(DS)

Game Review

Star Fox Command Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Henry Stockdale

Return to glory for team Star Fox

The Star Fox series is one which holds a special place in the hearts of many gamers. Featuring a colourful cast of anthropomorphic animals led by Fox McCloud across the Lylat system, it all began back in 1993 on the Super Nintendo with the original Star Fox. The game was a huge hit and has since seen four sequels with varying degrees of success. Developed by Q-Games and released back in 2006, Star Fox Command stands as one of the better entries so far, but one which may leave some fans divided.

There are five main modes here: Adventure, Stage Select, Training, Local Multiplayer and Wi-Fi Multiplayer, a first for the series. It takes place three years after the events of Star Fox Assault at a time when the team has once again disbanded, with Venom remaining largely quiet. However, one day, a race that lives within the deadly Venom Sea known as the Anglar begins an attack on the Lylat system and the members soon reassemble to combat the new threat.

Unlike previous entries, story plays a much more important part to Adventure mode as, once you've completed it, you are given the Key of Destiny. This allows you to choose how the narrative unwinds, leading up to nine different endings overall that spanning across 11 different parts of the Lylat System. This structure not only makes the experience more unique, it also adds lots of replay value and the different stories running throughout the game should keep you interested. However, the game does not give any indication to a true ending, which may annoy some fans.

Star Fox Command takes a lot of elements from its cancelled predecessor, Star Fox 2. Gameplay is divided into two sections, the overworld and the battles. The sections of the former are all about strategy, giving you control over one to four pilots at a time from a total of 14 playable characters, old and new. Your aim is simple – destroy of all the enemy forces across the level before they can reach the Great Fox. Throughout this section, you control the pilots via the touch screen and plot their course using the stylus to intercept enemies across the map.

All battles throughout the game are held in free roaming areas. This will undoubtedly leave some fans disappointed as there are no traditional on-rails missions in the game. The only similar things included here are the missile runs, in which you have to follow one's slipstream and then attempt to destroy it, though this does little to help fill that void.

The aim of fights against normal Anglar forces that you encounter across the maps is simply to destroy a select group of them. Their ships contain cores which you are required to collect once they have been destroyed to complete a mission. Then you have Anglar Bases, which are similar to normal battles but have you follow a set of beacons and barrel roll into an Anglar Mothership at the end.

The battles are often quite engaging and fun, and there's a decent variety of enemies included throughout the game. Unfortunately they do often feel a bit too easy and can end up becoming repetitive after awhile. There are also more traditional, fully-fledged bosses such as returning villain Andrew Oikonny, arch-rivals Team Star Wolf and several new Anglar bosses, which help give the game the occasional breath of fresh air it needs.

Gameplay-wise, local and Wi-Fi Multiplayer are very similar to each other, with the only major difference being that while local can host up to eight players at a time via DS Download Play, Wi-Fi can only host four. The latter also contains a ranking system that classifies you from Z to A and lets you climb your way up through wins.

For those of you who have played multiplayer before in Star Fox 64, this will be familiar territory. There are no team battles available, everyone is going solo here, and you win by collecting stars from destroying your opponents. While this mode is rather barebones, it can be rather fun when playing with friends. When you do so, however, there's an added dynamic that potentially could make things frustrating – you do not automatically gain stars, but rather one is collectable from the location at which you killed another player. Anyone can thus grab it, meaning that you could destroy an opponent and someone else could swoop in and take it, robbing you of points.

Controls are almost completely touch screen based as you manipulate your pilot exclusively with the stylus, while you only use the D-Pad and all other buttons aside from Start and Select for firing your weapon. The touch screen also has several other functions, such as double tapping for the boost function or braking, barrel rolling and dropping bombs across the map by dragging a symbol to a location on the radar. This functionality works really well with the DS, feeling very natural and suited to the system, but it can take a little while to get used to. Fortunately, Nintendo has included a training mode which is split into four different parts, each for a different game aspect. The mode is rather helpful for beginners, and they'll soon be ready to take on the main game.

