Star Fox: Assault

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Star Fox: Assault
North American box art for the game.
Developer(s) Namco
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Designer(s) Shigeru Miyamoto
Takaya Imamura
Tsuyoshi Kobayashi
Series Star Fox series
Release date(s) NA February 14, 2005
JP February 24, 2005
PAL April 29, 2005
Genre(s) Action, Shooter
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer
Rating(s) ESRB: T (Teen)
PEGI: 7+
CERO: All Ages
Platform(s) GameCube
Media 1 × GameCube Optical Disc
Input Gamepad

Star Fox: Assault (スターフォックス アサルト) is a video game for the Nintendo GameCube and part of the Star Fox series. Co-developed by Namco and Nintendo, Assault was released in 2005. However, it was available for rental exclusively at Blockbuster and Hollywood Video stores beginning February 1 as a promotion. During development, the game had the working titles Star Fox Armada, Star Fox 2, and Star Fox.

Assault returns the Star Fox series to its space-combat roots after the previous game in the series, Star Fox Adventures, took a more action-adventure approach. Taking place one year after the events of Adventures, Assault introduces a new enemy: The Aparoids, a race bent on the assimilation of the Lylat system into their collective mind.

When Assault was initially announced by Nintendo and Namco, there was also word of an arcade game under development. However, no more details of the arcade game have yet been made public, so it is unknown whether the game was to be the same as the GameCube version, a companion game, or something completely different.


The gameplay of Star Fox: Assault is broken up into three distinct types. The player can fly an Arwing as in the original Star Fox games, but in some levels is also required to drive a Landmaster tank and/or perform certain tasks on foot. All three play types are available for multiplayer (though some multiplayer levels do not allow certain types). The game follows a completely linear track, unlike its predecessors Star Fox and Star Fox 64, which allow the player to choose his/her path through the game.

Arwing missions in Assault are very similar to those of the first two games in the series: The player flies in space or close to the ground and shoots down enemies. Some levels are on rails, while others allow full freedom of movement in a relatively small area. As in previous games, some of Fox's wingmates occasionally call for help when they're being chased by enemies. Also, in some levels, the player has the ability to hop in and out of the Arwing at will.

While in the Landmaster, the player has complete freedom to move about the level, shooting or running over enemies and assisting their wingmates when necessary. Playing on foot essentially turns the game into a third-person shooter — the player starts armed with a blaster pistol and can acquire a variety of other weapons, including a machine gun and a homing rocket launcher. In two shooting gallery levels, the player rides on the wing of an Arwing or a Wolfen-Class Fighter, shooting enemies on the ground and in the air with a plasma cannon.

The game has been criticised for the "sloppy" control scheme on the ground, however, this can be remedied by changing the options to two-stick control on the options screen.

As an added bonus, the player can unlock a playable version of Xevious, a classic scrolling shooter arcade game, by collecting all silver medals throughout the game.

Weapons and items

Assault features a number of handheld weapons, most of which are frequently seen in first-person shooters, such as the blaster, machine gun, Homing Launcher, sniper rifle, and hand grenades. Also used is the Plasma Cannon, a rapid-firing gun with unlimited ammunition. This, however, is only used when wing-riding during the single player campaign. The game also has a number of special items, including personal force fields which deflect enemy attacks. The usual rings seen in other Star Fox games, that restore a vehicle's shield, are also present.


Setting and characters

The setting of Star Fox: Assault takes place in the Lylat System from previous games. All of the planets visited in the game, with the exception of the Aparoid Homeworld, have been seen in previous incarnations. Dinosaur Planet, seen in Adventures, has been renamed " Sauria", and Fortuna is shown in its original form, as a separate planet from Fichina. Venom, prominently featured in past installments, is not seen.

Assault features the core Star Fox team, with Falco Lombardi having returned, and Krystal taking over Peppy Hare's former spot. Peppy has retired from flying, and now resides in the Great Fox with ROB overseeing the missions. Star Wolf, absent from Adventures, returns as well, with Pigma Dengar and Andrew Oikonny having been kicked out and left, respectively. In their place is newcomer Panther Caruso.

