So I managed to pick up a SNES Classic. If you haven’t heard already, the SNES Classic is a miniature model of the actual Super Nintendo Entertainment System(SNES) packaged with two controllers and twenty-one games installed. While almost all of these are must have games, one game in particular stood out to us fans. Star Fox 2. A game that was worked on, almost completed, and cancelled at the last minute. Why? There have been interviews that stated Nintendo wanted the Nintendo 64 to host the next Star Fox, and with Star Fox 2 slated close to the release of the Nintendo 64 launching, they apparently didn’t want any confusion as to this game being mistaken for a N64 game. I get it, but I’m not buying it completely. But here we are, roughly twenty-one years later, getting a finished product that is Star Fox 2 for the SNES.
Side note- If you are wondering what my overall opinion is for the SNES Classic, that article will be coming very shortly after this one.
I will tell you that this was very hard for me to review. How do I write about this? Do I tell you my thoughts on this game, and how it works by today’s standards, or do I compare it to the timeline that is the SNES lineup? After playing through the game, I have decided that I will tell you my thoughts for both. I can’t finish this any other way. So let’s start with the good old days.
If this game had released back in 1996, I would tell you that even if it was almost too late due to the PS1 being out and the N64 releasing, I think it still would have been an instant classic. This takes what was so great about Star Fox and expands in almost every way. You see Andross make a return, wanting to take out the Star Fox team and Corneria for good! With the opening sequence leading into the title screen, you feel as if you have played this before. The music lending a hand with a great opening, I find myself recalling something old yet oddly new while not wanting to press start. But I do, and we get taken to an overworld of sorts, and I must pick who I am sending out in their Arwing to battle with Andross and his forces. I see the familiar Star Fox team Showing Fox, Falco, Peppy and Slippy. Two new characters join the roster, Miyu and Fay. After choosing your character, you choose a teammate to accompany you. I had to go with Falco.
In this overworld, you see a map of sorts, showing different planets, your two person team, and Andross himself across the system. Corneria has a damage gauge. If this reaches 100%, it’s over for the old Star Fox team. Andross will send missiles, adversaries such as the Star Wolf(shown in later games) team, or even outright boss battles heading straight for Corneria. If any of these reach Corneria, the planet will sustain damage. Granted, it seemed like the Star Wolf team mainly just pursued you. You can choose where your Arwing goes, plotting to intercept what is heading toward Corneria. You then go into battle. Flying your Arwing around either in first or third person, it is time to fight! In Space! Most of these are straight up dogfights, and while you feel this makes sense, and should definitely be a staple in the game, sometimes they just seem a bit boring. Staring at your cross hairs in a sea of black trying to follow your target just kind of got old for me.
Luckily, you have to go to planets and giant battleships and do you what you do best. Fly in tight corridors and turn your Arwing into a walking tank! This would have been the first time seeing this in action had this released in 1996, instead we see it in Star Fox Zero many years later on the Wii U. On one playthrough, Fox didn’t survive, and I thought it was game over. But the second part of your team will have their turn, allowing you to continue the game with your first pick out for good. I thought the perma-death scenario was actually kind of neat, although I’m not sure if it will alter the ending, because I restarted the game. Fox doesn’t die, okay? Don’t give me that look, Fox McCloud doesn’t go out in unreleased game two. Not on my watch. Most of these actual levels are pretty fun, having it out with giant bosses at the end, or simply just getting into shooting form, flying and dodging your way through while seeing the rest of the crew give their usual quirks or tips. Once you finally get to Andross, it all seems familiar again when you start the final confrontation. Finish the game and you get to see an overall score, and you find out that certain characters can lead to a harder difficulty.
So there you have it, Star Fox 2 could have easily been right alongside these classic games if it released at the right time. But I have to ask you this question. I would argue that Star Fox 64 is probably the de facto game in the series. Have you went back and played it? I can tell you that to this day, it still holds up well. Have you went back and played the original Star Fox? It just doesn’t hold up at all minus that amazing soundtrack. Don’t get me wrong, Star Fox will always hold a special place in my heart. It was the game that made me start playing with inverted controls, and it has been that way since. But some games don’t age well. And even though Star Fox 2 just recently “released”, the entire game aged right along, and it being more of a- I have played this to say I played it kind of thing. More or less. So it is with a heavy heart that I say, for 2017, this game just doesn’t hold up by today’s standards. I have no desire to replay it at all, unlike most of the other games on the SNES Classic. It was a great thing that this game got to see the light of day, and I will never argue that, but it just doesn’t cut it. And we have to treat it that way, because we never got to experience this game back in 1997.
Outside of being a collector or a huge Star Fox fan, does this game alone warrant the purchase of an SNES Classic? I would say no, but there are so many other games that scream yes. But that is for another story…….
A never before released game, now playable!
The soundtrack brings new classics to get stuck in your head