Star Fox: Assault
Star Fox: Assault is the fourth game in the series and the second one released on the Gamecube, thus marking the first and currently only time the series has graced a single platform twice. Assault makes a return to the concepts implemented in Star Fox 64 and expands on the other vehicle options to make them play a more prominent role.
Assault takes place after the events of Star Fox Adventures. Peppy has since retired from active pilot duty and instead assists R0B onboard the Great Fox. Krystal is now a permament member of the team as well. Star Wolf also return with some pilot changes. Andrew and Pigma are no longer with them but they do have a newcomer in the form of Panther.
With Andross' reign of terror over and Sauria returned to a peaceful state all seems quiet until Andrew abandons his place as a Star Wolf member and attempts to exact revenge by taking control of Andross' former armies. Star Fox fly in to assist the Cornerian army and repel Andrew's forces. Before the end though Andrew's ship is destroyed by a strange creature, which is then in turn destroyed by Fox when it turns against the team. A partial core memory is retrieved, which leads to the revelation that the enemy was an Aparoid.
The intent of these creatures is soon made apparent when they launch a full scale invasion of the Lylat System. Engaging in several skirmishes it is discovered that all Aparoids are connecting to a single network, and Beltino Toad develops a means to wipe out the entire enemy force in one go. However, this requires travelling to the Aparoid homeworld in order to force a self-destruct program into the Aparoid Queen. Thus the team must find a way to get there and defeat the Queen to protect their homeworlds.
Assault takes the gameplay mechanics of Star Fox 64 and alters the ratios somewhat. There is a fair balance of Arwing, Landmaster and on foot missions spread throughout the game.
Arwing missions play out just like before. The levels are split between linear and all range styles. Linear sections involve the ship travelling along fixed routes while affording minimal movement controls to the player, where all range lets the player fly freely within a set arena. The Arwing is capable of a number of different movements such as boosting, braking, flips and barrel rolling, although 180 flips are not possible in linear mode since you are required to travel along a specific direction.
The Arwing has all the weapon systems we have come to know. Players can fire their laser cannon at enemies, which can be used limitlessly and can also be upgraded. The laser can be charged to create a plasma bolt that will lock onto enemies to make it easier to hit distant or fast moving targets. When in trouble smart bombs can also be launched to create large devastating explosions, but these are obviously limited in number.
Landmaster missions, as opposed to those of Star Fox 64, are in all range mode. Players are given free reign to travel all around the given arena. The tank comes equipped with a single laser cannon and bomb capabilities, affording it very similar offensive options to the Arwing. The controls are vastly different due to being based on the ground. The tank moves slower and cannot perform flips nor fly. It can hover for a period of time as well as using boost and brake to help it move around more easily.
On foot sections are new to Star Fox single player campaigns (although appeared as an option in Star Fox 64's multiplayer game). Players start with a simple blaster but can obtain different weapons during the missions. Like the Landmaster missions players have complete freedom in all range mode during these missions. Some missions will mix this up though by sitting the character on top of a ship to shoot at enemies while the ship flies through the skies.
As before, team mates are active in the field and can be seen flying the skies engaging in their own combat. Similarly they will sometimes come over the comms to ask for assistance when they are finding enemies on their tail that they cannot shake.
Unlike the first two games, the route through the game is linear, with no multiple paths or branching exits to levels, therefore meaning that the player will visit every level on a single playthrough. Replay is encouraged through the use of medals that can be earned during play.
Assault brings multiplayer gaming back to the series, by allowing up to four players to battle it out in split screen dogfights. Available vehicle options are the Arwing, Wolfen, Landmaster and on foot, although like before some vehicle options can not be chosen for certain levels. Character chose is more flexible in this game by not being based on the player number and a few extra characters can be unlocked for use. A fair number of arenas can be played in, which include stages taken from the single player campaign and some unique maps. A lot of the content starts off locked but can be opened either through playing the multiplayer itself or through accomplishments in the single player mode.
A few game modes are on offer that can change the objective, such as simple deathmatch, forced weapon use and survival. Certain options can also be tweaked beforehand, such as setting up a radar or not.
 Character Cast
- Andrew Oikonny
- Aparoid Queen
- Falco Lombardi
- Fox McCloud
- General Pepper
- Leon Powalski
- Panther Caroso
- Peppy Hare
- Pigma Dengar
- R0B 64
- Slippy Toad
- Wolf O'Donnell
Star Fox Assault has thus far received the most criticism out of the entire series. The average score of professional reviews attached to Neoseeker is 3.49 out of 5 (which amounts to approximately 69.8%). Neoseeker members have similarly given the game lower scores than others in the series, with an average of 3.8 out of 5, or 76%.
The most positive aspect is almost always noted as the Arwing missions that are cited to best reflect the ideals that made the first two games such impressive hits with sharp controls and engaging levels. Enemy encounters, especially boss battles, are noted as worthwhile endeavours when you are busy fighting. The game also does not disappoint critics with its visuals. As expected, the multiplayer element is noted for adding to the lifespan of the title.
Unfortunately, numerous elements are picked upon as dragging the product down. While Arwing missions have nothing but praise, the same does not apply to others. The Landmaster tank is criticized as slow and cumbersome, while on foot missions are said to be too bland and uninteresting. Complaints also exist about the linear progression with the lack of multiple routes and exists found in previous entries. This also has a part in the slamming of the lifespan, with Assault not delivering the replay value many critics had hoped for.
|Games in the Series|
|Star Fox (SNES) ~ Star Fox 64 ~ Star Fox Adventures ~ Star Fox: Assault ~ Star Fox Command|
|Star Fox 2 ~ Star Fox (Arcade) ~ Star Fox (Virtual Boy)|
|Characters ~ Enemies ~ Lylat System ~ Vehicles|
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