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Star Fox (released as Starwing in Europe), jointly developed by Nintendo and Argonaut Software, was the very first entry of the Star Fox series. It was released in 1993 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System alongside an accompanying comic series in Nintendo Power; the comic actually began publication before the game itself was released, providing the first introduction to the game's story, setting and characters. Star Fox was the second best-selling title of the franchise, only outsold by Star Fox 64, Star Fox's own reboot only four years later in 1997. Star Fox 64 so overshadowed its predecessor that some fans to this day are still unaware of the original game's existence.

Star Fox was the first game to include the Super FX chip, a coprocessor that provided (at the time) cutting edge 3D polygon graphics, years before the PlayStation and Nintendo 64 systems made this the norm in console video game design. A sequel utilizing the revised Super FX chip, Star Fox 2, was developed for Super NES, but due to the looming release of the Nintendo 64 (which wouldn't come out for a year), it was unceremoniously canceled. Even so, Star Fox 2 was officially released as part of the SNES Classic Edition on September 29, 2017, along with this game having its first ever re-release.

The story takes place in the fictional Lylat Star System, which is populated by sapient animals. Andross, a prestigious and incredibly talented scientist from the planet Corneria was caught conducting illegal and highly dangerous experiments that threatened populated worlds. He was declared to be raving mad, and exiled to the edge of the known universe years ago. Now, He's Back!, with a massive armada of immensely powerful battleships under his command. Declaring himself Emperor of the planet Venom, he has been waging an ongoing war to conquer the entire system. The new Arwing fighters could turn the tide of the war, but most of the Cornerian military - including pilots - has been wiped out, leaving the fate of the Lylat system in the hands of Star Fox: a team of former rebels and space pirates who happen to be the only persons left in Lylat who could possibly fly them.

The game's manual can be found here, while the tie-in comic can be read here.

Star Fox, the comic tie-in, and Star Fox 2 altogether represent a Darker and Edgier Canon compared to Star Fox 64 and its sequels (though it's more accurate to say that Star Fox 64 is Lighter and Softer than them).

Star Fox provides examples of:

  • Anyone Can Die: Unlike later games, any of your wingmates can be shot down for the rest of the playthrough. According to Takaya Imamura, the reasoning behind this element of the game is to make the player feel the tragedy when they lose a wingman they've grown attached to.invoked
    Takaya Imamura: "It’s pretty tragic when your allies are defeated, so players ought to realize at some point that they’ve begun to feel empathy towards them."
  • Autobots, Rock Out!:
    • Levels set in planetary atmospheres (except Venom, for some reason) are set to high-octane rock tracks. This extends to the Player Down and Course Clear themes in these stages.
    • This is thanks to Hajime Hirasawa, who left Nintendo after working on this game. This game and its sequel have a much greater share of rock-themed soundtrack than Star Fox 64 or its sequels. Some of Hirasawa's compositions were rearranged for Super Smash Bros. Brawl, both by him and by fellow composers like Kenji Ito.
  • Background Boss: All of the bosses except the Atomic Bases, the Dancing Insector, Plasma Hydra, Monarch Dodora, the Spinning Core, and the Great Commander in its first fight and final forms do not attack with their bodies.
  • Big Bad: Andross is a completely insane Emperor Scientist who seeks to conquer the Lylat star system as vengeance for being exiled.
  • Bittersweet Ending: You can complete the game with only Fox McCloud left alive in the squadron. Lylat is saved, but Fox is the Sole Survivor of the Star Fox team.
  • Boss Battle: At the end of each and every stage.
  • Boss Corridor: The Atomic Bases, Professor Hanger, and Andross have notable ones, but there is a distinct lack of enemies before a boss.
  • Boss Remix: The slot machine's theme remixes three real life children's songs.
  • Boss Warning Siren: Almost all boss battles were announced by a short voice clip of "incoming enemy". As this was invariably near the end of each level, it occurred while the level music was fading out to be replaced with the boss battle music.
  • Bowdlerise: In both of the original SNES Starfox games, the main antagonist is named "Andolf" (pronounced "Andorf" due to the Japanese accent). With the western releases, his name is changed to "Andross" because "Andolf" was deemed by western censors to be too similar to "Adolf".
  • Characterization Marches On: Slippy had a constant stutter in the English version, and periodically punctuated his lines with "ribbits" — both of these quirks vanished entirely from his rebooted persona.
  • Climax Boss: The Metal Smasher, Phantron, Galactic Rider, and the Great Commander, one of whom will be the boss of the penultimate stage and the Mini-Boss of the final stage.
