[floatleft]http://www.snackbar-games.com/images/reviews/starfoxassault/cover.jpg[/floatleft][i]Star Fox[/i] is one of the few games I actually remember playing back on the N64, which is funny because despite the awesome library for that system, I only owned a half dozen games at any given time. [i]Star Fox: Assault[/i] is the newest in the franchise and the second game to come out for the GameCube.
[i]Star Fox: Assault[/i] takes place after [i]Star Fox Adventures[/i] (GC), and when Andrew Oikonny, the nephew of the late Andross, is kicked out of Star Wolf’s gang of miscreants, he takes control of the remaining Andross fleet and brings a revolution. Star Fox and his team spring into action to defeat Oikonny and his rebellion.
[floatright]http://www.snackbar-games.com/images/reviews/starfoxassault/ss04_thumb.jpg[/floatright][i]Star Fox: Assault[/i] sports a single-player mode, a versus mode, and last but not least, a bonus game which happens to be the NES version of [i]Xevious[/i]. Single-player mode takes you through the story of the game but also allows you to replay each mission you have currently completed to earn high scores. When you have completed story mode, you will unlock survival mode which allows you to embark on a survival game that challenges you to finish every mission without saving.
Unlocking the bonus game is accomplished by completing story mode on Silver difficulty.
As you play through [i]Star Fox: Assault[/i], you will encounter a few different types of levels. Some levels will have you exclusively piloting the Arwing, and some levels will have you embark upon foot. Missions on foot, all range stages, will allow you to take advantage of the Landmaster, which is basically a light tank. Likewise, you can also truck around on foot. While on foot, Star Fox has a highly expansive arsenal of weapons with which to eliminate his enemies. These weapons range from a simple blaster all the way up to a Gatling Gun and even a Demon Launcher, which is only available in the versus mode.
From a gameplay perspective, there isn’t a whole lot new this time around. Piloting the Arwing is basically the same as it ever was. When setting up your character, you have the option of inverting the Y axis for your Arwing, Landmaster, as well as on foot. These settings are independent of each other, which I find very comforting since I know some people like inverted flying, but not inverted FPS/3PS viewing.
[floatleft]http://www.snackbar-games.com/images/reviews/starfoxassault/ss08_thumb.jpg[/floatleft]After completing each mission in story mode, your score will be tallied up on the results screen. You will be awarded a score for the level based on your mission points (made up of your time bonus and enemy hits) and level difficulty bonus. You will also collect medals and badges for your accomplishments in this particular level. These are all tallied up for an overall score for your profile. You are also given a chance to save after each mission.
Versus mode allows you to play with two to four players in a split-screen melee. The number of options for versus mode is quite impressive and should make for a nice variety in a multiplayer gathering.
[i]Star Fox: Assault[/i] is not a terribly long game, but for me the inclusion of [i]Xevious[/i] has solidified its place in my collection (it’s sad, I know). The jumps in difficulty between Bronze, Silver, and Gold will keep a [i]Star Fox[/i] fan playing the game a few times to achieve maximum scores, and the multiplayer will give you and your friends a reason to come back for more.
Having some of my fondest childhood gaming moments with [i]Xevious[/i] makes this a no-brainer for me, but even without that stellar classic, [i]Star Fox: Assault[/i] is a worthy title to check out.