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  #61  
Old 10-16-2015, 08:11 AM
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On Expert, the Wolfens' main upgrade is stalling. They roll pretty much constantly, and also fly more erratic routes. The frequency of their homing shots does increase, but some well-timed rolls and I get through this fight unscathed!



You stop talking!



Things were looking too easy there for a second...



We fought hard to free Titania, so we may as well enjoy the benefits.




This is another one of those "labyrinth" setups. There are a handful of enemies we need to destroy to access the core, all scattered throughout the large room. There are also sliding wall panels we can activate by shooting, and the medal tucked into a corner. The core is the slightly more interesting "retractable, and with drones" type.



Yes it was, Fox.



Man, things got messy again in a hurry, even with the Satellite shooting down a squadron.



A single fighter manages to escape, and I have to put that on hold as I chase down a missile.



Luckily, it's three boring, straightforward Planet Missiles.



The lone fighter is just kinda goofing off, so I break some pencils, then finally finish it off.



Okay, now just viruses, another pair of missiles preparing to launch, and a Star Wolf member in hot pursuit. No problem!
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  #62  
Old 10-16-2015, 08:47 AM
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Oh, we're prepared, Pigma!



Alright, we have more fun to look forward to once we win!



Yes we do! How about you?



Maybe we should give you a good text box?



So, on Expert, Andross will release two different Hunters. I was hoping they'd be the two of the four that we hadn't seen yet, but of course it's only the two that we've fought.

The viruses reach the Satellite just as we do, which leads us to:



Yes, we can actually visit the Satellite! It only becomes accessible if Brain Spoilers reach it, so it's another feature absent from Normal. The Brain Spoilers show how they got their name: They latch onto the Satellite and take it over. If left alone, it will continue to rotate and charge as normal, but as soon as it's fully charged and aimed at Corneria, it will fire on the planet, dealing 3 percent damage. It will then charge up for another shot, and won't waste firepower on anything else.

Oh hey, a new piece of music! Mysterious Space Station. It's a little bit mysterious, I guess. I mean, we know who it belongs to and what it's built to do. Still, this tune is effectively unsettling. We're in a lonely part of space, with these bizarre parasites turning one of our only allies against us. It's also nice to see and interact with a full polygonal model of the Satellite.

There's a medal in this area on both Hard and Expert. I really thought I wiped all data before starting this LP, but this one also seems to be collected already.



The actual mission at hand is very easy. The Brain Spoilers no longer have their insane speed to rely on, and they'll fall apart if you look at them funny. There's a risk of crashing into something to get at the ones on the inside of the ring or on the central portion, but it should be over quickly.




The Hunters will inevitably catch us, but we may as well take out missiles in the meantime (the Satellite returns to the forces of good by blowing up a squadron).



The Dragon is more accurate with its beam weapon, so it can't be totally written off. I choose to retreat from this battle though, because Tektron is really close to Corneria and would likely opt to start trashing it while waiting for its turn. Retreating from any battle will send you about three Arwing-lengths toward Corneria on the map with no time penalty, so I can make sure Tektron doesn't lose interest in us. It also keeps the Mirage Dragon at arm's length from Corneria, so I'm not simply trading one unoccupied Hunter on the doorstep for another. The "retreat boost" occasionally gets opportunity for strategic use like this.



The struggle continues.



Ugh. Tektron escapes as I'm on the verge of victory. At least Pepper tries to cheer me up.
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  #63  
Old 10-16-2015, 10:14 AM
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Guys, I got played. I described this boss's M.O. in detail the last time we fought it, and I still got played.



The bosses in this game aren't especially life-threatening, but sending the most fragile Arwing, already battle-damaged, into two consecutive battles here was a cocky move on my part. But you can see it wasn't totally unreasonable! I got within one hit of killing Tektron twice!

Game Over Alas, the team suffers its first casualty. And Andross speaks voice-acted lines for the first time!



Well Fox, it's all up to you now!



Oh that's nice! Since we left Tektron right on Corneria, it immediately wreaks some havoc as soon as we return to the map screen. So we've lost a comrade and the no-damage run is shot.



Fox finally puts the thing down, but loses a quarter of his health in the process. Tektron has certainly earned MVP of this war.




Mirage Dragon's aim has improved, but it isn't nearly as troublesome of a Hunter, and drops without much of a struggle.




We clear out the missiles, then we work our way back to the Spinners.



Oh boy.



The Spinner seems to have rubber banded, becoming much more aggressive and tougher to pin down with its sidekicks gone. I try to take it out quickly so I'm not split between its plasma attack and Andrew's constant homing shots, but I'm hurting by the time I finally get rid of it.