Star Fox Command looks very good for a DS title. The 3D character models are nice, the environments are well textured and thoroughly detailed and, barring the occasional dip, the game runs smoothly at 30 frames per second. The 2D art used is also pleasing to the eye, particularly in the cutscenes, with the only real flaw being the rather basic graphical designs in the overworld sections. The audio is also rather nice here and should please some fans of the series as it contains a number of classic tunes mixed in with several new ones. The game features no traditional voice acting, however, with Q-Games instead deciding to use the gibberish-chatter similar to that in the original game and PAL version of Star Fox 64, in which it was simply referred to as “Lylat”.

Conclusion

The bottom line is that for those of you hoping for a more traditional Star Fox experience, Star Fox Command will leave you disappointed. What it instead offers is more of a new evolution in the franchise, a fresh start for a troubled series and one that comes highly recommended.

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User Comments (69)

Kid_A

#1

Kid_A said:

A very under-appreciated game. The writing is awful, and the enemy design is laughable, but I found the gameplay to be a unique change of pace for series. And the presentation is lovely.

irken004

#3

irken004 said:

The score sounds about right. I didn't like it as much as I expected, but it's still an admirable game.

The_Fox

#4

The_Fox said:

Not a fan at all. Using the stylus is awkward, and the gameplay took a turn nobody was asking for.

MetalMario

#5

MetalMario said:

I love this game! I just wish there was voice acting. :-D

Think about it. We could all listen to "Do a Barrel Roll" on the go!!

theblackdragonAdmin

#7

theblackdragon said:

i think the first time through it (completing every single ending), i'd agree with the score, but for some reason the second time I tried playing it I just couldn't stand to sit through it all over again -- the replay value is not really there for me personally, lol.

good review, Terra -- especially that intro. very nice :3

SolarJetman

#8

SolarJetman said:

When I first played this game, I was quite disappointed by the fact that all the stages were free-roaming... but after a couple of hours, I was hooked. Being able to use different characters -- and thus different ships -- is a great feature, with Slippy actually being quite useful due to the heavy damage his ship can cause (and take) in quite a short time.

Also, the stylus controls are great, especially for rolling. 9/10 for me.

kevohki

#9

kevohki said:

I really want a new Star Fox game, not a rehash like Star Fox 64 3DS. The series deserves better than that.

Hokori

#10

Hokori said:

Man I need to play more of this, This and X-Scape are 2 awesome games that use the stylus very well.

TKOWL

#12

TKOWL said:

I had a bit of fun with my friend's copy of the game, but I'll wait until Star Fox 64 3D.

CanisWolfred

#13

CanisWolfred said:

This game was great!...the first time through.:P After that it was terrible. The strategy elements were extremely poorly done, and pretty much ruined the game. Yet another disappointing Ninty offering on the DS, and yet another DS game ruined by a terribly implimented gimmick.:(

TheBaconator

#16

TheBaconator said:

Am I the only one who liked Assult? It had an awesome multiplayer mode. I personally don't like this game very much though especially Fox's redesign. He looked so much cooler in Melee now he just looks like a plush toy.

smithers

#19

smithers said:

i bought this game awhile ago and ive sold it since, but i had quite a bit of fun with the game. solid review

MARl0

#20

MARl0 said:

I found this game to be the worst game in the Star Fox series by FAR. It's absolutely horrendous. And is the only Nintendo published game that I got rid of since Donkey Kong 64.

It's ridiculously repetitive game design, made worse by bland and boring game design. It's like two horrible problems mashed together to create the monstrosity that is Star Fox Command. Even Star Fox Assault is better than this game.

Punny

#21

Punny said:

I have not played this game in years, but when I did, it was a lot of fun. I remember the Touch Screen controls being used well and the combat to be pretty fun. I think this is the most forgotten Star Fox game, but not the worst. Bring on Star Fox 64 3D!

