(GameCube)

Star Fox: Assault (GameCube)

Game Review

Star Fox: Assault Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Henry Stockdale

A bumpy ride for Team Star Fox

Star Fox has an active history on the GameCube, first appearing on the console in the form of Star Fox Adventures back in 2001. It took on a whole new direction and saw Fox McCloud out of the cockpit for the first time in an on-foot adventure across Dinosaur Planet, and while the game received acclaim in some quarters, many felt that it strayed too far from the series' roots. As such, a new game for the series soon began development to bring the series back to them in a collaboration between Nintendo and Namco, mixing together the on-foot mission style from Star Fox Adventures with the on-rails missions from the earlier entries, culminating in Star Fox Assault. Sadly however, it comes out as a rather mixed bag

The game offers several different main modes of gameplay. Looking at story mode, the game is set a couple of years after the events of Star Fox Adventures and Team Star Fox has reformed once again. This time, it's protecting the Lylat system from a new threat known as the Aparoids, a part-insect, part-machine species bent on the assimilation of all other species and it's up to Star Fox to eliminate them.

The game consists of 10 different missions set across the Lylat system, ranging from old favourites such as Corneria to new locations like the Aparoid Homeworld. These can be played through in three different difficulties that vary how much damage you take per hit and your end of mission score multiplier. Once completed in Story Mode, these missions then become available to play individually in Mission Mode.

Missions are mainly split into two categories. Firstly, we have on-rails Arwing levels; not much has changed from before across the levels, you'll still find items scattered around such as laser upgrades, bombs and silver rings and the Star Fox Team will frequently need saving among other things. These are undoubtedly one of the game's main highlights with their smooth controls and generally polished feel, proving to be a lot of fun and a welcome return for fans disappointed by Star Fox Adventures. Sadly, only three on-rails missions feature throughout the entire game, which is a real letdown.

Then we have the ground missions, which are basically most of the other missions in the game. These missions essentially turn the game into a third-person shooter, involving Fox doing tasks on the ground such as destroying Aparoids and other enemies with guns or the Landmaster, a tank-like vehicle that appears throughout the series. These allow full freedom of movement in a relatively small, arena setting. They also make use of the Arwings as well at times, allowing you to pilot them in an all-range mode setting and also gives you the option to switch between vehicles.

However, this is where a lot of things go wrong for the game. While Namco have put a lot of effort into the on-rails missions, ground missions generally come across as feeling rather unpolished, particularly with the controls as aiming often proves to be cumbersome, even across all three different controller options, dampening the experience frequently. Level design is also another weak point, as the worlds are not very distinctive and often feel rather lacking in substance. However, despite these flaws the missions prove to be quite fun at times despite their flaws, particularly when using the Landmaster, but they won't draw you back for more.

Once you complete a mission, you are ranked and awarded a medal, with your score being based on multiple factors such as your chosen difficulty level, the number of enemies defeated and time taken to complete the mission. You can also get friendship medals for each mission, which you earn if you successfully protect your team mates. These add a lot of replay value to the game and Namco made a smart move here by adding extra incentive to obtain the medals. By achieving a silver medal in every mission, you can unlock Namco's Classic arcade game Xevious, which is a rather welcome bonus.

After Story Mode has been completed, you can then try out Survival Mode. This is similar to survival modes in other games in that you attempt to go through the entire game without saving. For those looking for a challenge, Survival Mode steps up to the plate fairly well here but once you've done it, it doesn't really draw you in too much and honestly feels like the mode was poorly planned or brought in late in development.

Multiplayer is also available throughout the game, in which you simply try to kill the most people within the time limit. Four players can join in here, and you can choose a stage and choose the rules for it, such as what weapons and vehicles can be used, making for interesting games. Multiplayer is rather fun with friends but it doesn't last for long as it soon becomes quite boring. Namco included a lot of unlockables throughout the game in a bid to increase replay value here, predominantly obtained through playing games in multiplayer itself, as you begin to unlock extras when you play a certain number of matches in the game. The problem with this method is that it's rather tedious and considering that the fun will wear off quickly, a lot of gamers are likely not to bother.

