StarFox Assault

When this initially came out, it got middling to mildly positive reviews in the press, and I was still trying to get the taste of Starfox Adventures out of my mouth, so I didn't pay much attention. Recently, however, I saw the game cheap, and cheap is the magic word, so I decided to give it a try. Low expectations can often be rewarded, folks: it's a lot of fun.

For those of you who aren't familiar, Starfox is one of Nintendo's franchises with a number of anthropomorphic creatures forming a space faring team of adventurers out to do the right thing, protect good from evil and collect powerups with abandon. There's a talking fox, a bird man, a creepy frog thing and.. well, you get the point. Originally out on SNES as a rather impressive FX cart with polygon graphics, the series has presented itself on the GameCube and DS since - I'm sure a Wii game is in development in Japan as we speak. The core gameplay of the series has been flying around blowing stuff up, in a third person view.. also, generally speaking, you need to take care of your wingmen, too.

Starfox Assault is gorgeous - admittedly I was playing it in 480p on my Wii, but.. wow. It's got highly polished presentation, excellent character models, fast frame rate, all that crap. I was marvelling while playing it, it really is a far way from the early days of the GameCube, and a sign of what could've been done with the power of the console if it had been more popular than it was.

World's most obvious caption: DO A BARREL ROLL!

The gameplay itself is divided into missions, with at least some variation in play. The first mission is a traditional shooter set in space, with you protecting your wingmen, blasting waves of fighters and capitol ships, then a boss fight. The actual movement is more or less on rails.. you can move around to an extent on the screen, but you're being pulled along a set path - ala Starblade or the many other FMVesque shooters of the early 90s. Fortunately, the wingmen (and occasional bad guys) talking to you and the gorgeous scenery will keep you from getting too upset about that, at least the first few times through. Later missions involve Fox on foot, third person perspective, blasting away, or jumping into a Landmaster vehicle, with the ability to hover in the air.

I can heartily recommend this at a reasonable price, but in all honesty, it may not hold up to repeated plays.. get it cheap and you'll be very pleased. If nothing else, it's about 87.42% better than StarFox Adventures. I used science to figure that out.

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