Title: Starfox
System: SNES




There are times wherein I can be a bit of a visual snob and none is more readily apparent than when Starfox came out for the Super Nintendo. I remember people talking about how amazing this game was, how oh-so-cool you were if you happened to have a copy, and I wanted to get in on this coolness. And when I finally had my chance to see it in action I kind of stammered at the visuals. I asked when the coolness would start. It was like watching the old Stunt Driver game for DOS that my buddy Doug and I used to play before we had Windows 3.1.

It wasn’t until much, much later that I really learned about how technologically advanced the game was. 3D polygon rendering was a relatively new field in the 16-bit genre and while I do respect that a lot from my tech geek side, my visual, instant gratification side just couldn’t deal with how primitive the graphics looked, advanced technology or not.

Regardless, when you take command of Fox McCloud and cruise around the universe you’re playing a well-balanced shooter game with a decent story and pretty good controls. Saving the galaxy is going to be no picnic of course while you’re dodging lasers, falling obelisks and otherwise trying to save your friends Falco, Hoppy and others from being shot at. You have your choice of different paths to take which lead you through different areas of difficulty -and replayability- but in the end a lot of them play the same.

A lot of people still look back on this game fondly and while I don’t exactly dislike it, I was never really a fan of the genre as a whole. I take the technological advances that this game provided as a very positive thing as it lead the way to using more 3D rendering in a console previously only geared toward 2D. But while you’re watching it happen you kind of pine for prettier sprites.


Apologies to Scion owners but these things are just overall hideous. I don’t understand the new craze of making the most box-like cars that engineering can provide (The Cube? Seriously, no.) even if those vehicles get you several dozen miles to the gallon. Every time I see one of those I think of 1 of 2 things: Fox McCloud’s polygon spaceship or a refrigerator box with wheels on it.

Starfox 64 (N64)
The N64 started to do a lot more with 3D models and rendering while also giving us bigger game cartridges that offered more play time. Starfox’s polygons looked a lot more at home on this console and the game played pretty much the same only better.