Site reader Mr. Brownstone sent me a few messages about an old, 2002 article from German gaming magazine MAN!AC about the then-new Star Fox Adventures. Since it features Krystal on the magazine cover, and because apparently the German Star Fox fans really like Krystal, I'm posting the article scans as well as Mr. Brownstone's description of the article.
The headline says: 'Fox McCloud & Crew approaching the GameCube - How good is Rare's 3D-Adventure in reality?'
First of all, they really seem to like the game. They are, like many others, comparing it to Zelda ('First Impression: A worthy competitor to Zelda.', it says on page 1). They don't even complain, but just mention that the game is not all about flying in Arwings like it used to be in 'Starwing' (European name for Star Fox SNES) or 'Lylat Wars' (European name for Star Fox 64). They also praise the graphics, light effects and environment like the weather changing for instance. I'm sure we both agree that SFA was ahead of its time.
When it comes to the fighting system they say: 'The dynamic fights were sophisticatedly produced using Special-FX.' A thing that surprises me though is that they seem to like the fact that Fox is jumping automatically when coming close to an edge. They mention it on both pages. On page 1 right underneath the picture where Fox is jumping toward the blue SnowHorn, it is described as a 'killer of frustration.' On page 2, they say that you don't have to worry about the timing of the jump so you can focus on your adventure. I for one never liked the fact that Fox jumps on his own, but that's a personal opinion.
I think that covered the most important parts of page 1 except for the Krystal parts that I'm saving for later. On page 2 right underneath the first picture they start explaining that even in the Star Fox Universe money (scarabs) is a vital thing if you want to enter certain areas or buy useful items. The text underneath the other pictures basically says what is shown (a Dino companion who helps you digging and solving riddles; Using the Arwing to reach Dinosaur Planet; Racing down a mountain using a 'hover sledge'). Underneath the picture showing the WarpStone they describe the fact that you have to bring him a sweet gift before he is willing to transport you to other sections.
Now I start with the Krystal related stuff which is essentially a description of the basic story that continues on page 2. The first mention of Krystal, though, is underneath the picture that shows the Test of Observation: 'Shell game - Krystal has to keep her eyes glued to a certain basket.', it says. Now on to the description of the story. I will try to translate it as accurately as possible: 'Rescue effort: The young vixen Krystal is traversing the Lylat-System as a distress call reaches her from a planet nearby. She follows the S.O.S.-Signal and promptly runs into an ambush. - Fox McCloud and his team head off to rescue the abducted vixen.' (TOTALLY WRONG!) 'You (the player) already witness Krystal's capture by the disgusting lizard leader General Scales first-hand: On the back of a pterosaur you and the vixen fight a giant airship and after the battle wind up on Dinosaur Planet. There you learn that General Scales is working on an invasion of the peaceful planet. While trying to prevent this you finally end up in captivity.'
It continues the description by pointing out that after these events you play as Fox. It basically describes how the Arwing parts in the game work, like using the gold rings to open the force field. Right underneath the paragraph header 'The Legend of Star Fox' they start pointing out the similarities to Zelda, like the 3D environment and the fighting system with the lock-on mode. They also praise the fact that there are no noteworthy loading times in the game.
In the last part they focus on Tricky and his 'skills' as well as the other members of the Star Fox team and how they can assist Fox on the mission (Peppy with the map, for instance). The final rating says: 'Action-Adventure on an epic scale with fantastic 3D optics: Save a planet from an impending doom in the style of Zelda.'
I must say that I have mixed feelings about this article. Most of them are good though. Unlike many other reviewers, they don't complain about the fact that this game is completely different from the other SF titles. I also like the comparison to Zelda. However their description of the story is a total disaster. They don't mention the fact that the planet is tearing apart, which is the only reason why Fox is going there in the first place. Instead they make it look like he goes there to save Krystal, who he doesn't even know at that point. That makes Krystal look very bad in my opinion, like the typical damsel in distress. A lot of people are already seeing her as just that. The article is actually confirming the thoughts of those people by wrongly pointing out that Fox's main motive to go there is to save Krystal. I am really looking forward to hear your thoughts on this.
- Mr. Brownstone
I think they did a reasonably good job describing the story and mechanics of the game. Yes, they missed that slight motivation. However, we know that Star Fox Adventures at some point had Krystal's rescue as a primary goal, not just a happenstance of saving the planet. It may be that the review copy they received had the alternative plotpoints.
Plus, it is true that Krystal represents a damsel in distress during the course of the game, albeit with a slightly more important role (the conduit for Andross' spirit). But so what? Damsels get into distress all the time. It's a very common thing, and frankly a reflection of how real life actually works. Consider Princess Leia. She was a damsel in distress TWICE. Do we think less of her because of it? I don't. She killed Jabba the Hutt with her bare hands! And that's in addition to all the other things she did both as a primary and supporting character in Star Wars. So too with Krystal. She doesn't HAVE to be the focus of the story, nor does her need to be sometimes saved diminish her value as a great character. Other members of Star Fox (including Fox McCloud) needed saving too on occasion.