Nintendo

Episode 262: Earthbound

Life is strange. One day you’re just a normal kid, going to school, and the next, you’re the chosen one using your psychic powers to defeat an unknowable Lovecraftian being with friends you never met while your annoying neighbor kid is stealing your helicopter. And before you know it, you’re a robot fighting bionic krakens just to get a cool baseball bat. And then you’re listening to a podcast about Earthbound.

Episode 234: Yoshi's Island

Oh no!  Baby Mario has fallen from his stork, and can't get up!  It's up to a team of egg throwing dinosaurs to escort this fresh human right out of his own egg back home!  But the evil forces of Magikoopa and Baby Bowser stand in their way.  Not to mention a raven on the moon!  Can our dinosaur friends get Mario home safely?  Or will Luigi have to become the hero we deserve?  Listen and find out!

Episode 216: F-Zero X

Who's that racing round at the speed of sound? A certain blue animal?  That's right, it's Captain Falcon in the Blue Falcon! Join us in the year 23xx and hop on some ridiculous future tracks.  Choose from 30 different racers, who apparently have distinct abilities and strap in. Crank up the volume and start racing at ridiculous speeds to some sweet tunes.

Episode 201: Mario 64 DS

What do you get when you try to control a game originally meant for an analog stick with a d-pad?  Basically the same game, but somehow a lot worse.  Maybe it's because the whole thing smells oddly of garlic; Wario is just too well rendered in this game.  Join us as we hop, skip, and constipatedly hover over the familiar environs of Peach's Castle's magic paintings.



More hat replacements than you can shake a download at.


Show Notes

(00:00) Dokkan Battle has conquered all!

(11:00) Zach also played some Fate Grand Order to compare to Dokkan Battle, the greatest game of all.

(13:30) He’s also been playing Xenoverse 2: Electric Boogaloo

(18:00) Saiyan Naming Conventions, all hail Dragon Ball Z!

(21:00) Tyler Finished The Long Dark and West of Loathing

(24:30) Geremy started Sonic Mania and Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle but likely won’t finish either.

(34:00) The Assignment, Super Mario 64 DS.

(46:30) Super Mario Ranking DS.


Next time on Last Time, Castlevania Dracula X!

Vampires who love wall meat at
Geremy@lasttimeonvideogames.com,
 Tyler@lasttimeonvideogames.com,
 Zach@alasttimeonvideogames.com,
 or LTOVG@lasttimeonvideogames.com.
 You can also go to the show page at plus.google.com/+LastTimeOnVideogames or comment on the site at www.lasttimeonvideogames.com.
 Also, you can follow our tweets @LTOVG.

Episode 198: The More Missiles Upgrade Gives You More Missiles [Metroid Zero Mission]

Samus is back!  To celebrate that (though mostly because of this month's theme), we're revisiting the first real Metroid remake: Zero Mission.  The team learned a bunch of things from Super Metroid and haphazardly applied them to the original game.  What results is an odd, but relatively solid, of bad map design and progression and reasonable controls.  Fun!



Ah, my powerups - again!  Better download some more lasers.


Show Notes

(08:00) The Long Dark in a nutshell.

(15:00) Battletechnomancy.

(17:30) CAWW

(18:30) Because Blizzard needed more tie-ins.

(21:15) Essentially a Pendulum Eyes Time Dragon.

(29:30) Getting into the game.

(41:30) Zero rankings.

(47:00) Gotta go fast.


Next time on Last Time, Metal Slug X!

Camel Cannons at
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 Tyler@lasttimeonvideogames.com,
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 or LTOVG@lasttimeonvideogames.com.
 You can also go to the show page at plus.google.com/+LastTimeOnVideogames or comment on the site at www.lasttimeonvideogames.com.
 Also, you can follow our tweets @LTOVG.

