I like to consider myself both a gaming and film aficionado. I also recognize that this admission makes me a GIGANTIC nerd, and in true nerd fashion I would like to draw a parallel between two mediums and explain to everyone why Star Fox 64 is the video gaming equivalent of James Cameron's 1992 film, Terminator 2. Other than the fact that these games are both heavily rooted in science fiction (Star Fox slightly more accessible to children not withstanding), these two classic titles have a lot more in common than one might initially think at first glance.
Leaps And Bounds
The first thing I want to point out is that neither the original Terminator nor the first Star Fox are bad by any means. They both were genre defining thrill rides that pushed the envelope in their respective mediums. I mean, an evil robot from the future coming back in time to kill the mother of the future leader of a resistance against said evil robots!? That's an intriguing plot if I ever heard one, and if you're not excited and scared by that concept I emplore you to check for a pulse. Seriously, you might be dead.
The original Star Fox game stretched the capabilities of the Super Nintendo to it's absolute breaking point. The first time I sat down and played it, my mind was blown. How did they make these 3D graphics? What black magic was this? All the way up until the final battle with Ol' Whiteface (Andross, for those who didn't call him that) the game was a straight up blast. The fact of the matter is, there was only so much the SNES could do. Just like in 1984 even with a 6 Million dollar budget, those special effects could only go so far. Although that scene where the Terminator is chasing Sarah through the trash compactor is damn terrifying.
Regardless of how good the originals were, the sequels were definitely leaps and bounds ahead of their predecessors. In the case of Terminator 2, the movie was a thrill ride from start to finish. I was constantly on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next and I honestly still am even though I've seen the movie countless times to this day. When Sarah first encounters the reprogrammed Terminator in the hospital and is trying to crab walk backwards for her life. The drama, the fear in her eyes. It has to be one of the greatest moments ever captured on film. It took everything that was great about the original Terminator, polished it and turned it on it's head.
In terms of Star Fox, the graphics were given a huge boost and overhaul. Sure the gameplay was essentially the same, but who cares? This time the characters actually spoke ENGLISH instead of incoherent nonsense, which believe it or not made a huge difference. The fact that I no longer had to read the subtitles in order to understand what people were saying to each other was a great step forward for the franchise as a whole, and voice acting in games it's often something many gamers take for granted nowadays.
Standing Up To Time Itself
There were several great video games released on the N64 system back in it's hayday, but few games can actually be revisited without few or any criticisms. Sure, Star Fox 64 is not a perfect game, the multiplayer mode is laughable albeit entertaining. The reason why I say this game can stand up to the test of time is that the single player is still incredibly fun and challenging, in addition to the fact that the graphics really stand out as some of the best on the N64 and even to this day are a sight for sore eyes. I promise you, if you go back and play this game even right this very moment you can rest assured that this game is anything but ugly.
Terminator 2 is the movie industries Star Fox 64 for this very reason. The special effect have aged beautifully, and they are not over done nor do they overshadow any of the plot elements or take away from the acting in any way. It's hard to find an early 90's movie that makes such good use of technology that can hold it's own against later offerings. Even when compared to more recent blockbusters, T2 takes the cake. It is an incredibly beautiful movie, and I defy anyone to challenge that notion.
Too Many Sequels
Perhaps the only negative aspect of this comparison, this point actually has nothing at all to do with the titular products themselves. Both Terminator 2 and Star Fox 64 had a gratutitous amount of follow-ups that came very close to tarnishing the reputation that they both made on their respective industries. The third and fourth Terminator films were definitely entertaining at best, but the way the plot points of the first two were twisted in order to suit stand-in directors ideals completely undermined Cameron's original vision and in turn compromised the franchise as a whole. In my opinion at least, those movies shouldn't have existed. Plus, Arnie was basically absent in Salvation. Blasphemy.
The games that followed Star Fox 64 also undermined the integrity of the franchise by adding pointless characters (coughKRYSTALcough) and redesigning old fan favorites in ridiculous ways. It's safe to say that the franchise desperately needs a reboot, and anyone who played Assault and enjoyed it should definitely reconsider calling themselves a Star Fox fan.
What do you guys think? Is my assessment accurate? What other video games can we draw parallels to movies with? Leave comments below, and check back for more opinion pieces, news and other rubbish right here at www.fanboysanonymous.com