  • Cognizant Limbs: Most bosses have multiple parts, but Monarch Dodora is not a machine or ship, but a cyborg dragon with two heads, a tail, and a body. You must stun either the two heads or the tail to make the body vulnerable.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Falco always gives you ungrateful slack when you save him from an enemy pursuer.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: Some bosses are invulnerable or strong against Smart Bombs. Phantron counterattacks in the first fight with a missile that can One-Hit Kill you.
  • Cool Shades: One of General Pepper's most distinguishing features, along with his distinctive uniform. Given to Fox's father in subsequent titles.
  • Cores-and-Turrets Boss: The Atomic Bases play this trope completely straight.
  • Cowardly Boss: Professor Hanger. He even starts out the fight by saying "BYE BYE!!!" and flying away. He is also the only boss besides Andross to communicate to the player, for that matter.
  • Cute 'em Up: The Out of This Dimension stage is to the rest of the game what Parodius is to Gradius.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: The exceptions listed in Attack Its Weak Point, except for the slot machine. Professor Hanger plays this completely straight, having an incredibly large amount of health. He's a very easy target, though.invoked
  • Didn't Need Those Anyway!: The Attack Carrier, the Rock Crushers, the Dancing Insector, Plasma Hydra, and the Great Commander's final form all do this.
  • Downer Beginning: Based on the opening intro cutscene. It shows Andross's forces slowly closing in on Corneria. At this point, Andross has conquered pretty much all of the Lylat System and Corneria is the next (and final) target. Factor in the dark, ominous background music and it's pretty clear that things are not good for the last free planet in the Lylat System.
  • Downer Ending: Implied if you go to Out of this Dimension. General Pepper tries to radio the Star Fox team, who as far as he knows have abruptly vanished out of existence and who he stresses is really needed in order to save Corneria. Clearing this stage results in an ending where Fox keeps flying forever in the alternate dimension. While the stage clear music keeps playing.
  • The Dragon: The Great Commander on the Hard path is directly implied to be the commander of Andross' entire military. However, he's just another boss fight.
  • Dub Name Change: Two notable ones comparing the Japanese and English releases: Smart Bombs were changed to Nova Bombs (a name change that didn't stick in later installments), and Andorf / Andolf was changed to Andross (which did stick, and in fact was left in the Japanese releases of Star Fox Adventures and Star Fox: Assault). The latter is believed to have been because his name hit too close to Adolf.
  • Early Installment Character-Design Difference: In this game and its comic tie-in, the Star Fox team is represented in an unapologetically dark and gritty style, focusing on realistic textures and animalistic expressions. Star Fox 64 and its remake both used a much more cartoony look overall, in keeping with the lighter tone. Additionally, in the original game, its manual, and all official media related to it, the entire Star Fox team is clearly and consistently depicted with identical robotic prosthetics for legs - a design trend that persisted as late as their appearance in Super Smash Bros. Melee. This created a popular fan theory that the characters legs were replaced with prosthetics to handle extreme G-forces without passing out. Future games clearly depict the team wearing suspiciously large boots instead.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • Great Fox was not introduced until Star Fox 2 (Offically in Star Fox 64). The Star Fox team actually have a Headquarters, which never made another appearance since.
    • The team does not own the Arwings. Pepper does, he recruited them because they're the only pilots skilled enough to fly them.
    • Peppy is a bit younger and doesn't have his "wise older figure" personality.
    • The concept of Multiple paths is different here, instead of completing a level in a unique way, the path is determined by the difficulty chosen.
    • Once a Wingman falls, he's Killed Off for Real rather than just sitting out the rest of the mission like the other games. Instead of having a traditional lifebar like the player, they can only take 3 hits from scripted attacks before getting shot down.
    • All-Range Mode didn't exist until Star Fox 2/Star Fox 64.
    • Star Wolf Wasn't introduced until 64.
    • Stages usually take place on planets or certain locations in the Lylat System (I.E. Sector X, Y and Z, Area 6, Bolse or Sargasso Space Zone). This game has a special case where a stage takes place in the middle of a Space Armada during a battle, something never done again.
    • None of the bosses other than Andross have any spoken lines.
    • Andross does not have his iconic Head and two hands as in later games (Though he does have them in the game over screen). He instead resembles a human-like head. Then again, the Andross fought in this game is actually a robot imposter set up by the real Andross.
    • High Scores don't award Medals unlike later games. Your score is determined by the percentage of enemies you shoot down, and your reward is extra lives.