Graphically, the game is about on average with other GameCube titles: it looks decent but can be rather lacking at times and often isn't up to the same level of detail seen in Star Fox Adventures, disappointing considering Adventures is four years older. The audio is rather good though, with a range of familiar themes appearing across the missions, nice treats for fans of the older Star Fox games. For this game, the option of the gibberish language known as Lylat speak is not available as you're stuck with English voice work throughout.

Conclusion

Overall, Star Fox Assault is a flawed but fun game that comes out as the weakest entry in the series altogether. While the controls hamper the ground mission levels, and the small number of on-rails missions is a disappointment, those who give the game a chance will find that there's still a lot to enjoy here but this is one that comes recommended with some caution.

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User Comments (75)

Joetherocker

#3

Joetherocker said:

How can you call this weaker than those pieces of crap Adventures and Command? Granted, the on-foot missions suck, but they're still better than Adventures' on foot portions. (Stretching the word portions, since you spend all of three minutes in an Arwing)

HP_3

#4

HP_3 said:

Good review! This is the worst Starfox game i've ever played. Both Adventures and Command were better in my opinion. @joetherocker
We knew SFA wasn't a traditional starfox game, it's about adventure. Assault is though, in which it lacks compared to other Starfox games.

Terra

#5

Terra said:

@Aviator - I thought so anyway, I'm pretty fond of the On-Rails missions in the game.

My Star Fox reviews always seem to find mixed reactions among you guys lol

kevohki

#8

kevohki said:

I love Nintendo but they screwed the pooch with this series after the N64. Hideki Kamiya said he wants to make a new Star Fox game. LET HIM and then stay out of his way.

nintendogamerftw

#9

nintendogamerftw said:

@erv
It's a retro review. As far as I know, this site came into existence after the Gamecube era. So there catching up. Correct me if I'm wrong, it's just a guess.

Slapshot

#11

Slapshot said:

Great review Terra, Ive always passed this one for good reason and will still continue to pass on it.

..... if only that N64 Starfox unrealised but finished title would ever release, imagine what that would do for for VC ;)

SKTTR

#12

SKTTR said:

I thought if one thing was done absolutely right it was the multiplayer. It expands on everything Lylat Wars has done.
Much better than just a 6/10 at the time, but now this kind of game really needs pointer controls.

SilverBaretta

#13

SilverBaretta said:

Great review, Terra. While my only experience with this game is it's multiplayer, I still want to give it a shot. Even though according to your review, there are a few flaws, I still feel like I would get some enjoyment out of it. :)

Also:
"However, despite these flaws the missions prove to be quite fun at times despite their flaws,"

Grammatical error. :P

Chozo85

#16

Chozo85 said:

Good review. I really didn't like this game, a very disappointing sequel to Starfox 64. The on the rails levels were passable but lacked something that the N64 game had whilst the on foot levels were generally awful. The characters were also completely devoid of charm. This series is in desperate need of reinvigorating.

The_Fox

#17

The_Fox said:

I probably would say it's closer to a 5, myself.

This, SF Adventures and SF Command makes me realize that Nintendo is trying to kill the franchise with crap.

pikku

#19

pikku said:

I personally love this game, but I can see how it would have gotten a 6/10. in the end, all that matters is that it's fun.

TheBaconator

#20

TheBaconator said:

I agree withhulklo, the multiplayer was insanly fun. Not to mention you could unlock one of those old Namco Shmups.

Ravage

#21

Ravage said:

Adventures is still my favourite SF game, with Assault at second (only really due to the multiplayer portion). I never really cared for the whole on rails thing.

NintendoNaut

#24

NintendoNaut said:

Oh good grief no. The campaign is fun (even if the on-foot missions are sub-par), the split screen mode is fantastic, and to say this is the worst in series is crazy as Adventures is absolutely terrible.

mjc0961

#25

mjc0961 said:

There might only be 3 on rails parts in the Arwing, but there are plenty of all range mode parts as well and those are just as good as they were in Star Fox 64. Sure the on foot parts could use some work, but other games have done on foot shooting a hell of a lot worse coughMetroidPrimeisnearlyunplayableduetopoorcontrolscough oh my excuse me.

It would be nice to see Nintendo do something with this series again though. A NEW game, porting Star Fox 64 to the 3DS doesn't count. Been there, played that, can play it again right now if I want to.

