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Left to right: Falco, Peppy, Slippy, Fox, Miyu, and Fay, with Andross in the background.
Star Fox 2 is the direct sequel to the original Star Fox. (It is the only officially developed work to be such, as the next entry, Star Fox 64, was a Continuity Reboot) Originally completed in 1995, Nintendo proceeded to not release the game in order to promote newer 3D graphics technology that wouldn't come out for a year. Despite the fact that the game had been heavily advertised already. After the release of Star Fox 64, Nintendo was content to quietly let Star Fox 2 fade into distant memory. The game did not go to complete commercial waste — two-thirds of its code was recycled for Star Fox 64, and some of its gameplay ideas were revisited by Star Fox Command and Star Fox Zero. But Star Fox 2 had not yet seen the light of day. That is, not officially.
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Star Fox 2 did receive an unofficial release: two of the Japanese testing ROMs were leaked online: a 1993/1994 early-development Alpha, and a 1995 late-development Beta. The latter build was virtually complete, lacking only some polishing touches for release, but was otherwise entirely playable using an emulator. In 2004, Aeon Genesis (of Cave Story fame) made a Fan Translation patch for the Beta ROM that doubled as a Game Mod to fix up the few remaining bugs, and the game soon gained a reputation. So much so, that the system producer behind the SNES Classic Edition plug-and-play console requested that it be released. The game finally received an official release on September 29, 2017... a whopping 21 years after it's original projected release date, usurping a 1998 port of Frogger as the final licensed SNES game ever released by 19 yearsnote .

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Storywise, Star Fox 2 directly follows the events of the first game. The planet Corneria is still licking it's wounds from the first Lylat War. However, though Emperor Andross was defeated by the Star Fox mercenaries, he survived. Now, with a renewed armada and new, more powerful weapons, he plans to get his revenge by killing everyone on Corneria that wasn't killed in the first Lylat War. As added insurance, he's hired the Wolf Team note  to keep Star Fox out of the way.

The SNES duology is quite a bit darker in tone than the later entries in the franchise.


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Star Fox 2 provides examples of:

  • Ace Custom: Wolf's personal fighter is an extreme upgrade from the other Wolf Team ships.
  • Anyone Can Die: As in the first game, any of the Star Fox pilots can be shot down, and they will stay down for the rest of the playthrough. Unlike the first game, this includes whomever you're currently playing as (your co-pilot becomes your extra life), so even Fox himself is as vulnerable to this as anyone else. 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.
    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.
  • Artificial Brilliance: Wolf Team will fire charge shots and roll to defect your weapons, and evade you by breaking to show you that they're not like the other enemies or bosses that you're fighting against.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: Just like its predecessor, this game has a much greater share of rock-themed soundtrack than Star Fox 64 or its sequels. Even though Hajime Hirasawa, the original Star Fox composer, left Nintendo after Star Fox, the composers Kozue Ishikawa Yumiko Kanki deliberately styled their music after his work.
  • Axe-Crazy: Andross didn't take to kindly to being defeated in the last game.
  • Background Music Override: Thanks to he game's Real-Time Strategy element, it's possible to encounter a member of Wolf Team while fighting other enemies. If that happens, whatever theme was playing prior will change to Surprise Attack, Wolf Team's theme music.
  • Boss Battle: Every boss except for Andross can be divided into three neat categories, one of which has two subcategories:
    • Space battle: Represented by a shiny star moving towards your direction, these bosses are fought in a wide open battlefield with the Arwing. This is the type of fight with two subcategories:
      • Hunters: At some point in the game, Andross will send out one (two on Expert) of his four Hunters to defeat you. They spawn on the map after a cutscene and will start to chase you until a battle is initiated. On Normal, only the Mirage Dragon can appear, but all four are fair game on higher difficulties.
      • Wolf Team: Algy (Hard and Expert only), Pigma, and Leon are all stationed at a base. After a certain amount of time, they will start to chase you, and if you try to attack a base with a Wolf Team member still there, you will have to fight him before you can access the planet. They can also barge in on a fight against regular enemies in space. Wolf is special in that he forces you to fight him after Astropolis becomes available.
    • Land battle: Some times when storming a base or carrier, you will have to fight a boss along the way. They may or may not be accompanied by normal enemies.
    • Core battle: At the end of a carrier, planet base, and Astropolis, there will be a core that must be destroyed. The exact nature of the core varies depending on the level, with carriers tending to have multi-target cores and bases having single target cores. The Astropolis core is a multi-target core that houses Andross's control cube, and hitting that enough starts the final battle.
