STAR FOX ZERO
By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on April 26, 2016
Five years ago, James McCloud, Peppy Hare and Pigma Dengar, the original Star Fox Team, were sent on a mission to stop the mad and evil scientist Andross from seizing power. Once they reached the planet Venom, to which Andross was exiled years ago, they find a bitter surprise. Pigma, who James and Peppy thought they could trust, betrays them and leads them right into Andross’ trap. In an act of pure selflessness, James sacrifices himself by drawing the enemy’s attention (and fire), making it possible for Peppy to make a narrow escape. James, however, was never heard from again...
And now, the galaxy is in danger once again! The mad and power-hungry scientist Andross threatens to subjugate the entire universe once again. The only thing standing between him and total domination is a brand new Team Star Fox, lead by Fox McCloud ; son of the original Team Star Fox leader and heroic star pilot, James McCloud. Fox is joined by his father’s old friend and wingman: Peppy Hare. His two other teammates are: Slippy Toad, Fox’s best friend and excellent mechanic and Falco Lombardi, a hot-shot flyboy with his heart in the right place. But will the team be able to stop the evil that is spreading through the galaxy?
Star Fox Zero is the latest installment in the Star Fox series, and the first Star Fox game since Star Fox Command was released, back in 2006. Although the ‘Zero’ in the title might suggest a prequel Star Fox Zero is none of the sorts. The best you can describe it is as a collection of the best elements of previous Star Fox games, all rolled into a very good looking game. The story is mostly based on Star Fox 64, but Nintendo and Platinum Games decided (very wisely, I might add) to include elements from previous games, like: Star Fox and the unreleased Star Fox 2. They even added some brand new features, like the Gyrowing; a small, twin-bladed helicopter-like aircraft that lets you get into tight spaces. And, as an added bonus, this awesome craft comes complete with Direct-i, a small robot that can get into the spaces that are too small for your Gyrowing. But Direct-i’s usefulness doesn’t end there. You can also use him to pick up bombs or even let him hack computers for you. Useful little bugger, that Direct-i!
Apart from the giant upgrade in the department of the game graphics (which look awesome, by the way!), the major difference between Star Fox Zero and other titles in the series must be the enhanced controls. Because Star Fox Zero is released for the Wii U, the screen on your gamepad plays a substantial part in playing the game. While your monitor shows the external view, just like we’re used to from other Star Fox games, the gamepad gives you a cockpit view, which lets you aim more accurately. I won’t lie to you; it takes a bit of getting used to; but when you do, this small screen will definitely make a big difference! Just take your time and get a feel for the controls, and you’ll be flying like an ace in no time flat.
After a brief tutorial, it’s time to start saving the galaxy. What is most noticeable about playing Star Fox Zero is that, even though you’re dealing with two screens, you can maneuver your aircraft with the greatest of easy. The controls are very responsive and easy to master. Making a somersault or a barrel roll is just a question of flicking the thumbsticks in the appropriate direction; twice in the same direction for a barrel roll and both sticks in opposite vertical directions for a somersault. Easy, isn’t it? And you know what the best part of a somersault is? No? Well, the best part is when an enemy is hot on your tail and you make a somersault, it results in you being on his tail, taking aim and blasting him clean out of the skies.
Everything about Star Fox Zero is a huge step up from previous games. The visuals, the sounds, the awesome vehicles; everything just screams: “PLAY ME!” And if you do, you will most certainly not be disappointed. It’s just a very good game that has taken the best of every Star Fox game ever and used it to its full potential. It’s like catching up with old friends and notice they look a hell of a lot better than when you last saw them. The whole gang is there: Fox, Slippy, Peppy, Falco, Katt, General Pepper and our robot buddy on the Great Fox Star ship, Rob. Of course, the bad guys are also present; Andross, Wolf O’Donnel, Pigma Dengar and their flunkies will try to thwart our heroes’ efforts at every turn, just as they should. I mean, come on; without enemies, ninety percent of all games would just be dull and boring. And without bad guys, we wouldn’t get the chance to be the good guys, now would we?! And Star Fox Zero would be a space-flight simulator. And we wouldn’t want that to happen!
So, when all is said and done, this is where I must leave you for today. But before I go, I will tell you this; if you’re into action-packed flying games and are up for an inter-galactic adventure, then Star Fox Zero is your best bet! It looks great, it handles fantastically and it is truly a valuable addition to the Star Fox series. So, whadda you say? Are you ready to join Team Star Fox and rid the galaxy from the evil troops of Andross? If you are, then suit up and get in your Arwing; it’s time to reduce a couple of enemies to space-rubble.