Episode 187: Stars of Rage [Mario Party 2]

Famous for destroying hands and friendships, our first look at Mario Party was made infinitely better by actually getting together and playing it.  Featuring... adjectiveless minigames and actually amusingly themed boards, this game steps in to fill the niche of people who want to hang out and play video games, but nothing too serious, right?



For the low price of 50 coins, Boo's got your download.


Show Notes

(00:45) For people who can not see through their ears, Kevin was wearing this hat and this shirt.

(02:45) A rundown of what Kevin's been watching.


(04:00) The most exciting library adventures available!

(09:30) I'm not cutting this; open source anime time!

(11:30) Royal Tutor's theme.

(12:15) Dead Cells!  Also NeverDead, since Zach mentioned it.

(30:00) Zach's playing Dark Souls 3.  We died of shock.

(33:15) Aw, rats.

(43:00) Poor Toes.

(48:00) Tyler's finally playing Persona 3.  We died of shock again.

(58:30) Not sure if it's the right scene, but having your future daughter throw a smoke bomb works fine.

(1:04:00) Our Let's Play of Mario Party 2 was mildly entertaining.

(1:14:00) Will this game be the party star?!


Next time on Last Time, Enduro Racer!

Not quite excited for bikes?  Talk to us about that at
Geremy@lasttimeonvideogames.com,
 Tyler@lasttimeonvideogames.com,
 Zach@lasttimeonvideogames.com,
 or LTOVG@lasttimeonvideogames.com.
 You can also go to the show page at plus.google.com/+LastTimeOnVideogames or comment on the site at www.lasttimeonvideogames.com.
 Also, you can follow our tweets @LTOVG.

Let's Play on Video Games, Mario Party 2

Hey fans, apologies for the lack of content recently, snow, busy schedules and work have kept us from recording lately.  We promise a new episode next week, featuring Mario Party 2, the classic game where you roll virtual dice and yell at your friends!  In the mean time, we've managed to record a Let's Play of the game to capture some multi player magic, hopefully that will hold you over until next week when we release our full episode!


Episode 183: Sick Turns on Rainbow Road [Mario Kart 64]

Nothing says "family friendly racing" like driving down a highway at rush hour while lobbing projectiles at your unwary friends!  Now with 80% less eye bleeding, Mario Kart is back.  In addition to slightly better racing, battle stages add some variety to the mix by allowing to do what you really want in a racing game: duke it out in an arena with some bananas.  Karting just got serious!



Seeking its way onto your computer like a red shell.


Show Notes

(07:00) Yugioh Duel Links has mediocre net play, but you can make silly decks!

(10:00) Maiden with Eyes of Blue and Azure-Eyes Silver Dragon

(11:10) The sweet opening to Attack on Titan if you, like Geremy, are one of the 5 people who havn’t seen it. Also, spoilers until 11:45

(19:30) New additions to the series that started with Mario Kart 64

(24:30) Zach talks about some of his favorite courses in another racing game, Shift.

(26:20) Time Trials and Shortcuts.

(31:50) Will this game make the podium?!


Next time on Last Time, Flying Dragon: The Secret Scroll!

The secret is face punching!
Geremy@lasttimeonvideogames.com,
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 You can also go to the show page at plus.google.com/+LastTimeOnVideogames or comment on the site at www.lasttimeonvideogames.com.
 Also, you can follow our tweets @LTOVG.

Episode 174: Adventures in Hyper-Realistic Plumbing [Super Mario 64]

One of gaming's first forays into the 3D realm, it'sa Mario time!  Run, jump, fight the camera, and generally avoid your greatest enemy: gravity.  Relive the game that launched the Nintendo 64 into long term memory and toss an effigy of what will become known as Bowser into bombs.  Now with 20% more Bombette firing you out of a cannon.



120 downloads unlocks Yoshi.


Show Notes

(03:00) Poké-spoilers.

(09:45) Because Blue is great.

(22:00) I can destroy the planet... In attack mode!

