Tag Archives: fox

FGC #391 Star Fox 64 3D

Let us review how it only took one greedy pig to ruin the universe.

Here is Pigma Dengar.

Oink

First, we shall consider Pigma’s past. Pigma was a member of the original Star Fox team. This gang included not only Pigma, but also Peppy Hare and its leader, James McCloud. And, if you examine the infrastructure of the original Star Fox, you’ll find that being a mercenary space pilot was a pretty cushy gig. Sure, you were flying across the universe straight into danger on all fronts… but it certainly paid well. The Star Fox custom ships were all the latest in technological advancement, and, let’s be real here, that costs a pretty penny. And then there’s the Great Fox, a gigantic, airborne aircraft carrier that could quickly hop around the galaxy. James needed a 70 year loan to purchase that incredible ship… and I don’t care what planet you’re on, a bank isn’t going to hand out that kind of scratch without a flawless credit rating. Essentially, history shows that, prior to the Lylat Wars, Star Fox was making bank.

But Pigma wanted more.

WeeeeeeIt might be speciest, but Pigma was a pig through and through. Pigma was perfectly willing to sell out his companions and entire operation for, what, a few pieces of silver? The whole Star Fox operation was squashed in one day thanks entirely to Pigma’s greed. The cunning pig led James McCloud and Peppy Hare into a lethal trap, and only Peppy was able to escape with his life. James was gone, Peppy was wounded, and Pigma had indisputably switched sides. It was this event that would then inevitably lead to rise of Andross, and the Lylat Wars would occur shortly thereafter.

And consider Andross: he may have once been the most hated ape in the galaxy, but, one way or another, Andross’s tale is one of an underdog. Andross was singularly brilliant even as a child, and was focused on protecting his home planet of Corneria. However, his ambitions outstripped his abilities, and, in a fateful accident, a chunk of the capital was outright obliterated. General Pepper, seeing no other recourse, exiled Andross to Venom, a planet so inhospitable, it was literally named for poison. But Andross thrived in this environment, and, from the nothing that was a demon class planet, Andross had amassed an army. It was then that he was able to tempt Pigma to his side, and put an end to the original Star Fox team. Andross came from nothing, had all of his resources stripped away, and was still able to successfully launch a rebellion with the help of one greedy pig that already had more than his fair share of wealth. Andross was hated and reviled, but no one can say he merely inherited that title.

I hate everything!And, while we are speaking of privilege, we must consider Pigma’s lost quarry: Peppy Hare. Peppy escaped that fateful trap that finished James McCloud, and hopped on home to relay the news to Fox McCloud, son of James. Fox was an excellent pilot in his own right, but was he prepared to take up the Star Fox mantle? Was he at all qualified to lead a team of mercenaries on a blood quest to avenge his father? Or was Fox less fox, and more a lamb to the slaughter? Peppy never seemed like a vengeful hare, but he did immediately conscript his inexperienced “nephew” in a bloody war without a second thought. And, advanced or not, did anyone truly believe that four ships would succeed in stopping Andross where an entire army had failed? And who the hell thought it was a good idea to make the amphibious mechanic a pilot? Was this “team” thrown together with the same care as a middling salad? We now see Star Fox as a group of heroes that have saved the universe on multiple occasions, but, at the time, it was just a bloodthirsty rabbit and a kid that inherited his father’s empire. One might suppose we should be thankful was Fox McCloud was firmly on the side of the angels.

But Pigma certainly was not. Star Fox was assembled to destroy Andross, and Star Wolf was assembled to counter that vanguard. Or was it? Data on the Star Wolf team prior to the Lylat Wars is sketchy at best. What we do know is that Andross was responsible for the Wolfen craft that the team employs, and we’re all well aware that Andrew earned his seat at the table through being Andross’s nephew. But Pigma? It’s unclear how Pigma joined the gang. Was he with Star Wolf from the beginning, or did he join only when Andross offered a bounty? Are the rumors true, and Pigma is also the reason Fox and Wolf have an eternal rivalry? Whatever his origin, Pigma was certainly a member of Star Wolf exclusively for the paycheck, and, ace piloting skills or not, he was only interested in “finishing the job” for the money.

Which he didn’t. Star Wolf failed, Andross failed, and Star Fox brought peace to the galaxy. Pigma was out of a job.

SpicyBut greed doesn’t evaporate after a single setback. Pigma may have been financially and morally bankrupt, but it was still a big galaxy, and not being accepted by polite society never stopped this pig. Despite being targeted by the Cornerian Army, Star Fox, and Star Wolf (his former companions), Pigma was able to make a living as a pirate.

And then his greed nearly destroyed the universe. Again.