  • 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".
  • Bullying a Dragon: Everyone in Wolf Team does this and then dies, but Algy stands out on it:
    Algy: "My name is Algy and I own you, come on!"
  • Boss Bonanza: After clearing Lylat of enemies, you fight Wolf before reaching Astropolis, where you have to fight a core and Andross at the end.
  • Camera Screw: The camera occasionally veers too far to the left or right while flying in corridors, forcing you to switch to the walker to fix it.
  • Continuing Is Painful: At the start of the game, you choose two Arwing pilots to control and can switch between them freely to mitigate damage. "Continuing" means a pilot got shot down, and the remaining pilot must continue alone.
  • Continuity Nod: A lot of the bosses are based on those from the first game, some simply in concept and some more obviously:
    • All of the cores are reminiscent of the Atomic Cores, with one variant even requiring wall-turrets to be destroyed.
    • The Queen Dragoon is based on the Dancing Insector.
    • Hunter Fantron is nominally and visually based on Phantron, but fights more like Plasma Hydra. The Kick Gunner fights more like Phantron, specifically its second form.
    • King Dodora is an obvious reference to Monarch Dodora.
    • The Heavy Chariot has a similar concept and strategy to the Galactic Rider, but its main attack is more reminiscent of the Great Commander's second fight.
    • The Space Blade mixes elements of the Blade Barrier and Rock Crusher.
  • Cool Shades: General Pepper has these, as he did in the first game.
  • Darker and Edgier: While the first game wasn't exactly bright and happy, this game trumps it by virtue of Andross trying to utterly destroy Corneria instead of conquer it - and that can happen if you play poorly enough. In addition, rather than playing as Fox and having three companions, you choose two pilots to fight Andross - both of whom may very well die. Wolf Team, rather than being treated as specific evil counterparts to the Star Fox's pilots, fight separately and - except for Wolf - all of them are killed in battle.
  • Do a Barrel Roll: It wouldn't be Star Fox without the ability to roll to deflect enemy attacks.
  • Downer Ending: If Corneria reaches 100% damage, you get a Non-Standard Game Over that shows its destruction in great detail.
  • Early Installment Character-Design Difference: Within the same installment. Thanks to the Star Fox franchise changing it's art style in the 22 years between the time this game was initially designed and finally released, the character's appearances in their own official promotional artwork look almost nothing at all like their actual in-game designs, which are far more animal-like and less cartoony in style.
  • Easter Egg: Like the first game, there's a secret music track that plays if you wait about ten minutes at the "THE END" screen. This is the last game to have such an easter egg.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: "Normal mode" (the easiest mode) lacks a lot of the content found in Hard and Expert:
    • Only two bases are established, and they cannot spawn on Macbeth or Fortuna, making it impossible to go there. This also means there are only three Wolf Team fights; Algy will not show up.
    • There are no backup carriers; the first two are all that spawn.
    • Missiles and Cores only exist in their two most basic forms sans the final Core in Astropolis.
    • Viruses do not exist, so the defense system cannot be taken over or visited.
    • The Mirage Dragon is the only Hunter that Andross can send out.
    • The only non-Core boss fought with the Walker is outside Meteor's base.
    • Andross only has one fighting form; after destroying the eyes, his core is immediately revealed.
  • Fragile Speedster: Fay and Miyu's Arwings are the fastest, come stock with twin blasters and charge the fastest but they have the least shields, this is made up for by their default special weapon being an Invincibility Powerup. The SNES Classic removes the default twin blasters, which instead can be unlocked for everyone in future playthroughs.
  • Game-Over Man: As in the first game, Andross serves as this.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: In an awkward inversion of Plotline Death, even if you lose a pilot and continue with the partner ship you selected, the game's ending cutscene will still show the Arwing you lost returning to the Great Fox, completely undamaged. This happens in spite of the fact that downed pilots are treated as dead.
  • Giant Hands of Doom: Andross starts using these on Hard and Expert for the first time ever.
  • Girly Bruiser: Fay. Wears a giant bow on her head while enthusiastically destroying battleships and military bases single-handed.
  • Glass Cannon: The Mirage Dragon, the only one of Andross's Hunters to appear on all three difficulties. Its attacks are tricky to doge and very powerful, but it has very little health. With the right upgrades, you can take it out in a second in real time.
  • Global Airship: The Star Fox team has a mobile space carrier that can transport their entire team to any planet in the Lylat system at warp speed. It's the predecessor to Great Fox.
