Guest Author - Lisa Shea
Star Fox Command DS brings the fun space combat world of Star Fox to your DS handheld. It's actually quite fun, strategizing your order of attack and spinning into action!
Your favorite characters of Star Fox are in trouble, and need to a series of enemies. First, you get the overall top-down map screen. Each character's ship can fly a certain amount of distance in a turn - simply draw a line to say where they go. Use the stylus to wipe out some of the 'fog of war', and your main ship can shoot missiles. You only have a certain number of turns available, so plan your movements wisely.
When your ship encounters an enemy ship, you switch into real time combat. In this mode, you drag your stylus around on the bottom screen to "steer" while the top screen shows you where you're flying. You fly through rings to get power-ups, and shoot at enemies (with the D-pad on the left) to fire. It really is quite intuitive - no up/down, left/right issues. Simply drag your stylus as the ship flies. You spin your stylus in a circle to do the classic barrel roll, and there are two easy-access spots to tap to do a U-turn or a loop.
I love space combat, and it was really fun to have this type of game available on a handheld. I kept expecting to put the game down after a mission - but I'd say "just one more ..." and keep going. Note that these missions aren't easy! Expect to have to replay some of them several times to get through. You do have to learn the strategies and tactics of three dimensional combat.
The game expects you to go through a single pass rather quickly - but the beauty is that you then go back and re-play it, now having new options available at every stage. Instead of just contacting Slippy, now you have other choices you can do instead that are more difficult. You choose at each step what to do, and it affects the types of missions you take on and the endings you get to see. Think of it as built in difficulty levels.
A key element of space combat games are the visuals - with you trying to move and think real time in three dimensions, it's critical that you can see the terrain, your enemies, and anything else that might get in the way. While the DS graphics in general are nice, it wasn't always easy to see what you were fighting. The graphics were sometimes unclear - the ship's faded graphic would blend right in to the background's faded graphic.
Also, your ship is right in the center of the screen, and takes up a fair amount of it. This makes it challenging if you're right behind a ship, to see it. Surely they could have given you an in-cockpit view or at least a transparent ship.
For vocals, they give you the high pitched gibberish that means it's perfect for all languages. No need to do new vocal tracks for this game! Still, in modern times, it would be nice to have a regular vocal track available. It adds a whole additional dimension of enjoyment when you have great voice actors bringing life to the characters.
Still, this is a superb game for the DS, and one I really enjoy. Well recommended!
Buy Star Fox Command from Amazon.com