Saturday, 1 September 2018

Video Game Character of the Month - September 2018 - Fox McCloud - Star Fox

Video Game Character of the Month
September 2018
Fox McCloud
Star Fox
Star Fox, I mean 'Fox McCloud', is one of the galaxy's best pilots, and certainly one of the best anthropomorphic fox pilots. And, while his main game series may have slipped slightly into obscurity (although Captain Falcon of F-Zero would argue that Star Fox is alive and kicking in comparison), he's certainly still very relevant in Super Smash Bros. tournaments. And, as an original Nintendo mascot, I think it's only fair to say: Fox, 'do a barrel role' and come and collect your Video Game Character of the Month Award!
Now for a little bit of information on Fox McCloud:
Warning: spoilers ahead

He is an anthropomorphic fox
He has green eyes...
... although they sometimes appear blue
Fox's nose is black in every game except for Star Fox Assault where it became dark brown
He has orange-brown fur
His golden-brown hair with white highlights is cut into a crew cut
His skin is cream coloured
He has a bushy white tipped tail
In the Star Fox series he is of medium/short height (5'8") and medium weight (70.31 SK), while in Super Smash Bros. he is a mid-sized target but very light
He speaks in a youthful tone but the style and personality differs with each voice actor...
... he is also one of the only Nintendo Originals that has different voice actors
He talks the least during the Lylat Wars, with a count of 82 quotes
In Star Fox 64 he is 18 which means that he is 29 in Star Fox Command which takes place 18 years later
He is similar to Luke Skywalker in personality - at least in the original continuity
After the Star Fox 64 reboot of continuity, Fox became much more self-centred
His home planet is Corneria but he was born on Papetoon
He is team leader of the Star Fox team
In one timeline he becomes a G-Zero racer
His father is James McCloud, of who's footsteps he follows after his untimely death
He inherits the Great Fox, ROB 64 and great financial debt from his father
James McCloud apparently made Fox's leadership of Star Fox his last wish
In one timeline he marries Krystal and has a son, Marcus
He was originally called Fox McCloud, Jr and his father was Fox McCloud, Sr
He is considered one of the greatest Arwing ace pilots around, along with Falco Lombardi and Wolf O'Donnell
He has metal legs - however, these are not due to amputations but, rather, just a design choice

Origin of Fox McCloud:
Out-of-universe: originally, the 3D space shooter for the SNES, known, provisionally as 'SnesGlider', didn't have a story. However, this meant that there was little incentive to play beyong flying and shooting. Miyamoto therefore sketched out a universe, but struggled to decide on a hero for an epic space saga. This lead to such glorious names as 'Star Wolf', 'Star Sparrow', 'Star Hawk', my favourite 'Star Sheep' and the final decision of 'Star Fox'. The fox was decided after Miyamoto visited Fushimi Inari-taisha in Kyoto, the head shrine of Inari, a Japanese kami (Shinto spirits) associated with foxes. Inari are said to be able to fly, and, as its shrines are often surrounded by red arches (torii), Miyamoto had the idea of a fox flying through arches. Fox's face was modeled after the Inari's and he ususally wears a red turtleneck/scarf around his neck like the Inari statue. Fox McCloud's personality is heavily based on Miyamoto's personality (whether this is the original 'Luke Skywalker-esque' personality of the original canon or the later more 'Maverick' personality, I'm not sure). His surname, McCloud was suggested by Dylan Cuthbert, one of Argonaut Software's programmers, who were handling the programming of the game, while Nintendo handled design. He was first voiced by Daniel Owsen, in btoh English and Japanese versions of the game.

In-universe: Fox was born to James McCloud and an unnamed mother. However, James was eventually forced to raise Fox on his own. After some time, Fox joined a pilot's academy with his old friend, Bill Grey. Eventually, however, James McCloud joined Peppy Hare and Pigma Dengar to form the original Star Fox team in order to take Andross, an evil scientist/tyrant, down. Unfortunately, Pigma was actually hired by Andross and so betrayed James to his supposed death. Peppy escaped and helped Fox form a new Star Fox team with his friends Falco Lombardi and Slippy Toad (Fox knew that Bill Grey would have joined as well, but didn't want to pull Bill into the future troubles). General Pepper, feeling guilty about sending James to his doom, took it upon himself to manage Fox's future career. In addition, at some point, Fox helped Falco clean up his act on the streets of Corenia, and encouraged him to attend the military academy with him. According the the comics, he was also the leader of a group of bandits that stole from the Imperial Guard in the name of the oppressed, in the vein of Robin Hood.

Evolution of Fox McCloud:
Out-of-universe: Fox's voice actor has changed from game to game. He was voiced by Daniel Owsen in the original Star Fox, Mike West for the English version of Star Fox 64, Star Fox 64 3D, Star Fox Zero and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. In the Japanese release of Star Fox 64 and in both the English and Japanese release of Super Smash Bros., he was voiced by Shinobu Satouchi. For English dialogue of Super Smash Bros. Melee and Star Fox Adventures, Fox was voiced by Steve Malpass. In Star Fox: Assault and Super Smash Bros. Brawl, he was voiced by Jim Walker for the English release and Kenji Nojima in the Japanese release. Nojima then reprised his role in the the Japanese version of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. In Star Fox 64 3D, he is voiced by Takashi Ōhara.

