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Star Fox Adventures

Preview By: Roger Taylor

Developer:  Rare
Publisher:  Nintendo
Genre:  Adventure
Est. Release:  Q2 2002
Posted:  1-7-02

A couple of years ago a game called Dinosaur Planet was unveiled to the public. This game caught the eye of the gaming press for two of reasons:

  1. it looked better than just about anything on the N64
  2. it was developed by Rare

Yes, the same Rare that once developed classics like Donkey Kong Country, Goldeneye and Perfect Dark. Yes, the same Rare that created the impressive Banjo-Kazooie titles. Yes, the same Rare that is responsible for the offensive, childish and brilliant Conker’s Bad Fur Day. If that résumé doesn’t stir your interest in a game, then you have probably never played a video game in your life.

Since it was announced it was, in typical Rare fashion, given a finite release date… which was then pushed back…repeatedly…until finally disappearing off the radar completely. Well, our luck has turned around, as Dinosaur Planet has resurfaced on the GameCube, now being billed as a Star Fox title. Apparently Nintendo (who is publishing the game) sees Star Fox as a marketable character outside of flight-combat games. The full title of the game (Star Fox Adventures..."Dinosaur Planet" has been dropped as a subtitle) further cements that theory by suggesting that this may be the beginning of a new series, and that there are more like Adventures to follow. But that is of no concern to us now. With a release date of March 25, 2002 (cross you fingers), the biggest GameCube game of the spring is almost upon us, effectively filling the gap between launch and Mario. And if this game is everything that it could and should be, Mario will be but an afterthought.

Remember The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time? That little, low-budget game that broke boundaries left and right and garnered more Game of the Year awards than perhaps any title in history? Well, hopefully you don’t remember to well, because Star Fox Adventures is a very similar game. Like Zelda, it’s a 3D adventure, in which you control wannabe icon Fox McCloud. As with every 3rd person game, the main character is manipulated via the analog stick. The Z-targeting that Miyamoto invented with Zelda is employed, as is the suddenly ubiquitous, generic "action" button, which can mean smacking an enemy with a staff, grabbing onto something for some pulling purposes, or anything else that isn’t covered by any of the other buttons. And like Link’s Navi in Zelda, Fox has a sidekick (albeit a far more useful one, physically), which looks more or less (leaning towards more) like a mini-Triceratops. Directions can be given to the sidekick using the C-stick (think Rogue Leader, only on the opposite side of the controller). There are a wide variety of items at Fox’s disposal, few of which have been revealed so far by the increasingly tight-lipped Rare.

Thankfully for fans, there will be at least some flight-combat in Star Fox Adventures. There’s no word yet on how much, nor on how it will compare to the gameplay in previous Star Fox games. It will be interesting to see how Rare, known for first-person shooters and platformers, handles a genre completely foreign to them in space-combat.

While great gameplay is not guaranteed, you can rest assured that Star Fox Adventures will look fantastic. The screenshots released thus far (see below) are some of the most impressive yet seen on the GameCube, and the environments in the game are reported to be enormous.

Star Fox Adventures is as close to a sure thing as you’ll find on the GameCube this spring, as Rare has rarely (no pun intended) let us down in the past. However, with the oft-genius, but overall disastrous Jet Force Gemini still fresh in the minds of disappointed gamers, proceed with caution.

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