6. StarFox 64 (1997)
StarFox 64 was truly something special. It might have been about animals in spaceships, but it actually told a deeper story about a man (or fox, I guess) living up to his father’s name and developing camaraderie with brothers in arms. Some might consider the on-rails flying and shooting to be primitive and restrictive by today’s standards, but it allowed Nintendo to make a game with tight controls and that you’d develop mastery through repetition. Charging up your shots and timing your maneuvers would become second nature, and it was a delight to then rule the skies as a sci-fi animal Red Baron.
StarFox 64 also had that kind of rare quality of being chock full of memorable moments. The “do a barrel roll” shout, the encounters with the rival Wolf gang, the Meteo Crusher and it’s pink rings of death – all of them are still seared into my mind to this day. Not to mention there were the branching paths and secret endings, which meant that even after I beat the game, I was craving to jump right back in it and play it all over again.
That arcade-style progression and action combined with the plot and variables of a more advanced game lead to Star Fox 64 being one of the most satisfying games to sit down and get through on a lazy afternoon, time and time again. And really, that kind of fun is what the N64 console was all about. – Alexander Suffolk