A hero published by Marvel Comics. Starfox first appeared in Iron Man #55.

Millions of years ago, the star-spanning Celestials visited the Earth, experimenting on the primary lifeform, humans. The result of the experiment were two divergent branches of humanity, the Deviants with their widely varying genetic structure and the Eternals with their longevity and special powers.The Eternals had a split and a group of them, lead by A'Lars traveled into space, eventually settling on Titan, one of the moons of Jupiter.

The Eternals set up an advanced society on Titan. A'lars, who became known as Mentor, married Sui-San, one of the other Eternals. The two eventually had two sons. The older was called Thanos, a variation on the word death. Thanos eventually sought to be the consort of the embodiment of Death and wrought destruction across the galaxy in a number of different bids to destroy or rule the universe. Thanos also was responsible for the death of his mother, making an enemy of his father and his younger brother.

The younger brother was named Eros. With good looks, charm, and the ability to mentally stimulate the pleasure centers in other beings, Eros was known to be quite the womanizer. When his brother killed his mother and sought to destroy the universe, Eros opposed his brother with the help of the Kree warrior, Mar-Vell.

Later, Eros came to Earth and applied for membership in the Avengers, a group of super-powered heroes. Eros was accepted as a candidate and after completing a period of training, was admitted into their ranks. He was given the code name Starfox by fellow member She-Hulk, because he was from the stars and he was easy on the eyes.

Starfox fought beside the Avengers for many years, using his awesome strength and ability to fly to help them battle evil in all its forms. He eventually broke off from being an active member after the Avengers encountered a villain named Nebula, who claimed to be the daughter of Thanos. When Nebula fled, Starfox pursued her, seeking to find out if this claim was true.

Starfox has since helped the Avengers on a number of occasions when their adventures have taken them beyond the confines of Earth, to more cosmic threats.

StarFox (known as Star Wing in the UK) was developed by Argonaut (of later Vortex infamy) and published in the US for the SNES by Nintendo on February 21, 1993, after critical delays that prevented it from being released in time for the holiday season. The game (as of this noding) is fairly easily acquired anywhere that used SNES games are sold. The ROM is readily available and complete; just make sure your emulator of choice has good SuperFX emulation. (Most do.)

While the game draws greatly from previous 3-D games using vectors or stretched sprites, StarFox was quite possibly the first console game to use 3-D graphics constructed of polygons (Out of This World predates it for polygon use in a console game), with the help of the processing power of the SuperFX chip, first used in this game. While the graphics are painfully dated by modern standards, the game was a revolution at the time, as other "3-D" console games at the time generally used stretched/shrunk sprites and bitmaps mapped onto a flat "ground" surface.

The story is right out of the Big Book of Video Game Cliches. The peaceful planet of Corneria has been attacked by the space fleet of the evil Andross, with the feeble defenses of the pacifistic planet swept away. Fox McCloud and StarFox pilot team (composed of Falco Lombardi, Slippy Toad, and Peppy Hare, commanded by General Pepper) take to the skies in Arwings, experimental space fighters, and go off to defeat Andross (a mad scientist banished from Corneria, now bent on controlling the galaxy) or die trying.

After choosing from one of three different paths (Easy, Medium, and Hard, each with a different set of stages), the player takes control of Fox McCloud, the protagonist, and his Arwing, and begins the long, hard path to defeat Andross, starting on Corneria, travelling through nebulae and asteroid fields and over different planets, all on the way to Venom, Andross's home base. The stages themselves follow a strict, straight path, with no reversing or veering off to the left or right.

While most of the stages are space-shooter staples (Sector X and Sector Y have lots of drifting geometric shapes, even), some of the stages are especially imaginative, given the limitations of the graphics. Titania, for example, has all sorts of interesting (and deadly) flora and fauna in place of the more convential enemies, as well as a giant hydra for the boss.. Generally, the most challenging parts return to the shooter convention of "Fill the screen with flying nastiness", usually composed of storms of laser fire, squadrons of suicidal enemy fighters, or barrages of surface-to-air missiles .At the end of each stage is some kind of massive boss, which, generally, has one weak spot that you shoot until part of it falls off, after which you need to shoot a new weak spot. For some reason, you seem to fly infinately forward, as bosses always have all the room they need.

While Argonaut wasn't involved, there was a StarFox 2 in development (but scrapped), and a StarFox 64 for the N64. As of this noding, StarFox Adventures: Dinosaur Planet has been released on the Gamecube, and has a dash of StarFox-style space combat added to a great deal of Zelda 64-style adventure.

StarFox: Competition Weekend Version || StarFox 2 || StarFox 64 || StarFox Adventures: Dinosaur Planet

Sources: GameFAQs, MobyGames, and a heaping helping of correction and advice from MightyMooQuack and jpfed.

StarFox began life as a tech demo, a "look at what we can do" demonstration of technology. Argonaut had put together a little shooter level with a rudimentary Arwing and a few towers and enemies to shoot down. Nintendo took a look at it and, being impressed, they commissioned Argonaut to build a game around the technology... but not using the shooter level or any of its elements.

Enter Shigeru Miyamoto who, according to the legend, saw potential in the little level and envisioned a more complex gaming environment with wingmen, bosses, and other classic Miyamoto touches. Nintendo was well aware of their top designer's success record and commissioned the Arwing/shooter game.

While Argonaut did handle the programming and production of the final StarFox game, Miyamoto designed many of the elements including Fox McCloud himself and his wingmen Falco Lombardi, Peppy Hare, and Slippy Toad. He also designed Andross and put together the basic plot of the game. He also came up with a name for the game... StarWolf. Well, that was one of the proposed names. Before Fox McCloud was a fox he was a wolf, a sheep (StarSheep), and a whole host of other concepts before Miyamoto settled on a fox for his lead character (The StarWolf concept would be used later in StarFox 64).

While StarFox was successful and beloved by the gaming masses, Shigeru Miyamoto was not entirely happy. He had envisioned so much more in the StarFox world that, several years later, the game would be remade as StarFox 64 and would feature everything the designer wanted in the original game.


References:
The StarFox 64 Players Guide
A long-discarded copy of Electronic Gaming Monthly with an interview with Argonaut's programmers

Footnote: I tried to research more on this topic on Google, but was unable to find any information beyond what I already knew. Searching for historical StarFox material on Google is quite a challenge because there's an entire elaborate fanbase devoted to creating their own StarFox fanfiction.

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