Terra

#26

Terra said:

Such hostility towards the review. Before I go into my hiding spot, I'd just like to say that I feel the review was justified in my experience of playing the game. Now then...

/me goes into his hiding spot

Kid_A

#27

Kid_A said:

Gasp! I actually really like this game. Possibly my favorite Star Fox game. But I know a lot of people feel that it was quite a disappointment so I can't complain so much. Good review though, I always like reading opposing opinions :)

RaylaxStaff

#28

Raylax said:

@25: Since when was Metroid Prime in anyway 'unplayable'? :U

Decent review, and a fair score. I got some enjoyment out of this, but the on-foot sections killed it for me. Especially that one level on the dinosaur planet. Ugh.

TKOWL

#30

TKOWL said:

I had great fun with my friend's copy of the game. A 7 at least, 6 is kinda harsh.

DiggerandIndy

#31

DiggerandIndy said:

I'm not sure I agree with a 6/10 rating. Personally, I'd give it a 8/10. The only things that are killin' the game are the annoying voice acting and the fact that you have to zap bugs most of the time. Other than that, good game!

grenworthshero

#32

grenworthshero said:

Eh, maybe this review is a bit harsh, but its criticisms are not unwarranted. What I don't understand is the Adventures hate. That was a great game. If you were expecting a traditional Star Fox game going into it, you must have something wrong with your head. That was a great adventure game, Star Fox or not.

Marvelousmoo

#33

Marvelousmoo said:

A six is very fitting, but don't be confused by the quality of the game and the fun that it creates. The run and moving mechanics are incredibly unrealistic and way to fast, but it is still fun nonetheless. The giant maps and the multiple types of vehicles to use make the multiplayer in this game a blast. My friends and I soon moved on to better things (timesplitters 3) after playing this for a while, but it is worth a try. The only things I wished it had that it didn't were bots and a mapmaker (I seriously thought you could unlock it, since the simple maps made it look possible. 6/10 game; 8/10 fun.

Acidfoxdyi831

#34

Acidfoxdyi831 said:

i really wish this game was alot better then it was. multiplayer had so much potential to me with everything u can already do and the campaign mad me cry(no really ) jus sayin i love star fox and i hope we get a wii starfox soon!!

NeoShinobi

#37

NeoShinobi said:

I actually really liked this game. The vehicle missions were fun and the on-foot missions didn't really bother me too much. I had alot of fun with the multiplayer to.

This is deffinetly not the worst game in the series, Star Fox Command was way worse IMO.

madgear

#39

madgear said:

Yeah I can't believe there are only three flight stages and all the rest are all range or on foot. The flight stages (of which the first stage is one) are fantastic - it really gets your hopes up that this is going to be a great game but then you have to wait until halfway through the game for the next one and then at the end.

If the entire game was like the first stage, I'd absolutely love this title. The graphics are great and it plays just like the original StarWing/Fox - too bad the other stages are so dull and make up the majority of play. Shame.

PSICOffee

#40

PSICOffee said:

The problem with the Starfox series nowadays is people like Miyamoto think the games shouldn't be on-rail shooters, and that the games should fit into a variety of genres, then Miyamoto wonders why the games sell like crap. Thats the problem. Because people only want to play Starfox as a shooter, which is why the original and Starfox 64 are very good. Why can't they just have one series that is kept simple and not always radically changed!? Kirby was simple and consistent for most of the games until Epic Yarn (not including spin offs like golf and pinball). Starfox should just be a shooter with different levels and I don't see why that is so hard to do. >.>

Marvelousmoo

#43

Marvelousmoo said:

@Kid_A
I wasn't, but to unlock things for multiplayer, I played through the campaign. I never knew it was possible to laugh so hard with your palm to your face before when I saw the ending.

odd69

#44

odd69 said:

i love this game despite what people say this is my favorite game in the series

XCWarrior

#45

XCWarrior said:

I am not a huge fan of the ground levels, but man that is a rough score. I would have prefered more (OK all) flight levels, but not sure if it knocks it down to a 6. Then again, I'd say about 7.5. And it is way better than Star Fox Command for DS, which although is all flying, has horrid motion contols.