Aparoids, mechanical monsters from the furthest reaches of the galaxy, invaded the Lylat System. These insect-like creatures may have been merely a galactic annoyance, but Pigma thought he could make a quick buck by getting his hoggish hands on a Core Memory, and selling it to the highest bidder. His plan may have worked… except the core assimilated Pigma, and transformed him into a galactic engine of destruction. Mecha Pigma then severely damaged the climate control center of Fichina, and effectively killed an entire planet. Before he was finally destroyed by Star Fox, Pigma had left an indelible scar on the face of the galaxy, and all in the name of buying a bigger pig pen.

So is there a moral to Pigma’s story? He had it all, gave it away for more, but, in the end, died a penniless captive of his own avarice. “Don’t be greedy” seems like a pretty obvious lesson here, but maybe there’s something more. Maybe we’re supposed to realize what greed does: that, given the option, there are some people that would absolutely choose to endanger everyone and everything in the name of profit. Maybe the moral is not to avoid being this type of person, but to never enable someone that would even think of doing such a thing. Greed is bad, we know that, but perhaps it is more important to guard against the greedy than worry about the dominion of our own hearts.

Though, one would suppose, a coda is important here.

Right?There are some that say Pigma survived. Despite the destruction of the Aparoid hive, Pigma lived on, now fused with the core he stole long ago, and became some manner of… space box. This new creature is neither living nor dead, though seemingly possessed of Pigma’s repellant personality. Perhaps this is the ultimate fate for one so fueled by greed. Perhaps, trapped in a prison of his own making, screaming at the void and attempting to distract heroes from their real goals, perhaps that is where greed leads in the end.

But that kind of appropriate punishment will not bring back the lives lost.

Beware the pigs of this galaxy, citizens. Beware the pigs.

FGC #391 Star Fox 64 3D

  • System: Nintendo 3DS. If we’re talking about the original, which we’re not, then you’d have to hit the N64.
  • Number of players: Multiplayer is still possible, right? Let’s say four. Wait, they dropped the on-foot mode? Lame.
  • Hey, genius, none of this is canon anymore: Yes, Star Fox Zero apparently has rewritten the Star Fox timeline once again. And maybe Star Fox 2 is now partially canon, too, thanks to the SNES Mini? I don’t care. Star Fox 64 got the coolest strategy guide, so it’s the most canon.
  • Maybe actually talk about the game for a second: I’m not generally a fan of the Star Fox series, as I prefer my shoot ‘em ups to be 2-D, and the 3-D perspective somehow doesn’t work with my brain (I have a tendency to gauge distances wrong… and smash right into things. Sorry, Fox), but Star Fox 64 is my favorite of the franchise. Maybe I just like charging lasers? Or maybe it came out at just the right time to be the only game available on my only current system for a few months (thanks, N64!). Whatever the reason, this is the only Star Fox title that ever really clicked with me, and the 3DS version only makes it better. So time to pay, Andross!
  • Tanks a lot!Other Vehicles: This is also the first Star Fox game to get bored with Arwings, and introduce the tank and submarine. They’re both awful, and I hate them. I don’t understand how some videogames keep making tanks awful, but here we are.
  • For the ladies: Katt Monroe appears to be the only woman in this entire war. This would bother me more if I wasn’t dreadfully aware of what happens to women in the Star Fox fandom.
  • Did you know? If you battle Star Wolf more than once during an adventure, they will return with “battle damage” and cybernetic enhancements that presumably cover their many scars. And Wolf himself gets a pile of band-aids. Considering how furry that dude is, that has got to be painful.
  • Would I play again: Probably yes. Out of many Star Fox games, this one seems to be my one return engagement, and sticking it on a portable system doesn’t hurt. And I can punish a pig, which is always good.

What’s next? Random ROB… can be kind of funny sometimes. As you may be aware, I “roll” Random ROB pretty far in advance, and, by complete coincidence, it created its own theme week thanks to three sequential games that actually all work together well. So, next week we’ll start with Rocko’s Modern Life: Spunky’s Dangerous Day, and kick off TV Week, a week featuring games based on TV shows. Please look forward to it!

Off to the next adventure

Television without Piety

It’s Halloween, so let’s talk about the devil, and how he appears on my television once a week.

I’m talking about Lucifer.

Fox’s Lucifer did not immediately catch my interest. It’s another damn police procedural that’s based on a comic book property, and I figured it would be one and done inside of six episodes. I mentally logged it to dig out that first season in a few years, check in with a vocal contingent of nerds that claim it’s the best thing ever, and then never go back to thinking of such a thing ever again. After all, how could a Satan-based television show ever last on the same network that once hosted good, wholesome shows like Married… With Children and Melrose Place?

But here we are with a second season of Lucifer. Here we are with a detective show featuring the devil having to deal with his whacky mother, stern brother, and nymphomaniac therapist. And there’s a will they/won’t they bubbling over between Lucifer and his stalwart cop partner (who is, incidentally, a former porn star). Nix the devil aspect, and this could be practically any police procedural on TV, but, no, we’ve got Satan and his magical ability to suss out people’s innermost desires (an ability he uses… when he remembers it exists). The whole show is simultaneously banal and extraordinary, which is usually how it goes with Ol’ Scratch.

