Best of ND 2013: 20 Years of Star Fox: The Great Moments

A look at some of the greatest and most defining moments of the Star Fox series!

By Kyle England. Posted 12/30/2013 13:00 Comment on this     ShareThis

This story was selected as one of our best from 2013. It was originally published on April 3, during Issue 147.

It’s been 20 years since the Arwings first launched and the team known as Star Fox reported for duty. In 1993, Star Fox (Starwing in the UK) came out for the Super Nintendo. Since then, we’ve had 5 distinct games and 1 remake bearing the Star Fox name over both Nintendo home consoles and handhelds. The series has become Nintendo’s seminal sci-fi shoot ’em up franchise, but it has branched out to include action-adventure and strategy elements as well. Fans of the Star Fox games love them for their intense action, re-playability, and chatty characters. Star Fox has had its highs and lows, but at any rate, 20 years is a grand milestone to celebrate.

Over the coming week, we’re going to be looking at the history, the characters, the music, and all the fun facts and trivia. But right now, let’s take a look back at the greatest moments from the games. Check your G-Diffuser systems, because here we go!

Star Fox 64

Enter Star Wolf

“Can’t let you do that, Star Fox!” was the phrase that announced the arrival of Star Wolf on planet Fortuna, and it was the team’s debut into the gaming world. Before this point in Star Fox 64, every enemy was generic laser fodder. Now, the Star Fox team was presented with a tough challenge: taking on a team of fighters just as equipped and skilled as they were. To make matters even worse, the base on planet Fortuna had been rigged with a bomb, and Star Wolf was just buying time to keep our heroes from stopping the explosion. While it’s implied that Fox had previously encountered Wolf, this was the first time we got to see the notorious team. Star Wolf would go on to become the biggest rivals of Star Fox, and it all started at this moment.

“Do a Barrel Roll!”

Peppy would go down in gaming history with this single utterance, a mere four words instructing Fox to deflect bullets on planet Corneria. “Do a Barrel Roll” has become one of the most well known memes in gaming, spawning countless jokes and variations. Why has this quip become so famous? Maybe it was due to Peppy’s urgency in telling Fox to roll. Maybe it seemed out of context and random. The nature of internet memes is always strange and unpredictable. But for whatever reason, Peppy’s phrase has entered the hallowed ground of legendary gaming jokes, up there with “All Your Base” and “The Cake is a Lie.” Its out-of-game significance makes this seemingly innocuous quote one of the most defining of the entire Star Fox series.

The Defeat of Andross
After fighting countless battles across the Lylat System, Star Fox arrived on Venom for the final showdown with the mastermind of the uprising: Andross. The team had to bypass treacherous terrain and defeat Star Wolf one last time (depending on the route you took getting to Venom). When it finally came time to end this war, Fox McCloud had to go it alone. He descended into the heart of Venom, and confronted Andross at the planet’s core. Andross’s terrifying new form ended up being defeated by the Arwing, but the mad monkey wouldn’t die quietly. Andross attempted to take out Fox along with himself in a massive explosion. In the game’s most inspiring moment, Fox is guided by the spirit of his father out of the Venomian labyrinth just in time. James McCloud encourages his son by telling him “You’ve become so strong, Fox,” before disappearing once more.

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