    • The Arwing's laser cannot be charged, thus there is no homing shot.
    • The upgraded twin blaster shoots balls of energy instead of blue lasers.
    • The characters speak in gibberish. This did get brought back in Star Fox Command
  • Easter Egg:
    • The game has the Out of This Dimension hidden level, a freaky, psychedelic location with creepy smiling moons where the background is constantly distorting and the enemies consist of paper planes and a slot machine. Oh, and there's no escape from this level, meaning Fox is stuck flying in this place forever until you reset the game.
    • If you wait about 10 minutes at the "THE END" screen (the one you get at the end of each route, not the Out Of This Dimension secret ending), a jingle will play on loop for a few times.
  • Enemy Roll Call: The ending shows all the bosses, along with their names, fought in the selected route.
  • Fanfare: The Main theme is an utterly amazing piece of videogame music.
  • Fighter-Launching Sequence: Seen at the start of a new game.
  • Final Boss: Andross. Unless you do a whole series of convoluted steps in Level 3's Asteroid Belt. Then, the final boss is a slot machine.
  • Final Boss, New Dimension: Andross appears in a very weird room that looks interdimensional. Played straight with the slot machine, whose stage is called Out of This Dimension.
  • Flunky Boss: The Attack Carrier, Professor Hanger, Monarch Dodora, and Atomic Base II.
  • Fragile Speedster: Phantron, a robot boss which doesn't have that much health, but is so fast it creates illusions. Then it grows legs...
  • Funny Background Event: When shooting down enemy ships over Venom, you can sometimes see some of the terrified pilots eject from their destroyed vessels.
  • Fun with Acronyms: It's uncertain whether or not the Super FX chip was named after Star FoX .
  • Game-Over Man: Players are greeted by Andross himself in the Game Over screen.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: While all of the bosses except for a few are fought while flying, two bosses are very notable in this. Professor Hanger will flee whenever enemies show up and the first fight with the Great Commander has the two of you flying past each other, trading blows, and turning around and repeating the process.
  • Glass Cannon: The Arwings have massive fire power and are incredibly nimble when flown by a skilled enough pilot. The trade off is that they are very fragile. In the harder paths the bosses start to focus more on doing Collision Damage, which is easily the most effective strategy against them.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • If you attack Phantron with a Smart Bomb, it will counterattack with a heat-seeking missile that perfectly follows your movement AND is a One-Hit Kill. The only way to avoid it? Do nothing.
    • Getting the Space Whale to spawn in Sector Y requires shooting all the yellow stingrays to turn them blue. ALL of them.
    • The secret levels, Black Hole and Out of This Dimension, are both accessed with cryptic actions that most players would be unlikely to think of on their own, although they are things that a player could discover by accident. The Black Hole does appear on the map and near the first Asteroid Belt, at least, giving players some indication that it's a secret area to search for. Out of This Dimension, meanwhile, is never directly alluded to within the game until you unlock it. The only hint of its existence is a blank area on the map to the right of the lower Asteroid Belt... which could easily be dismissed as nothing.
      • The Black Hole is accessed via the Level 1 Asteroid Belt. Partway through the level are three rotating bars of gray asteroids with an orange one in the center. Fly as close to the orange asteroids as you can, then destroy them and fly through the area where they were. A smiling asteroid will then appear. Shoot the smiling asteroid to make a warp appear, then fly through the warp.
      • Out of This Dimension is accessed via the Level 3 Asteroid Belt. Shoot at the second large asteroid you come across (which are normally indestructible) to destroy it. A large bird will then appear. As the bird comes closer, fly into its chest.
  • Inconsistent Spelling: Some boss names differ between the cast roll in the ending and the instruction booklet. For instance, Atomic Base is the Atomic Core, Galactic Rider is Galactic Riders, Professor Hanger is Professor Hangar, and Monarch Dodora is Monarch Dodra (which was also the spelling used in Star Fox Command, but not Star Fox Zero). This is a minor mistranslation in the manual, as the Japanese version does not share this discrepancy.
  • It's Up to You: The only time your wingmates will help is when you save their bacon from being fried by pursuing enemies.note  But if you can protect them all till the end, you'll be secured the Golden Ending (the entire Star Fox team returns home alive after saving Lylat)!
  • Kaizo Trap:
    • When you destroy the Blade Barrier the station starts to break up, including the blades breaking away and hurtling straight towards you. If you end up getting destroyed by the blades, you have to do the battle all over again.
