Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that. It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece. I strongly recommend anyone...
Star Fox 64 - also known as Lylat Wars and developed by the once great Rareware - puts you in the roll of Fox McCloud with his team Star Fox, has been called upon to stop an evil scientist known as Andross bent on conquering the universe, who also happened to kill Fox\'s father years before.
Each area - including planets, asteroid fields and more - is treated as a new level. You start at one end of the universe and work you way up to the other end to face off against Andross. There are several paths you can take, but you must accomplish something secret in order to do so, some of these include but are not limited to: how quickly you beat a specific boss, flying through certain objects or defeating a set number of enemies. After doing these secret \'objectives\' you will often take off in another direction while still in the same level and defeat a different, harder boss. Going through each level without completing this \'objectives\' is the easiest path in the game. Sometimes, depending on what you do, you can go from the most difficult path back to the easiest. Almost every level allows you to branch off to another one. If you beat the level the optional way, you still have the option to take the default path.
Characters in the game will talk and interact with you, in some levels you will need to help your team mates by shooting the enemies behind them. This can get a bit annoying, especially if you already have your hands full. But if you shoot an enemy they are aiming for, they\'ll get up you for taking their kill. If one of your team mates ship gets damaged to much they leave the battle field and wont return for the rest of your current level and the next as their ship gets repaired. Each team mate has a special ability, Slippy can discover how much health the enemy bosses have, Peppy finds their weak point and Falco is the cool guy and the best pilot, so it\'s a good idea to make sure you have him around for the harder levels. Characters will change their dialogue or not say anything at all if a member of your team isn\'t available and would normally say something.
You have a few more vehicles at your disposal. However, they all suck. There is a Tank (Land Master) and a submarine (Blue Marine). Thankfully you don\'t use them too often.
Getting to the same level via a different route may cause a slight difference in events for the level, like if you meet a friendly character on one level, take the path to the same level you can get to from another route, that character may return to help you out. Even reaching Venom through a different route will change that entire level completely, making it much harder.
Every now and then you will come across a rival team known as Star Wolf, who have been hired by Andross to take you down. These battles are much more fun than the others because they are in ships similar to yours and are harder to take down than your standard enemy.
You only have 2 weapons in the game, a laser and bombs. You can upgrade your laser twice and collect bombs your enemies and various objects drop throughout the levels. You can also take a different path in certain levels that wont effect the course of the game, but it does vary the gameplay a little. There is also an All Range Mode, where you are free to fly where ever you want, within a squared off vicinity. Most of the game forces you on a specific path, including when you break off due to either meeting a certain requirement, or because the path breaks off into two, and it will reconnect later.
The graphics in this game have stood the test of time, and has a solid soundtrack and voice acting, apart from Slippy who sounds like a girl but is meant to be a guy.
The multiplayer is not as good as it could have been, but it\'s still alright. You get to choose from the Arwing (plane made for space flight), Land Master or simply running around. There aren\'t many levels to choose from either. Pity there is no co-op mode, that would have been really awesome.
Although Lylat Wars is an extremely short game, no matter which route you choose to take, you can earn medals by defeating a certain amount of enemies on each level. After you have accomplished this you will unlock a harder mode. Collecting each medal isn\'t an easy task, in fact it can be really hard. This is a great game that should not be missed, you can also download it for the Wii. It\'s worth it, trust me.
+ Great, highly addictive gameplay. Mostly great voice addicting and dialogue. Star Wolf is cool. Ability to take different paths. Beating the game via the harder routes can actually be a challenge. Earning medals is fun and challenging. Can skip each levels opening scene.
- Far too short. Slippy is just annoying. Team mates are pretty useless at defending themselves. Can\'t skip the scenes at the end of each level. Multiplayer needs improvement. The Landmaster and Blue Marine sucks.