Retro Profile: Star Fox (SNES)

sf_screen1.gifSometimes I can’t help but to be amazed at how good this game is, even in this day and time. Star Fox was the first Super NES game to utilize a graphics enhancer called the “Super FX Micro Chip”. The action was hot, the graphics were phenomenal, and the big explosions were a blast to see.

As good as visuals were for it’s time, video games have undergone major 3D graphical improvements since 1993. As a result, the simple shapes, backgrounds, and pace of the game may prove to be something that will take a little bit of getting used to if you’ve been keeping up with the current generation of games out there.

Besides shooting lasers and throwing bombs to take out everything in sight, you Arwing fighter can also speed up or slow down, depending on what the situation calls for. While the maneuvers and abilities of your ship are slightly primitive by today’s standards, it’s still a joy to play through each level, shooting up all sorts of enemies and blasting the end-level bosses into oblivion.

Depending on what difficulty level you selected (Level 1, 2, or 3), the game will branch off at different points in the solar system. I found that on any level higher than “1”, it can be quite the challenge to get past the third or forth section of the game, but that’s not a bad thing. It keeps the gameplay fresh, adding much replay value to the whole experience.

sf_screen2.gifNo matter which course you select, all them feature very well designed locations. Nintendo didn’t take the easy out by creating mere wide open levels with a few enemy fighters taking shots at you. After playing through the first level, you’ll constantly have to dodge tricky obstacles that require faster reflexes the further along you get in the game. For instance, there’s one section where you must fly inside a few armada fighters, before going to the mother ship itself. While inside these ships, you’ll have to maneuver around stationary pillars, force certain doors to open, and avoid enemy fire– all while in a very, very narrow space. That’s not exactly an easy task to pull off, as anyone whose played Star Fox before can tell you.

Play or Stay? If your and old-schooler looking to relive precious summer days spent on 16-bit goodness, this game is certainly worth keeping. Others who prefer today’s graphical technology and ridiculously deep story lines may be a bit more reluctant to hunt down the cartridge. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before Nintendo makes Star Fox available on the Wii’s Virtual Console service. It’s a game that almost any gamer can appreciate. — Jamie Alston

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