Well, that's unfortunate. A few poorly timed rolls and we're out of luck.



Well that figures. I just finish talking about how death isn't a big concern in this game, and this is probably the second time it's happened to me.



Ugh, I don't even want to record this. But hey, we can see the graphical representation of a run ending with our Arwings going down in flames. Now we just have to see Corneria's destruction (which I hope to just show you for the sake of demonstration, not due to incompetence).

I don't want to analyze this failed run too much yet, because it may spoil what's to come. I made some bad mistakes. I should have used bombs more aggressively against Tektron. I should have taken the option to retreat/use the Mother Ship when I was in trouble at the end there and a no-damage run was already lost. I probably should have just taken some time and sought out different weapons when I wound up with bombs on both ships. I like to save time on "serious" runs and be as objective-oriented as possible, but lacking defense or healing was a major handicap.



Next Time: I try to learn from my mistakes. When covering familiar territory, I'll heavily abridge things for the next go-round.
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  #64  
Old 10-21-2015, 07:31 AM
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Previously, on the Star Fox 2 LP: Things went...poorly. Let's try that again!



We get the same three planets invaded from the start: Titania, Fortuna, and Eladard. I'm not sure if that's because we hit "Try Again" or if it was just coincidence.




We take care of basic cleanup right off the bat. One fighter escapes the initial scrape, but I hunt it down.



I again wind up right next to Fortuna, but this time I try to play a bit more conservatively and take out another wave of missiles and squadrons. Finally, I return to Fortuna, figuring the remaining squadron is going to pass right by it.



We've seen this before. Notably, I take a moment to heal this time around.



The squadron arrives right on schedule, and Miyu trashes it pretty easily.



The other Cannon Betrayer deploys a squadron...and it's hilariously blown up by the Satellite about 0.2 seconds later.



I move to intercept those viruses, but one gets away.



Luckily, the Satellite just fired, so there's no immediate danger here.
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  #65  
Old 10-21-2015, 07:50 AM
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Man, I forgot how travel by map burns game clock a lot faster than action sequences. The Cannon Betrayers are already hitting the point where they accelerate toward Corneria.



We raided this battleship on the last attempt, and the layout doesn't change, but the RNG is much more benevolent! I'll most definitely take repair units as my secondary weapon.



The second battleship is up next, and of course it gets a squad out right before we engage.



Hit fast forward again. Miyu nearly goes down, so I burn a heart to restore her craft.



Oh boy, this again. We have one more base to deal with than on the failed run, but we're ahead of that one in terms of battleships. Here goes!



I count on the Satellite to pick up that squadron, and rush over to take care of the out-of-the-way Titania missile.



I catch the next missile group just as it's about to hit Corneria.



Now we're in great position to defend against the remaining missiles!




That went extremely well! We have a long way to go, but we're in great shape. Meteor's the natural next destination, especially with another set of Brain Spoilers passing right through.



This time Fay trashes them with no problem.



One bout with Leon later, and we're ready to storm Meteor!
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  #66  
Old 10-21-2015, 08:02 AM
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Okay, those are weird.




Yes, our deadly opposition on Expert Meteor is...roulette! The first one will start when we shoot it, and won't stop until we shoot it again. It takes some anticipation (or luck) to land on an "O". If it lands on an "X", the contraption will fire a few shots at us. It can also land in between the two, which is just a redo. The second one will stop on its own, and the amount of times we shoot it impact how long/fast it spins.

These can be really obnoxious if you get enemies hassling you, but it's really just down to timing. It's a strange choice of obstacle, but not without precedent in the series. The original game had a malevolent slot machine as a hidden (final!) boss, after all.



In the base, the switch to open the way forward is obscured by fire streams.




The next room is strictly combat-based, and with two very different, durable foes and an interesting layout, you can find yourself taking some damage here.



Oh wow, they are being merciful on this run! The other two weapons may have potential that I haven't realized, but for my money, I'll take both pilots with hearts all day.



The core is boring, and that takes care of Meteor! Now just for one last look at what we missed.
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  #67  
Old 10-21-2015, 08:24 AM
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We have the usual roads and structures of Meteor, as well as the typical power-ups (hooray, more missed laser upgrades!) and missile platform.



The medal and a healing pad are inside this big archway.



We saw most things of interest in the base, except for a protruding wall that isn't represented on the map...



Not only do we free Meteor and destroy a missile site, but we have an incredibly valuable warp location! I have a good feeling about this run.



Meteor's just in a great position to reach so many things, including this spreader missile from Macbeth, which a single charged shot takes care of.



Yeah, we knew this was coming. But we easily trash one squad while the Satellite picks up the other.



Fast forward!