    • The Plasma Hydra will attempt to ram into you after its health is depleted. Just like with the Blade Barrier, dying from this means starting the fight over.
  • Level in Boss Clothing: The slot machine is exactly that: a slot machine. It can only be defeated by getting triple 7's. As such, defeating it can take quite awhile.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: The Atomic Bases and Andross: when destroyed, their respective base ot starship goes up in smoke, too. Played with with the slot machine; defeating it stops the background distortion.
  • Luck-Based Mission: The slot machine, fittingly. While it's not necessarily hard to kill before getting killed, it can take anywhere from 30 seconds to over 10 minutes depending on how the RNG feels.
  • Macro Zone: Fortuna has giant dragonflies, spontaneously-growing plantlife, and dragon-like serpents. According to the instructions, it is also ironically known as the Dinosaur Planet.
  • Marathon Boss: Yes, you can guess how annoying the slot machine is.
  • Mind Screw: Sector Y is a space ocean. The Black Hole feature enemies floating all around. Out of This Dimension trumps these. You enter from a space bird who just hatched, has living moons, the background is distorted, the enemies are paper airplanes, and a slot machine is the boss. Oh, and there's a mild Gainax Ending.
  • Mini-Boss: The second fight with your path's Venom guardian is fought right before Andross in the same stage.
  • Multi-Stage Battle: Upon reaching the guardian of Venom (depending on your chosen course), you must fight it once as the boss of the orbit and once right before Andross using new tactics on the ground.
  • Never Found the Body:
    • The artificial black hole, which was created by Andross's experiements, sucked Fox's then-unnamed father into it at some point prior to the events of the game.
    • Implied to be the case with the Out of this Dimension area. There's no way to escape the stage, and General Pepper's dialogue before it suggests that the Star Fox crew completely vanished from the Lylat system after touching the bird.
  • Nintendo Hard: The game is short, but it doesn't have a save feature, which means it has to be beaten in one go. The primitive 3D graphics can make it difficult to figure out the distance between things or what's an enemy.
  • One-Winged Angel: While most bosses simply turn red, Phantron gains legs, transition music, and an increased health bar at the same time.
  • Orchestral Bombing:
    • Levels set in outer space (and Venom, for some reason) are set to dramatic orchestral pieces. This extends to the Player Down and Course Clear themes in these stages.
    • Just like the entry for Autobots, Rock Out! above, this is also thanks to Hajime Hirasawa, who left Nintendo after working on this game. Star Fox and Star Fox 2 have a very differently styled orchestra soundtrack than Star Fox 64 or its sequels, with a heavier emphasis on Fanfare. Some of Hirasawa's compositions were rearranged for Super Smash Bros. Brawl, both by him and by fellow composers like Kenji Ito.
  • Permadeath: Unlike in later games, if your teammates die, they're Killed Off for Real.
  • Recurring Boss Template: The Attack Carrier returns in Star Fox 64, Monarch Dodora is in Star Fox Command, and both reappear in Star Fox Zero. This makes them the most recurring bosses in the series after series-regulars Andross and Star Wolf. In Star Fox 2, Phantron and Plasma Hydra were combined as H Fantron and Monarch Dodora received a counterpart called King Dodora.
  • Shielded Core Boss: The straightest examples are the Atomic Bases and Andross.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Monarch Dodora's name is a nod to the similarly multi-headed movie monster King Ghidorah. This has led some to assume that its English name was in fact a mistranslation and should have been "King Dodora," though the existence of a separate enemy with that name in Star Fox 2 would seem to indicate otherwise.
    • The Spinning Core boss is a dead ringer for the Death Star's reactor core in Return of the Jedi.
    • The Arwings resemble X-Wings.
  • Single-Biome Planet: Averted more often than in Star Fox 64, but there are still a few notable examples:
    • Papetoon in the comics appears to be mostly desert with sparse arid vegetation and an exotic karst topography.
    • Titania is an ice planet. But it turns out this is just a weather machine. In the Continuity Reboot, Titania was changed to a desert planet, and Fichina was introduced as an ice planet.
    • The monotony of planetary appearances is justified by the game using prerendered bitmaps for planetary backgrounds. It is understood that planets like Corneria and Fortuna have more variety than is shown, and Fortuna is actually shown to have three different biomes in its playable area.
  • Skippable Boss: Thanks to the Black Hole, you do not have to follow the exact paths. If you go for the first warp, the Rock Crusher, Atomic Base, and the Dancing Insector are all skipped; second warp, Level 2's Rock Crusher and Professor Hanger; third warp, Level 3's Blade Barrier and Monarch Dodora are skipped. Only the Attack Carrier and Andross are constants.
