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Groundhog Day: Time to save Lylat...


This is the portal to the Lylat system... I put far too much time into saving the pansies that live there...

When I was a young lad, just seven years of age, I dreamed of nothing more than getting my hands on a Nintendo 64. My birthday passed, and I got a Virtual Boy. At the time, I loved it… then I played Teleroboxer, and I raged so hard I broke the right eyepiece... so I was gameless for several months. After receiving a two-year-old POS system for my birthday, I didn’t have a lot of hope for anything special going into the Holiday Season of ’97. I had all but lost my faith in Santa Clause, and I was astute enough to realize that my mom probably couldn’t afford it.

Christmas Day I got out of bed, still in my Hunter Green feety-pajamas, and I shuffled into the living room. With a tempered optimism I started unwrapping my presents. I saw one that was apparently “from” Santa Clause. It was a decent-sized boxed, and I figured it was probably going to be pretty good, but I distinctly remember laughing to myself as I started opening it about the ridiculous notion of it actually being from the man in red. I tore into the paper in the visceral style of a child on Christmas Day. It wasn’t too different from this little boy’s experience…

I was like this kid. Literally. Mom should have recorded that. I could out-crazy that brodude.

I couldn’t believe my luck! A Nintendo 64! Finally I was going to be playing 3d games. Y’know, besides the first Starfox. My first two games for the thing were Mario 64 and Starfox 64, same as pretty much everyone else’s. But, unlike most other people I think, I was far more attached to Starfox. I had played through the first one on the SNES countless times. I remember my mom’s fiancé used to read the text to me, and I was amazed that he could understand frogs, rabbits, falcons, and foxes. Interestingly enough I was always so much better than he was. I could play through on the hardest difficulty without trouble, while he could never break through the armada on the third level… hehe…

Right away, I fell in love. Seeing all of my favorite characters with super-detailed ships, new weapons and vehicles, and textures and everything was just… well it was a time of great glee for this growing gamer. I took the new game to day care where I wowed the kids there with my skillz. Thankfully the place wasn’t big on the sharing thing, so I could bogart the TV and play for hours.

One day though, a new kid came in and watched me play. He said I was good, but told me that if I saved Falco and then flew through the arches on Corneria that I could open up a new level. I had had the game for months and I never figured out that particular “secret.” I was so surprised that I passed it up and kind of pissed that it was so simple; I tried at least a dozen times to get to that “Y-shaped nebula-looking thing.” Once there I fell harder for the game than ever before. A whole new side of the map had opened up to me, not mention the possibility of even more secrets that might one day be uncovered.

So I played. And I played. And I played. For years I played. Off and on, multiplayer, single player… I just played. I would rent about one game per week, and after beating that, or getting to some level I couldn’t pass, I would always fall back on my precious Starfox 64. In time I discovered more and more little tidbits. I found the secret passage in Sector X and the Asteroid Field; I beat the train on Macbeth, killed the lights on Zonas, and eventually I found James McCloud. I thought I had found everything. I grew bored, and I quit playing sometime around 2000. Multiplayer might have kept me going even longer, but we all know that it sucks the sweaty, collective balls of humanity two ways ‘til Tuesday.

I still adored the Starfox series, but Starfox Adventures and Assault never really satiated my appetite for space-action and futuristic dogfights. I’m ashamed to admit it now, but I spent my fair share of time in my closet, with a mound of blankets arranged like the inside of an aircraft, pretending to be Fox McCloud. My imagination only fueled my enthusiasm for the genre and the continued failure of Nintendo to provide me with an even passable new Starfox game depressed me to no end.

Assault was infinitely better than adventures... but considering that trash is one of the worst games ever... that's not saying much...

Two summers ago though, I was burning time, just waiting for my freshman year of college to start and one of my friends picked it up again. He told me that he had found a new mode- Expert, and some fun new things in multiplayer including the ability to run about on foot. Once again I was shocked that some aspect of the game had eluded me for so long. I found that I had to get medals in every planet by meeting a certain score and keeping all of my team mates alive. The latter qualification was probably what kept me from expert mode for all those years because I often killed Slippy just make sure that s/he-thing wasn’t talking.

Admit it. No one knew what the fuck that thing was. Also, because I'm not a douche here's the original link.

Once I stopped being a dick (or doing my sanity a favor, depending upon how you look at it) getting the new mode was cake. I had a new playground. Sheer nostalgia kept me going for a while, enough for a few runs through all of my old favorite levels on the new difficulty. When I had my fun, I check some faqs online, just to make sure I had found everything. Finally, I could claim that I finished the game. Completely.

I still save the Lylat System every few months. It really is a short title, especially by today’s standards, and I never get tired of hearing General Pepper’s exclamation at the sight of the hefty bill for my *ahem* expert services. I feel like a fucking badass every time.

Ah... the invoice screen... in all it's tiny glory...

Starfox 64 is a game I just keep coming back to. It is short, sweet, loads of fun, and still somewhat impressive visually-speaking. Back then, it was enough to revive my faith in Saint Nicolas, and I think it has aged pretty well. Nowadays it would be a fantastic XBLA game; though, it probably couldn’t pass as a full title given its remarkably short nature. Y’know… now that I think about it… I haven’t played it in a while… and I left my N64 back in my home state of Oklahoma… I think I’ll just go kill me some monkeys for the rest of my shift on a nice emulator…

addendum: I wrote this a few days ago, and I was sitting on it, trying to decide if I would submit it... In that time I found that Starfox 64 was being remade for the 3DS. How that slipped past me, I don't know, but that's definitely enough to get me wanting one. That and Ocarina of Time might just tilt me to buying one in a few months.
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About Daniel Starkeyone of us since 2:41 PM on 12.27.2006

Some say he never sleeps and eats only gourmet amaretto cupcakes. Others claim he's a hyperactive optimist. To citizens of the Destructoid empire, though, he's Captain Starkey, Intergalactic Games Journalist.

Disclosure: In my undergrad at the University of Minnesota, I did do PR and event promotion for Microsoft. It does not and has not affected any of the pieces I have written, but it is something that you, as a reader, should know.
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