#352 Star Fox 64/Lylat Wars

Posted: 27th January 2011 by Mulholland in Games
Tags: , , ,

23rd game played so far

Genre: Shoot ’em Up
Platform: Nintendo 64
Year of Release: 1997
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo

DO A BARREL ROLL! *cough* Ahem. Sorry but the temptation was overwhelming.

As I previously blogged on here we received a bumper crop of game from my good friend Kat (HI KAT!!!) so we are fast-tracking the games she gave us to make sure we can give them back to her in time. So there is no better time than the present to start.

What a better way to start with Star Fox 64 (released as Lylat Wars in Europe). Commonly listed in critics Top 100 as one of the best games ever released, as well as being the second highest seller in it’s year of release, this game was the first to offer the use of force feedback in the form of the Rumble Pack with which it was packaged. Something that we truly take for granted in this day and age.

Our Playthrough

We gave the single-player of this game a good going over and, since it was there, had a look at the Multiplayer Battles. The game itself is actually pretty short so there really was time to try everything a few times.

Our Thoughts

I am about ready to kill that blasted frog! You seemed to need him badly in that last level (penultimate one. Ouch, then, even more). Also, are we sure Slippy’s a boy-frog? I thought a young one, from the voice.  It’d fit, the annoying small wonder boy who’s crap in actual use.

I’ll look it up.

*3 minutes later*

Yea Slippy’s male but voiced in this game by a woman. My case is rested. Either way, I do believe that we may have an early contender for most annoying video game character ever. Absolutely, as useful as they may be sometimes…

That’s something that I despute about them. Slippy actually has some use (which therefore makes their screaming all the more annoying) but the others just complain at you whenever they’re in trouble. Yet when you have two ships on your tail with no ability to shake them they happily let you crash and burn.

I believe Falco was out to get me. I bet they think you’re supposed to be better… making them something you want to drag along. At the same time, the controls seem difficult enough to need to backup sometimes. During the more linear levels the controls are actually fantastic. You just need to memorise the combination for a somersault as it makes no real sense. However, when you are in all-range mode it feels very stiff and unresponsive.


Left, right, up and down are easier than full 3D movement with very large turning circles and only being able to fire in the same direction as you’re moving in. Such controls are now far easier to implement because of the standard dual-analog sticks on most consoles (minus the Wii but that’s an extreme exception). However, back in the day, no major console would offer that until the year after this is released when the Playstation’s Dual Shock Analog Controller changed the face of gaming as we know it. Absolutely true, but that makes it seem backwards right now. However, at the time the controls must have been quite workable, and I suspect even more part of the difficulty right now.

Maybe part of the difficulty is that we are a bit pampered with the current controllers but since this is the technology of the day then we do need to view this in both the context of its time and how it’s compared to the current gaming environment. Very true, and while the game is primitive right now in all aspects – including, in a way, gameplay, this was the big game in its genre and on the console at the time.

It’s still held in extremely high regard as a classic example of a shoot ’em up and you can really see why. If the graphics were gussied up and the controllers updated to current hardware it would still be released to a lot of phrase. So when Star Fox 3DS is released expect a lot more hailing. Absolutely, and those are the only two real downsides of the main game. That and the multiplayer, which was pants. (Which is not the main game, but that as an aside)

The multiplayer… doesn’t have much of a point.  It’s slow-paced due to the lack of other things happening – it’s two of you, with slow controls, in an arena with nobody else. The general feeling is that it was an afterthought; just tacked on at the last minute to tap an extra market.  If a game did that nowadays that would be a severe black mark against it’s name and I think developers now know better than to do so. The games themselves are tedious and even when there is only 2 players the screen is still split 4 ways which feels mightily excessive.

Had it been done properly, I’d expect it to be during the main missions as well. You replacing one of the wingmen would’ve made the game both more playable and more exciting. Ah yes, that would have been amazing. It’s surprising really that they didn’t re-release it in such a fashion for the Wii. As the same game or a sequel? Well there was a sequel; it was just not as well received so it fell underneath the radar. I mean a true sequel as well rather than the one on the Dinosaur Planet. Okay. One opportunity for the future then that will be interesting to try. Once the next 970+ games are out of the way that is, or unless Star Fox 3DS or any future releases from the franchise make a re-draft of the 1001 list.

I’ll be too busy catching up to all the other games that’ll have come out by then, but a good point. Still, we’ll undoubtedly find more such games in the future. Exactly, makes you wonder what the true successor to Lylat Wars will turn out to be.

Final Thoughts

It’s hard to say this about a game that was as big as this. To us, the graphics look dated – something easily ignored considering we started off with Pong, two bars and a dot, but the controls are not as responsive as we’re used to these days. It’s a good game, and if you can get past those it can be quite immersive – just look at the memes this game spawned and the hatred for that stupid frog – but a proper (spiritual) successor would do a lot of good.

Do a barrel roll!

  1. HI PETER! 😀 So did you cover all the various routes? For me, at least the ten year old me, the tricky controls just added to the challenge, especially the LandMaster level in the tank. Hitting all those signals to get the ‘Mission Accomplished’ statement rather than simply ‘Mission Complete’ was HARD!

    And you’re right about the multiplayer. It’s rather lacking, although apparently gaining a medal on Venom will let you play on foot rather than in an Arwing…

    But remember…


  2. […] a situation we’ve seen before – Star Fox 64 is known in the UK as Lylat Wars. It was confusing then, it still is […]

  3. […] these games is that they can be disorienting. I don’t think it was as much of an issue with Star Fox, although I remember that as being more on rails, but with the likes of Elite it seemed like that […]