  • Guide Dang It!: Good luck finding all Pepper coins, considering some are located off the map's boundaries.
  • Heal Thyself: A certain special weapon, one that comes stock on Peppy and Slippy's Arwings, summons a couple of drones that recharge your ship's shields to full every use.
  • Homing Projectile: The Secret Base contains a power-up that makes the Charged Laser become this. all later games give you this from the start. Star Wolf also starts with these.
  • It's Up to You:
    • The other four squad members of Star Fox won't do anything up until the final level which is simply to distract the enemies that are defending Astropolis. And the only time your wingmate does anything useful is when they have to replace your first character upon their death.
    • Aditionally, don't expect any help from Corneria or even their satellite while you protect them, due to the latter's reliability being mediocre at best. Unless it's turned against you, that is.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Fox and Falco's Arwings. Their stats are roughly the same as they were in the first game, exactly in-between the heavier flying tanks and fast but fragile ships flown by the other pilots.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: In the Non-Standard Game Over cutscene, a female voice is heard calling Star Fox for help. She is cut off when the city she's in violently explodes.
  • Kill Sat: Corneria's satellite defense system. It can be turned against you.
  • Lensman Arms Race: Both Corneria's and Andross' militaries are throwing more and bigger weapons at each other than before.
    • The Arwing variants seen here are more powerful and have more functions than the original models did: Unlike the original Arwings, they come with charged shots, a walker mode, and the ability to carry various different powerups into battle with them instead of being limited to Nova Bombs.
    • The Wolf Team's fighters were designed by Andross specifically to counter the Arwings. Staying ahead of the curve, they come with homing charged shots that make dogfighting against them a nightmare.
    • Corneria has an orbiting defense satellite that fires projectiles at faster than light velocities, which can destroy entire armadas in a single strike. The only thing in the game that moves as fast as these munitions is a ship using a warp drive.
    • The "Cannon Betrayer" battleships all carry gigantic laser cannons that can severely devastate a planet's surface with a single shot.
    • The various Hunters in the game are Andross' continued science experiments. Many of them are upgraded versions of the bosses fought in the first game.
  • New Game+: The Homing Charged Shot only needs to be unlocked once on each difficulty. In addition, beating the game with a high enough score unlocks twin blasters for that pilot on all future playthroughs.
  • Nintendo Hard: The released game is far more punishing than the leaked beta version. This is because the homing charge shot - instead of being available at the start - needs to be unlocked on each difficulty. The decision to give this players from the beginning in all future titles likely saved many controllers from being thrown through TV sets.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: In addition to the normal game over screen after losing both of the pilots selected at the beginning of the game, there is a non-standard one after Corneria takes too much damage. While it was disabled in the Beta it was enabled in the fan translation and full release.
  • Oddball in the Series: The distinct quality that makes Star Fox 2 stand out is that it has a completely non-linear design which is a radical contrast to the other games in the series which are Linear by tradition.
  • Orchestral Bombing: Star Fox and Star Fox 2 both have a very differently styled orchestra soundtrack than Star Fox 64 or its sequels, with a heavier emphasis on Fanfare. Even though Hajime Hirasawa, the original Star Fox composer, left Nintendo after Star Fox, the composers Kozue Ishikawa Yumiko Kanki deliberately styled their music after his work.
  • Protection Mission: Part of the game involves protecting Corneria from missiles, squadrons of fighters and flotillas of battleships.
  • Protectorate: Corneria.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Wolf Team, who were hired and armed specifically to counter Star Fox. Unlike most versions of this trope, they're are taken quite seriously - while later games portray Star Wolf as direct counterparts to the Star Fox pilots, in this game, they are morally corrupt killers for hire with entirely unique personalities. They're also stronger than the heroes: unlike Arwings, the Wolf Team's weakest fighters come standard with homing charge lasers and have tougher shields than the standard Arwing. With the with the way this game handles death, that makes each one of them a potential Hero Killer.
  • Race Lift: In this game, the fourth member of Wolf Team is a pygmy marmoset named "Algy". When the game was cancelled and the concepts were transferred to Star Fox 64, Algy was changed into a snow monkey named Andrew Oikonny. The original fan-translation renames Algy to Andrew for that reason.
  • Rock & Roll: Macbeth's music.
  • Secret Level: Collecting all Pepper Coins in a certain difficulty level (13 on Normal, 19 on Hard and 20 on Expert) unlocks the Secret Base, an area full of power ups. It also has the Homing Charge Shot, which was available in the leaked beta and fan-translation from the start, but not in the full release.
