Retrorevisited: Starfox 1-2, Starfox 64

Retrorevisited is a stream series where I revisit a game or a game series i haven’t played in over 10 or 20 years. I’ll go through to try see what i remember until a game over or I run out of continues. In some cases muscle memory may slowly return, in others probably not. This is a chance for me to revisit games of my youth that i enjoyed have or had at one point and bring more to the retro community with mini-reviews of them too. If I decide to play one later and do a full review, parts of the mini-review would be incorporated into it. Depending on the playstyle and graphics of the games the review will either be mini-reviews or one about all games in this session.

Starfox was released in 1993 and was the first SNES title to use a new graphic chip called the SuperFX chip. Sporting great game play and a killer soundtrack, this rail shooter was a bit hit, even if the graphics weren’t the prettiest. Other SuperFX chip games were later released, a list of which can be found here. Later Starfox games were released on other Nintendo consoles including the N64, GameCube, and the handheld DS. Starfox 2 was completed for the SNES but never released in 1995, over fears over looking inferior to 32bit games. Over the years, various rom images showed up online for it. The game got an official release with the SNES Mini in 2017, and on the Switch in 2019.

I loved Starfox as a kid!! I used to be pretty good at it, having finished it a few times i think. loved the gameplay and the great soundtrack and knew a few of the secrets. I’d just constantly get messed up by rng and my own mistakes in later levels, even after having racked up a number of extra lives and continues. This Retrorevisited will see how much I can remember of Starfox itself, along with trying out Starfox 2 for the first time as a bonus, seeing the rom from the SNES mini got leaked online at one point. I had Starfox64 and ate it up as a kid even with the N64 limitations! loved the additions to the series, hated some stuff like the battles with the Starwolf team but it was a great addition to the series!

STARFOX:

The graphics in Starfox aren’t pretty at all. They’re bland, chunky, and have no detail. This being the first SuperFX game the 3d models look great though even if they are bland looking. They all serve the purpose of being obstacles for you to fly your Arwing around, through, and to blow up. Modern gamers will scoff at them, but back when this came out they were mind-blowing the effects that could be done on the SNES with the SuperFX chip. They didn’t age well but I’m not one to drop grades due to the game looking ugly either.

The music is incredible! The first level’s music is iconic and the base of a lot of wonderful remixes and you can just blast it and know exactly what game it is the minute you hear it. All the music in this game is great honestly and worth blasting to keep you going in your fight. The sound effect…that i can’t even word, for when your teammates are talking is kinda annoying.

Play control is pretty tight and this game is a purse flight or fight title. You can change the controls before starting and they’re easy to remember. Get used to doing barrel rolls!

There’s 3 levels in this game as you take your fight from Corneria to Venom itself. Each path takes you between planets, asteroid fields, space creatures and space armadas. You’ll be fighting Andross’ forces as well as your environment. A lot of the challenge is getting through the levels, blasting enough enemies to earn extra lives and continues. You start with 3 lives and no continues, so you gotta fight your way to earning more chances to keep going. Bosses all have weak points which are usually flashing parts on them so you know when to shoot when their weak points open up to you. This game is a rail shooter, but again you can find your away through the levels easily.

Worth mentioning also your teammates in the Starfox Team all have personalities and aren’t just generic wingmen. You’ll have to help them out and they’ll keep you flying too. If they crash they’re out for the next level till their ship is repaired, meaning you’ll go from a team of 4 to 3 or less. Slippy still sucks though.

I GIVE STARFOX 4 OUT OF 5 ARWINGS!

STARFOX 2:

Graphics in Starfox 2 are a bit prettier seeing this was a SuperFX2 chip, and the game combines more traditional graphics mixed with the 3d models created by the FX2 chip. The map looks great and is quite colorful, and so are the dialogue boxes that pop up when something happens. Depending on the stage you’ll fight in cockpit view in your Arwing, 3rd person view, or change your ship into walker mode (which looks like an AT-ST from Star Wars). The walker isn’t the prettiest but does the job. Stages range again from planets, to space dogfights against the Starwolf team, to shooting down enemy missiles. Once again, many of the objects are bland and blocky looking, but they have a bit more detail this time with more details so it doesn’t just look like you’re fighting a big blob of something.

