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Star Fox 2 on the SNES Classic is more ambitious and different than we expected

Watch 10 minutes of the never-before-released sequel

We’ve just set up and spent some time playing a retail Super Nintendo Classic, and with it, our first dive into the never-before-released sequel, Star Fox 2. We’ll have more to say on both next week, but for now we wanted to share the first footage of the game. And the most interesting thing about Star Fox 2 is just how ambitious of an idea it was.

Star Fox 2 isn’t available right out of the box; instead, it’s the only game wrapped up in the menu system, requiring you to play Stage 1-1 of the original Star Fox first. (Don’t worry if it’s been awhile, it won’t take long.)

We first tried playing the game in Pixel Perfect mode, one of the three display settings on the SNES Classic, but the single-pixel italic text was a bit too jarring to read. CRT mode, which emulates the feeling of playing on old pre-HDTV sets, works really well, though.

From the onset, it’s clear Star Fox 2 is a very different game than the original. After choosing a pilot and co-pilot — the usual crew is here, plus a couple newcomers — the game explains that you’ll be engaging in space combat while simultaneously keeping an eye on your home planet Corneria, which is being actively bombarded by missiles you can see moving across the map.

Combat seems to take two forms so far. The de facto mode is now first person, off-the-rails space warfare. It can take a minute to adjust to roaming freely around an arena, trying to find your target, but after a few minutes I was comfortable with the setup. (For those who remember the original X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter, it’ll feel very familiar.) Barrel rolls are still there, but without seeing the iconic ship animation, the impact is lessened.

The other mode we’ve seen has the Arwing transforming into a tank and infiltrating a carrier, which frankly was more fun than the early space battles. Our first battle as a tank was a third-person, linear dive into some basic combat, but immediately the controls were comfortable. It feels like Star Fox. (And to be sure, in these levels you can switch back to the Arwing with select for that classic third-person aerial combat, but in almost every case the tank felt like the better choice.)

See it all for yourself in the video above. We’ll have full impressions of Star Fox 2 and the SNES Classic next week.

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