  • Sequential Boss: Ignoring the Walker form, the final battle with Andross increases in length on higher difficulties. While he only has one form before his core is revealed on Normal, Hard gives him a second, and Expert not only gives his second form a second phase, but adds a new third form.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Skill Gate Character: Peppy and Slippy are really god for newcomers with their massive total health and default healing powerups. Sadly, their speed and charge times are the worst in the game, and since getting levels done quickly is important for both scoring points and simply beating the game, they tend to struggle on higher difficulties.
  • Smart Bomb: As in other games, this is a consumable weapon. It comes stock on Fox and Falco's Arwings but they have to be found with the others.
  • Sole Survivor: Out of the whole Wolf Team, only Wolf himself survives encountering Star Fox in battle. By running away.
  • Songs in the Key of Panic: The music speeds up when Corneria starts taking too much damage.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Hunter Fantron, a boss that can be fought on Hard or Expert, is a clear reference to Phantron, the Venom Guardian of the first game's Path One. This is likely a typo, since the Phantron name is a direct reference to the original's illusionary abilities.
  • Sphere of Power: The shield powerup takes the form of a large sphere that surrounds the ship. It's separate from the ship's normal shielding and functions as an Invincibility Power-Up.
  • Spin to Deflect Stuff: Do a Barrel Roll, of course!
  • The Sixth Ranger: Miyu and Fay. Fara Phoenix (or "Lady") was planned to be in this game and appeared in some earlier alpha versions, but was dropped from the final version. Fay has a very similar backstory to Fara.
  • Stone Wall: Peppy's and Slippy's Arwings, combined with the negatives of Mighty Glacier. They have the highest amount of shielding, and a special multiple use self-repair item. The drawback is their low speed, slow blaster charge, and poor boost.
  • Transforming Mecha: Your ship can rotate its wings down and use them as legs when you're on the ground. In Star Fox 64, the transformation aspect was removed, and the walking mech was replaced with the Landmaster, which is a separate vehicle entirely. In fact, the Arwing even has underwater capabilities (a capability that wasn't re-done until Command) when in mecha form if you have to attack a missile base on Fortuna, making your ship an Arwing, Landmaster and Blue-Marine all at the same time. The transformation mechanic was not seen again until Star Fox Zero.
  • The Unfought: According to both the Mission File Printout and Star Fox's tie-in comic, the giant face that Fox faced on Venom in Star Fox 1 was actually a remote-controlled computer designed to allow Andross to oversee Venom's army without actually being there himself. This is also implied by his trophy description in Super Smash Bros. Melee. He is still unfought in Star Fox 2, as the only thing that appears is just another control computer. It's worth noting that the control unit is the cube inside the face, and not the face itself, which is more like a robotic guardian.
  • Unlockable Content: On the SNES Classic version:
    • To unlock Expert Mode, you must beat Hard with a B rank and no damage to Corneria.
    • Getting all Pepper Medals on one difficulty unlocks the Secret Base, which contains Twin Blasters, one of every Special Weapon, and Homing Charged Shots. Getting S Rank unlocks an automatic Twin Blaster upgrade for the two pilots who got the S Rank; since S Rank is only feasible on Expert, the upgrade is applied to the pilots regardless of difficulty.
    • The entire game on the SNES Classic isn't available at first; you must first beat Corneria in the first game to unlock it.
  • Variable Mix: All over the place, the music would change if you were inside or outside a missile base/battleship, if you were underwater, if Corneria was taking excessive amounts of damage, etc.
  • Vehicular Turnabout: Andross's Battlestation, Astropolis, will send out the "Brain Spoiler" virus-machines to take control of your Kill Sat, requiring you to visit it yourself when it becomes hijacked and remove the threat.
  • Wave Motion Gun: The "Cannon Betrayer" battleships carry these. Let them get too close to Corneria and they fire off a beam that does tremendous damage to the planet.
  • Weapon of Mass Destruction: The missile bases manufacture and launch Inter-Planetary Ballistic Missiles (IPBMs) which are self-propelled, precision-guided munition systems that are capable of reaching escape velocity and traveling millions of kilometers to a targeted area that's in the same planetary system that it was launched from (in this case, Corneria).
  • We Cannot Go On Without You: When you lose both of your pilots, Star Fox becomes too weak to stop Andross.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Expert has a similar start to Hard, with three bases and two active carriers out of four totals, but with the suspicious absence of Wolf Team. After clearing all three bases, Andross proceeds to occupy the other three planets, and has them all instantly fire missiles. Wolf Team shows up at the same time.

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