(28:00) Zach describing waifus in hell.

(33:00) It'sa game, Mario!

(35:00)  Apparently, were-hogs make sense at some point.

(40:00) Foils of a sedentary plumbing lifestyle.

(58:30) Ranking 64.


Next time on Last Time, Impossible Creatures!

Ram-Lobsters are more fun at
Geremy@lasttimeonvideogames.com,
 Tyler@lasttimeonvideogames.com,
 Zach@lasttimeonvideogames.com,
 or LTOVG@lasttimeonvideogames.com.
 You can also go to the show page at plus.google.com/+LastTimeOnVideogames or comment on the site at www.lasttimeonvideogames.com.
 Also, you can follow our tweets @LTOVG.

Episode 169: Monkeys are Jerks [Donkey Kong GB]

Giant monkeys throwing barrels have been staples of video games forever, and now you can solve puzzles while fighting them!  Well, they're probably only native to this franchise (and some obscure ripoffs?!), but there's definitely a couple in here.  Also, jumping off of your hands is more effective than from your feet, which is novel.  We'll have to test that some time.



Barrels of downloads.


Show Notes

(03:30) Sorry about the Pyschonauts ending again.  Also, the lost episode.

(05:00) Triggered.

(09:50) Apparently wishes come true?

(12:30) All those Bidoofs and the Shuckster.

(17:00) Some Poke-generational comparison.

(20:00) Apparently they're doing more of them?

(23:30) Pokémon plays Twitch.  It was pretty impressive.

(27:00) Puzzle monkeys!

(34:00) Mechanic hodgepodge.

(40:00) On the ladder?


Next time on Last Time, Mega Man X2!

Copy ostriches at
Geremy@lasttimeonvideogames.com,
 Tyler@lasttimeonvideogames.com,
 Zach@lasttimeonvideogames.com,
 or LTOVG@lasttimeonvideogames.com.
 You can also go to the show page at plus.google.com/+LastTimeOnVideogames or comment on the site at www.lasttimeonvideogames.com.
 Also, you can follow our tweets @LTOVG.

Episode 162: Peasantly Plum [Mario Gold]

What does a lowly serf have to do in the Mushroom Kingdom to earn some prestige?  Why, participate in the Mario Open, of course!  As it turns out, Mario used to be a pretty good golfer when he was a baby.  Pick, and choose, the best club for a Nice On! and compete against such notable Mario golfers as Frank and Gene Yuss.  Putter on over to the nearest course and rough it up!



Hole in download!


Show Notes

(02:30) This movie is as stupid as it sounds.

(07:00) MGO is just silly.

(10:00) Pixelmon's looking really good.

(15:00) Barbarians!

(20:00) Oh, Yo-Kai.  It does look pretty Pokemon.

(21:00) Squall vs. Cloud: Angst Fight!

(24:00) 605 km, or 376 miles, for Dragonite from Dratini.

(27:00) Can you run into other people?

(30:00) On the list of characters, Charlie was apparently the real name of Larry.

(41:00) Ranked under par.


Next time on Last Time, Rondo of Blood!

Emotion themed compositions for commission at
Geremy@lasttimeonvideogames.com,
 Tyler@lasttimeonvideogames.com,
 Zach@lasttimeonvideogames.com,
 or LTOVG@lasttimeonvideogames.com.
 You can also go to the show page at plus.google.com/+LastTimeOnVideogames or comment on the site at www.lasttimeonvideogames.com.
 Also, you can follow our tweets @LTOVG.

Episode 153: Stroke! Stroke! Stroke! [Golf]

Never before have we seen Mario engaging in such intense action!  Carefully choosing clubs!  Lining up shots!  Keeping those shoulders straight!  Obviously, he was practicing way before inviting everyone else to play with him so that he would have a competitive advantage.  This is one of the earliest golf games, and it even includes dubiously effective wind!



Double tap right before the download to make the green.



