GEE, I’VE BEEN SAVED BY THE 20TH BEST GAME EVER. HOW SWELL. This is the list of At the Buzzer’s top 25 games of all-time, as voted on by the main ATB cast members and other friends of the show. For more information on how this whole thing works or for the other games on the list, check out the Related Links at the bottom of this post.
20) Star Fox 64 (N64)
Chris: This is my attempt to recite the entire first level of Star Fox 64 by memory. (Yes, for real. And please don’t take a drink every time someone says something that sounds sexual.)
GENERAL PEPPER: It’s about time you showed up, Fox. You’re the only hope for our world.
FOX: I’ll do my best! Andross won’t have his way with me! … Check your G-Diffuser systems.
FALCO: Falco here. I’m fine.
PEPPY: This is Peppy. All systems are go.
SLIPPY: Slippy here. I’m okay.
FOX: I see them up ahead. Let’s rock and roll!
PEPPY: Slippy, get back here! … Slippy, watch out! Bogey on your tail!
SLIPPY: Woah! Help me! … Thanks, Fox. I thought they had me.
FOX: We’re entering Corneria City now.
FALCO: This is horrible…
PEPPY: Everybody stay alert! … You’ve got an enemy on your tail! Use the brake!
FALCO: I’ll get this one. Get the one behind me! … Something’s wrong with the G-Diffuser.
PEPPY: Use the boost to chase!
FALCO: I guess I should be thankful.
PEPPY: Do a barrel roll!
(through those arches over the water)
FALCO: Pretty smooth flying. … Follow me, Fox!
FOX: Falco, where are you going?
FALCO: I found the target! Try and keep up!
BOSS: Ahhhh, someone wants to play!
PEPPY: Incoming enemy from the rear! Drop altitude.
SLIPPY: Enemy shield analyzed.
BOSS: Deploy all units! Charge!
PEPPY: Aim for the weak spot!
FALCO: That’s it, Fox!
BOSS: Who are you guys?!
FOX: We’re Star Fox.
BOSS: You’ll never defeat Androoooooooooooss!
FOX: All aircraft report!
ROB: SLIPPY’S SHIP IS IN THE DOCKING BAY
PEPPY: You’re becoming more like your father!
FALCO: I’m fine. You okay over there?
So…I may have played this game a few times. It’s a fantastic rail shooter and I don’t know why they ruined this franchise, because there really isn’t much like it. The corny dialogue adds a ton of tension and the flying mechanics are fantastic. This game made it to the top 25 largely because it’s Gary’s number one game ever. Let that sink in for a minute. Then, TRY A SOMERSAULT.
Shaun: Is it just me, or does Slippy get a bad rap? Yeah, he’s sort of annoying, but the camaraderie me and that little frog built over my thousand playthroughs of Star Fox make it hard for me to get too down on him. Maybe that’s a testament to the gameplay design — that I would make a connection with characters that are little more than badly voiced caricatures. Or that I would even play through the game’s various scenarios that many times.
Even now, when I go back and boot up the graphically-dated-but-still-brilliant game, I find it hard to believe that its formula (with the exception of Rogue Squadron) hasn’t been duplicated, even by Nintendo. In today’s gaming landscape, you’re telling me there’s no room for an incredibly paced, dynamic rail shooter? Controlling your arwing down these “space tunnels” was tight and responsive, and figuring out the best way to manage your focused blasts and net the high score was completely addictive. If there is one forgotten Nintendo franchise that is due for a true-sequel (go to hell, Star Fox Adventures), this might be it. Come back to us, Fox.
Dave: USE THE BOOST TO GET THROUGH! I find it amazing that Chris can get through the entire first level only by memory, and I find it more amazing that I could probably do it as well, even though I never owned an N64. For its simplicity, the gameplay was extremely deep. There were only about 6 levels that you had to complete to finish the game, but there were a myriad of paths to get there. The corny dialogue and annoying voices just made the game that much more memorable. One thing that hasn’t been mentioned was how great the multiplayer mode was. I would spend hours playing that mode with friends on such a simple map. The multiplayer was just a square area with the four characters fighting one another, with a few mountains and a couple of structures thrown in. If you hit the end of the map, no big deal, you’ll just pop out on the other side. Much like my feelings towards Sonic the Hedgehog, I find it incredibly sad that a series peaked with the first game made for that series.