We have some chaos on the opposite side of the system to deal with. Of course, that takes us right through Meteor, so we can fully heal both teammates. It's just such a useful location to have control of.



The missiles are taken care of without incident. Now, I'd like to head to Titania and just never worry about that quadrant again, shooting down the latest batch of viruses on the way...



...but Andross has other plans. (Really, the Mirage Dragon again? At least we got somebody new to join it).

So we're looking at two Hunters, Andrew or Pigma has moved off Macbeth to engage, and viruses. This was basically my breaking point last time, so let's see if Fox and Fay are up to it now.
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  #68  
Old 10-21-2015, 09:22 AM
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Pigma does some damage and burns clock, but he won't be bothering us anymore!




We engage Phantron, but immediately retreat in an attempt to intercept the viruses that have almost reached the Satellite. I'll talk about you in a minute, dude!



As with the first batch, we have to visit the Satellite itself to finish the job.




It takes just a little more than one space second to rock the dragon.




Okay, now we can talk about Phantron. Unlike Tektron, who switches between a "c" and "k" with reckless abandon, Star Fox 2 consistently spells this Hunter's name with an "F." But I'm going to ignore that in favor of the original game's spelling, because it was an awesome boss, and the name is in keeping with its illusory abilities.

This guy's connection to the original Phantron is unclear. They have a similar body type, color scheme, and name. But this one shows none of the original's aptitude for illusions, or awesome counterattack if you attempt to bomb it. Like I mentioned earlier, the original Phantron seems to have bestowed many of its traits on both this Phantron and Tektron (Tektron doesn't cast illusions either, but both it and the original Phantron were rare bosses that would make an effort to evade attacks). The long appendages call a completely different original Star Fox boss to mind: the Plasma Hydra. On the other hand, the original Phantron did spontaneously sprout legs in the second fight with it, so previously unseen limbs isn't a total shock.
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  #69  
Old 10-21-2015, 10:11 AM
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Obviously, the tendrils and claws are the big concern of this fight. Phantron will either spin with outstretched arms, angling up and down as it rotates, or lunge forward with open claws, adjust to our position, then snap them shut. Its main body is vulnerable at all times, but the claws and arms often shield it from abuse. It can also waste our time by retracting its arms, positioning its claws behind itself, then boosting from engines apparently located inside.



Something I just realized on this playthrough is that Phantron has regenerating health. You can see it between the two screenshots above. This makes its stall tactics even more devious, and encourages us to be aggressive even when having some rather nasty claw attacks thrown our way.




This is one occasion where I actually prefer third-person view. The fight really demands awareness of our position relative to our foe, and it's just hard to take everything in from the cockpit. It opens its claws right in your face, so you may see one, but not know exactly where the other one is in first person. The spin attack is one of the most complex offensives we've faced yet. We can't shoot or roll the weapons in question, Phantron will accelerate and decelerate its rotation, and it will move its limbs vertically as well as horizontally. I think it's fair, as we can watch its core body to see what it's doing, but you really pay for your missteps here.

I just really like this thing. Gameplay-wise, it's a boss that approaches the difficulty and complexity of some of the original game's (and appropriately, it blends two of the original's more memorable bosses). Visually, there's just something very appealing about its design. It plays to the low-poly graphics, and the ways the claws move, extend, and morph from weapons into jet boosters is just hypnotic.



Phantron just manages to be expressive without a face. Look how eager it is to rumble right there!

So yeah, it's a really cool boss in both games that sadly never made its way out of the SNES era.



Back to action! Missiles and fighters at large, as well as the last battleship kicking it into gear.



The missiles are easy enough to stop, and I get much-needed repairs at the Mother Ship. I contemplate zipping over to Fortuna to head off the squadron, but the Satellite's fully charged and about to target it.



We don't get very far before we're faced with a solid wall. We need to destroy the wall-stalk to move on.



They set us up to think we have another one up next, but instead there's a switch tucked out of obvious sight for us to stomp. Curse you, Andross, and your wasting seconds of my time!



We need to destroy two of these rolling bombers in a large room with several walls and partitions in order to reach the core. The medal was in a corner of this room, but I stumbled into it before screenshotting it.



We get one of the rarer, more interesting core variants, and with that, all battleships are down! We're getting momentum now!
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  #70  
Old 10-23-2015, 07:49 AM
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A missile's launching at Eladard, so we head that way, but Andrew moves in to intercept!



It's a long, brutal battle, but Andrew is down!



Okay, lots of missiles and viruses to deal with. Three of the missiles and the viruses are pretty routine, all passing close by Meteor.



The Titania set requires us to drop back to Corneria in order to stop it in time.



