Review: Starfox Adventures

Pal Review

Originally expected for the N64 under the name Dinosaur Planet it fell off the N64 release list to reappear as a GameCube title but this time with the Star Fox licence added to it. And we'll never forget that this is also Rare's first and last GameCube title now that they have been bought by Microsoft. So what does the edition of Fox McCloud mean for the game? Will it bring something new to the Star Fox universe and add to the game, or was it simply done to give the game more hype and boost sales slightly?

We all heard the rumours that this game would be big and similar Zelda, with up to 80 hours of gameplay first time round, and came on two discs. And on opening the box we can certainly say it only comes on one disc. But what about the rest?You must take the role of Fox McCloud to find four magical SpellStones to stop the planet from blowing up and six Krazoa Spirits to bring the planet back together and restore peace.


Defiantly the best real time graphics on the GameCube so far. The worlds are all full of detail and life and very vibrant with some amazing scenery and detailed textures that all come to life with brilliant lighting effects. There are some outstanding views for you take in as you guide Fox on his quest and I wouldn't be surprised if you think to yourself "I wonder if can take a picture of that and turn it into a postcard". Water looks great in the game and very photo realistic even more so than the great water effects of Super Mario Sunshine. However one slight flaw with the water is when it stars to rain even though the rain falling from the sky looks great if you pass a body of water you won't see any ripples in the water to signify the rain falling into it. But this won't be too noticeable unless you're looking very closely. A lot of detail was put into the backgrounds to make Dinosaur Planet as real as possible and is successfully achieved. The walls look rough and solid the ground has just the right amount of grass coupled with some dirt/soil areas in parts.

The characters are the most impressive part of the graphics. Most notably Fox and Krystal and their fur effects (and the fur effects of every character with fur in fact) will have your jaw drop in amazement. All characters are extremely well detailed and realistic, well realistic for dinosaurs and huminoid animals, with one exception of Slippy Toad and General Pepper. They both look a tad bit blocky and General Pepper should really have a fur effect. But despite the very tiny graphical flaws they most certainly don't spoil the visual highs of this game to which you can tell a lot of hard work and attention went into.


Every area of the game has it's own unique theme music playing in the background. And although they suit their environment well, they aren't catchy at all and are a bit dull really. In fact sometimes I wonder why they are even there as you'll almost never notice them and they don't add much atmosphere to the experience. When you encounter enemies the music changes, and you can sometimes use this to know when an enemy is close but you can't see them yet as the music will slowly fade from the normal level music to "bad guy" music as you get closer to them. The only music that you'll have stuck in your head after playing this game will be the familiar Star Fox theme from the previous Star Fox games.

The voice acting is alright, but nothing special. A lot of the characters (dinosaurs) have British accents which really do not seem to suit that character. The biggest culprit of this would be the Warpstone character with an awful Scottish accent accompanied by bag pipe background music which tries to give a feel of how old this character may be but fails. The Star Fox team themselves are voiced well but I would have preferred to hear them with the same voices used in Lylat Wars. One really good thing about the voice acting though would be in the intro of the game when the characters are not speaking English but "Dino talk". Rare seem to have created a whole new language and the actors pull it very naturally and fluidly and gives the beginning of the game a bit of a mysterious air.


Let me just start off by saying that this game is nothing like Zelda as we had expected, ok now that I got that out of the way…

You play the role of Fox McCloud, the leader of the mercenary team known as Star Fox. Eight years after the events of Lylat Wars Fox and co. are patrolling a distant corner of the Lylat System when they receive a distress call from General Pepper. A nearby planet known as Dinosaur Planet is mysteriously and literally falling apart. Fox ventures down to the planets surface in his trusty Arwing to find out what has happened and stop the planet from blowing up. As Fox you'll journey across the many areas of Dinosaur Planet solve puzzles and battle the SharpClaw army of General Scales using a magical staff that Fox finds on landing on the planet.

The combat system tries to be similar to that of Zelda on the N64 with a bit of flashy combos thrown in, but this makes it just far to easy and dull. Once you take your staff and an enemy is near by you'll lock onto him and a heart appears above him indicating his health. While landing your first hit on a SharpClaw could take some timing, once you have all you have to do continually "bash" the A button to start a combo and finish them off. By pressing the control stick in different directions you can have Fox do some fancy moves and combos but a lot of these although cool to look at are in fact weaker than the standard A bashing combo. This leaves battling SharpClaw feel very dull and almost like a chore. After you first few fights when you come across another it's like, oh here we again. There's really no skill involved in the combat, except with landing the first hit, after that the SharpClaw may as well be a life doll with a target on them. The only time battling feels like battling is when you come across a boss, it's just a shame there are so few of them, but more on that later.

Early in the game Fox finds the Price of the Earthwalker Tribe, Tricky, and he tags along with Fox for most of the game and allow you to access new areas and dig for secrets. Thankfully he will just stay out of your way until you want him to do something. However after you've heard him say "There's something near" or any of his other phrases for the umpteenth time his voice becomes very repetitive and annoying.

There are five Arwing levels in the game, but you'll have to play some of them a few times during the course of the game. These are a great little break from the walking around on the planet and are used to get Fox from the planet to one of the four areas of the planet that have broken off and are floating in orbit and back again. These stages are great and maybe a bit of a teaser for Namco's forthcoming Star Fox Armada. However they very short, very easy and have little variety from each other which is a shame. Also Rare have dropped a few of the Arwings abilities from Lylat Wars. Gone are the Charged-up laser, target lock, somersault and 180 degree flip (but there is no "all-range" in which to use that one anyway). This seems to take away from the Arwing stages, especially for those of us who remember Lylat Wars and will instantly know get to grips with Arwing controls as they feel so similar to those of Lylat Wars.