Objection

#47

Objection said:

I rather liked this one, although not as much as Adventure. Honestly, I never had a problem with the on-foot levels. Some of the tank parts were mediocre but overall I liked it. (I hated Command but thats a different story.) Good review, hits the points well, but I'd give this a 7/10 or maybe a 8/10, been a year or two. (I'd give Adventure a 9/10 btw.)

AVahne

#48

AVahne said:

I'd give this a 7 or 8, I loved this game. Being short was the only flaw I found, that and the characters run too fast in multiplayer.

Ernest_The_Crab

#49

Ernest_The_Crab said:

@The Fox

Nintendo (EAD) really only handled two of the Star Fox games...Star Fox and Star Fox 64. The others were developed by different companies.

CanisWolfred

#50

CanisWolfred said:

One of my faves on the Cube. I don't really agree with most of the so-called flaws mentioned in the review, though I will admit that it is a bit lacking in the replay department. Of course, there is the multiplayer component, which is by far the best aspect of the game.

MARl0

#51

MARl0 said:

Assault is definitely not a great game, but it's WAY better than StarFox Command. That game is the true cream of the crap in the Star Fox series. Assault is like masterpiece compared to Command.

Ren

#53

Ren said:

wow, I must be a real sucker because I think I'm the only one I've ever heard of who loved Command. it was the closest thing to the dogfighting feeling of the original two great ones to me. I'll never get what was wrong (besides the odd difficulty curve later on in it, but the online was such a blast).

Never touched these two cube ones, though I know I should. Hard for me to swallow playing fox running around. My love for the series was always about the an action flight simulation and the irony of the odd cartoon pics of animals talking thrown on to look like they're in those cockpits. to take them out and actually make us play bad games of them running around kinda ruins the weird irony of those pictures and gibberish talk. why did they ever go there?

Knux

#54

Knux said:

Great review, Terra. :) I thought Star Fox:Assault was good, but the game was too freaking short! :O

Nintendoftw

#55

Nintendoftw said:

The best in my opnion, but I haven't played much though, this comes 1st ti almost tie with Starfox 64.

grenworthshero

#56

grenworthshero said:

I didn't even realize there are only 3 on-rails levels until I read this, because there is a large amount of flying, though I guess most of it is in all-range mode

gojiguy

#57

gojiguy said:

I love this game. It wasn't the best, but it was MUCH better than adventures and WORLDS better than Command.

Command made me feel physically ill it was so bad.

lockelocke

#58

lockelocke said:

Good review. I totally agree. Not a terrible game, but it felt monotonous and bland compared to the previous games.

JimLad

#59

JimLad said:

I agree with #37 NeoShinobi, how can you give SF Command an 8 and this a 6? That had no on rails levels at all and was as boring as hell.

motang

#60

motang said:

I have only played the original Star Fox game on the SNES the most and loved it. I hear that Star Fox 64 is very good so I am really looking forward to getting that on the 3DS.

MeloMan

#61

MeloMan said:

I forgot there was only 3 on-rails missions... As a package, I still liked it because it did get Fox back in the seat of a craft more often than not. I felt like this game was a "I'm sorry, we'll make it a little more like SF64" game from Nintendo as well as a "For those of you who loved the on-foot sectors of Starfox Adventures..." type of game... sadly, I don't think it made both parties any happier in the end, lol! I did think it was an improvement over SF64's SUPERIORLY WEAK mulitplayer death matches though, I think most would agree on that point. Here's hoping the next console adventure can balance better the on rails, arena stages, minimize (and make better) on-foot sections, and for heaven's sake, bring back the submarine already, lol :)

advance_melee

#62

advance_melee said:

the games highly forgettable. the multiplayer wasnt worth coming back to. the single player was okay. i prefered star fox adventures to this game. id give star fox adventures a 9. i know adventures is quite different than a traditional starfox title it still was tons of fun, with great graphics for its time.

Robo-goose

#63

Robo-goose said:

6/10? I thought Adventures was bad and Assult was good.
I swear, if a review is made on here for Adventures and it gets a ten, I'll eat nothing but canned beans for a day.

