This time around Fox has a new side kick for most of his adventures, Tricky who is a young dino prince. You can give Tricky commands via a menu he will find hidden items, open passages and unleash his flame breath on enemies. You can also buy a ball for Tricky from the store, you will be able to play fetch with him and after throwing the ball about ten times or so Tricky will change colour.
As you make your way through the game you will notice there are quite a large number of puzzles to solve. Thankfully most of the puzzles are inventive, varied and challenging without being frustrating. There are plenty of different puzzle appearances here too, such as raising and lowering water levels, torches that have to be lit and extinguished and a large variety of switches. Some of these switch puzzles will cause you to trek backwards and forwards for some time until you find them, this can add to the frustration factor. If you like your puzzles this should be right up your street.
Combat on the other hand can be quite boring and repetitive due to the one button attack style. To be quite honest, that is just about the extent of the combat system, tap, tap, tap and so on. You do have an evade button that will trigger some rolls but you wont have to use this much if you do a good job of tapping the A button. You can put together some combos by pressing the D pad in different directions and pressing the A botton at the same time. This doesn't really do much though, one combo isn't that different to the next, they just look cool. Combat does change when you get your Ice Blast upgrade for your staff. Freeze your enemy with ice and hit once to shatter the frozen enemy. This is very similar to playing Sub Zero in Mortal Kombat, just blast your enemy with ice and then unleash your fury.
The controls in Star Fox Adventure are extremely simple, I mean really simple. As this is a platform adventure game you would expect to be able to jump. Well not in Star Fox there is no jump button to be found anywhere, but there is a large amount of jumping to be done. This is the strange thing, the computer jumps for you, all you have to do is run at a gap and voila Fox jumps right over for your. This is ridiculous really and it is a huge part of game play that has been lost to over simplistic controls. This will also be a huge turnoff to a large number of gamers including myself.
Star Fox Adventures still has a couple of tricks hidden up its sleeve, and it's not all button tapping, puzzle solving and automated jumping. There are a number of short Arwing missions that are just like the Star Fox of old with some pretty graphics. There are some sections where you will pilot a Rocket Sled along with some other on rail shooting levels. Star Fox Adventures is at its best when all these elements are balanced.
Graphically Star Fox Adventures is great, the environments are absolutely fantastic ranging from moonscapes to green luscious meadows to frozen ice fields. The sun will rise and set as time passes on through out the game and you will even see the occasional lighting storm or blizzard. The characters are also very good, so good in fact that they are even more believable. The graphics are almost flawless, the frame rate will drop now and again and some of the architecture in the level design is a bit simple at times but you will be very hard pushed to find a better looking game than Star Fox Adventures.
The voice acting is also very good, and it's a good thing too because there is a lot of it. There is a mix of American and British voice actors who do a good job through out and Fox's voice is particularly well done. There is different music for each area of the game, generally they fit the scenery well but a good amount of the tunes tend to loop a little too often. The sound effects are good but they are not in the same league as the voice acting. You will probably recognise a good lump of these sound effects from other games.
Star Fox Adventures is an impressive and meticulously designed game. It's a perfect game for kids but older gamers will probably be turned off by the over simplistic game-play. On the whole Star Fox Adventures is good fun and it's a decent length, this game is Rare's last title for the GameCube and they certainly have gone out in style.
8.0 out of 10