Star Fox Zero has been causing some sort of a stir this year thanks to the use of motion controls and dual screen action. Not being able to ignore these new features has had many players damning the game for being unplayable and yearning for a simpler Star Fox. Thankfully there is a way to entertain these desires, and that’s with a download of Star Fox 64 on the Wii U virtual console!
Star Fox 64 is the game everyone wants Zero to be, combining simple arcade spaceship shooting with conventional controls, hammy voice acting, and a lot of rumbling explosions. It feels cinematic even today, as the game often riffs on popular sci fi movies such as Star Wars and even Independence Day, with added talking furry creatures who say the cheesiest things. ‘Do a barrel roll!’ ‘Andross’s enemy is my enemy!’ ‘Cocky little freaks!’ and so on.
This release of Star Fox 64 in Europe is actually fairly significant in how it’s the first time this version has made it over. In the 90’s, and on the Wii virtual console, Europeans had to make do with Lylat Wars, a slower running version which couldn’t even share the same name due to some copyright problems. Was it to do with a company called Star Vox? That’s what I told everybody as a kid. Though kids can say the funniest (stupidest) things.
Having the American version adds an extra level of excitement to proceedings, as an extra burst of speed often does, and probably plays closer to how you remember it then actually rooting out an original copy of Lylat Wars. Controls can still feel a little clunky when it comes to the more advanced techniques such as somersaults and U turns, and the multiplayer is still a painfully exhausting experience that will only keep friends away from your home. But when it comes to the set pieces, it’s not really been beaten since, largely thanks to the series trying to be everything else except a classic arcade shooting game.
Star Fox 64 is like re-watching one of those old films you loved as a kid. It isn’t quite so slick and smart as you remember, but it’s still a lot of fun, something those newer reboots and sequels just can’t replicate as they seem to be missing the core of what made the original (sequel in this case) so memorable. And if the fog and blotches are too much to take, Star Fox 64 3D for the 3DS might closer match your memories.
For myself, I actually quite like what I’ve played of Zero…