Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Star Fox 2 - SNES

Perhaps the most important beta leak in console game history. Just as the SNES was reaching the nadir of its reign, this highly ambitious space strategy shoot'em'up was planned: and if released, would have been one of the crowning achievements of the 16bit era. It turned out that Nintendo wanted to concentrate 3D game development on their nascent N64 console and so the ideas in Star Fox 2 were put on hold until Star Fox 64 and the much later Star Fox Command. Despite the magnificent quality of the N64 version this game manages to eclipse it (and while still in the beta stage!).

The changes from the original Star Fox are legion. Firstly there is a tactical world map where you plot your movements in an effort to save you home planet of Corneria from destruction. Andross / Andorf sends exotic missiles, ships and elite pilots with an ever increasing commitment to thwarting your progress. Enemy planets launch tactical nukes and large battleships target planetary beam weapons hoping to unleash a catastrophe of Alderan proportions. Throughout this maelstrom of activity you must find time to plot a course to the enemy planets, destroy their military facilities and regroup at the mothership for some much needed health. The planetary levels are fought out in a free flying mode similar to the one used in Star Fox 64. Your ship can convert into a land based mecha if the urge presents itself, you have a secondary companion who you can switch between when low on health, there are two new characters, new power-ups and a plethora of new enemies. Time passes at the same rate weather you are engaged in battle or plotting on the overhead map...this makes for some nice touches such as new enemies arriving out of the blue suddenly making a small skirmish into a deadly war of attrition.

My favorite quality of this game however are the difficulty modes. Instead of blithely changing a few lines of code in an attempt to enhance the games longevity: the difficulty in Star Fox 2 drastically make the game more challenging for the better. With each increase interesting new levels and enemies are introduced making it seem almost like three games in one.

Download Star Fox 2 latest version with English patch
Wikipedia Article
Aeon Genesis Translation
Youtube Video

You will need the latest version of SNES9x to play without any fear of crashing.

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