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Starfox Games Ranked

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Nintendo hasn’t always given Starfox the most love among its tentpole franchises, but the series has still cultivated a loyal cult fanbase over its almost 30-year history. Here are all of the games in the mainline series ranked from worst to best.

Starfox Zero (2016) is likely the worst received entry in the franchise due to its wonky gyroscopic controls. The game’s campaign mostly covers the same ground as Starfox 64 left fans hoping for a new storyline disappointed.

Still, for fans who are willing to persevere, there may be some respectable Starfox gameplay to find beneath the awkward control scheme. 

The story introduces a new threat to the Starfox franchise, known as the Aparoids. These insect creatures aren’t terribly compelling in a narrative sense, and they’re especially annoying to deal with during the ground-based sections of the game, but they at least make for some interesting boss fights in the Arwing segments that stay true to the spirit of Starfox 64. It’s also fun fighting the rival team StarWolf again after their notable absence from Starfox Adventures. Most of all, Starfox Assault proved Fox McCloud is at his best in the cockpit of an Arwing.

While the original Starfox (1993) may feel dated by the standards of modern video games, the game’s innovation for the time of its release is undeniable. Starfox was one of the first games to begin exploring the possibilities of 3D game design with its polygonal ship and enemy models, and the fact that this was achieved on 32-bit hardware remains a remarkable feat to this day.

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Starfox also carved out the basic framework for the characters and story that Nintendo would go on to more fully flesh out in later entries in the series. Additionally, Starfox changed the course of aerial combat in video games forever, with the 3D environments allowing players to experience the thrill of flying between obstacles and through archways like never before.

Star Fox 64 is the pinnacle of the Star Fox franchise. The game offers a variety of fun and challenging levels and a high degree of replayability. The branching paths encourage players to scour each level for secrets that will change the trajectory of their playthrough. Expanding on the on-rails gameplay of the original Starfox, Starfox 64 introduced “all-range mode” which allowed players to freely explore a three-dimensional space at different points throughout the campaign.

Additionally, Starfox 64 introduced a new tank-like vehicle called the “Landmaster” creating new opportunities to add variety to the campaign. The game also introduced voice acting, bringing the fuzzy characters and story to life in a way that wasn’t possible on the Super Nintendo’s hardware.

Starfox 64 is a fan favorite in the franchise and the game’s lasting legacy is apparent throughout the franchise. Starfox Zero is essentially an updated retread of the Nintendo 64 classic with gyro controls. Some of the levels in Starfox Assault clearly draw inspiration from missions in Starfox 64, and Nintendo even released a remake of the game on Nintendo 3DS. The dogfighting gameplay in the all-range sections and the multiplayer also inspired the space combat of games in other franchises like the Star Wars: Rogue Squadron series.

Only time will tell if any future additions to the franchise manage to surpass Starfox 64, but for now it remains the apex of the franchise.

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