I know, I know- lets get the Archer jokes out of the way for a minute because it cannot be avoided when discussing Top Gun, one of the cheesiest action flicks of the 80's. Its honestly Tom Cruise's best film and has so many memorable quotes in it. Although there are cliches and admittedly some big plotholes (like seriously, how come Maverick and Goose's plane can fly upside down above another plane without both planes crashing into each others' tail fins?!), its still one of my favorite guilty pleasures to watch. Do I think they need a sequel? No....some things are just better off as having just one film.
Anyways, although I took inspiration for Top Gun for this piece, that was not the main thing I wanted to talk about. Instead, I wanted to focus on Star Fox. I freaking love this game series- not only is it my favorite Nintendo (Metroid is a close second), but it is my favorite video game franchise. And since we're going to get new game in the series in April 22, 2016 (hopefully the date won't change again) called Star Fox Zero I figured it be a good time to spotlight this series (especially since yesterday Nintendo released some new gameplay footage). Well, its time for me to discuss my thoughts on each game of the series.
Star Fox was released in 1993 for the SNES. Although the graphics these days may be considered dated by some, at the time it looked amazing. Unfortunately, I did not get to experience this awesome game until my college years when I began collecting retro video games. Because I was already a Star Fox fan before playing this game, it felt like I was holding an important piece of video game history. It was a fun experience to say the least. There was supposed to be a sequel to this game, Star Fox 2, and it was completely programmed. However, it was shelved because of the release of the N64. It would be awesome if Star Fox Zero included a translated copy of the game as one of its bonus features. But for now, I guess I will have to settle with the awesome comic strip that Nintendo Power published.
Star Fox 64 was released in 1997 and was a reboot of the original game. It is also the beginning of the main continuity of the series. It was my favorite game of the series. It also introduced voice-over work that was not present in the original game. This lead to so many awesome, memorable lines like "All aircraft report!", "Do a barrel roll!", "Fox, get this guy off me!" (although that one was only memorable because of how Slippy is incapable of fighting off the other fighters....heck, there was a mission where you had to save the moron from a boss monster), and my favorite- "I can't let you do that, Star Fox!". I loved the Landmaster levels (it broke up the monotony of flying around in an Arwing, plus I was driving a freaking tank). Supposedly there was a way to make the characters have a garbled language similar to the first game in the European version. I wish they had incorporated that in the American version because it would have been similar to the multiple alien dialects used in Star Wars. Overall, I love this game. There is a reason why this game was ported over to/remade for the 3DS. As for the Star Fox 64 manga, I haven't read it so I cannot comment on it. If someone knows where there is a scanlation of this manga, will someone please let me know?
Star Fox Adventures was released in 2002 for the GameCube. It was originally going to be a game for the N64 called Dinosaur Planet but was instead altered to be a Star Fox spinoff because Shigeru Miyamoto saw similarities between one of the characters and Fox McCloud. This video game was my first experience with the Star Fox franchise and was the game that got me hooked into the franchise. But over the years, some of the faults did become clear such as its format being similar to that of a Legend of Zelda game (which is not exactly a bad thing since its Nintendo copying itself, but I can see why it put off people who wanted a game full of Arwing/Landmaster/Blue Marine sections....actually I take that back, I don't think I've heard of anybody liking the Blue Marine section of Star Fox 64. I might be wrong on that one.), some of the animation being awkward (JonTron already pointed this out in his video), Tricky being an annoying sidekick (granted he still wasn't begging Fox to get this guy off him or anything like that but still- he was a bit of a problem), and the sound effects weren't exactly the best for parts of the game. But, despite all of these faults I actually like this game. I know that there are some people that view this game as being as bad as (or worse than) games like ET: The Game, all of the R.O.B. games, everything that the Virtua Boy did, Superman 64, Sonic The Hedgehog (2006), Duke Nukem Forever, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Rambo: The Game, and Sonic Boom. Fair enough, everyone is entitled to their own opinions but I will respectfully still maintain my views on this game even if its not liked by the majority of the gaming community.
Star Fox Assault was released in 2005 and it was more or less a return to the classic formula of the previous games with the exception of an inclusion of on-foot sections. The game admittedly felt too scripted, going from point A to point B. I at least understood why Star Fox Adventures did this since its original game content was also scripted. But this game, however, I don't understand since it was a somewhat return to the classic formula (I figured it'd branch off with multiple paths like the other two Star Fox games). Star Fox Assault was also a bit too short (again, probably due to being scripted). But, still aside from those problems this game was decent. I liked how they brought back Star Wolf in this series (Panther Caroso was an interesting addition to this game). I kind of like the antagonists for this game- the Aparoids. They were like a strange amalgam of insects, Cybermen, John Carpenter's The Thing, and the Borg. It also does break up from the repeated Andross boss battles like the last games (although one of the early bosses did resemble him). Overall, even though this is the weakest entry in the series it was still a decent game.
Star Fox Command was the last game released in 2006. So far, this was the best sequel to Star Fox 64. It went back to basics by having it all entirely focused on progressing through different paths on a map like Star Fox and Star Fox 64. Supposedly the game also borrowed elements from the unpublished Star Fox 2, but I wouldn't know. One thing that I liked about this game was that you get to not only play as Fox McCloud, but you also get to play as different pilots. But instead of simply doing a 'cut and paste' of aircraft like a lot of games would have done, you get to fly different ships in the game. Each of them have a unique design along with their strengths and weaknesses. But, the part that was the most interesting about the game is that each path that you took in the game actually gave you a different story and multiple endings....in fact, there's nine of them to be precise. A lot of these endings are pretty plausible (which one is the true one we might never know). Its a great handheld game that is worth checking out.
What are my thoughts on the upcoming Star Fox Zero? At first I was ticked about the fact that after nearly a decade long wait I will never know the true ending to Star Fox Command since from what I've gathered it sounds like Star Fox Zero will be a reboot. But later I realized that since this is a reboot, it might be to Star Fox 64 and the other three sequels that followed what Star Fox 64 was to Star Fox....a sequel that manages to outdo its predecessor/s. The gameplay footage does look good (though a lot of people are complaining about the graphics, saying that it is no different than Playstation 2 graphics.....if video games were only about graphics, then there is no point in playing them. Just watch a movie or tv show instead if you're going only for good visuals.). I heard that they were taking inspiration from Thunderbirds (which sounds awesome). I heard that they were going to do an episodic presentation of the game, which makes me worried that it will be like Star Fox Assault in that it will limit the gameplay to a single short story. I hope that the advertised features that the GamePad uses won't be pointless in the game. The only thing that has me worried is the fact that the Arwing and Landmaster transformations. It was cool about how the Landmaster could hover more (sort of like how the M-44 Hammerhead from the Mass Effect series did), but the main complaint was the Arwing itself. I like the idea of the Arwing changing into a mech (sort of like the Veritech fighters from Robotech), but it looks like a chicken. Something about that does look pretty goofy. But, who knows? I might be wrong and it might turn out to be awesome. I look forward to this game's release.
I hope you guys will enjoy this tribute that I did for my favorite video game franchise.
Top Gun- copyright Paramount Pictures
Fox McCloud, Krystal- copyright Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo, Nintendo EAD, Argonaut Software, Rare, Namco, Q-Games, PlantinumGames