  • Space Is an Ocean: Sector Y is filled with wildlife that wouldn't be out of place in an ocean. Creatures that resemble jellyfish, manta rays, and even a whale can be found.
  • Space Whale: In Sector Y, if you shoot all the small orange stingrays, a space whale shows up and drops a slew of powerups just before you encounter the boss. In the tie-in Nintendo Power comic, this is said to actually be the visual manifestation of a trans-dimensional spaceship that saved Fox's father, Fox McCloud Senior, leaving him permanently shifted to that dimension.note 
  • Speaking Simlish: Since there was very little in the way of voice acting, most vocal speech and inflection was simulated this way, and was one of the game's more memorable features. Regardless of what characters had to say, they said it one of only a few different varieties of moderately expressive gibberish. However, there were a handful of English language sound clips, including General Pepper saying "Good Luck!" at the briefing screen, Fox saying "Let's Go!" at the continue screen, and a few lines of voice-acted script of Fox and Pepper in the game's ending.
    • If you listen closely, you can hear that the gibberish is made up of the English sound clips.
  • Species First Name/Species Last Name: Fox McCloud, Falco Lombardi, Peppy Hare, Slippy Toad (although Falco is reportedly a pheasant, not a falcon).
  • Suicide Attack: Averted. If your Arwing is about to explode, you might try to spite the boss that killed you by crashing your ship into it. Notice its taking longer than usual for you to denote? That's because the boss is actively trying to reach a minimum safe distance from you. And then you blow up.
  • Super Prototype: The Arwings are incredible war machines. In the right hands, each fighter is as destructive alone as an entire armada, and much harder to damage thanks to how nimble it is. They are so effective, Andross makes his own version of them in the sequel.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: The Level 2 Rock Crusher, the Galactic Rider, the Blade Barrier, the Spinning Core, and the Great Commander could've won if they refrained from using certain attacks.
  • Trick Boss: Phantron does this with itself. It is VERY easy to take out in its second fight. Then it goes One-Winged Angel...
  • True Final Boss: On Level 3, Andross has a second form resembling a devil.
  • Turns Red: Every boss except for Phantron, who goes straight out One-Winged Angel, and the Metal Smasher, the Galactic Rider, the Blade Barrier, Monarch Dodora, and the slot machine, all of which only have one form with no changes.
  • Uncertain Doom: If you enter the "Out of This Dimension" stage, the last thing you hear from the outside world is General Pepper trying to contact you because he can't defend Corneria without the Star Fox Team. What happens next is never shown, just Fox flying through a weird acid trip dimension, defeating a slot machine, and flying through an Unending End Card for eternity.
  • Unending End Card: Beating the "Out of This Dimension" level serves as a Gainax Ending to the game. After beating a giant slot machine boss, the player can fly through the credits until "THE END" appears. The player can shoot at the letters in "THE END", but there's no way out but to suicide or reset.
  • The Unfought:
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Falco just tells you to mind your own business if you defeat the "bogey on his six".
  • Unwanted Assistance: The worst time you'll get help from your wingmates is on Venom: They'll shoot the pivot walls that will block your path, causing them to slam into you.
  • Vehicular Assault: All of the bosses except for Professor Hanger, Monarch Dodora, Andross, and the slot machine.
  • Victory Fakeout: Phantron looks like it's dying... just before it goes and turns into a mech.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: You can choose to do nothing and simply let all of your wingmates be destroyed.
  • The War Sequence: The Space Armada stage. You fly through Andross' main invasion force, wiping out fighters, shooting down capital ships by bombarding their bridges from the outside or flying inside them to destroy their energy cores, shooting down troop transport shuttles, and eventually flying inside the gigantic flagship to take out the Atomic Core.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You: Apparently, only Fox has the skill and motivation to defeat Andross. It makes perfect sense when you see how devastatingly effective you are in a successful run.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Upon beginning the Out Of This Dimension stage, General Pepper makes a desperate call to the team, trying to reach them and remind them that they're needed to protect Corneria. When you reach the end of the stage, his message turns out to be this trope in hindsight, because you've just doomed Corneria to be conquered by Andross while you fly through an Unending End Card.

Fox McCloud: Come in, Corneria.
General Pepper: This is Corneria, Pepper speaking. Congratulations upon a job well done.
Fox McCloud: Roger, I'm heading back to Corneria.

Alternative Title(s): Star Fox 1993, Starwing