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Featires:

Memory Card - 05 blocks
1-4 Players
Runs in Progressive Scan Mode

Introduction:

The last Starfox title I played was the very first one on the SNES, Starfox FX. Thinking back to that game I cannot help but think how it brought us a taste of things to come on the home console front. For those who remember, it added a 3d chip to the cartridge and the game moved and looked fantastic with simple texture mapping, shaded polygons. It was this overall

Starfox Assault

 

Starfox Assault

ESRB: Teen - T
Platform: Gamecube
Category: n/a
 
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Featires: Memory Card - 05 blocks 1-4 Players Runs in Progressive Scan Mode Introduction: The last Starfox title I played was the very first one on the SNES, Starfox FX. Thinking back to that game I cannot help but think how it brought us a taste of things to come on the home console front. For those who remember, it added a 3d chip to the cartridge and the game moved and looked fantastic with simple texture mapping, shaded polygons. It was this overall ‘horsepower' jump to the old 16-bit consoles that make me laugh as I wondered back then how gaming never looked so good! Of course it is now many years later and it takes a lot of eye candy to impress most gamers these days. After making a stop on each of the successive consoles after the SNES, the newest instalment comes to the Gamecube. Starfox Assault (SFA) explodes on to the Gamecube. The story is simple: A new threat has risen from the darkness of space...can Team Starfox, headed by Fox McCloud, save the Lylat system from such impending doom? Graphics: It was a bit surprising that Namco had taken over the Starfox duties as Starfox is a prized Nintendo franchise. I thought there was no way they could match some of the graphical beauties that Rare was known to have churned out in the past. This game was in development for around 2 years and it shows. Namco has done a great job in presenting this title. Most levels run at a consistent 60 frames per second. There is the odd dip in framerate which seems to occur when the screen is full of enemies during the space battles the player is blasting by giant ships and huge explosions. Don't get me wrong, it looks good as one flys around in their Arwing fighter however, these type of scenes seem to tax the GCN hardware, something I found kind of strange. Regardless this framerate hiccup is barely noticeable so don't expect to shed no tears here. Furthermore there were no visible signs of pop up or clipping, even on the some of the ground missions, which get can get hectic and at times downright annoying. One of my favourite levels is right at the beginning as you chase an enemy down through the atmosphere and on to the planet below. Textured and shaded beautifully, the backgrounds seem to be alive with vibrant colours. As one guides their ship they will notice the swaying plant life when battling on the surface of the planet. For those audiophiles out there SFA uns in progressive scan. Anyone in the position to utilize a HDTV is in for a real treat. That being said, the graphics can get a little repetitive and repeat from time to time however it did not deter this gamer from loving what was onscreen. Sound: The games sound is quite impressive as well. I found the voice acting clean and almost cartoony, bordering on cheesy. The cut scenes showcased most dialogue, but your onscreen friends are always talking to you however they are most likely to be asking to be bailed out of trouble or just plain old whining about something. In terms of the sound effects I loved hearing the clang of my ship bashing off the ground or having just clipped off some kind of structure during the heat of battle. The music really did not impress me all that much. Some tracks were okay as they were remixes of the old SF tunes from older games, which were great. Others just didn't match the game and really were quite poor. I was most disappointed that this game did not utilize "Dolby Pro logic 2" as I was under the Impression that most GC games would use this sound feature. This leads me to guess that we are only working with regular surround sound or stereo. In this day and age of advanced surround sound it should not have been too difficult to include DPL2. However, putting my bias aside the exclusion of DPL2 really makes no difference to the average player and the sound throughout the game is well done regardless of format. Gameplay I have to say that this game can is really fun at times but those who venture down this path will also find it excruciatingly difficult now and then. The space battles are, for the most part, fun. The flying sequences have the gamer flying though space destroying all enemies in on a pre-determined path. I felt like I was being led around on a collar and chain due to the fact that ‘on rail' gameplay limited my exploration. In fact I have only played one level where I have been able to freely explore and it made me realize that it would have been cool to be able to freely roam about and really get into some of the great visuals. Nintendo's controller, as good as it can be, really had me fuming in some spots as the control scheme took me some time to get used to. I found I had to invert the axis at which I flew the fighter. Up was down and down was up, doesn't always work but this can be fixed in the options. There are a plethora of control options ranging for those geared at the novice to those geared for a grizzled vet. With some practice I was able to perform some of the games many flying tricks. On the down side I found the targeting system of the Arwing's weapons to be overly responsive. For example, while flying and trying to shoot down enemies you'll use the c trigger/button to get them in your crosshairs and shoot. The trigger is actually so very twitchy and can go back and forth and back again in a blink of an eye. By the time you've compensated for the oversight enemies will have already shot at you and flown by. The tanks are also a similar affair but the focus is on the ground and not in the air. Tanks have tremendous firepower but can slowed down by the terrain and sometimes-poor mobility and this causes one to take a lot of enemy fire. On the other hand, the walking missions increase your mobility but the damage incurred raises tenfold which I found very frustrating but what is one to expect when they are out of their vehicle. As I continued playing I thought to myself "this game feels, and at times plays, like a certain Star Wars game that came out for the GCN". Namco also included a small multiplayer mode in SFA. Since the GC has virtually no online games you'll have to play 4 player split screen on one GC. It closely resembles a Mech-Assault type of battle. Basically you'll have to run to your vehicle of choice and the go to war. Once the players have gotten into their weapon of choice they can compete in death match modes in an arena style setting. The arenas are unlocked during the single player mode. One can can continue to unlock more secrets and arenas as they play in the multiplayer levels as well. Things like new maps, customizable options and other hidden surprises provide the incentive to continue playing. Conclusion: Starfox Assault has a great appeal. Given this franchise's past history it was something I looked forward to spending some time with as I hoped for a similar experience and feeling when playing the original SNES title. Unfortunately it seems to fall short in a few areas. Having a repetitive structure and a linear style of gameplay brings this title down a few notches. On a positive note some of the modes were really fun and I have to say that game looks pretty good as the graphics really do shine in areas. I would say to anyone that this game is worth trying out but be forewarned, it may not be for everyone but there is something here for most.





 
 

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