Next time on Last Time, Dragon Quest!

Going through the grinder with
Geremy@lasttimeonvideogames.com,
 Tyler@lasttimeonvideogames.com,
 Zach@lasttimeonvideogames.com,
 or LTOVG@lasttimeonvideogames.com.
 You can also go to the show page at plus.google.com/+LastTimeOnVideogames or comment on the site at www.lasttimeonvideogames.com.
 Also, you can follow our tweets @LTOVG.

Episode 148: Ground Breaking Water Sports [Wave Race 64]

In a shocking turn of events, Geremy died and is not on this episode. Don't worry, though, because while the rest of us are riding the waves and making awesome slalom runs, our best hobomancing WIZARD is hard at work crafting a resurrection spell. Sadly, we need a couple diamonds, which might take a few weeks to gather. Find out whether this game can be used as part of the price!



Lean into it to make the download go faster!





Next time on Last Time, Gargoyle's Quest!

Sadly, we've never met Goliath at
Geremy@lasttimeonvideogames.com,
 Tyler@lasttimeonvideogames.com,
 Zach@lasttimeonvideogames.com,
 or LTOVG@lasttimeonvideogames.com.
 You can also go to the show page at plus.google.com/+LastTimeOnVideogames or comment on the site at www.lasttimeonvideogames.com.
 Also, you can follow our tweets @LTOVG.

Episode 147: Hostile Corporate Takeover [Super Mario Land 2]

Now with twice the odd hats, Mario returns to the Game Boy to reclaim his castle (yes, Mario owns a castle) and defeat his rival!  You know, the one he's always had?  No, not some stupid lizard - it's Wario!  Fight your way through a bizarre variety of stages, ranging from Mario's giant mechanical statue of himself to the moon, and reclaim the ostentatious keys Mario presumably fashioned for himself!



Super Last Time and the 1 blue/purple download!

Show Notes

(03:45) Psycho Pass?!  Speaking of anime, this is a thing, apparently.  I don't know that it can really live up to the original, but it'll definitely make money.

(08:30) Retro City Rampage.  That was technically a game.

(13:00) Siege tanks?

(15:30) Let us know if you want to see Zach flail at this game!  Squick alert.  Apparently the Fight Club game did this (listen to that gravel!).

(23:40) In case you want to learn some trivia about MK.

(24:30) P4A looks surprisingly solid.

(29:30) Vaguely related, some Mario fauna.

(44:00) Being ranked gives you 100 feathers!


Next time on Last Time, Wave Race 64!

Let's race a dolphin at
Geremy@lasttimeonvideogames.com,
 Tyler@lasttimeonvideogames.com,
 Zach@lasttimeonvideogames.com,
 or LTOVG@lasttimeonvideogames.com.
 You can also go to the show page at plus.google.com/+LastTimeOnVideogames or comment on the site at www.lasttimeonvideogames.com.
 Also, you can follow our tweets @LTOVG.

Episode 145: Smell Ya Later! [Pokémon RBY]

It's not uncommon to want to excel at your chosen field, and maybe even to be the very best. Perhaps you want to catch and train some things in a manner no one has attempted before. Of course, in order to take a true measure of your talent, you might have to travel, and, in fact, search for rivals and tools. Ultimately, though, to prove your mastery, you will have to become formidable with each tool of your trade: portable monstrosities.



Can you just download copies of Pokémon, or are they DRM protected?


Show Notes

(03:30) Suddenly evil!

(05:30) Stop squiddin' around, Stairfax!

(07:45) We didn't start the fire, that guy did.

(10:00) Yes, Kojima, we've all read books.

(12:00) Hmm hmm, hmm hmm hmm.

(13:15) At least one of us is going to play a lot of this game soon.

(17:00) This game is rated very well on a number of scoring systems.

(24:40) Japan is cool with cute.

(25:30) Golduck is such a BAMF, unlike that chubby rat.

