Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Retro Game of the Day! Starfox

Star Fox (known to those EU guys as Star Wing) was a hunge landmark title released for the SNES back in 1993. The first game released for the system incorporating a little-seen SuperFX chip (adding $10 cost to the cart it was built into) which boosted the capabilities of the already-powerful system quite noticeably. What we had here was the first honest-to-goodness 3D polygonal-graphics based shooter that the Nintendo set would be exposed to, and it went off with a BANG.

Developed by Nintendo's buddies at Argonaut, this title managed a "funny animal" vibe without feeling anything other than badass; no small feat, that! To the player's joy, you'd get thrown into the game immediately with a little practice-feeling mission and plenty of stuff to destroy immediately. For those of us not used to participating in any of the PC gaming going on at the time, this was quite the treat. Everything looked great, the action and blasting was intense, the gameplay handled marvelously..

Of course you had to fly different missions though all manner of environments (protect the home base, assault through asteroid fields, attack enemy fortifications). There was plenty of variety, you had a crew supporting you (and needing your aid), the soundtrack was right-on.

There's not too much else to say about Star Fox - it's an old title and it looks that way, early 3D games can't measure up to modern games in the same nostalgic way that the old 2D ones can, or at least not so much - I will always hold some reverence for this title, and it's competence of design definitely helped things. Older gamers will still get a kick out of it, but I doubt many of the younger generation would even give it a passing glance, it's nearly a cave painting in some regards!

This game led to a succession of follow-ups across future Nintendo platforms - I never saw any of the sequels, though the debut was considered a hit I am not sure any of the successors made any lasting contributions to the culture of gaming. For me, I'll always remember picking this one up when I was almost out of high school, blasting Sonic Temple by the Cult and exclaiming "holy crap!" as I witnessed the future of gaming in my living room..!

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