Beat Starfox Zero
Posted: Posted February 12th by mariomguy
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Man, this was one heck of a fun game! A lot of critics disparaged it for its controls, but I think they just weren't used to such a control scheme at the time. It was actually incredibly fun, and only a couple moments were a little awkward.

It's a 5-hour game for one play through, and the story is bare bones, so don't expect too much. You pilot the arwing via analog and aim via motion controls. The game doesn't projectile-correct your shots in third person, so the actual first person aiming is viewed on the gamepad and what you get on the TV is a third person view from behind. Instead of a cursor, it's more like a "suggestion" where your craft is going, with the actual cursor down below. It takes a while to get used to the setup, but this split does allow you to aim independent of where you're going, for instance flying overhead while aiming below, or vice versa walking below while aiming up above.

This is, unfortunately, less a game to revolutionize aiming and more of a novelty mechanic. It would be possible to split flying and aiming with the same view if you gave the player control over whether to prioritize the camera view for aiming or movement, as well as the other features like lock-on. Other weirdness includes the lack of an Immelmann turn, a staple of the series, and movement while locked on: say you're heading straight, but your enemy is behind. The game locks on while your flight path stays in the same direction, as if the camera never changed. Trying to turn around with the lock on is frustrating, and the game offers no other way to see your bosses.

The other frustrating things are two bosses in particular: a gorilla that messes with the game's conventions for what to target in a boss fight, and the final boss with Andross. Without going into too much detail, the final boss doesn't operate very smoothly, and prioritizes the horrible lock-on when it's not convenient. It's very strange, and doesn't make for a satisfying conclusion.

But everything else is gold. The Hoth battles are quite memorable, and every new level throws new mechanics at you, including new vehicles, transformations, and bosses. When it's not frustrating, it's genuinely fun, if a bit dated in level design.

Overall, Starfox Zero is a brisk, fun excursion, but I think the series is worthy of a greater entry that Nintendo hasn't tapped into. Of all Nintendo's series, Starfox should be the most fun for a AAA journey and multiplayer combat, but after this series' sales slump, that might not see the light of day. Starfox deserves better.

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