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Star Fox Assault Review - Gamecube

7
Gameplay: 6 stars 6
Graphics: 8 stars 8
Audio: 8 stars 8
Multiplayer: 6 stars 6
Innovation: 5 stars 5
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I remember being amazed to hear Fox and crew speaking when playing Lylat Wars. In fact, if I remember correctly, the sound for the game took up about 3MB of the 8MB cartridges. It even had FMV too, and most would say it successfully brought the series into the third dimension. Lamentably, Star Fox Assault bumps the graphics up another notch, but fails to do the same to the gameplay.

Gameplay



There are two single player modes: Mission and Survival. Mission sets you off on the ten story-based missions. Survival is unlocked after you have completed the main mission mode once - it's one life to get through ten missions. There is also a multiplayer mode, and you can unlock Xevious if you have the patience to play through and collect medals for each mission.

The fact of the matter is that basically, the on-foot ground missions suck. In fact, they blow too. Thankyou, Bart Simpson. Control, as was mentioned in the various hands-on reports that surfaced throughout its years in development, is clunky. Fox himself runs reasonably fast, but the mapping of buttons leaves a bit to be desired. Fox really needs the athleticism of, say, Samus or the Prince in Sands of Time. It should all flow together, but for a lithe animal, he's pretty damn uncoordinated. There are a few control setups, by I chose this one: the control stick moves Fox around, A shoots (and charges a shot), Y jumps, L and control stick dodges, X is for the scope on certain weapons, and B is either bombs or a barrier depending on what you've collected.

The trouble is that it just doesn't work smoothly. A charged shot will raise a target that can lock on to enemies (as opposed to normal shots, which don't home in), but you can't change which enemy it's locked onto. So, you might be trying to just snipe away a key object from afar, but since you can't pick which one to aim at, you draw the attention and fire of other enemies. You can dodge attacks with the L button, but you lose any charge you might have stored. There is no tutorial to teach you how to play, other than characters chiming in with "use your float to get up there, Fox". It just doesn't click. Maybe I didn't experiment enough with other control schemes, but man, it just didn't work for me.

Making your ground work harder is the fact that the camera is wonky. Sometimes you'll be backed into a wall with swarms of critters around you, and you can't even see yourself or aim at anything. It almost feels a bit too close to Fox's back - perhaps further behind him would have made it easier.

Ground-based missions entail, without exception, finding things and destroying them. Look on he radar for red spot, hunt it down, shoot ... (continued next page)