If you go into this game expecting a long hard epic adventure then you will be very disappointed. The puzzles are very easy as is the game on a whole. If you do get stuck you can call on Slippy for tips, sometimes he'll keep them a bit vague leaving you to figure it out, but more often than not he flat out tells you what to do and spoils it. The game itself is totally linier which means you can't really go off and explore the world before you if you get bored or stuck. All your doing is moving from one objective to another, find SpellStone, return SpellStone, find Krazoa Spirit, return Krazoa Spirit and repeat. In the beginning you will think that the game is very big as it will take some time and work before you find Fox's first major item- a SpellStone – which you must then return to it's Force Point Temple, which again takes a lot of time and play. After that you must then find Fox's first Krazoa Shrine to free a Krazoa Spirit and then return it to the Krazoa Place and this too will take some time. But after that you just see the rest of the game fly by. There are four SpellStones, two of Fire and two of Water and two Force Point Temples, one for fire and one for water. So after you've been through each temple with the first stone you'll fly through it with the second.

To get each SpellStone you must go through a boss battle (well for three of them anyway, I wouldn't call the second one a boss battle) which is very nice. When I came across the first boss I really enjoyed fighting it trying to figure out what to do and couldn't wait for the next boss.

The six Krazoa Shrines are all very easy; each has about three rooms to get passed then the final room with the Krazoa Spirit. To catch the spirit you must complete a test, and aside from the Test of Fear they are all very easy and won't cause you too much trouble at all. Rare really should have put boss battles at the end of the Shrines to liven things up. Sure the tests were a good idea but they can't compare with a crunching battle with some gruesome looking creature, why there aren't any defies me. The games camera is very good and almost never causes problems, which is great. If something does get in its way like a pillar or wall (usually during combat) that object becomes transparent until the camera can get around it.

The games storyline starts off good and looks to develop well as you go, but (there's always a but) ends very poorly. I don't want to spoil anything so I won't go into detail but the games ending was very fast, not exciting and comes no where near to even equalling expectation of what may happen. It's like little or no thought or imagination was put into it. Like the developers came in one day said, what can we do with the ending, and tossed it together in five minutes. Another thing that spoils the game is when you need to find something new to continue to the next part of the game, say an upgrade for your staff, you are basically told where you can find it or just given it at the point that your going to need it as is the case with the money bags. Also there's no searching for maps, you can actually buy the maps for all areas in a shop. All you have to find is the money, so you could have the map for an area long before you ever get to go there. When you reach a point of the game when you get to take the Arwing to a new area in orbit of the planet you need to find fuel cells for your Arwing, or if you don't feel like searching you can just go and buy them. It's things like this that make the game too easy, and take away a lot of gameplay in terms of exploring.


The controls are very easy to learn and very responsive. Once get the hang of using the C-Stick to toggle through the C-menu as you go you'll find the control set up very comfortable. Use the control stick to move Fox around and A is your action button. Use X to perform evasive rolls and you can set one action from the C-menu to the Y button. Z allows you to look around from a first person perspective and L will centre the camera behind Fox. Jumping is done automatically, all you have to do is run off the edge and when Fox gets to it he will jump by himself. This does work well throughout the game.

Last ability:

All I can say here is that once you've finished it for the first time I can't see many people thinking of replaying the whole lot again right away. In fact I doubt many people will ever play the whole lot through again unfortunately. First time through it should take no more than 15 to 20 hours of gameplay. Second time though (if there is a second time) you should be able to cut up to and more than half your first time off, provided you remember what to do.

Final Say:

This game had potential and could have, no should have been a classic. It had been in development for what seemed like forever and on playing the game I can say that maybe it still be in development as clearly too much time was spent on making the game look good. Not enough was spent to really think about the story or the gameplay in my opinion as should have been. It was a great idea but although it took so long to come out I have to say it does feel very rushed in the end. Rare most certainly did not leave us with a classic but a very mediocre game that is far below the standard we expect from them. And if this is a taste of how they're other projects where going, all graphics and little substance, then maybe selling Rare was a good choice to make.

This leaves me to wonder why Star Fox was added to the game at all, surely the ending would have been much different without Star Fox and I would like to know what kind of ending they had planned when it was Dinosaur Planet on the N64. Bringing the game into the Star Fox universe ads nothing special to it unfortunately and I think Nintendo only did this to prevent Dinosaur Planet appearing on the Xbox.

This is one adventure that Fox himself would probably want to forget. I would however like to see a sequel made at some point preferably by Nintendo or a second party such as Retro Studios, but only if it's done right so they can show Rare how this game should have been done. Like I said earlier it was a great idea to take Fox out of the Arwing and onto the ground, but this game proves that great ideas don't always turn out right. But maybe in the future this will be forgotten and we'll see the great idea actually turn into a great game.

N-Europe Final Verdict

Seems like it was very rushed in the end. Could have and should have been better, much better.

  • Gameplay3
  • Playability5
  • Visuals5
  • Audio3
  • Lifespan2
Final Score



Beautiful graphics
Arwing stages
Boss encounters


Combat system
End of Story
Too Linier, dull and easy

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