Let’s Play #35: Starfox 64

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Fox McCloud in his Arwing

 

This Let’s Play was a challenge to myself honestly. Why? Because Starfox 64 isn’t a easy game to Let’s Play. I don’t mean it because of its gameplay difficulty but because of how the game itself is played.

Anyone who played Starfox 64 probably understand what I mean but, for those who don’t know, here’s the answer:

In Starfox 64 (originally called Lylat Wars) you need to save the galaxy from the evil scientist Andross, and you do that by travelling through many planets commanding the Starfox’s Team leader Fox McCloud piloting his little spaceship the Arwing.

The catch? of all the 15 planets who are in the Lylat System, you will only play through 7 of them (in which the first planet and the last planet are always Corneria and Venom) so every gameplay session is different from the others. The way you choose which planet you’re going to next, is by making cetrain choises or get certain requirements in the level you’re playing.
So that’s the main reason why I though this game required a particular planning before actually playing it. We can’t just play the whole game multiple times just to reach a level we haven’t seen, It would have been cooler if we could see all levels as stand-alone levels.
Thanks god emulators come in our help. By emulating the game, we can actually create a series of “save states” before each level. In this fashion, we can play each level in the conditions as it were our first level in the game.

But what are these conditions exactly? They are just two:

  • Fox starts each level (except the very first level, Corneria) with Hyper Lasers.
  • All Fox’s companions start each level at full health.

This ensures us the gameplay conditions will be almost the same at the start of each level. It took me a very long time to gather all the Save States.

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Beginning Mission 4 on Solar

 

After the Save States problem was solved though, I needed to setup the Let’s Play. How did I do it? Well, I though that an “intro-like” video was the best way to explain all the points above. Not only that, but since I love when a game has a in-game tutorial which explains how to play, the very first video of the Let’s Play tackles that as well.
Don’t get me wrong, explaining the controls and mechanics of the game is one of the parts I prefer of Let’s Playing because it’s a time to show off your skills in explain how the game works with easy and simple words. However, when when the game does it for me, it’s even better because the often the game can explain much better than I do, so I can concentrate on talking about tricks, tips and other stuff.

That gets the intro video out of the way. And then I would have played all the levels and then I would have shown a normal gameplay session. And that’s how it went.

Speaking of the game now, Starfox 64 is actually a remake of the game Starfox for the Nes which was also one of the first games to ever use some kind of 3D graphics and polygons. The NES version has less levels and some of them make a return in this version.

The gameplay is quite simple. In most of the levels you travel forward with your Arwing while trying to take down as many enemies as possible. Your ship has a basic laser which you shoot by pressing A and a limited amount of bombs which you can throw with B. Holding A allows to charge the laser, lock on to an enemy and shooting an aimed blast which nets you bonus points if it destroys many enemies in one hit.
The Arwing is also able to lean left and right and by pressing Z or R twice you can do a barrel-roll and repel enemy fire for a few moments. You can also do a couple of tricks like a somersault or a U-turn even though the latter is only avaiable in All-range mode.

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Fighting in “All-range mode”

 

All-range mode is a mode were you can fly anywhere, not just in front of you. Some levels are completly in All-range mode, others have the All-range mode only when fighting the boss at the end.

As you would expect, the game offers you a lot of enemies to shoot down and as well many pickups. The laser item powers up your laser (Single -> Double -> Hyper), Grey rings restore your health while collecting 3 gold rings will double your max health for the level and collecting 3 more get you an extra life.

Taking about the scoring system, the game values your kills a lot. Killing enemies is your priotity, the more you kill the better not just in terms of getting high scores. Infact at the end of each level, your teammates will recover an amount of health which is directly proportional to the kills you make. Do a lot of kills, and they will recover a lot, meaning it’ll be harder for them to get shot down in later levels.

This is important to get medals. The game rewards you if you can do a certain amount of kills in a level (this varies for each level) and all your teammates are alive. I say this amount before starting every level, but for those who are interested, here are the “kills requirements” for all areas:

Corneria – 150
Meteo – 200
Sector Y – 150
Fortuna – 50
Katina – 150
Aquas – 150
Sector X – 150
Solar – 100
Zoness – 250
Titania – 150
Macbeth – 150
Sector Z – 100
Bolse – 150
Area 6 – 300
Venom – 200

That being said, Starfox 64 was really fun to Let’s Play. And most of the fun came when I changed my microphone between episode 2 and 3 and listening to my new voice was so weird it sounded like I was another person.
I gotta get used to it.

Let’s Play’s stats:

-First episode aired on: June 17, 2017
-Last episode aired on: July 17, 2017
-Number of episodes: 17
-Total time of Let’s Play: 3 hours and 26 minutes