|Star Fox Command|
|Release Date||Japan - August 13th, 2006|
North America - August 28th, 2006
|Mode(s)||Single Player, Local Multiplayer,|
|Rating(s)||ESRB: E+10 (Everyone 10 and older)|
|Media||256 Mb cartridge|
|Input Methods||Buttons and touchscreen|
Star Fox Command is the fifth game of the Star Fox series and currently the only entry on DS. Unlike the first three games of the series this one was developed by Q Games, who simulatenously returned the series to the air/space combat it was known for while putting in a few new touches in an effort to make the gameplay experience fresh. Command would also mark the first time pilots other than Fox are playable in the single player campaign.
Star Fox Command is set a long time after the events of Star Fox: Assault. With the Lylat System experiencing a sense of peace the Star Fox team has since disbanded. Peppy continues his duties as Cornerian General, Krystal was chased away from the team by an over-protective Fox, Slippy now resides on Aquas pursuing his own interests and Falco travels the system as a lone mercenary. As for Fox himself, he and R0B 64 continue to work as mercenaries alone to travel with whatever problems arise.
However, trouble is coming and once again Venom is the source. Long after the defeat of Andross, a new enemy known as the Anglar emerge from the acidic seas to wreck havoc across the Lylat system. Fox and R0B 64 spring into action to help combat this threat, but it soon becomes apparent that they can't tackle this alone, and this threat may just require the reform of one of the generations most skilled teams.
Unlike other games in the series the events from this point can vary drastically depending on what choices Fox makes, making for a total of nine different endings, although on the first playthrough a player will only be able to reach one of these endings.
The single player portion of the game can be split into two groups, consisting of strategy and free flight space shooting.
The strategy element is new to the series, where you are given an overhead view of the current area that shows the positions of the Great Fox, any fighters under your control, enemy units, bases, powerups and terrain. You are given a specific number of turns to clear a map of all enemy forces, and in each turn you can move all your fighters (except the Great Fox, which cannot move but can fire missiles) a set amount of distance, with the goal being to intercept enemy forces as they head towards the Great Fox. The missions is completed when all enemy groups on the map are defeated, but the player suffers a game over either if they lose all their fighters or if Great Fox is hit by an enemy group or missile.
During these movements you can also aim to fly over other elements or avoid others. Powerups such as fuel cells and missiles can be picked up. Flying over allied bases can extend the distance that fighter can fly in that turn. Red areas mark no fly zones where only missiles can pass over them. Many maps also feature purple fog that hides most objects. Some fog can be cleared away each turn with the stylus, although more fog comes in to replace at the beginning of each turn.
There are three types of enemy units on the maps, consisting of standard groups, bases and missiles. Groups will immediately give chase to a fighter if they cross a line drawn by that fighter's flight path. Missiles will only stop if the fighter itself touches it. Bases do not move at all but will sometimes launch missiles and any fighter that comes into contact with an enemy bases will have the remainder of their flight time cancelled for that turn. Standard groups can also be instantly destroyed by firing a missile from the Great Fox, although doing this will forfeit the points and non-core items that would have been earned. The missile count is limited though.
When the player comes into contact with enemies then combat can begin. If there are multiple contacts made then fights will occur partly on a pre-determined order (for when one fighter has multiple contacts) or chosen by the player (when multiple fighters have contacts).
Ultimately the controls are roughly the same in all three engagement types. All of the DS buttons are assigned to laser fire, and holding the button with perform a lock-on if the fighter has this function. Everything else is done via the touch screen. Movement is handled simply by dragging the stylus around. Boosting and braking is done by double tapping either the top or bottom of the touch screen, while circular motions will cause a barrel roll. These three actions use up energy from the boost gauge, which replenishes automatically when not being used. The remaining functions are not used in Missile engagements, but otherwise allow you to perform 360 or 180 flips by tapping the relevant icon or to drag a bomb onto the radar on the touch screen to cause a large explosion.
Group and bases engagements are very similar in nature. Essentially you will be facing a large group of enemies, but only certain enemies need to be destroyed to proceed - those noted as carrying enemy cores. The type of enemy carrying the cores is shown prior to the level loading so you know who to chase after.
The player is up against a time limit. The amount of time you start with varies from mission to mission but is often between 100 and 125 seconds. Earning extra time is done both by picking up fuel cells (which add 25 seconds to the clock) and performing barrel rolls to deflect laser fire, which not only protects the ship but adds between 2-3 seconds per laser deflected, depending on which character you're using at the time. A time bonus of 1 second is earned at the end of an engagement for every enemy shot down. This time is also culmulative, so whatever time you have left at the end of one engagement is what you will have to start the next one. Due to this, it's possible and quite likely that you can end an engagement will more time on the clock than what you started with. If you run out of time then you lose a life and the enemy gets to progress along its intended path on the overhead map. The time resets to 100 seconds in this case as well.
Items are on offer during flight. In addition to the enemy cores that you have to collect then you can also find fuel cells (increase time), energy rings (restore shield energy) and bomb (add 1 bomb to your fighter). These items can be earned either by flying through rings in each stage or for every 5 enemies that you shoot down. The number of enemies killed is also recorded and for every 100 enemies shot down 10 coins will appear. Collecting the coins adds time to your clock and also grants an extra life for getting all 10. The collecting of items is made simmple by using a barrel roll, which will draw in nearby items to you.
Normal group engagements end when all enemy cores are collected, regardless of whether there are any other enemies remaining. Base engagements differ by having a large mothership in the middle of the battlefield during play. This ship emits a large laser below it that can cause significant damage, and when all cores are collected then the player is required to fly through beacon gates to fly towards the mothership and destroy it by barrel rolling through it. Missing a beacon, taking too long to fly into the beacons when they appear or failing to barrel roll when you hit the ship all result in instantly losing a life. When either engagement type is completed a missile is awarded to the Great Fox if all enemy units were destroyed. In addition, bases turn into allied bases and give two extra turns simply for destroying the mothership.
Missile engagements differ slightly and resemble the linear levels of past games. A fighter flies along an almost fixed route, having control over the position of their craft onscreen but unable to turn, perform flips or drop bombs. The goal here is to fly through the beacon gates to catch up to a missile and then to destroy it. Unlike other engagment types there is no timer here, and flying through the plus symbols in the beacon gates adds small time bonuses, meaning you should leave missile levels with more time than before. If you miss a beacon gate before destroying a missile then you fail the level, allowing the missile to continue along its intended flight path.
Some missions have a boss fight at the end when all other enemies are defeated. These battles are similar to normal enemy group engagements with some minor differences. Since a boss does not appear on the map then you are not limited by turns and you can choose from every fighter participating in the mission to fight regardless of where they are on the map. Bosses also typically either have no other enemies on the field or a select few designed specifically to assist the boss. No missile can be earned for defeating every enemy either.
Progress through the game has a twist on the usual system of choosing your path. On your first playthough you are fixed to the one path, but upon completion of the game you will gain a key that lets you make alternative decisions. Taking these other choices will affect the missions to get, what characters participate in missions and ultimately what ending you get out of a possible nine.
 Character Cast
- Bill Grey
- Dash Bowman
- Emperor Anglar
- Falco Lombardi
- Fox McCloud
- Katt Monroe
- Leon Powalski
- Lucy Hare
- Panther Caroso
- Peppy Hare
- R0B 64
- Slippy Toad
- Wolf O'Donnell
Gaming Evolution: 8/10
|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|