Revisiting the Forgotten Star Fox

I’ve not been very happy with the Star Fox franchise ever since Star Fox 64. What I loved about Star Fox 64 – the different branches, the self-contained storyline (hardly the story of a stage would be carried to another stage), the incredible voice acting and the all-or-nothing battles against Star Wolf – were completely messed up in the future iterations of the franchise.

Star Fox Adventures was nothing more than a generic collect-a-ton game with Fox McCloud. All Star Fox elements felt completely out of place and I still can’t stand the presence of Krystal in all the posterior games as that factor prevents me from dismissing Adventures as non-canon. But things would be much worse with Star Fox Assault.

Forget the fact that the game design was really flawed. The poisoned cheery on the top of that cake of disaster was the story that tried to be much more melodramatic than a cast of furries wold ever allow it. Characters dying in front of you, people getting sentimental, rivals working side-by-side. In my opinion this would be a great plot elements…  on a different game! I mean, the characters from Star Fox were never supposed to have any depth. They were created just because piloting futuristic spaceships with animals would be more appealing than using humans back in the SNES days. I played Assault eager to have a fight with Star Wolf. I still had those exciting battles from the N64 game painted at my brain’s wall and after I used that coat of nostalgia over it, I had anxiety coming out of my nostrils. But, in Assault, they work together! They give each other councils! WTF? And even worse, the Star Wolf Theme Song was playing without its cool beat! Now, that was very frustrating.

In the end, I wasn’t able to relate myself to the soup opera  story. When there was a sad moment, I didn’t feel sad at all. I felt bored. I even felt guilty for not feeling sad. In a certain moment, when a beloved character takes a fall, Slippy starts crying, in the meanwhile, I was feeling kind of embarrassed for not being able to relate to the characters’ pain. Maybe it’s because a crying frog is ridiculous, unless it is created by Disney.

However that changed with Star Fox Command. I think I’m the only one here who played and enjoyed that game. So I felt like discussing it. Not the gameplay elements, just the story.

Command definitely took the Star Fox franchise into the world of melodrama. But while this was a bad thing in Assault, it actually became a good thing in Command. The fact the game characters were unable to show emotions – since they had no real voices and only thing they could do was to move their months – made what was embarrassing in Assault, stop being embarrassing. Now it’s funny. In fact, while I played I had the impression it was supposed to be funny. It felt like a soap opera taking a piss at itself, which considering we are talking about fluffy animals dogfighting in space, creates a much welcomed new identity for franchise.

Besides, how can I not love a game with 9 endings!? Especially when each ending can do a lot for a possible Star Fox sequel.

And, thus, brace yourself for some good amount of…


The Possible Endings and How to Get Them

1. Fox and Krystal
– Krystal and Fox make up
– Krystal and Amanda join the team
– Dash rules a transformed Venom

Why is this ending great?
One of the happiest endings in the game in which everything that could end well, indeed ends well. Now the Star Fox team is huge, which could allow even more strategic games.
Once we have 5 ships in stage that uses a gameplay similar to Command’s, we can make more strategies with allies helping you out. Not to mention, better multiplayer-based group work. Thankfully, we won’t need to save Slippy all the time again – Amanda will be there to do it.

2. Goodbye Fox
– Original Star Fox team disbands
– Fox and Krystal have a son named Marcus
– New Star Fox team is formed with Marcus, Falco, Slippy’s son and Peppy’s granddaughter

Why is this ending great?
This Next Generation Star Fox team has spin-off potential. Gamers would be much more forgiving about adding stuff to the game, like the ability to get out of your ship, in a spin-off – while keeping the classic gameplay with prequels about the classic Star Fox team.

Besides, this next generation even has a villain coming along already: Dash. (see below)

3. Emperor Anglar
– Krystal leaves Fox for Panther
– Krystal becomes a legendary pilot in the Star Wolf team
– Fox is alone. It’s unclear whether or not he abandons the Star Fox team

Why is this ending great?
A troubled and abandoned Fox could deliver a much deeper game. It offers us the chance to really know the character and see him at his worst (even though he had just saved the galaxy for the third time or so). This offers a great opportunity for character development – and a great risk of falling into the Star Fox Assault trap again

4. Star Wolf Returns
– Star Wolf team become heroes
– Krystal becomes Kursed, the Bounty Hunter
– Fox doesn’t recognize her anymore

Why is this ending great?
Krystal  could get her own series, and a Dinosaur Planet game could finally be made as it was supposed to be made – without foxes and Airwings.

On the other side of the coin, we can have a more focused game on the Star Wolf team and – like the mercenaries they are – we can have premises not based on the simplistic good vs. evil scenario.

5. Lucy and Krystal
– Krystal and Fox make up
– Krystal rejoins Star Fox
– Peppy and Lucy remember Lucy’s mother

Why is this ending great?
This ending doesn’t offer many new things, as everything return to status quo: Star Wolf are still fugitives, Krystal is still on the Star Fox team, etc. However, it does hint to either a farewell to Peppy or Lucy gaining more importance in future games.

6. Dash Makes a Choice
– James McCloud appears again. Maybe he’s not dead after all.
– Dash makes Venom a paradise
– Dash becomes its dictator
– Dash attacks the Lylat System in the future

Why is this ending great?
A new villain! No more silly stuff like Anglars or Aparoids, but a villain we actually KNOW where he came from. A villain with a story! Furthermore, when Dash finally grows powerful enough for the villain status, maybe the original Star Fox team will be too old to take him down and if there is something I can see myself buying is a game with geriatric heroes.

7. Slippy’s Resolve
– Slippy leaves Star Fox team and starts a family
– This ending can be viewed as complementary to other endings

Why is this ending great?
How can’t it be? I mean, a Star Fox game without Slippy! That’s like a dream come true!

Slippy got into messes with such ease, I’m pretty sure he is actually a spy from Andross trying to make me risk my life and get killed.
8. Pigma’s Revenge
– Falco is ostracized and leaves Star Fox
– He, Katt and Dash forms Star Falco

Why is this ending great?
STAR FALCO!!! This would be a juicy game. Falco is  a much more interesting character than Fox and it would be interesting to see if the Fox/Falco rivalry will overcome their friendship. I hope it does, by the way.

9. The Curse of Pigma
– Star Fox is ostracized while Star Wolf gets all the glory
– Falco and Fox joins the G-Zero (F-Zero?) GP
– This ending can be viewed as complementary to Star Wolf returns

Why is this ending great?
This ending has hardly any value to the Star Fox franchise, since Star Fox is about space dogfighting – not races. Plus, we need a fox (any fox) to make a Star Fox. However… racing missions, if well implemented, could be a great addition to the franchise. Kind of like a deadlier Mario Kart… with flying karts.

Despite the many false steps, I still admire Star Fox for how willing they are to mess with the character structure. Star Fox is among the few Nintendo franchises that’s not afraid of change. Not member in the Starfox team will be stuck in there forever. New people come in, old members retire. Meanwhile a Samus Aran that never grows old will continues to hunt Space Pirates and an ageless Mario will continue to save Princess Peach for all eternity. Few characters have the guts to face time like the fox named Fox.