DAaaMan64

#23

DAaaMan64 said:

This is the worst StarFox game in the series, absolute worst. Its SOO badly designed. Do not judge the Star Fox series by this pile of crap.

I'm amazed anyone would call this a "return to glory" for StarFox. Adventures though odd is still MUCH better than this, and Assault has some damn fun moments.

This is just an overall terrible game, read my review for an opposing opinion. http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/forums/index.php?topic=27074.0

@ballkirby1 I enjoyed Assault. Sure its not amazing, but its still good.

If you ever get a chance to play StarFox 2, its real fun.

YoshiSage

#25

YoshiSage said:

Adventures is the worst. No contest.

64 was the best, but Command is a close second. Command is a criminally underrated game that gave Star Fox its life back IMO. Not quite a traditional experience, but at least it puts Fox back in the Arwing where he belongs. :D

CanisWolfred

#27

CanisWolfred said:

Star Fox Adventures was a good game, just not a Star Fox game. Star Fox Command was a bad Star Fox game and a mediocre game in general.:P

Sylverstone

#28

Sylverstone said:

Definitely a favorite of mine (until it got lost...), but it is indeed a great Star Fox title, though those multiple endings looked to put a nail on the series' coffin.

At least I know I'll be getting Star Fox 64 3D when it comes to relive the glory days.

Also, great review Terra!

Sabrewing

#29

Sabrewing said:

The character designs -- particularly for Fox and Wolf -- were really lame, and it's a shame that THIS is the game which Team Sora drew from for their Brawl incarnations. Ah well, at least the game itself is pretty fun. The multiple branching paths are a hoot.

pixelman

#30

pixelman said:

I hate this game. The time limit ruined it. SF64 is awesome though. I'm looking forward to the 3DS remake.

Terra

#32

Terra said:

Thanks for the kind words guys :)

It's like I said, it's a game that'll leave fans divided. I didn't expect such strong negativity from some people though.

Also, I don't quite get this "First time great, second time awful" opinion. Sure, a game might not be as good the 2nd time round, you've already played it and know what to expect from it, that's fair enough. I just find it a bit hard to believe that a game's quality would deteriorate just like that in the eyes of some people.

Ernest_The_Crab

#33

Ernest_The_Crab said:

Maybe it's just me but I found the pacing in Assault to be too slow. The vehicles just seemed more clunky in comparison to their 64 incarnations.

JarredBuzzo

#35

JarredBuzzo said:

This was actually a pretty fun game, I never beat it because I had so many games at the time, but it was still fun.

Kid_A

#37

Kid_A said:

The Starfox franchise is so interesting. With most Nintendo games, you know exactly what you're going to get gameplay-wise, because Nintendo has established how the games within that franchise are supposed to feel and play. With Starfox, however, each new title is an entirely different beast, sometimes only retaining a few select features that made the original so popular. And since it's ever changing, Nintendo hasn't really gotten to refine the franchise like it has with Mario, Zelda, Metroid or F-Zero. Donkey Kong and Starfox are the two franchises that Nintendo seems very split on what they want the franchise to "be" (but even DK saw some consistency with the Country series)

KrazyKain

#38

KrazyKain said:

this game got really harsh reviews but i loved it, and the story was actually very good, the first ending you get was downright depressing!

CanisWolfred

#39

CanisWolfred said:

@Terra

Once the game gets harder, its flaws become more evident, especially the strategy portion, where you'll be bombarded with hidden enemies and cheap deaths.

