Sunday, May 8, 2011

Retro Backlog Assault: Starfox Adventures

As I've been playing some recently acquired games lately instead of working through my backlog, I thought I'd take some impressions I had lying around for a previously beaten game and fashion them into the first Retro Backlog Assault.

Title: Starfox Adventures
Platform: GameCube

Bought: 05 February 2010
From: eBay
Price: €10.00

Beaten: 25 June 2010
Final Game Time: Unknown
Cost/Hour: n/a

Backloggery Dump:
  • I've rescued Tricky, now I'm looking for some doodads for his mom.
  • 25/02/10 I'm currently stuck trying to pass the third Kraoza spirit's stupid-ass test.
  • 24/03/10 I'm on the hunt for the fourth Kraoza spirit. Getting pretty bored with this now.
  • 23/06/10 I've got the last spell stone. Time to put an end to these sub-par adventures.
  • 25/06/10 Beaten. Not Rare's finest hour, that's for sure.

Starfox Adventures starts off as a pleasant enough, if not terribly engaging experience. The graphics look wonderful, the locations are pretty and the soundtrack accompanies the environment perfectly. If this was a much shorter game, I would have probably had a pretty good time just moving through the game's world, admiring the scenery as I tackled the not-terribly-taxing adventures of the title. This isn't a short game though and the more you play it, the more it falls apart.

The further you get into the game, the more it's myriad of minor flaws begin to grate. After a while, it feels like the game is going out of it way to annoy you in every way possible. Among those methods are:unskippable cutscenes; backtracking galore; a confusing inventory system; a useless world map (great for navigating); lots of annoying, timed mini games you need to complete to progress and a camera that can only be centred behind Fox, as if the C-stick didn't exist. I'm sure I'm missing one or two more.

I have to mention the story too. It's such an incomprehensible mess of gatekeepers, kraoza spirits, warp stones, land walkers, red eyes, temples and fuck knows what else. It's like someone was going out of their way to make up the most stupid, convoluted, videogamey story they could muster. In most of the cut scenes, Fox doesn't look like he has the slightest idea what the fuck's going on and I completely empathise with him.

The main problem with the game though, is that the gameplay just dull. For a Zelda clone, none of the puzzles are terribly tricky; The combat's pretty shallow (In the vast majority of encounters, once you've landed a successful blow, you just need to mash A to win); The Arwing sections are nothing but short, simple afterthoughts.

Star Fox Adventures might be pleasant to look at, but that doesn't make this fairly hollow, monotonous and increasingly irritating experience bearable in the long run.

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