(28:30) Why are psychic weak to bugs?  Mind == blown.

(31:30) We all like shorts.

(35:00) Bugs are trash, Aaron.  Maybe he got stuck in a forest.

(38:30) Speaking of trash Pokémon.  Also, can we all agree that Mr. Mime is just super creepy?

(43:00) Golbat dance!

(50:00) No bags of holding.

(57:00) Elite 4 difficulty cliff.  Poor Nuzlockers.

(1:02:00) Platinum and GSC had excellent post game.

(1:05:00) Gotta rank 'em all!


Next time on Last Time, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater (HD?!)!

Indy Stiffy to Japan Air to
Geremy@lasttimeonvideogames.com,
 Tyler@lasttimeonvideogames.com,
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 or LTOVG@lasttimeonvideogames.com.
 You can also go to the show page at plus.google.com/+LastTimeOnVideogames or comment on the site at www.lasttimeonvideogames.com.
 Also, you can follow our tweets @LTOVG.

Episode 144: Do a Meme-O-Roll! [Star Fox 64]

Words cannot describe the feeling of shooting a giant floating brain's eye out of the air while taking advice from your ghost father through an interstellar comms system.  Mostly because that's really bizarre.  Take revengeance on all those guys who stole your trademarked company name, and help all the Star citizens return to the rightful place of peace and... exiling scientists?  To other planets?



Use to boost to get download!


Show Notes

(01:00) This marks Alex's 5th episode (6 including Sonic), meaning she's appeared on over 3% of them!


(03:30) Thanks, Ryan!

(04:00) Splash!

(05:50) Both Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing are getting phone games.  The Layton excursion was pretty decent, though not very Layton.

(06:30) 20XX! It's so good.  If you like Mega Man X, play this game.  Despite what's said here, boss powers are pretty useful, and there are weaknesses to exploit.  Tyler beat the game for the first time because of this since recording.

(07:30) Anime?!

(09:00) In case you forgot about other Rogue-likes, Rogue Legacy is still great.  And so is the music.

(11:00) Never heard a Mega Man X boss intro?

(14:00) Some of us watch CGP Grey.

(18:30) Coffee and Cthulhu.

(21:00) Know how to farm friendship.

(24:00) In case you're wondering what Geremy's opinion about Star Fox Zero is.

(26:00) Sweet gift bags?

(28:00) Ryan got one of these.

(30:30) That's not a thing.

(33:00) Always be chargin'.

(35:00) Terrible pilots, or alter-verse nomenclature?  You decide!

(40:00) EXPLOSIONS!

(55:00) For the curious, it turns out Golden Axe came out 4 years after the first Gauntlet.  Also, rankings!

(58:00) Watch us shoot cars?

Next time on Last Time, something awesome this way comes!

Yeah!  We're excited, too!
Geremy@lasttimeonvideogames.com,
 Tyler@lasttimeonvideogames.com,
 Zach@lasttimeonvideogames.com,
 or LTOVG@lasttimeonvideogames.com.
 You can also go to the show page at plus.google.com/+LastTimeOnVideogames or comment on the site at www.lasttimeonvideogames.com.
 Also, you can follow our tweets @LTOVG.

Chatter Propelling Character and Narrative: Star Fox 64 vs Star Fox Zero

New episodes are coming!  Next week, our episode on Star Fox 64 will finally drop; we are in fact recording right now!  To hold you over in the mean time, here's an essay comparing Star Fox 64 with the recently released sequel/remake, Star Fox Zero.  At the time of writing this, I'd finished Star Fox Zero's Story Mode, and explored a few alternate paths, but not all of them.  However, that's more than enough to talk about the core experience of each game.


