There’s a new Star Fox game out. People don’t seem to like it very much. As someone with a frankly unhealthy sense of nostalgia for the N64 game Lylat Wars (a.k.a. Star Fox 64 for you yanks), this is troubling, and I daren’t risk my hard-earned cash reserves in the pursuit of disappointment. Thankfully, Nintendo have also released a 13-minute anime to celebrate/advertise the new game, and at ‘free’ it’s much closer to the sort of price point I can afford. Disappointment, here I come!
0:00 Space! This is a good start. Lylat Wars was also in space, so I feel like I’m in familiar territory already. This is great so far.
0:25 OK, now we have a skull and crossbones, except the skull is a sort of evil looking monkey face. That’s Andross I’m guessing, the evil space monkey pirate scientist mastermind of the Star Fox universe. A voiceover tells me that he’s “consumed by vengeance,” which is easy enough to believe, except it also calls him a “man,” when he’s plainly a monkey. I don’t know what to trust any more.
0:35 “And this is the man responsible for his exile.” No, that’s a dog. A dog in a military uniform, sure. But a dog. Get your facts straight, anime.
0:50 The dog (General Pepper I want to say!?) has just unveiled a painting of himself (i.e. a painting of a dog in a military uniform). I think I need a drink.
1:00 I have gin. Sure, it’s only 5 pm and I’m ‘technically’ ‘working’ and ‘drinking on the job’ but it’s Friday and fuck you. Now we’re up in what looks a bit like Avengers tower, and the military dog is hanging out with a robot bin. What part does the robot bin have to play in all of this? Not clear yet.
1:30 There was a bit of a boring montage-y, but now, earthquake! Could this be nefarious?
1:40 It’s the Star Fox ship thing-y! Can’t remember its name for the life of me, but I’m immediately nostalgic – though mainly for Super Smash Bros. The brilliant Star Fox music has kicked in though, and now we’re getting to meet the team, starting with Fox McCloud, who’s striding down a corridor like a man who really wants to get to the end of that corridor.
2:10 It’s Slippy! And Falco! Slippy is already both useless and irritating, but Falco somehow remains literally the coolest. He’s so cool, in fact, that he’s playing Star Fox. Inside the Star Fox anime. It might be the gin, but I’m struggling to get my head round this.
2:30 Hijinks! Sorry, that’s apparently the only note I took here, and I can’t be bothered to watch again to find out what the hijinks were. Probably great though, right?
3:00 Now Peppy is here, and the whole gang is back together.
3:45 OK… kind of wishing Peppy wasn’t here now. He’s creeping the place up. He apparently carries round a ‘good luck charm’ made from the fur of General Pepper (got his name right!). Who is a dog, but also basically a person for them. Imagine carrying round a good luck charm made from your boss’s hair. Just imagine. This is now Star Fox canon. Fuck.
4:50 Some alien robot things have attacked Corneria! They look a bit like crabs, which has prompted Falco to turn to Slippy and quip, “Is that the crab you wanted?” This is, I guess, a reference to Slippy’s magazine with an ad for seafood on it, but this is some pretty weak referencing. So weak that Slippy doesn’t even get the joke, responding with a meek, “No, of course not!” We know, Slippy. Jesus. I’m not even 5 minutes in and I’m draining this gin and tonic fast.
5:30 Now they’re all running down a corridor to get to their ships! I think this is a thing from the N64 game – I vaguely recall them legging it down a hallway. Maybe on the menu? Or when you start a new game? I’m not sure, but I somehow still feel nostalgic, even if I don’t know quite what for, which is honestly a bit alarming.
6:00 For fuck’s sake. That creepy fucking good luck charm is suddenly a plot device. I guess they’re somehow gonna lure the crab robots to it so they leave the real General Pepper alone or something? I don’t know, but every second I have to keep looking at it makes me deeply uncomfortable. Gin number two.
6:30 There was a terrible joke about Peppy being old that really doesn’t deserve repeating here. Really, Star Fox? You’re better than this. We’re now halfway through and there hasn’t been a single spacefight. Not impressed.
7:00 Arwings! After the X-Wing, I’m not sure any spaceship design can give me quite such a sudden jolt of childish enthusiasm. They are still just the coolest. So cool. As was Falco, until he decided to lick his lips and say, “It’s game time, huh?” Cool points deducted for inappropriate lip licking, Falco. There are children watching. Probably.
7:30 Peppy tells everyone to check their G Diffuser systems. I have absolutely no idea what that means, but it sounds maybe a bit familiar? Nostalgia!
8:00 Oh, they’re switching into ‘all-range mode’ now. That’s another thing I vaguely remember! This is ticking all the boxes now. “Use your brakes!” Peppy shouts, and I get another sugary rush. I remember wildly ignoring that instruction as a child.
8:50 You’ve got to be kidding me. You guys remember the robo bin? He’s back! And plot-sensitive. I honestly didn’t call that one. Don’t remember robo bins from Lylat Wars, but maybe there were in one of the sequels? I bet someone out there is getting all kinds of nostalgic for that hot robo bin action.
9:30 Just realized I haven’t really mentioned the plot in a while. So, uh, the Star Fox team are in their ships, flying towards the city to shoot the crab robots. Slippy fired some sort of science missile loaded with dog fur to lure the crabs in, while the real General Pepper hides in the bin. Now it’s time to nuke the crabs, so the team unload their trusty bombs – in their old school red hexagon with a big ‘B’ design. Literally no one would ever design a real bomb to look like this. I love it.
9:50 Shit’s getting serious! Crabs duly defeated, the boss has arrived – and one of the characters even calls him a boss in case you didn’t quite get the videogame reference going on here. He’s a monkey (obvs) in a big space station-y ship sort of a thing. Very ominous, if you’re into that sort of thing.
10:00 “Do a barrel roll!”
10:20 Aren’t barrel rolls the best? Anyway, the boss, quite conveniently, is loaded with weak points. Apparently destroying the laser cannons will take out its G Diffuser system – which I guess would be bad for it? It’s never really made clear. Which Gs does it diffuse? How? To what end? This is presumably set-up for the sequel.
11:30 Falco is a badass. He’s almost made up for the lip licking incident, after basically winning the fight single-handedly. Fox has, honestly, not done all that much. Bit of a let down.
11:55 Oh, Fox has shot one enemy and done a thumbs up. Good job Fox. Really pulling your weight there.
12:00 It’s the level complete music! Because it’s like it’s a game, and they completed the level! Nostalgia!
12:20 “Guess there’s no rest for the best,” says Falco. What? No one says that. What is that? That’s not a thing.
12:30 “All units report,” barks Peppy (even though he’s a rabbit, not a dog). Nostalgia!
12:50 Plot! Intrigue! Mystery! There’s some sort of secret about why Andross (the evil space monkey pirate scientist mastermind, remember?) has built a teleportation device. Peppy (hare) and Pepper (dog) know something they don’t want anyone else to. I assume this is something the game tackles, but I don’t really expect to buy it, so I guess I’ll never know.
13:00 Cut to Andross, who said something I can’t remember, and then gave a sort of evil laugh. Very spooky.
And that’s it. Still trying to figure out if that’s made me want to play Star Fox Zero more or less than before, but it’s certainly made me alarmingly aware of how deeply lodged Lylat Wars is in my psyche. The credits are overlaid on footage from the new game, just in case you’d forgotten you were essentially watching an extended advert. It mainly just makes the game look a bit ugly compared to the actually quite decent animation. Bit worried that the advert has higher production values than the game it’s advertising, but what the hell do I know? Anyway, I’m off to make another gin and try and forget that ‘good luck charm’.