That close call is an unnecessary reminder for why you free Titania (and Fortuna) as soon as possible. Let's go do that!



Fast forward!




More missiles are already entering the fray, but look at this! We're actually getting things under control. Three missile sites and viruses are the only things Andross can threaten us with at this point, and the missiles are in the "back row." Let's turn things even more in our favor with a long-awaited trip to Macbeth!



Ah, the magma's a bad thing! Also, wouldn't this be lava?

The original Star Fox manual described Macbeth as undergoing a strange phenomenon that led to its core shrinking, which opened a lot of space beneath the crust. Andross stockpiled this with weaponry, transforming it into his best-fortified base off of Venom. There, the Star Fox team flew under the surface, leading to a really neat, fast-paced stage where you dodged obstacles and bursts of magma from both above and below. Here, we see (at least part of) the surface is overflowing with molten rock, which does tie into the ceiling-based volcanic vents in the original.

Macbeth. The drum and bass are very fitting here, and I like the soft little interlude.



The only switch on Expert Macbeth is mounted on this really strange platform. It's a...propeller-based hunk of lava? Touching anything but the top hurts severely, and coming in for a landing on it is one of the toughest spatial challenges yet.
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  #71  
Old 10-23-2015, 08:10 AM
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Macbeth Base The Macbeth theme becomes much better indoors, and we're faced with another boss!



Knight Nack wanders around a massive room with lots of walls, upraised sections of floor, and turrets. Once it realizes we're in here, it will engage, alternating between approaching us while hiding behind its shield, and moving the shield to the side in order to shoot ring lasers. The shield will reflect our own shots right back at us for damage, so this takes a lot of awareness of positioning and timing. Both Knight Nack's actions and our position in the room are important to be mindful of (it's all too easy to be in range of a turret, put it out of your mind because you can get Nack in a cycle or two, then find half your health sapped away).



Nack's shield and gun each fly away and explode independently before the boss itself bites it. Really, another heart? The RNG is apologizing profusely for that first Expert run.



Macbeth is another combat-heavy zone, so we get a core type that takes a degree of effort to destroy. As with Fortuna, we have to take out the turret in each corner while they and the core shoot at us before we can attack the core itself.

Now for a closer look at Lylat's third planet:



Fox agrees with the party line on magma.




There's a pathway that curves around one quadrant of the area. We also have a few islands supporting turrets, healing pads, and pickups.



I had no idea where the medal is here, and some research indicated that it's where this Nova Bomb is. I may have already picked it up since the last time I cleared all the game's data, but this is the only time I know of where a medal is replaced with an item, rather than simply being gone in future playthroughs.



There isn't a whole lot we missed in the base, so here's some visual evidence of the turrets supporting Knight Nack, as well as a better shot of its gun flying off.



Trick walls conceal the medal once again!
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  #72  
Old 10-23-2015, 08:33 AM
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But of course, Macbeth is playable on Hard mode as well. Let's dial it back a notch and see what it's like there:



First, a couple shots in its orbit.



Hard has two switches rather than the solo switch of Expert.



Again, the game seems to indicate a passage of time between difficulties. The path has apparently partially sank into the lava as of Expert. Here, there are more branches, and there's space to fly beneath it (where we can claim a laser upgrade). Also, Peppy is more evenhanded in his opinion of magma, simply stating the facts of what will happen if we get close and personal with it.



We have yet another medal in a missile.



The tiny islands with turrets and power-ups remain.



The two difficulties together paint a picture of a base being swallowed up by the environment. There are a lot more structures here, including this one with a switch on top. It has exactly as much surface area as the switch itself, so it's a small window for us to transform and land on, but it's not mobile, so it's still much easier than the lava propeller of doom.




Another structure conceals the remaining switch. This rig is just a nice creation. It's full of moving parts, spinning while its arms pump up and down. It's defended by turrets, and when destroyed, will yield the switch. Its wire-frame design works within the graphical limitations very well, and it naturally calls up the image of extracting some kind of natural resource for Macbeth. Good stuff!



Sir Nack isn't nearly as well supported on Hard, but there is this lava stream that can be forgotten and backed/strafed into. It helps visually tie the base and the surface together, and I don't know why they ditched it in Expert.



The medal is found in the center of this prominent, upraised floor. As in Expert Titania, it will simply appear as we get close, counting on our game-explorer instincts to identify the suspicious location. Strangely, it vanishes again if we move away from it, only appearing when we get within a certain distance.



As on Fortuna, the shielded core only has two turrets on Hard.

Alright, we've now seen every planet in the game! This run isn't over yet, though.




Fay destroys the latest viruses, we take a break to heal, then move on Venom!
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  #73  
Old 10-23-2015, 08:53 AM
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Alright, with the Turtle Missile out of the way, we can...




