Okay, so the title of this article may be debatable, but every other opinion would be wrong, so stuff it. But seriously, Star Fox 64 is an amazing game and if you don’t agree, you’re an idiot.
I won’t talk about what this game means to me on a personal level, because that isn’t conducive to my goals of persuasion and education; opinions are fact homey. But this article will outline the merits of Star Fox 64 and why you should buy it, emulate it, or steal it if you haven’t played it in your life.
Let’s start with the plot of the game. Something fishy is going down on the planet Venom, where Andross, an evil scientist has been exiled. When the Star Fox team is sent to find out what kind of crazy mumbo-jumbo is happening, one of the team, Pigma Dengar, turns on his crewmates James McCloud and Peppy Hare. James and Peppy are subsequently captured by Andross (one can assume that they were beaten, tortured, and probably probed in uncomfortable areas). Peppy is able to escape, but James is not so lucky.
Fast forward a few years: Andross is waging war on the entire Lylat system and the new Star Fox team, consisting of Peppy Hare, Slippy Toad, Falco Lombardi, and James’ own son Fox, are sent to investigate. The player takes control of Fox McCloud, obviously interested in avenging the death of his father. Apart from the regular baddies, the Star Fox team meets with their rivals Star Wolf, of which Pigma, that backstabbing porky pig, is a member. The Star Fox team will travel to different planets fighting Andross’ evil minions and eventually end up on Venom to face the evil scientist himself.
First thing’s first. As you can see from the above paragraphs, this game begins at the level of epic and only grows from there. For one, you are battling across an entire solar system in what will be called the Lylat Wars (interestingly enough, “Lylat Wars” was the title of the game in Europe and Australia). Also, this was the first game to utilize the Rumble Pak accessory for the N46, which really added realism to being shot in the exhaust pipe. Along with this, you have a plethora of enemy ships and giant bosses to destroy, and a rival gang whose members include the swine responsible for the death of your father. This game would make one hell of a movie! Much better than Doom, at least.
The battle system is awesome in Star Fox 64. Each planet is designed in a fairly linear way, but the doesn’t deny the player opportunities to make choices of which path to take. Also, the order of planets can be altered depending on certain choices and number of kills that the player makes. A certain path must be taken in order to defeat the real Andross in the end, but that’s up to you, fool. When it comes to the basic enemies on each planet, the developers could have taken the easy route and had every single one be the same, but no, there exists a grand amount of enemy ships to explode with your lasers. This goes double for the bosses. Rather than being carbon copies that must be destroyed in the same way each time, every boss has its own weakness that you must discover and exploit. Also very special to this game is the chance to do more than just fly the awesome Arwing ship. There are two planets on which you will need a tank-style fighter called the Landmaster. There is also a small submarine, oh-so-creatively named The Blue Marine, that is used on a planet that is covered in water.
Star Fox 64 is also very special due to your teammates. Each one is voiced, and they all have some incredibly memorable lines that I’m sure the other members here could quote for days on end. There are times when you will have to make the choice whether to save your teammates, or let them be defeated by the enemy for your own personal enjoyment. Do you save the whiny frog, or the douchebag bird? Each character has their own qualities that make them worth keeping around: Slippy provides a health meter for each boss, Peppy supplies information on certain enemy weak spots, and Falco… Well, umm… He helps you on the first level if you save his ass – You know what? Falco is a dick and you should let him get cooked like Thanksgiving dinner.
I could end this post by telling you all the important life lessons that one learns while playing Star Fox 64. Sure, it teaches you teamwork and the consequence of losing your friends, and also that sometimes it’s important to save the beaked jackass despite your eternal hatred for him. But that isn’t what this blog is about. Star Fox 64 supplies a very creative type of gameplay that still cannot be beat. The story is epic. The characters are memorable. The Lylat system needs help and only you can save it, Fox. Good Luck.