Star Fox 2 Review – Written by Jose Vega
Borrowed a friend’s SNES Classic Edition for the sake of reviewing this game.
Star Fox 2… it’s a game that many thought never would see the light of day. It was originally supposed to be released in 1995 for the SNES but Nintendo at the last second canceled the game to put their focus towards Star Fox 64. Star Fox 64 would go on to be a huge success but Star Fox 2 would end up being lost to gaming history. The game would eventually be leaked out years later in the form of near-final builds but the true complete version never came to be. During E3 2017, Nintendo announced the SNES Classic Edition, including the completed version of Star Fox 2. Does it hold up or did Nintendo make a mistake by releasing it?
Before I continue, I am reviewing the game on its own merits. Later entries in the franchise used features from this game that were better implemented.
Taking place after the events of the first Star Fox on SNES, Andross returns with one goal: revenge. He would then unleash his space fleet to conquer the Lylat System. Gen. Pepper asks the Star Fox team for their aid against him. It’s a straightforward plot. Nothing special.
Star Fox 2 plays similar to the first SNES game. The controls are similar and you can choose between 3 different styles. However, this game incorporates a number of additional features. You can choose two out of six playable pilots to use. Along with the main team, there are two new characters: Miyu and Fay. They’re also categorized into three Arwing classes: Balanced, Defender and Interceptor. Fox and Falco are Balanced being in the middle. Peppy and Slippy are Defenders with more health but less speed and longer charge. Miyu and Fay are Interceptors with less health, fast speed, and quick charge. I like this option better than how it was in the first game. You also have the option to switch between your chosen pilots with the Select button. Useful in case one of your wingmen is near death and you need someone fresh. It makes me wonder why they never implemented this in future games.
As for the rest of the game, battles occur in a map similar to some RTS games. You have your mothership that can be used to repair your fighters. The objective is to retake planets captured by Andross while having to contend with his forces. At the same time, you must ensure that Corneria is unharmed since Andross will order all his forces to attack the planet. If you fall or Corneria falls, game over. You move from one planet to the next. When you cross paths with an enemy, the game shifts into a flight section where your job is to take out enemies before they get away. When you arrive on a planet, the mission shifts to activating switches to access the enemy’s base. Then you go into the base, reach the core and destroy it. Planets also allow the Arwing to turn into a walker for ground combat. A nifty addition that adds a change of pace. Some planets have bosses you need to take out to access them. They offer a bit of challenge to the game especially since you are timed. As you progress, so does the enemy. Skill and planning are needed to take down Andross and his forces. Along the way, you will encounter the Star Wolf team in 1-on-1 dogfights and they can be challenging.
Depending on difficulty, the game can take from 40 minutes to more than an hour. You start with Normal and Hard. After beating the game on both difficulties, Expert Mode is available. With each increase in difficulty, Andross raises the challenge by adding more occupations, ships, forces, etc. Expert is considered to be the ultimate test with Andross pulling out all the stops. The replay value is high as with up to six playable characters each having unique styles, three difficulties and a great amount of challenge, it’s a game that will test you. It will really test you but it also gives you this drive to keep going especially in the harder settings. The game also grades you for how skillful you are in completing the game. Beating the game in Expert skillfully in the highest rank nets a nice reward for future playthroughs.
Star Fox 2 also has its fair share of secrets with the Pepper Medals. Collecting them (depending on difficulty) will unlock a secret area that you can use to power up and take on the challenges aside. This, unfortunately, makes the game easier but it’s a reward for diligent players who put the effort in finding the medals. The music is good with some tracks being catchy. They don’t hold a candle compared to the original’s music but it’s acceptable.
Though the game offers a lot, it does have its flaws. The game can have a tendency to slow down when too many things happen on the screen. It’s similar to the original but not as much. Controls can be clunky especially when you operate the walker Being that it was a game that should have been released back in the mid-90s, it’s to be expected. Star Fox 2 also has its voice acting in the form of sound effects, similar to the original. Though they aren’t as memorable sad to say.
It took Nintendo 22 years to finally release it and does it hold up? Not really but it shouldn’t stop anyone from playing the game and finding out what they’re missing. Sure the game is flawed in some aspects but the game is an enjoyable one. Many features that were introduced in this game such as the Walker would be implemented a lot better in later entries and it feels similar to the original but with some additions. Regardless Star Fox 2 is a game that should have been released back then. Had they released it then, it would have been revolutionary but Nintendo felt otherwise or in some cases scared. It isn’t for everyone but for those who want to give it a chance, you should. Star Fox 2 is worth it. Good luck trying to get the SNES Classic Edition just to play it that is.
I give Star Fox 2 an 8 out of 10.