Not a bad days work for a fox and the cast of The Wind in the Willows.
As part of a bundle pack Star Wing, (or Star Fox depending on which part of the world you hailed from), was the first game I ever played on the SNES and my word what an impressive start it was.
While I’m not as technically minded as young Mentski, I do know that it was the first game to use Nintendo’s Super FX chip, (designed by the games programmers, British born Argonaut Games), which helped the SNES render the games three-dimensional visuals.
Taking control of one Fox McCloud, you and and Fox’s wingmen, (Falco Lombardi, Slippy Toad, and Peppy Hare), take to the skies in their Ar-Wing fighter crafts to do battle with the forces of Andross of the planet Venom who has unleashed a vengeful attack on the Lylat System.
As an on-rails shooter while you are constantly moving forward you do have the ability to slow down, speed up and move freely about the game screen giving a sense of total control of your Ar-Wing as you blast your way through various systems, asteroid belts, space stations and the like.
It was impressive stuff for a home console at the time; one accentuated even more by some truly excellent gameplay and smart design choices.
I guess the most obvious questions is how does the Super FX chip and Star Wing/Fox stand up today?
Well after a good hour or so with it I’ve come away as almost impressed as I was the first time I played it. Even the now unsophisticated visuals are well polished, (given their were created some 16 years ago), and carry a charm that still sets it apart from many of the games peers at the time.
Along with the brilliantly designed boss battles to the engaging dog fights, Star Wing/Fox boasts levels of playability that few games can match. It’s certainly easy too see why the Nintendo hardcore wet themselves at the mere mention of Fox McCLoud and the Star Fox games.
Of course by today’s standards it’s certainly dated in some areas, but there’s no question that it’s one of those few titles that the years have genuinely been kind to and as such it’s very easy to admire what Nintendo EAD and Argonaut Games achieved back in 1993.