There's been a move lately, and by lately, I mean over the last 20 years, to make video games more and more "cinematic".  Michael Bay movies are critical flops, and yet the visuals still draw people in.  No matter how many nerds scream on the internet about boring stories, people will pay to see interesting things explode.  The same thing can apply to video games right?  Video games can tell stories no other mediums can, so why do so many try to emulate cinema?  It's not a new complaint. One of Pokémon creator Satoshi Tajiri's first published articles was a review of Mother, saying it was well written but a bad game, and thus would have been better as a book or movie.  But fancy graphics, higher costs and voice acting have all pushed games to strive to be more and more movie like - when they don't have to.  They can be more like Star Fox 64.

Star Fox 64 wasn't the first game to use voice acting.  Arcade games had it as a way to attract players in the early 90s.  Night Trap brought full motion video, including actual "acting", to home consoles in 1992.  Resident Evil and Jill sandwiches were around a year prior, and PC games had been able to use it for a long time.  But the Nintendo 64's stubborn use of cartridges made programming in voice acting a technical challenge, and Star Fox 64 was the first game to include it on the console.  As a Nintendo kid growing up, it was the first game I saw with it, and I was hardly alone in that.  And like any new feature you can put on the back of a box, Nintendo wanted to show it off at every opportunity.  The characters in Star Fox 64 are constantly chattering.  Your wingmen, your foes, even Fox himself has a lot to say - for a Nintendo protagonist, anyway.  But unlike some modern games, Star Fox 64 never lets its dialogue get in the way of game play.  The game has cutscenes, but only between levels, and none of them last longer than a minute.  The game begins with a Star Wars style text crawl, but after that, the story is told entirely though dialogue that occurs during game play.  Its easy to keep on shooting down enemy planes by the hundreds while listening to someone talk, and that's really what you're there for, trying to shoot as many people down as possible and chase that high score.

Even Bioware games have to stop the action in order to tell their story.  When you're making story line decisions in Mass Effect, you're not shooting people, and when you're shooting people, you're not making any choices that effect the plot or characters.  I'm one of those people who wishes that Mass Effect had a button to skip the combat.  I'm there for the story and to make moral decisions, and all the pew pew shooting gets in the way.  But I'm sure things are just as frustrating for those who come to the game looking for a Gears of War clone and have to slow down to talk to Miranda about their feelings.  How many great action movies have the heroes admitting they love each other while hiding behind cover, waiting to pop up and shoot?  How many dramatic kisses have taken place right before a character charges down a hallway screaming and shooting?  Why doesn't Bioware try to be more cinematic in that way?  The action movies that Bioware is trying to emulate use action scenes to add stakes to character development all the time.  Why can't I tell Garrus that this is just like Virmire before I pop out from cover and start shooting back?  Why can't I remind Tali I love her right before leaving cover to do something reckless?  Star Fox's characters aren't nearly as complex as Mass Effect's and it would be tricky to give Shepard dialogue choices in the middle of combat, but Star Fox did this perfectly in 1997.

The constant chatter of Star Fox 64 instantly teaches us about the characters.  Slippy is young and reckless, and prone to getting himself into trouble.  Peppy is wise and learned, but getting to old for this.  Falco is cool but rude, a capable pilot, but not quite as capable as he thinks he is.  No one has to tell us this; every line the characters spout reinforce the characters'  personalities.  Peppy gives you the tutorials because he's the one who's done all this before.  Fox speaks very little, but when he does it's to give commands, or to deliver cool one liners.  Sure, Slippy is always getting in trouble, but it's because he's the new guy.  Falco usually gets into a jam trying to show off and help you.  Most games have dialogue in combat, but it's usually barks, things you'll have heard a thousand times by the time the game is over.  In Star Fox 64 lines are almost never repeated.  Yes, Falco always responds to friendly fire the same way, and Slippy's "Fox, get this guy off me!" is infamous, and there's more than one level where Peppy advises you do a barrel roll, but most of the dialogue is custom written for the situation.  Star Fox is on rails, making this easy to do, but if Bioware can come up with a few detailed conversations for party members to have while you wait for the elevator, conversations many players don't see the first time through, why can't they come up with a few for combat?

