Star Fox Adventures is nothing new, but still a worthy Adventure
I haven't played a Star Fox game since the original came out on the SNES. So I'm not exactly a huge Star Fox fan, but I am a huge fan of Zelda and similar adventure / RPGs, so I'm glad they made a game like this rather than a space shooter.
Star Fox Adventures will never touch Zelda's qualities, graphics, controls, storyline or length, but I still had a ton of fun. The game was pretty easy up until the last battle, but the puzzles were creative enough to keep you entertained all the way through.
Star Fox Adventures is an Action / Adventure game similar, if not completely ripping off the Zelda 64 controls and just about everything else. At the beginning you play as Krystal, then she gets captured and Star Fox finds her bow-staff. They poorly explain that Star Fox doesn't need his blaster here, so he must use Krystal's bow-staff to fight. The fighting is pretty shallow, there's really no combinations you can create or learn, he just does them after you constantly hit the A button a billion times. If you move your analog stick he might swing his staff in a different direction, but overall it doesn't matter where you swing the staff, it will still always inflict the same amount of damage. Within the game you'll find a young dinosaur named Tricky, since he's the only one that can breathe life into the Spellstones, you must take him with you on your quest. Tricky doesn't help you out like Donald or Goofy would in Kingdom Hearts, he's used in a different manner. You can call Tricky and get him to find secrets hidden within the ground, or to stand on a trigger or to breath fire on an object. He won't fight by your side, but he's there for all the puzzles in the game. You have to keep feeding Tricky with fungus. Each time Tricky uses an ability, he will lose a Fungus point, he can hold 5 at a time. If you runs out he will complain alot and fall asleep, nothing bad happens other than annoying you. You can feed him at anytime and find Fungus anywhere in the game, so you'll never have a problem. To get a Fungus you have to bash it with your staff to stun it. There's something a little creepy about that.
Through out the game you'll find other Dino and Mammoth friends that will help you out as well. You can ride on their backs and shoot spaceships, or crush barriers. There's a few parts in the game where you'll have to race in a ski-mobile type machine. Through out the game you'll learn magic abilities with your staff. You can shoot fire, shoot ice, use quake, or rocket over a platform. You can also disguise as a SharpClaw to enter special areas or to sneak past enemies. Everytime you or Tricky learns a new ability you can open up a new area in the game and progress. You gain HP by getting the a Spellstone. There's only 4 Spellstones in the game and you start off with 3 HP tanks. Each tank can split off in 4 quarters. Overall you can get a maximum of 28 HP points. You find MP points in underground cave areas hidden off on Dino planet. I only found 2 extra boosts, but I think there's 3 or 4 overall. You only get one staff through out the game and no power ups. The boss fights are all unique, but sadly there's only 5 overall. The first boss fight is a classic Zelda style huge monster where you have to find the weak points to destroy. Another boss is a giant T-Rex that you must electrocute and blow up. There's are the only two I can picture in a Zelda game. The other three is a lot different, as in one you have to blow up three ski-mobiles, another you have to shot a demon from a platform while flying and the last is space shooter similar to older Star Fox games. The last boss fight is (obviously) the hardest thing in the game. I had to play it at least 20 times to finally beat it.
----------Characters / Story----------
The game starts off with Krystal, who is trying to stop General Scales from taking over the planet and to revive the Krazoa spirits. Krystal gets captured, so Star Fox answers a distress call and goes out on a quest to save Krystal, revive the remaining spirits and to restore the planet back to normal. The story is pretty good and there's only one big twist at the end that might surprise you. The dialog was good for the most part, but there was a few cheesy moments.
For a four plus year old game, the graphics hold up pretty well. The environments are always unique to each other and the character designs look great. There's not a ton of levels in the game, but they're all huge with a ton of places to visit and some secrets to find. There's a few times when you'll be walking on a straight blocky path, but for the most part you'll be walking in a wide open fully detailed field or cave. The game will change from night to day and the helpful dinosaurs might even fall asleep at night. It might rain at random as well. There's only 13 areas in the game, but they're all pretty big with different sections of their own. There's really no specialized dungeons like in Zelda, or really any safe areas also. The game is kinda small, but they make up for it by making you backtrack alot. One temple you have to go back at least 5 or 6 times, but you might have to go in a different direction or find a new opening or secret or passage. There's only 4 Spellstones in the game but to get one you have to travel in space to get to the section with it, travel that entire land, get to the boss, take the stone, get back to Dino Planet, and then go to the Force point, there's only 2 Force Points in the game, so you'll have to backtrack at least twice per Point. You'll have to find a new way to get into the force point though. Like the Zelda games, the camera is controlled with the L button. I haven't played a Zelda game since Windwaker about a year ago, so I wasn't exactly use to this camera style, but I quickly got use to it. You can give the game a standard or wide-screen view. I picked the wide-screen view, but there wasn't an black bars for some reason. I can't find a reason to leave it on standard view or why they would even include it.
There was a time when I was fighting a huge boss and he started to break up and turn invisible. This could of been fixed before the release. There's not a ton of enemies in the game, and they reuse some of them. There mgith be a lizard with a mace, and then a bigger lizard with an axe or a giant bat, and then later a bat on fire.
Just about all the dialog is voiced out, only a few times where it wasn't. At the beginning of the game all the characters speak in a Dino language. For some reason I thought it was French, this scared the crap out of me. Fox eventually gets a communicator that turns their language to English, but you get the option to turn the Dino speak on or off. The music is great, especially the song they play on Dino Planet and Cape Claw, it reminds me of something similar to Jungle King.
The world map for Dino Planet is a standard map with dots representing each area within the planet. It's not a connecting map like Super Mario 3 or Final Fantasy Tactics, it just points to which direction you need to run to. You have to unlock each area, but for the most part the game is very linear. There's a warp stone that will take you to a few places, but you have to walk to each area otherwise.
There's another map to the game, which is very similar to Kingdom Hearts (although I'm pretty sure Star Fox Adventures came first). You can get into your X-Wing and go to each section that was removed from Dino Planet and controlled by General Scales. Once you pick your destination, you have to fly the X-Wing while shooting meteors, spaceships and mines. You have to gather a predetermined amount of gold rings before you reach the end to break a force field. The graphics and gameplay on this part of the game is about 100% improvement over Kingdom Hearts generic version of rail shooting.
----------Time to Complete Game (first run through, last save before final boss)----------
No bonus at the end, other than the final dialog before the credits. The game was pretty short but still slightly longer than I had originally expected. After you play it through once, there's really no reason to do it again.