I still remember the very first time I ever saw Star Fox (also known as Starwing in some places). It was a bright, sunny day, and I had gone over to a friend’s house. On his counter was a Super Nintendo hooked up to a nearby TV, playing the first 3D game I had ever seen. You know, because I was young and didn’t know much about games back then. It was like magic seeing something that wasn’t pure 2D, and my reaction was one of awe, similar to the reaction one would have if we all suddenly had hologram assistants. It was the future! Now it’s the past, and you might be surprised to hear that despite having aged quite a bit, Star Fox is still as much fun as it was when it came out.
Okay, so there’s not that much to say aside from that. I mean, Star Fox is an incredibly simple game. You fly straight ahead on a rail, shooting enemies who are shooting back at you. That’s basically all it is. You can upgrade your main weapon by flying into upgrades (nice and simple) and do all kinds of stuff that was awesome when the game came out like barrel rolls, flying perpendicular to the ground, and using bombs that do a ton of damage to large areas of the screen. You can also speed up and slow down, which becomes useful when you have to fly through doors that open/close with specific timing. Bosses are each unique, though they usually boil down to “shoot the thing that’s flashing red and yellow because that’s the vulnerable part.”
There aren’t formal difficulty levels, but instead you’ll find three different routes varying in difficulty that you can take to the boss. These share some levels, but apart from that are all different experiences. Basically, route 1 is easy, 2 is medium, and 3 is hard (and it is, trust me). They’re all fun, but the crazy thing is that they’re all harder than they used to be. Part of this is the fact that basically all games are in full, realistic 3D now, whereas Star Fox just mimicked the perspective with sprites. This means that it’s hard for those of us who have become familiar with that more-realistic third dimension in games to acclimate to the way Star Fox handled it, leading to some stupid mistakes. Rather than this making the whole thing frustrating, however, it actually manages to make the game feel fresh again. Once you have a feel for the game, it’s never unfair, so having become accustomed to the more conventional three-dimensional perspective means that you can go into the game with fresh eyes and see it the way it was seen at release: Completely foreign, yet undeniably fun.
Oh, and apparently Star Fox doesn’t really tie into any canon. Star Fox 64, which is a remake of this game with some changed details, is apparently the “real” canon that continues in other games. Normally I’d consider that to be a bad thing, but it means that the Fox who chases dinosaurs (or whatever the Gamecube Star Fox games are about) is different than the one I like to pull out my Super Nintendo to revisit. Which is a good thing.
Here’s what you should do: