Corneria, fourth planet of the Lylat system. The evil Andross turned this once thriving system into a wasteland of near extinction…
…and it’s time for you (as Fox McCloud) to restore the peace. And by this, I mean blast everything in your path as you journey from Cornerea through to Venom – where you will eventually fight Andross.
There are 15 planets (or levels) in the Lylat system and various different routes you can take to get from Cornerea to Venom: (bottom left to top right) …
Team Star Fox
Fox McCloud – this is you and you are awesome. Nuff said.
Peppy Hare – a team mate of your dads before his betrayal and untimely death. He can sometimes get into difficulty but often provides you with hints and tips, along with the occasional morale boosting sentiment.
Falco Lombardi – a sharp tongued sharpshooter and extremely skilled at that. His backchat rivalled only by his abilities. A useful member of the team who often helps you out.
Slippy Toad – a waste of programming. Utterly useless. Cannon Fodder.
Arwing – you play the majority of the game in this. Somewhat like the X-Wing from the Star Wars franchise the Arwing has two modes: regular (wings in) for scrolling gameplay and All Range Mode (wings out) for arena style combat.
Using Z (left) and R (right) you can perform barrel rolls which will deflect enemy fire. You can also brake (bottom c) and boost (left c) which use power from your power gauge – meaning you can only do these for a few seconds at a time.
Other manoeuvres include a somersault, which can be done in scrolling or All Range Mode and a U turn, which can only be performed during All Range Mode.
Landmaster – is the tank you use on both Macbeth and Titania. Is is completely ground based apart from a few seconds of hovering which uses up power in the same way as your boost/brakes/U-turn in the Arwing.
The Landmaster also has brake/boost functionality.
Submarine – is only used in Aquas which you take on alone. Both boost and brake are available along with barrel rolls. You cannot do a somersault using the submarine.
Laser(s) – In the Arwing/Submarine you start with a single green laser. Grab a laser upgrade and you get twin greens. Grab one more and you get twin blue lasers – which make this fantastic photon torpedo sort of sound when fired.
Laser Blast – Charge your lasers holding A and you can fire a sort of laser blast – which is a travelling ball of energy that can lock on and home in on enemies. This is useful for destroying multiple enemies and often gets you Hit+1 (or more) depending upon the target/number of secondary targets.
Bombs – you start with 3 of these and can carry a maximum of 9 at any given time. These are fired using B but can be locked on using hold+A – but hitting B to launch a bomb instead. These do bigger damage than laser blasts and are good for taking out numerous enemies at once.
Cannon – purely used in the landmaster, this fires cylindrical laser blasts at a high rate and is used in place of the lasers. You can lock on and home in using this weapon in the same way the Arwing does.
Homing Torpedos – only available in the submarine, you have an infinite supply of these but can only fire after the previous one has exploded. Necessary for both destroying enemies AND lighting the way in Aquas.
* Any weapons you have when you finish a level are carried to the next level. If you die/retry a level you start from single green laser (only applicable to Arwing/Submarine).
Each level boasts its own differences in layout, enemies, scenery (some of which can be devastating to your cause) and end level boss/bosses.
In each level there are different things to be done and different paths you can take which ultimately determine the route you will take as you work your way through the Lylat System.
The majority of the levels are scrolling but a few are set in All Range Mode from the off which adds a nice bit of variety.
Each level (or planet) has a boss at the end. You pretty much face these on your own, with the rest of the team flying around in the background – getting chased by missiles and giving you status updates.
The bosses vary in complexity and seem to get ever so slightly harder as you move closer to Venom. For the most part I found the bosses enjoyable, with the exception of one or two that were just annoying.
Depending on which path you take through a level – there can be a different boss once you reach the end.
Never cry Wolf…
In a few of these levels, 4 foes of yours (and seemingly your posthumous father) show up to battle it out and exact revenge upon you and your team. It is never fully explained why – perhaps you teased them at space school.
The leader is called Star Wolf and along with his team – flies an Arwing just like you.
You only have the option of facing these guys in 3 of the levels but they do add a nice twist and really make you work for your win (especially in one of the paths you can take through Venom – where they have “better ships”).
Best just to shoot ’em down as quickly as possible…
The gameplay throughout really is great. The controls are easy and natural enough, the levels scroll well and the game seems to flow with a certain ease you would not expect from an early N64 game (or indeed any N64 game).
The immense amounts of things to shoot (and avoid) really do make this game fun. You have to think on your feet and no two levels are the same. With different paths to take – both within the levels and from planet to planet – you really can play this again and again (and again and again….) without getting bored in the slightest.
Sending out an SOS
From time to time you are assisted in your quest by random good guys with whom you appear to have some history. At no point do you ask for help and in places this can actually work against you eg. when trying to get extra hits for the medal on Sector Z.
If you complete a level with ALL your team mates intact AND get the required amount of hits you are awarded a medal. The amounts vary from course to course – some being much much harder to obtain than others.
If you achieve a medal on all of the 15 levels you unlock Expert Mode. This involves the same levels but with more enemies, increased enemy accuracy and increased damage to you. Basically, if you fly into anything even once, be prepared to lose a wing and become 3 upgrades away from the twin blue lasers you may once have had.
Expert Mode is a fantastic reward for all your hard work AND means you can carry on playing the game again and again and again………….
This game really is a gem. It oozes with playability and has so many different ways of completing it that I would challenge anyone to ever get bored.
Everything. The flight mode, the weapons, the upgrades, the different vehicles, the routes, the random assistance, the medal challenge, expert mode, the silly banter……..even the graphics – which isn’t often the case for games of this console.
Babysitting your teammates/losing out on a medal ‘cos one of them cried off having been unable to fend off ONE enemy ship.
Multiplayer mode – the less said about this the better.
Slippy – as above.
- The game was known as Lylat Wars in some territories because Nintendo considered that “Star Fox” sounded too similar to the name of the German company “StarVox”, and were concerned that a legal dispute over the name might delay the release of the game.
- Shigeru Miyamoto is a fan of English puppet dramas, such as Thunderbirds. Consequently, when developing the animation sequences for Star Fox 64, the staff made the characters’ mouths pop open and closed like mouths of puppets. This reduced the amount of animation work put into the series.
- Star Fox 64 was the first Nintendo 64 game to have included support for the Rumble Pak, with which it initially came bundled.