SamsN_ite

#41

SamsN_ite said:

Ahh... this is a tough one.
First off, good review, you did well. As a Star Fox super fan, I didn't really like the final product, although it was much better than Assault. First bone to pick: Depending on the resource you use, ( 8 or 12 MB, doesn't matter its a ridiculously small size ) is what is cited for the size of the game pak for Star Fox 64. 3 MB was used JUST for voice/audio. Pretty amazing. And it worked well, (yes, for the time).The DS cart can hold MUCH more and THERE is NO reason why there wasn't voice acting in this game. The next bone: controlled poorly. It was workable, but firing lasers was a chore. You also don't get a "multi-burst" shot like you do from SNES/ 64 versions. Those that have played the originals know that there is strategy as to how "fast" you hit the button to fire a laser, and to the noobs, it's not how fast you press the button, its the timing of when to hit it next. Flying felt very natural in 64, not this game. Last bone, but a small one: No definitive ending. The other games was to find the "real" Andross path, this game has Fox leaving and Krystal joining Star Wolf for good, Slippy owning a flower shop, and Falco playin' with his tooties, and so forth. Multiple endings, which I guess is smart to leave it open ended, but "fragmented". I will give the game credit for going back to the roots of Starfox 2, but then at the same time, maybe there was a reason that a finished game was never released in the US..... hmmmm..... ( I know Miyamoto said he wanted to go forth with "true 3D", but come on, the game was finished.) Anyways, I have the blueprint for how the next Star Fox game should be.... Maybe I'll give Shiggy a call....

DAaaMan64

#42

DAaaMan64 said:

This game plays nothing like Star Fox 2. There was no going back to roots at all.

StarFox 2 is a great game, play it through if you can. Its very arcade-ish, and the free-roaming areas are all unique little areas with paths to follow and a base to invade. There is none of this constant u-turns, fire a few times, u-turn again crap that Command has.

Also, there is only one of those 2D overworlds in SF2, and its on those planets where you will play each little level. Did I also mention in SF2 the Arwing transforms into a walker?

Yeah. Its awesome. But Command is nothing like SF2.

XCWarrior

#43

XCWarrior said:

If not for the awful touch controls, this could have been a great game. I could live with the time limit stuff, and I liked how it was all basically flying levels, but the touch controls were terrible. Your hand blocks the screen most of the time.

I want a new Star Fox on Wii so badly, please give it to us Nintendo...

SamsN_ite

#44

SamsN_ite said:

@DAaaMan64-
Yes, I would have to agree that Star Fox 2 is a superior game to command and yes, it's not EXACTLY the same as Command, I just mentioned that SF Command had roots used from SF2. Dylan Cuthbert (who worked on Star Fox, Star Fox 2 and Command ) said that Star Fox 2 inspired Command. Heck, the guy worked on those 3 games, how could he not? You can still have a game who's roots are based from another yet be different games.
check his interview:
http://videogames.yahoo.com/news-1150582

DAaaMan64

#45

DAaaMan64 said:

I agree that the whole swap between 2D and 3D maps thing is similar. But thats all they have. haha. I would never encourage someone to think they are similar feeling games.

Kirk

#46

Kirk said:

I didn't really like this game.

In my opinion no Star Fox game has matched up to the original.

JimLad

#47

JimLad said:

This is the only Star Fox game I genuinely didn't like. Bad controls, bad story, bad repetitive gameplay...
Adventures and Assault on the other hand, may have taken focus off the Arwings, but they were at least GOOD GAMES.
Definately not a return to glory, more like the final nail in the coffin. (still no news of a new Star Fox game)

SeniorDingDong

#48

SeniorDingDong said:

I really dislike the artwork here. Fox, Falco, Krystal and so on... they all look inferior compared to SF: Assault and even more compared to SF: Adventure or recently SSB: Brawl.

Some one metioned the weird endings and I went watching them on youtube. Yes, damn yes, this might have been an interesting approach, but these mostly turned out to be very strange.

After massive games like Star Fox 64 and Assault, this title feels like done by the "B-Team" and on a smaller scale, budget and goal.

The best thing a Star Fox fan can do for this generation is to get SF64 for the VC and wait for its remake for the 3DS...