Oh right. Andross can still do this. Too bad it's not nearly as intimidating. The absolute worst scenario possible in this run is four onscreen missiles and viruses. And they would all be congregated in a narrow "lane" of the map. Even the missiles themselves are weak sauce. Ladies and gentlemen, Star Fox is officially getting cocky.



After scrapping the missiles in short order, I end up pretty much equidistant from the two bases. I opt for Eladard, funneling the remaining Venom/virus threats down an even more narrow attack lane.



Thanks for that, Fox.



Each of the barrier's four weak points succumbs to a single charged shot, and we're inside in no time.

Eladard Base. It's worth another listen.



First we have to trash a floor stalk that likes to hang out in dangerous areas.



The next room has a staircase with a turret on it and another enemy hiding behind it. The latter is weird, because we basically have to go snooping there to be attacked by it, and there's nothing else of interest in the area.



Things are getting a bit complex. There are lava columns blocking off one nook of this room, a turret in a column, a locked door to the north, and an open door to the east. Going through the open door seems to be the only option.



The next room has another lava column and another staircase. This time, a switch sits behind the steps. So I guess the enemy behind the stairs was an early red herring? The switch stops the lava flow, which (probably) means...



...the same is true in the prior room. Also, there was yet another room to the south of the switch room, but we're trying to get an awesomely fast time here! We'll look at that later.



That switch opens the core door, and after that surprisingly large base, Eladard comes to an anticlimactic end.
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Old 10-23-2015, 09:14 AM
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With no fire-breathing space birds around, Eladard is impressively built up.



This collection of buildings has a medal tucked in between them.



There's a pool here, where we can pick up a Nova Bomb. Again, no swimming for us.



If you really want to save time, you can push through the pain and trip this switch immediately upon entering this room. Of course, the switch only activates the door, so we need to tank our way through the pair of columns both ways. It hurts a lot.



The room in the southeast corner is dominated by a hazardous floor, and will lock us in as soon as we enter. We have to destroy a wall stalk both to escape and to trigger the area's medal.



With Eladard behind us, we're down to our last base!



The Expert iteration of Venom introduces us to yet another boss: Kamantis!



Kamantis has an interesting tactic (wow, I've realized there are more interesting bosses in this game than I thought). It doesn't really engage us itself, though it will scuttle around erratically when hit, which can make it harder to pile on damage. It lays eggs that instantly sprout into "little" mantises (about the size of our craft). They will immediately and aggressively take flying leaps at us. The damage can rack up fast and it knocks us around, adding another problem to keeping Kamantis in our sights.

The babies make a strong effort to flank us, which forces us to think about our approach in ways that previous battles haven't dealt with. Do we practice crowd control or just blitz Kamantis and end this as fast as possible? The babies can't hit us as easily if we're flying, but transforming takes time, and any active ones will happily pounce on us while we're doing it. The Arwing also has a harder time racking up hits than the walker in all-range mode.



Kamantis eventually gives up its switch (but watch out for any remaining babies).



We're immediately faced with a ramp and a pair of column turrets.



Heading right, we enter a waterlogged room with a wall stalk and several blue...objects that simply damage us if we touch them.



Destroying the stalk gives us the medal.
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  #75  
Old 10-23-2015, 09:42 AM
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Re-entering the initial room from the right reveals the trick, if you didn't find it on your own: There's a switch hidden beneath the ramp that opens the door to the left.



Now the blue objects are arranged in a swinging bar for us to clear on the way to the switch.



Next up is a corridor of swinging wall panels.



Around the corner we get some wall stalks.



That brings us to another boring and easy core!




There are the usual rocks and power-ups scattered across Venom. As with other planet surfaces with a boss present, other enemies are absent. One feature that toys with our previous experiences on the planet is that there are several mushrooms standing at different heights now, and most of them do absolutely nothing. Only the very tallest one, offering the least amount of space to stand on, yields the medal. Incidentally, check out the texture and color scheme of those shrooms!



A virus launched while we were playing around on Venom, putting off the endgame and posing one last threat to Corneria.

Next Time: The final showdown!
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  #76  
Old 10-25-2015, 07:59 AM
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Man, wouldn't it suck if after all that, the no-damage run gets spoiled by a virus?



Fortunately, that doesn't happen. I even got the chance to heal at the Mother Ship before visiting the Satellite, so I don't have to worry about going into the Wolf fight weakened.



Let's do this!




This is, fittingly, the most challenging Wolfen encounter in the game (not counting the chance of his comrades teaming up with other fighters). There's not a lot different to show, sadly. He flies in more erratic patterns, bombards us with homing shots more frequently, and rolls a lot.

