After the great success of the first episode, Argonaut began working on Star Fox 2. According to various previews of the magazines at the time , it would have featured many interesting innovations. First of all, it would have been the first SuperFx 2 game, which would have permitted a far better graphics and frame rate than the original. The result was a more complex game , with a battle mode for two players, all-range mode levels, Vortex-like trasformations for the spaceships. But Nintendo decided to cancel the game at the end of its development,because of the (not-so) imminent release of the Nintendo 64. Some years passed, and two betas of the game were leaked on internet. But it was only later that a third and final build of the game was dumped. The rom was even translated in English by the fans of Star Fox, and many bugs still in the code and the debug interface were removed.
[Article by Yota]
Star Fox Beta 01
This is more precisely an alpha build of the game, and it is essentially unplayable. Probably it was used just to test the new features of the graphic engine.
Star Fox Beta 02
In this build, instead, the game they were already testing the gameplay and the new game modes, but, as we can see, the graphic of the menu was still missing.
With Config you could choose Stereo or Mono, and try the sound test (that works only with the sounds effects).
With Training,instead, you could learn the controls of the airwing in one of the two areas available.
As the name suggests, the Test mode was used by the developers to test the scenarios currently created (ground, space, marine, desert, plus battle mode maps) with one of the many pilots available (Fox, Falco, Peppy, Slippy, Saru, Lady). Also, it was possible to choose a co-pilot, one of the new features of the game that were later used in Star Fox Command for DS.
The battle mode was essentially identical to the competitive multiplayer of Star Fox 64, althrough limited to two players. It is worth noting that the frame rate is already pretty good for a beta of a 3d Snes game. There are still many bugs through.
Mission Mode was at this point of the development the main mode of the game, but only the rings and some enemies were already implemented.
Star Fox Beta 03
The third build of the game it is essentially a pre-release version of the game, even if there are still the debug interface and the test mode.
There is even the Nintendo Logo…
And a short introdution..
Unfortunately, the Battle Mode is missing, maybe because of the deadline. The Config still has the Sound Test and the Mono-Stereo option.
Test is still the same as the second beta, and Records just shows the scores.
The Mission Mode is the most important mode of Star Fox 2, and it is essentially a 16-bit version of Star Fox Command for DS. We can also choose the difficulty level (normal,hard, expert).
After a little introduction, we have to choose our pilot and our co-pilot from those available (Falco, Peppy,Fox,Slippy, and the new entries Miyu e Fay). There are only three airwings, so half of the characters use the same spaceship but with a different color.
After another introduction, we will see this map:
This is the planetary map of Star Fox 2. Our main objective is to protect the blue planet with our little airwings. When our spaceship will encounter an enemy ship, the game will change to the battle mode, just like a rpg.
The battle mode is just an all-range level where we have to beat the enemy ships. It is worth nothing that there is now a lock-on system and the mini-map is different.
We can look at the main map with the start button. The game is in real-time, so even when we are in the battle mode, the enemy will try to attack our planet. If we win, the enemy ship will vanish from the main map, but if we lose too much time the enemy will go out of range, and we will have to approach it again in the planetary map.
After some time, we can finally approach one of the enemy planets, where we will fight a boss. If we win, the planet will became one of our bases. Of course, the main goal of the game is to conquest many bases as possible, until the final battle with Andross.
Besides the space missions, in some locations, like inside an enemy mothership, we can use the trasformations of the airwings, like this mech-like vehicle.
It is worth noting that this was maybe the best part of the game, with even little puzzles in some rooms.
We are the Star Fox!
In conclusion, we can say that Star Fox 2 was essentially completed, and it is a pity that the game was never released.
[Article by Yota]
More Screenshots: StarFox 2 Beta Pics