When you think of the SNES, you probably imagine 2D side-scrollers and RPGs, but actually it was also a console on which you could find some of the earliest examples of 3D gaming, including Starwing, the first game in the Star Fox series.
You play as Fox McCloud flying through various levels in his Arwing spaceship – shooting at enemy ships and aliens as you do. I’m sure some people will play it and instantly think the game looks terrible – it is very primitive 3D and all of the ships are made up of untextured polygons. But to me, that just adds to its charm. It’s a very unique look.
I’m also very fond of the game’s 16-bit soundtrack. It perfectly captures the feeling of 90s sci-fi video game adventures and really gets me in the mood to play. The old sound effects for explosions and gun shots are also pretty great. I never played this game as a child, but it’s one of those games which has aged in such a charming way and embodies all the good things about retro gaming.
Each level is ‘on rails’ and your ship flies on forward by itself. You then move it around trying to avoid oncoming ships and their shots. Each level ends with a boss battle. It’s a simple formula, but it works – even the controls are alright. I’ll admit I lost on the first level a couple of times, but before long I got the hang of things and I found it all easy enough. Although that’s not to say that the later stages aren’t without their challenges. Also, while you can do all of the game’s levels relatively quickly, there are alternative paths to take, which encourage you to replay.
Overall, it’s a great game. If you like Star Fox and want to see where it started, you should definitely play this. It introduces Fox, Slippy, Falco, Peppy and all the rest and although there’s no voice acting, you still get all the comical interactions between them. It’s an excellent game, full of character.