Once Star Fox's characters are established, they're used for more than just chatting at you or telling you to press B for your bombs.  They're used to enhance the levels, making them more unique and memorable.  Sector X is a horror themed level, an homage to movies like Alien.  But it's pretty hard to scare a player in a rail shooter; there's no chance of you going the wrong way and every enemy that appears on screen can be killed, most with a single shot.  The creepy music is an excellent start and enemies appear sporadically, leaving quiet moments for you to just contemplate what's happening.  But the level really gets going when a giant robotic arm flies at you, and as it passes the normally too cool for school Falco asks "What the Heck is that?".  His next line, a few moments later after you have time to consider it, is "Something's not right here.".  Sure, it' s not going to keep you up at night, or make a Youtuber comically throw their controller in fright, but it establishes a tone of mystery and dread, giving Sector X a very distinct feel.  There are five different space levels in Star Fox 64, but little things like this make Sector X feel different from every one, even though you're guaranteed to have already played through one before it.

By contrast, the use of voice in Star Fox Zero is completely flat.  At first, I was willing to attribute this to simply preferring the older voice actors, but the longer I played, the less interesting the chatter seemed to get. When trying to decide if I was going to purchase Star Fox Zero, the first review I read said the story was disappointing.  The story was the last thing I cared about in Star Fox 64 - or so I thought.  Star Fox Zero feels flat and uninspired in a lot of ways, but what I really noticed was the difference in how the characters are presented to you.  Star Fox Zero's level design is pretty boring, but perhaps it could have been spiced up if the characters had more to say about it!  Unfortunately, when the characters in Star Fox Zero decide to talk, it seems to be either to remind you that you're there, or remind you about your mission objective.  For the fifth time.  With the same line of dialogue.  There isn't a creepy level, in fact the various space levels do almost nothing to distinguish themselves from one another.  Just a day after playing through the game, they've pretty much mixed in my memory in a way where I can't tell one apart from the others.  But if Peppy and Slippy had spoken up about anything in particular, perhaps they'd have felt a bit more different.

In fact, the one level of Star Fox Zero that manages any effect with its voice acting is Zoness, a stealth level that Fox enters alone.  The complete lack of chatter manages to give that level a rather distinct feel, making it feel a lot more like a caper, a sneaky infiltration.  It does, however, mean that tutorials are given to you with on screen advice, instead of being piped right into your ear.  For some reason this game decided Slippy should be the one to teach you things though, so maybe that's for the best.  Of course, that quiet time ends when Fox runs into Team Star Fox's sometimes ally Katt.  Zoness is Katt's debut in Star Fox 64 as well, where her personality asserts itself right away.  Her first line for there is a confident "Make way for Katt!" as she flies in and takes out a few enemies for you.  Falco responds with an annoyed "Katt, can't you go bother some one else!?" and right away, we know there's a prior relationship with her, and sort of what her deal is.  There's no background on her, she's never been mentioned before, and you can count all her possible lines on your hands.  But when she leaves, you're asking questions.  Who is she, why was she here, how does she know Falco?  And you hope to see her again, to perhaps get a few answers.  By contrast, in Star Fox Zero, Katt is stuck, and needs you to save her.  Right away she's been reduced to a damsel in distress, and while her intro does sort of hit on her flirty personality, the only thing you're likely to remember is her telling you what you need to do to free her about 10 times while you fumble around trying to figure out how to do it.  I'll take Slippy distracting the bad guys for me while I shoot them off him over that any day.