The game marks the introduction of the Aparoids, which are insect-like creatures that are part machine and part life form. The Aparoids are capable of infecting other life forms and machines and transform them into Aparoids. The game calls this infection Aparoideation. Large Aparoids contain a core memory that contains instructions as well as information on contacting the Aparoid Homeworld.

The Aparoids are led by the Aparoid Queen on their home planet. The Queen believes that all things in the universe exist for the Aparoids to infect and that becoming an Aparoid is not infection, but evolution. Beltino Toad created a program that took advantage of the fact the Aparoids cells are created using apoptosis, and Fox used this program to destroy the Aparoid Queen. All Aparoids are networked together, as once Fox executed the self-destruct program in the Aparoid Queen, all of the Aparoids and their home planet were forever annihilated.

The Aparoids seem to draw heavy inspiration from Star Trek's Borg, which assimilate other life forms. The appearance of the Aparoid Queen who serves as the leader also reinforce this.


Star Fox: Assault takes place one year after the events of Star Fox Adventures. Andrew Oikonny, Andross's nephew, assumes leadership over his dead uncle's army and starts a rebellion against the Cornerian Army. The Star Fox team, consisting of Fox McCloud, Slippy Toad, Falco Lombardi, Krystal, and Peppy Hare (who has retired from piloting), quickly fly in to assist them. Once they fight their way through his forces, they follow Andrew to Fortuna, where he attacks them by transforming his ship into an imitation of Andross's final form, albeit much weaker. Before his battle with the team is through, however, his ship is destroyed by a strange, bug-like creature, which then attacks Fox. Fox destroys it, and takes a partial "core memory" from it for research.

Once back at the Great Fox, Fox and team learn from Beltino Toad that the attacking creature was an Apariod, one of a powerful species capable of destroying entire Cornerian fleets with little effort. The team also learns that a distress signal is being sent from Katina, and suspect Aparoid involvement. Fox investigates the planet on foot, only to be trapped inside the base with the Aparoids. With the help of a Landmaster, he is able to fight them off. After defeating a large Aparoid boss, resembling a giant saucer with four legs, he recovers another Core Memory, which is quickly stolen by Pigma Dengar, who sent out the distress signal himself and believed he can become rich from the Core Memory's sale.

Fox and crew track Pigma to the Sargasso Space Zone, a popular hideout for bandits, overseen by Wolf O'Donnell. After infiltrating the base, they discover Pigma is not there, and the Star Wolf team shows up (with Panther Caroso as their newest member), soon after their discovery. They engage the Star Fox team in a dogfight, which they subsequently lose. Panther, attempting to flirt with Krystal, tells her that Pigma is on the planet Fichina. When Fox and crew quickly rush over to the planet, they discover that Pigma had deactivated its climate control center, turning it into a snowy wasteland. After defeating an Aparoid that threatened to destroy the control centre reactor, the team then follows Pigma through an asteroid belt. Once they catch up to him, they find that Pigma had been taken over by the Aparoids and had no control over his actions. He is assimilated into a large spacecraft with large tentacle-like metal arms as weapons. Fox fights and destroys Pigma, and retrieves the core memory, which has the information that will lead the team to the Aparoid Homeworld.

Just before the team is about to go after the Aparoid Queen at their homeworld, Krystal receives a distress call from the planet Sauria, which is under attack by the Aparoids. Fox quickly lands on the planet and destroys the Aparoid hatchers before the dinosaurs there are wiped out. After the battle, Fox and Krystal reunite with Prince Tricky, now a teenaged EarthWalker. While the team was on Sauria, however, Corneria City was hit with a full-scale attack by the Aparoids, leaving it devastated. Fox, with the help of Star Wolf, who arrived to assist in defeating a common enemy, is able to take out most of the attacking Aparoids. They soon find out, though, that General Pepper's ship had been taken over by the Aparoids, and has started to attack Fox. Fox is able to take down the ship with his plasma cannon, but before the General crashes into the ground, he is saved by Peppy, who suddenly arrives in an Arwing and softens the General's ship's fall. After the battle, the Star Fox team heads for a large space station above Corneria, the Orbital Gate, which is used for warping to other planets. Before they are able to travel to the Aparoid homeworld, they are forced to defend it, with the help of Star Wolf again, from a series of Aparoid missiles. They manage to destroy all of the missiles, just in time for Beltino Toad to finish creating a program that will destroy the Aparoids.

