On-rails fast pace laser shooting action. The legendary Star Fox team is on the job. A mercenary group which was originally established by Fox McCloud’s deceased father, James. Using the legendary Great Fox as a base they must do everything in their power to earn a paycheck. First, they saved the Lylat galaxy from the nefarious hands of Andross in Star Fox 64, now Fox, having squandered the majority of the money earned from his first ordeal, must face his greatest challenge yet. Will he succeed, or will Fox’s journey in Star Fox Adventures be his last one?
Star Fox Adventures released in 2002 on the Nintendo GameCube to a majority of positive reviews. Holding a metascore of 82 in metacritic, and an user score of 7.7, it is still regarded as a good game in the series. I don’t, however, feel the same way… not even remotely. In order to understand Star Fox Adventures, we must first look at its history. The concept for the title originally began as its own entity (or intellectual property) called Dinosaur Planet. Once Shigeru Miyamoto got his hands on the project though, the whole project was altered to feature Fox and his team as the protagonists. The results were of a Star Fox title with more in common to The Legend of Zelda than to the titular series.
I will admit, however, that I was very excited about this title. I read all the magazines previews, and kept up with the updates as they came about. As the follow-up to the fantastic Star Fox 64, there was no doubt in my mind that Star Fox Adventures would be a great title. Boy, was I wrong. I hate this game. Star Fox Adventures is linear, boring, uninspired, simplistic, and a terrible use of the of the Star Fox name. The opening scene of the game is promising enough, but afterwards, the game simply falls short.
The on-rails section, which Star Fox is known for, is extremely limited. Combat is relegated to constant button mashing, and repetitive battles do not help this matter. The majority of the supporting cast do not get much development, and the story is rather shallow. The puzzles are terribly uninspired, such as the box sliding puzzle near the end of the game. Even the final boss of the game feels like he comes out of nowhere, and that’s because he literally does.
Basically, Star Fox Adventures is a generic adventure game in a Nintendo console. This basically pits it against the likes of Zelda and Mario. Hell, SFA was developed by Rare, a developer known for their epic collect-a-thon titles such as Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong 64. These aforementioned titles provide countless hours of entertainment, and are filled with numerous secrets for players dedicated enough to explore every nook and cranny in the games. On the other hand, Star Fox Adventures is a linear waste of 15 hours. To be fair, though, it does have something positive going for it: some amazing graphics along with a crisp constant 60 frames per second.
Personally, I just don’t like it. It seems after the release of this title, the Star Fox series would never again reach the heights of popularity it did during the Nintendo 64 era. Star Fox Assault proved to be unpopular due to the shoehorned use of on-foot sections. Star Fox Command is a mess with very little in common to the original series, and stylus only controls. Finally, Star Fox Zero, which has the ill-fated motion and mandatory second screen controls that basically dooms it to the bargain bin. All because Shigeru Miyamoto couldn’t keep his mitts off of Rare’s new product…
Interestingly enough, there are rumors circulating the web which speculate on Nintendo’s ulterior motive for the shift. Rare was being negotiated at the time with multiple companies. If Dinosaur Planet had not become Star Fox Adventures, the title might have been taken along with the rest of their properties to the new company. Nintendo didn’t want their investment to go to waste thus they forced Rare to make the change in order to keep the title on the GameCube. A clever move by all intents, but a bad one in regards to the greater scope of the Star Fox series as a whole.