Both games begin with the same level: Corneria, the peaceful Earth-like planet the good guys call home, under attack by the evil forces of Andross.  I examined both scripts, expecting to find that Star Fox 64 would have a lot more chatter than Star Fox Zero.  I was wrong.  Star Fox Zero has 48 lines of dialogue on its first level, while Star Fox 64 has a mere 27.  Even when you account for the fact that Star Fox Zero's version of Corneria lasts almost twice as long, Zero has more lines per minute than its predecessor.  So why does it feel like Star Fox 64 has so much more to say?  The very first line from 64 is delivered by Peppy, an emphatic "Slippy get back here!".  Right away it establishes Slippy as reckless, and Peppy as wise and fatherly.  It also dovetails right into the first of the game's segments that require you to help one of your wingmen in trouble, teaching you about it through play.  Once you've dealt with that, Fox has a simple expository line.  "We're entering Corneria City now" to which Falco replies "This is horrible.".   Again, it sets a tone.  It makes you look at the destruction Andross's forces are causing, makes you notice the buildings that are toppling over, and perhaps makes you even more excited to shoot down these invaders.  It also establishes that while Falco is a bit of a jerk, he's a good person - he's fighting Andross because at the end of the day, he's at least decent enough to not want to see anyone get hurt.  Last but not least, all four of our main characters have spoken, and we've learned a lot about three of them.

By contrast, the first line in Star Fox Zero's version of Corneria is "I've never seen anything like that!  Everybody stay alert!" Again, the line is from Peppy.  Again, it establishes him as fatherly, but it doesn't contrast him against any of the other characters, and if you don't know he's the veteran on the team, you might mistake him for a new guy.  "That" is a pretty impressively sized ship, a new foe not present in Star Fox 64, so it's clearly supposed to establish that as a new threat, but it's easy to misinterpret.  The next line is the same line from Fox in the N64 version, "We're entering Corneria City now.".  But instead of characterizing Falco next, we get a line from Slippy, where he eagerly tells Fox to "Follow me.".  This establishes him as brash, and we get Peppy's "Slippy get back here!" but it now feels like a hollow echo of the scene in the N64 version, because nothing bad happens to Slippy.  In fact, he starts giving you tutorials!  Slippy is the one who explains rings to you, as well as how to use your boost, making him seem like the veteran.  This would be one thing if Peppy already had a lot of lines and they needed to balance it out, but Slippy dominates the conversation.  In fact, Falco doesn't get a line at all until about 3 minutes into the level.  And when Slippy once again gets chased to show off how that works in the new game, it's with a simple "Help, Fox, I'm being chased."  Very bland, and no one else comments on the situation.  These are lines we've heard before, but instead of "Remember this?", a feeling the designers no doubt intended you to have, the only thing you can think is, "I've seen this all before.".

But that, ultimately, is a good summation of Star Fox Zero.  Pretty bland.  There are a lot of reasons for Star Fox Zero's mostly tepid response.  The controls are new and different, and by the time you're starting to get used to them and see what they can do that wouldn't be possible with the more common twin stick controls you might expect, the game is over.  The level design is uninspired.  There are fewer levels, fewer branching paths, and fewer alternate ways to beat levels to unlock them.  Shooting down enemies and getting a high score feels as good as it did in 1997 but Platinum Games, revered for the depth of their combat systems, hasn't added anything new or interesting to Nintendo's long dormant franchise.  Given how no one working on the game seemed to be inspired, I doubt better dialogue could have saved the game.  However, with all the reviews bitching about the controls and how short the game is, or how it's just a retread of a game that's 20 years old - all valid complaints - I didn't want the dialogue to get lost in the shuffle.  "Do a barrel roll" is so ingrained in nerd culture it has a Google Easter egg.  It's not a line that's said in a particularly comical way, it's not clever, and it doesn't have any impact on the plot, and there are far better lines in the game.  But hearing it instantly brings me back to that feeling of enemies covering the screen, to the sound effect of laser fire bouncing off my Arwing as I spin and destroy my foes.  I can hear the rewarding sound of a ring popping up for destroying them all right now.  I just played through Star Fox Zero, and there's not a line in the entire game that will make me feel anything at all.