I wasn’t sure about getting the SNES Classic Mini until I saw one important thing – it comes with a brand new game. Star Fox 2 is the follow up to a Super Nintendo game that represented a leap forward in graphical quality using polygons. This sequel was completed but shelved by Nintendo before releasing, as the company was not far off releasing their next console (the Nintendo 64) and there were fears this game would look dated very quickly.
Which it does.
Fortunately, the last 5-10 years have seen a dramatic shift in the expectations of games, with low graphical fidelity not being a barrier to quality. Spelunky, Braid, and of course Minecraft are examples of some of the best games ever created that use an 8 or 16 bit style.
Ignore the graphical quality then, because this is a very interesting follow up. Structured around a real time battle against the returning villain, you must select targets on the screen to launch levels. Some of these can be dogfights against specific ships, some are infiltrating bases, and some are straight shooters. This sort of change to mechanical and story approach would these days be more expected in a fourth in a series, not the second. Nintendo has never shied away from doing something daring with the second game though.
Since the structure of the game is driven by player selections the whole piece is relatively short. Chances are you’ll be complete within an hour. But you haven’t seen all there is to offer, and the score chase in this game is important – time, amount of damage, and total score all play a part. The game even rates you at the end to tell you how
poorly well you did.
The mechanical flying and shooting is as fun and frustrating as it ever was. The original Star Fox came out in the same year as Star Wars: X-Wing, one of the greatest flight sims ever made, and the use of the controller for flying and aiming pales in comparison. That Star Fox 2 would have come out after Star Wars: TIE Fighter, which is THE greatest flight sim ever made, would have shown up the controls badly. However the introduction of the secondary ship mode, an AT-ST style land based vehicle, eases a lot of those frustrations as the controller works much better in two dimensions.
Is this alone worth the £79.99 for the SNES Classic Mini? No, but it is the icing on the cake you might need to stave off buyer’s remorse over buying a gadget to replay games you already own. On multiple systems.
Did that sound convincing? I’ve been practising.