Incognito_D

#49

Incognito_D said:

It's not a dreadful game, but it's not a great one either. I wouldn't recommend paying more than £5 for it.

shadowAOD

#50

shadowAOD said:

I thought this game was pretty good :)
decent story with very nice graphics and controls
only thing that was bad were the character designs (some of them)
and no voice acting(I can't stand gibbirish)

MeloMan

#51

MeloMan said:

SFC definitely wasn't a traditional SF experience, but the hook of the surprisingly drew me in and I was entertained. I think the strategy elements aren't bad at all considering they are a militant squadron anyway and tactics should be a part of it. I am one of those that also liked SF:Assault... if they could humbly marry that game and this one, I think it would make for a pretty good SF game. Of course, I'm still waiting on a SF with co-op adventure mode... the technology is there, let's do it Nintendo...

Knux

#52

Knux said:

Awesome review, Terra! :) This is personally my second most favorite Star Fox game after Star Fox 64. :D

LEGEND_MARIOID

#53

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

A mid 7 for me. I liked it up to a point. It wasn't particularly an enthralling play through - but a good game nonetheless.

Good review, thank you.

SolarJetman

#54

SolarJetman said:

I prefer gibberish to voice acting; it makes me laugh, especially when it's done well, like in Banjo Kazooie. And 99 per cent of video game voice acting is terrible; I feel embarassed just listening to it.

Most importantly though, voice acting takes up valuable memory that can be used for things that actually enhance gameplay.

OldBoy

#55

OldBoy said:

Good review Terra. I quite enjoyed this game TBH. Yes it was a departure for the series and at first I didn't like it.But once I'd adjusted to the gameplay I thought it was pretty good.Hopefully they will give us a proper SF game on 3DS though.Its been toooooo long!!

J_K

#56

J_K said:

Very overrated and you left out two or three depending how you see it problems that make this game a huge dog trying to get fun out of it.

The 'world map' per stage is kept under a constant fog of war with a view radius strapped to it like Advance Wars. That in itself isn't a problem on its own, but as you have limited fuel before you fail the stage, and the enemies will move around in the fog you can easily fail a stage just because they won't come to you. (That's one or two depending how you see it with fog and limited gas.) The other is some stages have inanely tiny time limits and you need to constantly divert from going after key targets or the boss itself to pick off little peons to pop another couple seconds on the clock or you auto fail which is new to star fox as well.

I didn't as it to my list, but depending how you as a person in general can deal with doing touch controls the game controls very loosely and it gets quite annoying and less accurate than the usual methods (which a good many hate the Zelda DS's over the similar reason too.)

I had it, dumped it, and had I scored it I probably would have knocked it down to a 5 or a 6 if I wanted to be nice.

Leaf

#58

Leaf said:

Good game but not for everyone I liked it at the time but it is kind of meh at times. It also leaves us clueless as to an ending though it was fun getting all of them

Ren

#59

Ren said:

really weird complaints here. I loved this game and couldn't stop playing it. It's still one of my favorite ds games to play when killing time.

Did anyone ever actually play the other ones because they thought the character designs and the story/ voice acting were so top notch?! If anything they were intended to be pretty ironic and silly and true voice acting would likely make the embarrassing video game story nonsense even more ridiculous.
Star Fox has always been about fun intense flight battles and the feeling of dogfighting. This games feels like the original 2 games, but takes it one step further into the format of a dogfighting type of game which is incredibly satisfying especially in online battles. The "strategy" elements are poor but simple and cursory, and not much more than a way to choose your path in a slightly more engaging way then hitting up or down like the old ones; big deal - thats not the meat and not what any of us played the games for.

the intense air battles are there but with even more control than the original 2 games. I was so happy with this game since it feels so much like the original ones but with new life and all the gloriously intense dogfighting battles of a star wars or ww1 air battle game. If you're looking for cuter drawings of the animals voiced by horrible actors, or turn based strategy, and brilliant plot points you're missing the point of Star Fox altogether.

DAaaMan64

#60

DAaaMan64 said:

@Ren, "Really weird complaints?"

The entire game is time limits, flying in circles, and fog o' war. Are those really that weird?

