Starwing or Star Fox – whatever part of the world you’re in, you’ll be experiencing the same awesome shooter that came out on the Super Nintendo back in 1736. It was so advanced for the time as there weren’t even TVs in those days, and to boot, it was a great game. Does it still hold up in 2439? I don’t know, but I could tell you about 2019.
After saving up for all the Mario games, beat ’em ups and well-known franchises, Starwing was next on my list. I’ve always been in denial about liking sci-fi – particularly space. Something was missing, and it had minimal appeal to me. In later life, I’ve warmed to the genre (it’s not a genre) and consume a bit more sci-fi ‘stuff’. With that in mind, when I read about Starwing in something like Gamesmaster magazine, I wasn’t fussed. Then I saw an advert.
As you’ll see in the clip (come on, it wasn’t long – watch it!), the game was powered by the Super FX chip. Starwing also cost £50. In 1993! Pulling 50 notes out of my arse while still at school wasn’t likely, so it took some time until I could get it. In other words, I pawned off some old Amiga games to get this. Let’s just go back to the Super FX chip.
It sounded cool, and it meant you could play proper 3D graphics on a console. To be honest, the opening sequence from the above advert had better imagery, but for the time, it was superb. I don’t recall many other games using the chip – or at least marketed it well, but having a look around the net, The Gamer has a good top ten list to check out. The thing I remember most about the Super FX chip, however, was that a PC fanboy at school claimed that the processor was in fact straight out of a dishwasher. Whether that’s true or not, I don’t care. It just made school a little more amusing with white goods anecdotes.
Starwing was a triple-A title, and there were no corners cut in the presentation. At the time, it felt epic. The music, the intros – even the build-up when Fox and chums leave their base ‘scramble’ plastered across the screen and then flyin’ and a shootin’ time. If my memory serves me correct, Starwing was perhaps one of the first console games I played where there was a tutorial. I remember how cool it was to do a barrel roll and duck and dive through doorways.
Shifting forward to the now, I booted it up on the Switch now that it’s available on SNES Online. It wasn’t my first choice – Super Mario Kart got to pole on that one, but I was still eager to relive it again. Without a shadow of a doubt, the visuals have dated. It’s a 26-year-old game, so all is forgiven, and it didn’t change how I felt about the gameplay. Now that I’m older, I felt that maybe I might be a little better at it. Yes and no.
For starters, I repeatedly shot my teammates in error as couldn’t make out who was who. I would frequently clip the ground when trying to show off, and my aim wasn’t particularly great. That said, it wasn’t long until I was back into the swing of it. It was then that I realised what a short game it is. Sure, you can take different paths to complete the goal, but it’s over too quick.
Completing it first go would be a lie. I died a couple of times as I had forgotten about the first-person view introduced in the second stage. This is usually my view of choice, but I found it tricky to aim and kept inadvertently clipping enemy fighters or asteroids. If I could change the view, then all would be swell. By the way, the space stages are one of my favourite memories; entering a ship like an X-Wing and taken them out from within. The boss on the second space stage is also cool – the reactor one if you recall/have recently played it.
Unless I’m sitting on the sofa and someone else is using the lounge screen, I almost always play with the pro-controller. As much as I love it, it took a while to get used to, and I think that after all this time, my muscle memory is still using a d-pad, so I alternate. Now that Nintendo is offering the official SNES controller for online members, I’m tempted to get one as they aren’t expensive and it also adds to the reminiscing. Alternatively, some third party can make an adaptor so I can plug in my wired SNES controllers.
Other than that, I don’t have any wild anecdotes of Starwing other than the Super FX dishwasher chip, and that’s hardly interesting as you weren’t there. Also, it doesn’t sound interesting having re-read what I wrote. It seems that the SNES Online games are changing my approach to writing these posts as unlike the NES Online, I’ve played the games and used to own them, so it’s all a bit gooey-eyed and feeling fuzzy about being young. Right: I’m off to pay a bill to make me fill like a grown-up.
Disclaimer: After conducting some thorough research, over the space of a New York Minute, I realise that Starwing wasn’t released in 1736, but 1993. I wouldn’t have been alive at that time. It would dump on all my comments above as pure fabrication. Also, Fox Mcloud isn’t his real name. It’s Winston Tabletop.