Once the Star Fox team reaches the Aparoid Homeworld, they realize that the entry to the core of the planet is blocked by a base and a large shield. Though Fox is able to infiltrate the base and destroy a large amount of Aparoids, the shield continues to hold up. He suddenly sees Peppy and ROB ram the Great Fox, which is covered in Aparoids, into the shield and open it long enough for the team to get through. The Great Fox subsequently explodes, leading the team to believe that Peppy and ROB were killed in the explosion.

Fox and crew enter the core of the planet, with Star Wolf showing up again to help them. Right before they reach the queen, they are attacked by a seemingly indestructable swarm of Aparoids. Wolf, Leon and Panther decide to distract them to allow Fox to proceed onwards to the queen's lair. The team confronts the Aparoid Queen, who uses the voices of Peppy, ROB, General Pepper, Pigma, and Fox's father in an attempt to deceive them into joining her. The team ignores her, and blasts her armor away until Fox is able to shoot the program inside of her. However, the queen is able to repress it, and attempts to escape. Slippy informs Fox that if he does not destroy her and launch the program, the queen will create an antibody. Once the team defeats the queen, the program launches, and the Aparoids are permanently destroyed. The team escapes from the core of the homeworld, and soon discover that ROB and Peppy survived the explosion by finding an escape pod just before the Great Fox blew. It is unclear whether or not the Star Wolf team made it out or not, but Fox believes they also somehow survived.


Star Fox: Assault was first announced on May 8, 2002, then simply known as Star Fox, had a tentative release date of April 2003 for Japan, and would be developed by employees who worked on Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies at Namco. Along with this announcement was the news of an arcade version, although this was the first and only time that it was ever mentioned. News about the game would not come about until a short video montage at 2003's E3 in Los Angeles, which showcased the game's first-person perspective. According to Electronic Gaming Monthly, the video was actually booed by viewers, and EGM itself said the video was "remarkably unimpressive".

Throughout 2004, the game would go under control and graphics changes, and the name itself was changed to what it is today. It missed it's targeted November release date, and was pushed into early 2005. At the year's E3, EGM wrote a follow-up that said the game looked "much better than...a year ago".

Many new voice actors were hired for Assault. Main character Fox McCloud, voiced by Steve Malpass from the fighting game Super Smash Bros. Melee until Star Fox Adventures, was replaced by Jim Walker. Another Rare employee, Estelle Ellis, the voice of Krystal, was also replaced, by Alesia Glidewell. The game engine, although unspecified, does use middleware provided by the Japanese company CRI Middleware. The Tokyo New City Orchestra provided Assault's musical score.


The game features multiplayer with support for up to four players. Players are able to fight on foot or in an Arwing or Landmaster, though some stages prohibit certain modes of travel. Playable characters include the entire Star Fox team (including Peppy), as well as Wolf O'Donnell. Multiplayer has a number of specific items and weapons, such as an upgraded sniper rifle and rocket launcher that can kill with one hit. A "Stealth suit" is another type of item available that can make the player invisible for a short period of time.


Star Fox: Assault, by critics, was the least well-received game in the series, which currently holds a 70% average at Game Rankings. Many complaints were aimed at the control scheme during on-foot portions, to which IGN said that the "ground missions suffer from sloppy control". GameSpot noted that the multiplayer portion of the game has little lasting value, which was also shared by IGN, who said the design of the levels were too simplistic. However, IGN noted that being able to switch between the Arwing and Landmaster at will was a "welcome addition". In Electronic Gaming Monthly, two of the reviewers gave it a favorable 8.0 out of 10. Kevin Gifford said that "the game is aimed less at the Mario club and more toward the hardcore crowd". EGM also noted that Assault had an epic feel, helped by a great soundtrack.

The game has sold well enough for it to be included in Nintendo's Player's Choice line in North America, which also includes Star Fox 64 and Star Fox Adventures.

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