I opt for Fox for the finale. Fay's definitely my preferred character, but Fox has four repair units and she just has one.



I decide to burn one on this very fight, since I get dangerously close to death.



After a lengthy battle, Wolf makes his retreat!



The typical Astropolis cutscene ensues, and we begin our final mission!
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Old 10-25-2015, 08:17 AM
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Just to (partially) address something asked earlier: pausing in Astropolis doesn't even bring up the Lylat map anymore, or the option to retreat. This makes me think that Corneria is totally out of the woods. We can only lose if both pilots die, and I believe the timer's just there because it's been there for the entire game and it tracks the full time of the run. But I still intend to experiment later and see what happens if we hang around.



We dodge some fire streams, and are eventually thwarted by a wall.



As we've seen before, the switch is hidden by a ramp earlier in the corridor.



From the main fork, I opt for the right.



We're opposed by wall turrets, a column turret, and a rolling bomber. They're definitely cranking up the combat here!



I don't even know what to say.



The next corridor has enemies attacking from behind cover, then mobile fire streams.



With that, we've reached the corridor leading directly to Andross! Since the room to the south has always contained helpful stuff that could potentially speed up the fight, I decide that it's worth the time to drop in.



That figures. On Expert, there are no guaranteed power-ups in this room. We get a medal the first time we destroy the enemies inside (two column turrets and a wall stalk), so we can fully heal (but not on subsequent playthroughs). Other than that, all we get are whatever random drops they feel kind enough to bestow on us. Well played, Expert!



The final hallway has more of those fast-flying blue objects than before, and at different elevations. Reaching Andross unscathed takes some sharp reactions.

Next Time: We take on the monkey himself!
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  #78  
Old 10-26-2015, 06:42 AM
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The game stays true to its "really boring battles with cores" theme to the very end.



Andross whines about us fighting back against an assault he instigated, then claims he'll sandbag in the toughest version of this fight.



Once again, we shoot out the eyes of the mask while doing our best to avoid his retaliation.




Then we attempt to strike hooded Andross down with all our hatred. After this, we get a phase unique to Expert:



Yes, "monkey head and hands" Andross comes from Star Fox 2! This legitimately shocked me when I first saw it months ago. I had seen footage of this game, beaten the easiest difficulty, and messed around a bit in Expert, but hadn't gotten to the end until recently, and I really thought this form of the Andross boss fight was a 64 creation.



He'll still abruptly wander around the battlefield on a whim, but at least he can't teleport like his mask form.



His hands will bombard us with spiky orbs. This can get overwhelming, so concentrate on a hand and try to destroy it as soon as possible.



He'll also breathe spiraling flames, which can really hurt.
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Old 10-26-2015, 06:57 AM
Beta Metroid Beta Metroid is offline
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When we reduce him to just a head and land some hits...




...things get really weird. His face flickers, with the vulnerable point shifting along with the color. Eventually, the cube inside will be exposed, and we should aim for that whenever possible. He'll shoot a bunch of...eyes out of his organic eye. If we keep up a steady firing rate, most should fall in our line of fire.



He mixes in long chains of ring lasers. They last longer than our roll and are tough to dodge, especially in first person. I just try to minimize damage here.




When the twisted face abomination goes down, we get the old cube-and-tiles routine. Once again, I'm a bit too slow to finish the job in one cycle, so we get one last showcase of the mask.




That, my friends, is game! I think this calls for an encore of the awesome Credits Theme!
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Old 10-26-2015, 08:04 AM
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Here's our last two lines of triumphant dialogue. Sadly, the ending doesn't change. We just get different enemies in the credits. So let's take a look.





Phantron was actually in the Hard mode credits, but I saved these shots for when we ran across it in-game, just for you guys:




Likewise, there's the fourth Hunter that appears in the Expert credits, but I still want to show the battle with it.



We get a nice look at Astropolis itself in the Expert credits.



And finally, a slack-jawed Andross assaults the camera!

Alright, let's see how we did.



Now there's a results screen!



It looks like rankings are:

One star: Less than 100,000
Two stars: Between 100,000 and 150,000
Three stars: Between 150,000 and 200,000
Giant star: Upwards of 200,000 (there may be something better for passing the 250,000 mark. This is the best score I've put up, so I don't know).

With that, we've covered the essential parts of Star Fox 2 (or at least, what's available to me)! But don't go too far, because this LP isn't quite done! The items left on the to-do list are:

Showing the rest of Expert Astropolis
Showing the fourth Hunter
Showing some bad stuff happening to Corneria
Doing a couple experiments
Sharing some final thoughts

Thanks for reading!
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  #81  
Old 10-26-2015, 10:29 AM
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So what exactly is Andross's deal, anyway? It can't be economical or practical to build giant versions of your face powered by a cube made of your face. I think he could have done a lot better.

