SuperFX and awesome gamedesign!
I was skeptical when I first saw this game. Shoot'em ups weren't really my taste back then but all the 3D-stuff made me interested and I tried it out - and loved it ever since.
The whole story is very Nintendo-like as you are playing a fox that (together with three other animal-pilots) fights the evil gorilla "Andros". I like animals...
There are 3 routes you can choose during the game, each more difficult than the other with different planets and enemy bases for you to destroy. The levels are quite linear: You can only fly forward within an invisible "corridor" but with dozens of enemy ships on the screen at all times you're busy enough with what's in front of you anyway.
During the game you can collect all sorts of power-ups, most of which are dropped by enemy ships. They provide you with additional firepower, shields or even a new wing as you can loose one or two of your ship's wings during battle which lowers your steering abilities! You always fly in a formation with three other pilots who sometimes help you, but much more often you are the one who has to shoot down an enemy ship which is chasing one of your mates... at least they reward you with cool sayings.
StarFox is a good example for how to use (for todays eyes) limited resources to create a maximum of atmosphere. The game features true 3D graphics but no textures and not much more than 12 polygons per object. Amazingly, you don't miss anything. The shape of your ship's wings looks just so incredibly cool and stylish that you don't waste a second thinking about the fact that the ship only consists of a few grey and blue triangles. Together with the perfect sounds and background music the game even creates a sense of flying through space in a much more convincing way than the over-colored N64-version of this game did.
The controls work just fine too and there is a short training mission included that explains all the necessary maneuvers. I don't remember how long I've been playing this game but it must have been quite some time as I could finish it with a 100% score...
Except for being a bit _too_ difficult sometimes I couldn't find any flaws.
The Bottom Line
One of the best console "shooter" games out there. Highly addictive and well designed. A Nintendo masterpiece.