(Not to mention those frustrating instant lose missile levels)

Ren

#61

Ren said:

fog o war? the turn based parts are so minimal I don't see how anyone would take them seriously as a part of the game; it's just map screen to connect action sequences nothing happens there and as such it serves it's purpose just fine, why is it such a horrible thing? time limits are only a problem if you somehow can't find your way to the next enemies, which is pretty hard to swallow considering how small the environments are and that there is always a radar.
I'll admit the environments could have been a little bigger, but spending more time on each would have really dragged them out. Yeah, weird complaints! I guess maybe I'm in the minority for enjoying games where the focus is hunting down air and ground enemies and blowing stuff up, and everything else being pretty much secondary.

DAaaMan64

#62

DAaaMan64 said:

" I guess maybe I'm in the minority for enjoying games where the focus is hunting down air and ground enemies and blowing stuff up"

LOL no? Thats like, every game ever.

Here, mickeyman (Comment #40) already nailed the problem, "Once the game gets harder, its flaws become more evident, especially the strategy portion, where you'll be bombarded with hidden enemies and cheap deaths."

See, they took all those stupid features I complained about, (time limits, fog o' war, and circles) and when it was time to make the game harder, just made all the crap MORE annoying! Bad design!

J_K

#63

J_K said:

I'm finding this galling that only DAaaMan64 and a few others are on the same page as me on this, in the land of NOT being in denial. It's an ok game at best, but the problems get so bad as you progress it slides away from even being just ok. The Fog of War is a critical flaw with the game when coupled with the fuel (turn limit) as when it runs out you're dead. So even if a missile doesn't get you, if an enemy keeps playing hide and seek in the fog you eventually run out of gas and fail because you couldn't meet all the stage objectives and that's simply bad design.

All said and done you can either love or hate the endless tight circles and having to kill a bunch of useless crap for +2 sec on the clock around the real objective all you want, but at least those aren't seriously pseudo-game breaking bad ideas...just questionable ones. The radar in the game people want to say is so great sucks, and until the fog is peeled back it's useless so how's that a help with a small tank of gas and flaky targets?

Dragonmxz

#65

Dragonmxz said:

@64 personally, i have barely played the game so i can't really comment on it, but everyone IS entilted to their opinon, and saying somone is in denial just because they don't agree with your point of view is foolish. its fine if you think the game sucks, but don't disregard everyone elses opinion and say their wrong, that just leads to the "Nuh Uh." "Uh Huh." "NUH UH!" "UH HUH" argument.

J_K

#66

J_K said:

If you say so, but it is denial to outright ignore part of the game and not touch on it in the arguments in the comments here, even just blatantly wrong ignoring it in a review then slapping it with a 9. I don't think it sucks that bad, it just is very flawed and it's amazing some people here choose to just ignore that issue entirely is all.

theblackdragonAdmin

#67

theblackdragon said:

@J.K.: He gave it an 8, first off, and secondly, his review is only one opinion out of many scattered across the internet, as is yours. His opinion is no more 'wrong' than your own, and the same for everyone else here, so please chill about people being 'in denial' and you being amazed that maybe some of us didn't think it was as bad as you did. :|

Blink

#68

Blink said:

I liked this game quite a bit, enough at least to get 10 of the 13 (?) possible endings. After that though, I kind of forgot about it. Except when I've got friends with me. I absolutely LOVE the multiplayer, it's one of my favorites of any DS game. Shooting down my friends and then harvesting their bodies (okay, maybe I exaggerate, but that's pretty much what it is! :D) for points is just a blast for me! Yes, the story didn't have any real closure, and I hated the missle chasing sequences (especially with a character with no locking XC). I would have preferred a rail shooter, but I think they did the open-ended environments well. The key for me is: is it fun? I say yes, so thumbs-up.

Crazybrain1

#69

Crazybrain1 said:

There are only a few problems about this game.
1. Boring after getting the endings
2. When you're at the Cutscenes part, the characters always have the same expression.
I personally prefer the stylus controls. It's much more nimble and agile.
Maybe people don't like it because they're bad at it.

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