Star Fox 2
Review by Evan G with comments by Koji, Firestarter and John Weidman
The holy grail of unreleased Snes games finally came to life several years ago with the release of Star Fox 2 final beta rom. Long had it been sought after, with only tastes of it from two early alpha roms. The game promised freedom from the rails of the original, and a new walker mode, and it delivered. With its release date so close to the release of the N64, it was finally shelved, along with the other Super FX games, Commanche and FX Fighter.
Through the great efforts of Aeon Genesis (Gideon Zhi, d4s, Fusoya, and satsu), we now have a patch that fixes the remaining issues with the beta, as well as translate it English. You can download it from the Aeon Genesis website.
-OK, this story is intriguing. This is one of the many games that are considered "vaporware" in the gaming circles (games that are in development, and get their developments halted)....until recently. There were two known roms in emulation circles under the name Star Fox 2, one was an early beta which had limited play, and then a beta which was more playable and is more commonly played. However, word has spread in the past that a final Beta was developed, and that several people have the EPROM cartridge containing it. Several game and emulation developers (among them, zsnes's pagefault) have asked for the cartridge to borrow for dumping and emulation purposes (some have paid). It has been dumped successfully, and there has been a confirmation (at this point) that a private FTP server has opened access, and there are over 70 confirmed downloads of the rom. Emulation will not be possible for a while, but this has brought a revelation of sorts. In a sense, this "final beta" makes Star Fox 2 the Earthbound Zero of the SNES. It also brings about a good amount of questions, which I think I can answer.
-Why now, and not sooner?
-Why not a year or two after?
-What's so big about StarFox 2 anyway?
-So why didn't Nintendo release it?
-When will the ROM become available?
-When will those emulators (with SF2 running) be released?
-What are my chances of getting an original EPROM cart?
By Sean Jacox (aka Koji)
There have been 3 Star Fox betas that have circled and encumbered the internet. All 3 showed various stages of the game and from the looks of it would have been an amazing game that would have made it big.
Besides that there were 6 player characters, each set of 2 had their own specific ship with its own specific transformation.
The gameplay itself is not very starfox like at all. It’s hard to describe without something to compare to… It seems like you are defending a large planet (possibly the one from starfox 1) from various ships and missiles attacking it. You choose 2 of any of 6 possible characters (2 people per type of ship just like beta 2) and go out to destroy these things before they hit the planet. When you move your little ships to where the enemies are a battle mode starts. The battle mode is just like star fox 1 style except it’s free range… you are not limited in any direction to go. Some times enemies will escape you going out of range. During my time playing I have run into several bosses… the most irritating are the 4 arwing like ships you fight against. It seems there is an error where every time you fight them they start out of range… The only way to beat them is to get into a fight with beatable enemies and then they will move into your battle and be able to be killed.
When you fight battles on planets or inside of space ships you can switch modes into the ground form of your ship. In the ground form all targets in front of you are auto aimed (very nice!) but the controls are pretty different and take a moment to get used to.
One of the nice things in this that wasn’t in
the beta was the ability to charge and lock on with
your regular gun much like in Star fox 2. But then there
is the biggest downfall to me… the great looking
battle mode in beta 2 was removed from the final game.
I think it would have been a great addition and would
have added a lot of replay value to it… but I
Additional Info by John Weidman
I read with interest the Star Fox 2 article in the Rarities section of your site and saw your closing comments and I must tell you that some of your thoughts about this game are mistaken. (Ed. note: I removed my comments)
After the ROM was discovered I had made a Star Fox
2 cart and did quite a bit of play testing on it before
giving it away to the discoverer of the ROM. The Star
Wolf characters' attack you mention is not a bug, it's
a feature. Once the game lasts a certain period of time
these characters will start to come out to make your
mission more challenging. They chase you down rapidly
it is true so you quickly get your chance to go after
them when they meet up with you (it's almost impossible
to avoid them but that's the nature of the game), once
they catch you it's your job to destroy them before
they destroy you. You can attempt to run away but wherever
you're running better be pretty close because they'll
be right on you -- that's
And the other bugs you mention, ships disappearing and crashes, and other bugs like screen flashing I've heard other people talk about, they don't happen when playing on a real cart, only in emulation.
So, I can believe that this game was a final beta. It has great gameplay and no lockup problems when run on a cart so I can say that most if not all the issues are emulation issues. Once, in the course of playing it for a couple of weeks, I had a lockup. I attributed this to poor contact at the SNES cart connector. I reseated the cart and it did not re-occur.
This game was extremely fun to play but I think the thing I liked best about it is the music from the final credits after you've beaten the game, a victory theme in your honor with the credits rolling and the credits include a look at all the enemies you've defeated (which varies with the difficulty level) and tells you their names. Great stuff!
|© Evan G. This site made by a Canadian, and fueled by beer. Do not use material on this site without permission.|