Props to Star Fox 2 for making the face actually look like the character, though.
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  #82  
Old 10-26-2015, 11:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mogri View Post
So what exactly is Andross's deal, anyway? It can't be economical or practical to build giant versions of your face powered by a cube made of your face. I think he could have done a lot better.
He's a villian. They usually don't care much about things being economical or practical. But they are generally very concerned with feeding their own ego. (Some might call it branding.)
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  #83  
Old 10-28-2015, 05:45 PM
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^Evil branding works for me!

Our first loose end is the left pathway of Astropolis.



Once again, we have a room dominated by lava, a switch above it, and a wall-crawling foe to bother us. And the map looks a bit strange.



Sure enough, a medal and a healing pad (for subsequent visits) awaits us.



The next corridor has all kinds of wall panels: Ones that slide aside after being shot, ones that spin and stop temporarily when shot, and ones that spin and ignore our shots.



Around the corner we find...an absolutely unobstructed path to where the two branches meet just prior to Andross! I like how the Andross fight itself adds more phases that transition smoothly into each other on each difficulty. But as a final stage, all three versions of Astropolis are underwhelming.

That brings us up to speed on all the territory that (this version of) the game has to offer! But before we leave Astropolis, let's address some questions that came up earlier.



Here we have Fox, partnered with Fay, starting a run at Astropolis. He's confidently going it alone from here, and Andross better say his prayers!



Yikes, things have quickly gone south for our hero!



Nooooooooooooo!



As you can see, we get the opportunity to continue with Fay, just as we do anywhere else in the game. Star Fox 2 continues to display excellent attention to detail, and here's one of the more grim examples: We resume from the cutscene where the entire Star Fox team attacks Astropolis, but Fox's craft is definitely absent.



Another question involved how the clock impacted the endgame. So I get cozy in the first corridor here, throw the Walker into Park, make myself a sandwich, and play some Yoshi's Woolly World while the clock rolls. I figure if anything's going to happen, it will after 100 space seconds. As the clock passes 99...



...it rolls back to 0! This got me extra curious: Does it remember the extra 100 seconds or is there a way to beat this last stage in no time at all? I ran through it as fast I could (it ended up taking about 113 or 13 space seconds).



Nope, you can't game the system this way. But it looks like time is completely independent of score, since I still manage a good score even with that abysmal finish time.

Without even the slightest indication of anything different happening after stalling that long, I feel reaffirmed in my belief that Corneria is completely safe once you reach the Wolf battle.

That's about all we'll ever need to see in Astropolis. Let's check out some other oddities in the Lylat system!
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Old 10-28-2015, 05:56 PM
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Something nobody asked for, but I was curious about: Star Fox 2's attention to detail is great, but not perfect. Fay tries to convince us nothing's here when we're staring down a medal.



General Pepper had an annoying habit of butting in at points when Fay would normally get to talk, so I wanted to spotlight a bit more of her dialogue.

Okay, now let's take a look at some of the terrible things that can happen to Corneria!



When the Brain Spoilers corrupt the Satellite, it continues to rotate and charge at its normal rate. But the moment it faces Corneria while fully charged...




...it blasts the planet for 3 percent damage. That's not so bad, but it also refuses to target anything but Corneria, so it's a nasty swing in Andross's favor. And if you give it time, it will continue to recharge and blast Corneria again.



Hard and Expert each place a medal in the vicinity of the Satellite. These can be surprisingly tough to grab, since the spinning outer ring is very disorienting. Hiding a collectible somewhere that we can only access if we fail to destroy an enemy in time is a very nifty touch.
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Old 10-28-2015, 08:30 PM
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Now let's see how Cannon Betrayers got their names! (Well, I'm still not sure where the "Betrayer" comes from, unless that's meant to imply these are former Cornerian vehicles).




As we've seen, Andross will order a battleship to get blasting, at which point it will hit its thrusters and accelerate toward Corneria. Once it gets close enough, it will start charging up its cannon.




*Gulp.*




We get this terrifying cutscene every time a cannon fires.



Really? After all that fanfare (including a notification that "industrial blocks" were damaged), Corneria suffers 3 percent's worth of damage? I mean, it's not fun, and the cannon will fire again in 10 ticks of the clock, but it's easy enough to reach it from just about anywhere before it fires twice. Unless you're juggling several potential targets, in which case it's one of the lowest priorities available (except maybe a single missile). This is one of a few examples that made me think balance/damage values were not quite finalized in this version. But hey, the whole sequence looks really cool!
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Old 10-28-2015, 08:48 PM
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Now to get really depressing! What if we screw up big time and Corneria hits 100 percent? (From my experimenting, letting a fighter squadron reach the planet is the easiest way for this to happen. I forgot how insanely fast they dish out their damage, and if it's a group of four or five, Corneria can go from 0 to dead in just a few seconds.)