Starfox 2 continues with the amazing music. It’s still a shame this wasn’t officially released because besides the music, the game has some great concepts which were used in other games. You’ll enjoy the soundtrack in this one, though not as iconic as the first. I really enjoyed the space dogfighting tracks and sound effects too.

Play control is the same as the previous title, and you can set our control scheme at the start of the game. Everything else works perfectly and controlling your fighter is as tight as it was in the previous game.

Unlike the previous game, you have 2 lives: your main and your wingman. This game is a lot more open-world than the previous game and future titles. You got the normal and har dmode and your objectives before getting to Andross’ mothership will be random. What is constant though is shooting down missiles headed towards your home planet. if Corneria takes 100% damage, it’s game over. You’ll have to decide whether to shoot down missiles or liberate a planet or knock out a space carrier. The starwolf team shows up randomly so you’ll be dogfighting them as you go along. A full game won’t take long but you’ll switch between space battles and flying through bases and shooting down enemies in walker mode. Trying to navigate some of the bases can be disorienting unless you’re in walker mode. Once you know what you’re doing, the game becomes a points challenge to rack up as many points as you can with as few losses as you can for a higher rank.

If you get the chance, look for the manual for this online. The artwork alone is adorable and gives many tips and background information about the game’s development.

I GIVE STARFOX 2 4 OUT OF 5 ARWINGS!

STARFOX64:

(Note: when I played this for the stream, I used the Project64 emulator, so the graphics models were in HD)

Starfox64 has some lovely graphics even if dated by today’s standards. The n64 didn’t boost the prettiest graphics, but Starfox64 has some lovely and detailed character and flight models. Especially the large and detailed bosses ranging from enemy spaceships to creatures on planets. The character models for the Starfox team are the best I’ve seen (until the Gamecube and later titles). The stages themselves from planets to space itself are all beautiful and have a lot of detail and stuff in them so each stage is different and not generic looking.

64 has a wonderful soundtrack and the sound effects are great too. The game even has actual dialogue between your teammates and other npcs and even the bosses.

Play control is tight as it was with the previous games, and feels a lot better using the n64’s controller. The game makes uses of every button to firing your lasers, to barrel rolls, and more. Make doing barrel rolls second nature fast cause they’r emore useful here than before! The yellow c buttons are even used!

This is another rail shooter and like the first game, you’ll take a path to Venom on one of 3 levels. If you find a warp, you can skip levels. Blasting enemies with your guns or charged shots rack up kill totals which will help you earn more lives and continues, since you start with 3 lives and that’s it. Keeping your wingmen alive again is needed since if one of them is knocked out, they’ll be out for the next stage. Some stages you’ll pilot a tank and need to get used to controlling that rather than your Arwing, so that mixes up the action. Once again you can tell where to hit some bosses by the flashing parts on them, or one of your wingmen will tell you where to hit.

All range mode which came from Starfox 2 is back in some stages when you’re fighting bosses, or when the Starwolf team shows up. In the Starwolf fights you’ll be dogfighting them and keeping your wingmen alive until you can shake them off to finish your objective. I’ve always found them the hardest parts of the game since they tend to be hard to target and see, as they don’t have any hud features to show who they are on the main screen unlike your teammates.

I GIVE STARFOX64 4 OUT OF 5 ARWINGS!

GAMEPLAY VIDEO:

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1 thought on “Retrorevisited: Starfox 1-2, Starfox 64

  1. Great review, dude. I think I’d rate the original Starfox as a 3/5, but I totally agree with you about Starfox 2 & Starfox 64. SF2 tries a lot of new ideas, that are not always polished, but they DO make the game interesting. And SF64 takes some of those ideas, and executes them better on the N64 hardware. 😀

    A minor correction though, the Super FX chip was a co-processor, not simply a GPU. It handled most of the work, with the SNES CPU acting more like a co-processor.

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