Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Star Fox 64: what is all the hype about??

I discovered computer games in the mid-1990's, so I switched from my Nintendo/Genesis systems to PC gaming and never looked back. As a result, I missed the PS1/Saturn/N64 generation and everything thereafter.

I had the chance to play some of the games on those systems I missed. One game in particular I wanted to play was





What the hell is all the hype about with Star Fox 64?? I keep hearing it's the best Star Fox game--the last one before the series lost its way with Star Fox Adventures/Dinosaur Planet, but it's terrible! It's a mere remake of the SNES game, but the textured graphics somehow make the game look more primitive! The original game looks clean and crisp, like a game from the future! The N64 game looks muddy and unfocused.

Enemies are so far away you can't hit them half the time, and the homing laser feels like it was added to compensate for this flaw instead of as a new feature. The joystick constantly re-centers your targeting box, making it impossible to hold a direction or fire at anything! I miss the SNES controls. You weren't fighting them throughout the whole game!

The explosions don't feel solid. The laser doesn't feel solid. Hitting things doesn't feel solid. Getting hit doesn't feel solid. The laser doesn't do much damage, and the nova bomb doesn't do jack shit anymore either. Nothing in the game feels or moves real. Barrel-rolls don't seem to work very often either.

And the voice acting. Awful, awful, AWFUL! Every line is delivered like it was lifted out of context from random conversations heard on the street. Half the lines sound like they were taken from dirty conversations. (Andross won't have his way with me! Here comes a big one!) The laughable lip-synch makes it even stupider.

Even the music is bad. No memorable tunes, no melody, just background noise to energize the levels, not unlike what you'd expect from an arcade game.

Why remake the original game? Why not make a sequel? Hell, I read Star Fox 2 was complete; why not release it since it was done?! We could've had an actual sequel that continued the story--hell, that told a story!--but instead we got this?? What bullshit.

I also played Turok. It's fucking impossible. The controls are awful and the graphics are shit, even by the standards of the time. The N64 was an awful system! The polygon count was so low any attempt at 3D graphics was just awkward! It wasn't until the PS2/Dreamcast/Gamecube generation that developers finally figured out how to handle the camera, and the 3D graphics smoothed out. Mostly.

After trying to play a few N64 games and thinking the same thing about both the graphics and the universally awful controls, this leads me to wonder: how many actual good games were there for these systems? The NES has about 700 games for it, but how many of them are actually any good? Ditto for the SNES, and let's not forget Gameboy and Genesis. (I'm excluding the Game Gear. There were no good games for that.) By and large, the huge libraries are full of crap with a few gems here and there. So it is with the N64, PS1 and Saturn (remember Sonic R?).

Remember the gems. Ignore the crap. That's how nostalgia works.