DarkEdi

#65

DarkEdi said:

One of my favorite GC disc. Oddly its graphics are beyond than 95% wii game graphics.

I put an 8.5 to this game. I enjoyed it a long. Only bad thing "walking" missions last like 25min long and is annoying to repeat when you are almost done.

SmaMan

#66

SmaMan said:

I really, REALLY, loved this game. My friends and I still pick this up for a few deathmatches every now and then, and we think it's fun... I honestly don't understand all the flack its been getting. Most of it is probably from those SF64 fanboys who won't open their mind to anything else.

And I also liked Star Fox Command... since it's kind of like that awesome Star Fox 2 beta that got leaked out.

Anyone want to start a post-SF64 defense league?

SamsN_ite

#67

SamsN_ite said:

Ah.... Assault.... One of my most anticipated games of all time. Most of our views and opinions of games are based off our expectations and experiences with previous games. I really wish I could enjoy this game. I was ecstatic when this game was unveiled so many years ago. But for those that played the original Star Fox and Star Fox 64 PASSIONATELY know that this game missed on so many points. I have posted the Star Fox related reviews and have explained in many ways why this formula doesn't work. From the lack of multi-burst shots to the "floaty" ship controls to the painful walking missions and HORRIBLE dialog, this review was right on. Even after playing Star Fox 64 3DS and KNOWING it was still COMPLETELY unfinished, got me nervous about the game's future again. I have faith that 64 3DS will be great, but the controls on the game at it's E3 state didn't work right, but that was a demo, so no points against that. What we need is a AAA title with on-rails missions and 4 player Co-op, and massive ranked online multiplayer, one that would break barriers like when the original Star Fox debut 3D on the SNES and when SF64 brought us rumble. That's what makes these 2 games so special, they were like the first of their kind. It's still possible. And I think Nintendo knows that. There are obviously a lot of fans of the series and I think that Nintendo will realize this and give the series the justice that it deserves. And if Nintendo doesn't know where to start, I have it all done for you : )

Aviator

#69

Aviator said:

Even though the on-rail levels are the highlight of the game, my fave level will always be level 8. I love the gate mission.

OnionOverlord

#70

OnionOverlord said:

Starfox Assault had an interesting thing going with the stages that allowed you to switch between on-foot, arwing, and landmaster all on a single map. Sadly, there weren't enough of this maps, I can only think of one that had all 3. It was an interesting idea that wasn't taken advantage of properly. Instead, most levels are either on foot, landmaster, or arwing. This worked fine for Starfox 64, but Assault probably would have been more accepted if it had more of the levels that allowed for switching vehicles.

It was an ok throwback to Starfox 64 otherwise, but part of the problem with "throwbacks" is that they're rarely as good as the originals. Assault simply tries too hard to be like Starfox 64. They should have taken the New Super Mario Brothers Wii approach and made the game more original, relying less on copying the classics. NSMBW had plenty of it's own stage mechanics in place while still doing a good job of playing on nostalgia.

By the way, what's with the japanese text in the screen shots?

gabrielwoj

#71

gabrielwoj said:

I don't get it, Star Fox Assault is one of my favorites, it's bravely hard and pretty good...
It have a great variation of missions, even being short, it takes time to get all the missions as gold and finally unlock the bonus game..
I guess it could be 8/10 as my opinion, good variety of stuff, and multiplayer (one problem that you can't play with computer)...
I have this game a long time, I even didn't know this site exists in the past...

WWammy

#75

WWammy said:

I liked the game a lot when I was on the Arwing levels which is everything I loved about the Starfox games.
Both Starwing and Lylat wars were awesome because they were space shooters but the effort to diversify the gameplay into on foot missions and worse make them the dominant portion of the game is what ruined it for me.
If the game had been 90% Arwing and 10% the rest of the on foot or landmaster levels this game could have been up there with the others but as it stands it's just an almost there kind of game.
I suppose people that didn't play the previous games don't have the same expectations as existing fans like myself so would probably enjoy the game based on the available content.
But as a fan I have expectations from the series and Starfox hasn't returned to it's former glory yet although the 3DS Starfox 64 is good but then it's a remake not a new space shooter.
I really don't understand Nintendo sometimes they know what the fans want and fail to deliver when it comes to this franchise

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