While it's not exactly told in the game, the story is pretty interesting. The Star Fox team (which consisted of James McCloud, Peppy Hare, and Pigma Dengar), fights for peace, justice, and stability to keep the universe safe from harm. One day, a rebellious primate named Andross, who was banned from Corneia for trying to take it over, rises up on the planet Venom and begins his attack on the team. McCloud is (supposedly) killed in the attack, Peppy manages to escape, and Dengar joins evil. Andross soon has the world to his knees, and it seems nothing can stop him....
Until McCloud's son, Fox, learns of his father's death. Since then, Peppy has trained him to become a pilot, and soon Fox reforms Star Fox, with Peppy as his mentor, Slippy Toad as their mechanic, and Falco Lambradi as his partner. As the story continues, Fox is sent into space as he blasts Andross' forces to dust. He eventually reaches Andross to exact his revenge on him by ultimately defeating him, and saves the universe. This story isn't really exciting, but it's a sufficient prologue to the entire Star Fox series.
In this game, you control Fox's arwing (which is basically your everyday modern spaceship) In each level, you control it in a third-person perspective, and occasionally first person as well. You can alter the controls at the beginning, but you mainly move left, up, right, and down, turn sideways, shoot your main beam at enemies, fire bombs, boost your speed or pull back, and pause. Your main goal for each stage is basically fly your way through and defeat the boss without crashing into obstacles or getting obliterated by Andross' forces. You also must protect your team from destruction as well, as they are very helpful in various situations. There are a few weapon upgrades (such as double beams and ball beams), health boosters, an invisible shield power up, and an extra bomb upgrade. Each stage is uniquely designed to put those controls to the test, and they work very well. Blowing up enemies, defeating gigantic bosses, and doing it all in a badass spaceship with a team of equally strong anthropomorphic critters who got your back; this is what Star Fox was meant to be. Yet, with all of this awesome gameplay, there are niggles. Button-mashing your way through Andross' battleships can put a toll on your hand, even with its exhilarating, palm-sweating intensity. Also, the controls can be a little confusing, plus the scoring system is somewhat awkward because there's no high score feature or anything like that.
This wasn't one of the first attempts at computer generated graphics (It can date all the way back to Dire Straits' "Money For Nothing" music video in 1986 and even further than that), and while many racing games in the early 90s experienced pseudo-3D tracks, it was simply 2D graphics. Using a specially designed chip that could extend graphical proportions for the SNES, Star Fox used many, many polygons to create a graphical experience no one's ever seen before. At least, in 1993. Those polygonal graphics (that are used to make the arwings, enemy ships, buildings, and space stations) hold up well, but you have to admit, they are really archaic. The rest of the graphics (the regular 16 bit ones) are still beautiful. The characters are very well-designed (especially Andross at the Game Over screen), the asteroids and explosions look cool, and the backgrounds are awesome.
The audio fares the same. The music is spectacular, featuring some nice 80's-style riffs, and the small amount of voice work has some nolstagia to it, from when voice acting was digitized in games. The sound effects, on the other hand, don't hold up as well. They're pretty dull, especially the explosions and shooting sounds. I was expecting more than that, even if it was the early 90s. Playing through one path of the game takes about thirty minutes to an hour, so this game can be completed in 2-4 hours for all three paths (unless you decide to hunt down the easter eggs in the game). Even though the game can put up a good challenge, it's still pretty short, which is disappointing. That doesn't mean it's fun. With all that shooting and explosions, along with some sweet boss battles, those hours are gonna some of the best of your life.
Star Fox is definitely a classic, no matter what anyone says. Today, its age definitely shows, but it's still a great shooter, boasting solid graphics and gameplay, a sweet soundtrack, and a good challenge. No matter how old it looks, this is what Star Fox was meant to be. Universe-sized fun.
Sound and Music: 7/10
Replay Value: 8/10
+ Fun on-rails shooting, complemented by sweet controls.
+ Graphics hold up very well
+ Awesome soundtrack
+ Nice variety of enemies and bosses
+ Good challenge
- Dull sound effects
- Rather short
FINAL WORDS: Did I mention that the characters speak gibberish during the stages? Yabba de Yabba de.