This list is not meant to be the best games of all time, but rather my favorite games. This list is also subjective, so you will most likely disagree with many of the choices. Feel free to share your opinion on the list as it progresses; I'd love to hear what you think.
Title: Star Fox 64
Console: Nintendo 64
Release Date: 07/01/97
Genres: Flight Simulator & Rail Shooter
My Ranking: #52
Star Fox 64 just barely made it onto the list but I couldn't leave if off because I lodged so many hours into this game. I had to always try and beat my top score and I had to get all the high score medals for every planet on the Normal difficulty and on Expert.
Star Fox 64 shines above hundreds of games primarily because of its level design, as each stage has a smooth progression of difficulty. A new player can most likely beat the first couple stages before losing a life, as the game teaches you the basics of shooting and dodging mid-game. The gameplay is simple and easy to pick up. Aim the crosshairs at enemy and fire or simply hold down the A button to lock on and deliver a powerful homing laser shot. B will fire gigantic a limited amount smart bombs, wiping out tons of enemies in a large area. Also who could forget the infamous Barrel Roll that teammate Peppy Hare teaches you. “Do a barrel Roll!” is one of those famous quotes in video game history. For whatever reason, the way Peppy emphasizes his voice makes me crack up.
The Star Fox team consists of 4 party members: the protagonist Fox McCloud, and supporting members Peppy Hare, Slippy Toad and Falco Lombardi. Each member pilots their own aircraft called an Arwing, which is a single-manned vehicle that can shoot lasers and perform quick turns and mid-air somersaults. All the controls for the player’s perspective are incredibly smooth; each action only requires minimal input and the Arwing moves directly with the control stick.
As for the story, Andross is an evil scientist of sorts, and he is launching an attack on the Lylat System (the galaxy in which the game takes place). The story is a non-factor for me however, as the gameplay is enough to keep me playing this game for hours on end.
The game starts off with the Star Fox team flying through the planet of Corneria taking out enemy personnel that try to shoot at you and/or ram into you. Your party members do occasionally take out some guys for you but most of the time you have to protect them from being shot at from other flying enemies. Your party members will lose health if they are shot at, and they may be out for a certain levels if their life bar goes to zero. This is pertinent if Slippy happens to be out since he gives you the ability to see the Boss’ health bar.
But as I mentioned before, the level design is where this game prevails. In the Solar level, which is the sun in the center of the level select screen, the bottom of the level is covered with lava and the closer the Arwing is to the lava to more damage you take over time. Fire worms and bugs shoot from all sides of the screen and wave of lava attempt to devour your ship and do massive bits of damage. Not only is the level difficult but it looks really pretty with the red sunset in the background. Challenging and clever, Solar is just one of many levels in Star Fox 64 that made me appreciate the game as a whole.
Simply put, Star Fox 64 game is fun with a fair amount of difficulty. It’s not too hard but it’s definitely not too easy. The control is smooth and the graphics were proficient for its time. I spent so much time on this game that when I turn on this game now I wonder how in the world I achieved such high scores. Needless to say, I was obsessed with this game for a good long while. The only thing that hurts this game is that the one-player campaign is short, and while there are plenty of different routes to take and different worlds to explore, I felt myself wanting more areas to fly through. However, whenever I finish a game and want more, I often consider that a positive, since that feeling meant that I enjoyed what I already had.
Star Fox 64 is currently available on the Wii Virtual Console, so if you never played this game, I highly suggest that you pick this game up, especially if like shooters and/or rail shooters.
… “Do a Barrel Roll!”
My Top 52:
#52 --- Star Fox 64 (N64)
#51 --- Revealed on 07/15