Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Classic Games Race - Star Fox

Recently, me and my buddy Josh decided we didn't play enough video games and wanted to tackle some classics.  That's not entirely true.  I play an ample amount of games but I've been making it a point to plow a classic when I can - which sounds more like something I would say if I were running around nursing homes with a boner.  There are definitely some classic titles that either escaped mine and Josh's childhoods completely or at the very least we were just too stupid as kids to beat. Lucky for him, a few months back I made him an Emulation Station that contains enough ROMs of classic consoles to keep him busy for an eternity and I of course have my massive collection of cartridges and systems.  Yes, it's illegal for him to own the ROMs but did I mention his real name is Kyle and he lives in Alaska?  Josh who?

To motivate the playing of some titles we decided we'd start a game and play until one of us beat it, however long it took; Kyle on the EmuStation and me on the original hardware.  No codes, no cheats, no save states - just as God intended (except for the emulation part but fuck off).  It took us about a week of occasional play time to finally finish Star Fox.  I completed it first but it's less about the race and more about the experience.  At least, to me.

I never owned a Super Nintendo as a youngster so I've been playing catch-up with the major titles ever since.  We both kind of had a fond recollection of Star Fox so we decided that would be the first title we'd plow through, especially having heard it wasn't terribly difficult or time consuming to beat.

Graphically the game was a little rough at first.  It's been some time since I've had to differentiate between crudely shaped polygons on a screen.  Sometimes differentiating your partners from your enemies can be tough but they'll scream at you if you shoot the wrong ones. After an hour or two I finally go the gist of what was good and what was bad.

Here are a few thoughts I had about the game:

  • It's amazing how you never actually see Star Fox in the game but he's still such an important mascot and character in gaming.  
  • Maneuvering the ship was actually quite easy with inverted controls.  I'm more inclined to play a flying game with inverted axes than I would any FPS
  • The game must have been quite the feat for its time, appearing before any other polygonal 3D capabilities could be afforded the processing
  • The final boss was actually really cool, I was impressed.  1994 me would have been excited too.
  • I only beat the Level 1 route.  There are two others with increased difficulty but I'm satisfied having beaten the first one.  I can only take so many polygons.
  • The evil gorilla king dude that appears when you are defeated must be responsible for the nightmares of many children in my generation
  • The game has very little lore or story to it so it did little to pique my excitement about the upcoming Star Fox Wii U game.  Perhaps the Nintendo 64 version will?  It doesn't need a story to be fun but it needs something to dig into.

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