphere and detailed textures, adding that Adventures had "the best real time graphics on the GameCube so far".[26] The game's combat system garnered some accolades, with GameSpot adding that the combat is simplistic, despite being "good looking" and not "frustrating".[4] Casamassina also praised the combat system, calling it "a beneficial addition".[3] NGC Magazine similarly praised the use of the combat system, however they noted that the battles did not require any skill and eventually "felt like a dull chore".[26] The voice acting was viewed negatively, with Casamassina remarking that it is "over the top" in some places.[3] NGC Magazine felt that the accents of most of the characters did not suit that of the Star Fox world, in particular they noted the use of a Scottish accent for the Warpstone Master was "awful".[26]

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 license has been utilised sparingly to the point where the game felt "out of place within the confines of the Star Fox game universe". Casamassina asserted that Fox was "clearly only on 'Dinosaur Planet' at Nintendo's request, not because he belongs".[3] NGC Magazine similarly expressed concern on why Fox was added to the game, adding that Adventures was "one game Fox himself would probably want to forget" and further speculating that Nintendo only added the Star Fox license to prevent Dinosaur Planet from appearing on the Xbox.[26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Star Fox Adventures". Nintendo Australia. Archived from the original on September 1, 2007. Retrieved August 10, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h 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 e f g h "Star Fox Adventures Review". IGN. Retrieved 23 August 2006. 
  4. ^ a b c d Kasavin, Greg. "Star Fox Adventures for GameCube Review". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 25 October 2007. Retrieved 23 August 2006. 
  5. ^ Knezevic, Kevin (18 October 2011). "What Zelda Can Learn from Star Fox Adventures". Nintendojo. Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c d Sanchez, David (7 October 2011). "Star Fox Adventures - Does It Hold Up?". Gamezone. Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
  7. ^ Rare (23 September 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. 
  8. ^ Rare (23 September 2002). Star Fox Adventures. Nintendo. General Pepper: If Dinosaur Planet explodes, it could affect the entire Lylat System! 
  9. ^ Rare (23 September 2002). Star Fox Adventures. Nintendo. Queen EarthWalker: You're right. Without all the spirits the magic cannot be channeled back into the planet. 
  10. ^ Rare (23 September 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. 
  11. ^ Rare (23 September 2002). Star Fox Adventures. Nintendo. Level/area: Andross. Andross: And now, to destroy the Lylat System! 
  12. ^ Rare (23 September 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 
  13. ^ a b c d e Matt Casamassina. "IGN: Dinosaur Planet Preview". IGN. Retrieved 16 September 2006. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i McFerran, Damien. "Feature: The Making Of Star Fox Adventures". NintendoLife. Game Industry biz. Retrieved 30 April 2015. 
  15. ^ "IGN: Star Fox Planet?". IGN. Retrieved 16 September 2006. 
  16. ^ "IGN: Dinosaurs Travel to Japan". IGN. Retrieved 16 September 2006. 
  17. ^ "IGN: Dinosaur Planet Screenshots, Wallpaper, and Pics". IGN. Archived from the original on 28 July 2006. Retrieved 17 September 2006. 
  18. ^ "The Tepid Seat - Rare Music Team". Rareware.com. December 2004. Archived from the original on 6 December 2006. Retrieved 28 August 2015. 
  19. ^ Greening, Chris (December 2010). "Interview with David Wise". Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved 29 August 2015. 
  20. ^ Marriott, Scott Alan. "Star Fox Adventures - Review". Allgame. Archived from the original on 14 November 2014. 
  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. 115: 130. November 2002. ISSN 1067-6392. 
  24. ^ "Star Fox Adventures review". Retrieved January 6, 2006. 
  25. ^ a b "Star Fox Adventures Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 29 April 2016. 
  26. ^ a b c d e "Starfox Adventures review - NGC". NGC Magazine. GameCube Europe. Archived from the original on 12 February 2005. Retrieved 2 May 2015. 
  27. ^ "Graphs: Weekly GCN Sales in Japan". IGN. Retrieved 21 January 2006. 
  28. ^ Campbell, Colin; Keiser, Joe (July 29, 2006). "The Top 100 Games of the 21st Century". Next Generation. Archived from the original on 28 October 2007. 
  29. ^ "Master Game List". Nintendo.com. Archived from the original on 15 August 2006. Retrieved 16 September 2006. 
  30. ^ "IGN: Rare". IGN. Retrieved 16 September 2006. 

External links[edit]