Considering how effective they are at trashing the planet, it's fitting that the cutscene features a fighter squadron delivering the final blow (regardless of what actually does it. It's a lot to ask to create 3D cutscenes for every possible fighter, missile, Hunter, Wolfen, etc. that can attack Corneria).




Alarms blare over the city as a voice gives out an emergency broadcast. As the visuals fade to white, the broadcast is abruptly cut off. It's a really effective moment, and helps show that a low polygon count shouldn't interfere with impressive presentation.



We get a slightly altered Game Over screen, and a unique "fall of Corneria" results screen.

Next Time: Well, gee, that was fun! Things will be a bit cheerier when we trash the fourth and final Hunter.
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  #87  
Old 10-28-2015, 09:57 PM
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Is it possible to engage Andross while Corneria is under attack?
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Old 10-29-2015, 09:20 AM
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If you're asking about one of these apocalyptic cutscenes, then the answer is no. You can't move during them, and neither can other enemies.

In fact, it's basically impossible under any circumstances. Even if you were to fly to Astropolis from the very beginning of the game, nothing would happen. Gaining access to it requires destroying everything that is capable of damaging Corneria, so there are basically two distinct phases to every run.

Just to review, because being thorough can't hurt, here are the targets we must destroy in order to access the endgame in each difficulty.

Normal: 2 Bases, 2 Battleships, 2 Wolfens (Leon and Pigma), 1 Hunter (Mirage Dragon)

Hard: 3 Bases, 4 Battleships, 3 Wolfens (Leon, Pigma, and Andrew), 1 Hunter

Expert: 6 Bases, 4 Battleships, 3 Wolfens (Leon, Pigma, and Andrew), 2 Hunters.

The instant you destroy the last of the above, you lose control while a bit of dialogue takes place, and you don't regain control until you're fighting Wolf. This means you can't swap characters from the moment you destroy the last of the above targets until the end of the game (or until your chosen pilot dies). You also don't get to heal between the last Corneria-damaging target and Wolf, but you will automatically heal between Wolf and Astropolis/Andross.

The exception here is if a missile, squadron, or virus enters the field before the last pre-Wolf target is destroyed. In that case, normal map movement will continue until we take down that last target. You can swap characters, heal and warp at the Mother Ship, and just cruise around Lylat. Once you destroy the final threat, it's a similar situation: Pepper talks about how the enemy forces are wiped out, the team prepares to warp, Wolf cuts them off.

If missiles are the last objects on the field, simply allowing them to strike Corneria will trigger the Wolf sequence (assuming, of course, that Corneria can withstand the damage), and you can swap characters up to the point of impact.

I think that's about all there is to it. Anyone can feel free to speak up with more questions.

That leaves one last boss that we managed to miss during our Hard and Expert campaigns. I give you the Space Blade!




There it is taking off from Astropolis.



Here we have it in sprite form.




And here we see it in action.



The Space Blade seems loosely inspired by the original's Rock Crusher and Blade Barrier, bosses of the Asteroid Belt and Sector X. Meteo Crusher from 64 also comes from that lineage. Unfortunately for it, the Space Blade is more boring than any of its brethren and its fellow Hunters.

It attacks by releasing spiky balls at regular intervals. Meanwhile, it will spin its invulnerable blades while we try to attack its core. It periodically shifts its blades between horizontal and vertical positions, which forces us to slightly alter our attack trajectory. And that's it! Phantron did the "spinning boss" thing better, and brought other things to the table in addition.



Its blades scatter through space when it's destroyed, which may be slightly more interesting than anything it does while alive.




Enjoy its display in the credits!

That's about all I have to show you, folks! All that's really left is just mulling over a few game-related topics (which I need some time to collect my thoughts on), as well as addressing any comments or questions you guys have. Thanks for coming along on this crazy journey with me!
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  #89  
Old 10-29-2015, 10:40 AM
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Mr. Sensible Mr. Sensible is offline
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Amazing work, Beta! Your great LP inspired me to pick up a Star Fox 2 repro cart as a gift for a friend who enjoyed the first game. I can't wait to see it in action!
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  #90  
Old 10-29-2015, 10:42 AM
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Thanks for showing this off! I'm a big fan of the original (although my experience with the rest of the series is limited to five minutes with Star Fox 64), so this was really cool.
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