It also happens to summarize exactly where we are in our media history.

SexyThe sympathetic Lord of Lies is something that has been going on since well before the television was even imagined. Many cultures feature a “devil” character that is more mischievous than outright evil, even if the featured trickster stands in direct opposition to a kindly creator god. Raven, Anansi, Puck, and other mischief makers that didn’t appear on Disney’s Gargoyles seem to be a recurring motif throughout history. Even within Christianity, noted Xenosaga prequel Milton’s Paradise Lost told the story of a devil that was “bad”, but mostly because he was sympathetically prideful. “Better to rule in Hell” and all that riot. And that was written in 1667. Even before that, you could claim the Satan of Dante’s Inferno is sympathetic in his punishment: this 14th-century Lucifer is eternally weeping and attempting to escape with six wings that only serve to further solidify his frozen prison. That doesn’t describe a menacing devil that is the root of all evil, that’s a toddler that got stuck in a molasses bucket (it happens).

But what makes Fox’s Lucifer so modern is that it’s based on one specific sympathetic devil: Lucifer Morningstar of DC Comics/Vertigo. For those of you that have never read Gaiman’s Sandman (and, seriously, if you’re reading this blog and haven’t read that epic series, please put the computer down, and go to your local library. This article will still be here when you get back, and my writing will only appear 20% worse), Sandman features a Lucifer that is tired of being blamed for all of humanity’s ills, and decides that, after a few billion years, why not try out a new job? So he locks up Hell, tosses the key to Lord Morpheus, and (after a brief sojourn in Australia) starts a nightclub with his best lady demon by his side. Screw you, God, I’m gonna get my own place. By the finale of Sandman, Lucifer seems oddly content playing the piano at Lux and looking an awful lot like at least one incarnation of David Bowie.

The second oneDC Comics actually successfully identified the potential of the timeless character Gaiman had borrowed from a couple millennia of history, so Mike Carey continued the story of “that” Lucifer in the 75-issue Lucifer comic book series. And, good news, it may have been a very different story from Sandman, but it was every bit as good as the perennial Vertigo launch title. This Lucifer did seem to start out by “solving crimes” from his nightclub base… but shortly thereafter he got a little more mystical, and created his own damn(ed) reality. Then there was no lack of fantastical events, like angels breeding with humans to create lil’ godlings, ghosts, centaurs, witches, forgotten pantheons, and Mona, who stands over hedgehogs. By the end of the Lucifer Vertigo series, the whole of creation has nearly collapsed, but it was saved at the last moment by the devil himself and a British teen. God is also hanging out at some highway rest station outside of the universe. I think He needs a break.

Suffice it to say, I don’t think Fox’s Lucifer is going to dip into the centaur well.

But Fox’s Lucifer is ostensibly based on the comic book character. There’s the Lux nightclub, (facial reconstruction) Mazikeen, and much of the Gaiman flare for “I’m so tired of everybody always blaming me for everything”. This is a series where, somehow, Neil Gaiman gets credit for creating the devil (even if this devil isn’t fit to lick Bowie’s boots). This is, like Gotham, Arrow, and iZombie before it, yet another primetime series based on a comic book franchise.

And that’s kind of amazing.

This is the devil in 21st Century America: another comic book character to be welded to a “cop show”. Lucifer is not scary, Lucifer is here to solve crime and flirt with ladies (and not men, because a gay/bi devil might make people uncomfortable). Lucifer is not a creation of thousands of years of myth, no, Lucifer is a creation of the British comics invasion of the late 80’s. And, don’t worry, kids, Lucifer isn’t going to ask any uncomfortable questions about faith and the nature of good and evil, Lucifer is just going to find a body at the top of the hour, and then send the second interviewed witness to jail every episode.

He’s the Lord of Lies, and he’s advertiser friendly!

SeriouslyTo be clear, I’m not saying that any of this makes Lucifer a bad show. I rather like it, and its… disorderly approach to the Christian mythos. I find Lucifer (the character) charming, and his whacky cast is enough to carry scenes where he’s off doing whatever devils do in their downtime. It’s a good show, if a bit rote with its procedural trappings.

But it’s also a perfect encapsulation of the modern approach to entertainment. Find a popular property in some other medium, rely on the fans to carry it through its inevitably rocky opening salvo, and then establish some mysteries to keep the gears rolling for another seven seasons or so. The devil, a creature blamed for death and suffering for countless years, is now completely domesticated and solving crimes opposite Supergirl.

So happy Halloween, kiddies. There are still monsters out on the streets, and they feed on the ratings of young souls.

And tune in on Wednesday to look at some other devils that feed on approval ratings.

AHHHH