In-universe: in the original continuity, Fox fights against Andross and tyranny in general, as well as being disinterested in money, preferring to give any loot taken to the oppressed people he fought for. Eventually, after rescuing her, he develops a romantic relationship with Fara Phoenix. In the rebooted continuity (after Star Fox 64), Fox becomes much more the self-centred mercenary, rather than the Robin Hood-esque freedom fighter. He is less motivated by a desire to resist tyranny and more by a desire for revenge against Andross and the prospect of riches. He becomes infatuated with Krystal in Star Fox Adventures and they begin an on/off relationship.  In Star Fox 64, his friendship with Bill Grey is shown, as is his rivalry with Wolf O'Donnel of the rival Star Wolf team. In Star Fox Adventures, Fox is hired to stop Dinosaur Planet breaking apart. Originally, Star Fox Adventures was going to be called Dinosaur Planet, which was an action adventure starring Krystal and a fox named Sabre, developed by Rare. However, it was cancelled shortly after E3 2000. Nintendo noticed the similarity between Fox McCloud and Sabre and decided to remake the game as Star Fox Adventures. Adventures also introduces a more Zelda-like gameplay. Then, in Star Fox: Assault, Fox is tasked with defeating Andross's nephew, Andrew Oikonny. He also fights Pigma  Dengar, and the Star Wolf team as well as the Aparoid (bug-like organisms with the power to assimilate things) Queen. Finally, in Star Fox Command there are several endings where Fox either: learns the value of friendship and love; disbands Star Fox in order to marry Krystal and have a child; keeps his feelings for Krystal from her, which drives her to join Star Wolf, and causes Falco and Slippy to leave him alone (terrifyingly this is most likely the canon ending); meets, but doesn't recognise, Krystal, who is now the Bounty Huntress, Kursed;confesses his love to Krystal which causes her to rejoin the Star Fox team; possibly continued to fight evil while living on in Slippy's stories; saves Lylat without the help of Falco or lives as a dead-man after losing Krystal, his love of piloting and all those that had looked up to him as their hero, only turning it around because Falco suggests they both join the G-Zero Grand Prix, where they became racing pilots, leaving the days of Star Fox behind them. However, it is suspected that this game may not be canon, or at least the endings aren't, as the developers have stated that any sequel may take place in the middle of the game. Commander also introduces turn-based battling to the series. Takaya Imamura gave Fox a more cartoonish appearance in this game, as opposed to the more realistic look of Star Fox Adventures and Star Fox: Assault, which Imamura had felt was unpopular. Star Fox 64 3D is just a remake of Star Fox 64 and Star Fox Zero only has some changes to 64.

Fox has also appeared in all Super Smash Bros. games. In the original Smash Bros. his appearance is based on Star Fox 64, and he is the second fastest character and best jumper in the game. In Melee his appearance is based on the original Star Fox, his blaster no longer causes opponents to flinch but is now rapid fire and he can now use Fox Illusion. In Brawl he is light, has the third-fastest dashing speed in the game, and attacks including a blaster, a dash attack, a hexagonal reflector (informally called the 'shine') the Fire Fox attack and the Landmaster Tank as a Final Smash. He doesn't change much between Brawl and Smash 4, besides a brighter colour scheme to match the game's art direction but in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, he will be based off his Star Fox Zero design and have a new Final Smash that uses the Arwing vehicle. In the Subspace Emissary, Fox joins forces with Diddy Kong to defeat Rayquaza and Bowser. He later teams up with Falco only to be separated from both Falco and Diddy after defeating a false Diddy. He gets shot down by the Halberd and teams up with Sheik, Princess Peach, Lucario and Snake to defeat Duon. Finally, he joins the other heroes to defeat Tabu.

Star Fox/Starwing (Europe): released (Japan) on February 21, 1993/(North America) on March 26, 1993/(Europe) on June 3, 1993 on SNES
Star Fox (Nelsonic Game Watch): released (Unknown) in June 1993 on the Nelsonic Game Watch
Star Fox 64: released (Japan) on April 27, 1997/(North America) on June 30, 1997/(PAL) on October 4, 1997 on Nintendo 64/(China) in November 2003 on iQue Player
Star Fox Adventures: released (North America) on September 23, 2002/(Japan) on September 27, 2002/(Australia) on November 15, 2002/(Europe) on November 22, 2002 on Nintendo GameCube
Star Fox: Assault: released (North America) on February 14, 2005/(Japan) on February 24, 2005/(Europe) on April 29, 2005/(Australia) on June 16, 2005 on Nintendo GameCube
Star Fox Command: released (Japan) on August 3, 2006/(North America) on August 28, 2006/(Australia) on September 21, 2006/(Europe) on January 26, 2007 on Nintendo DS/(North America) on June 25, 2015/(Europe) on August 6, 2015/(Australia) on August 7, 2015 on Wii U Virtual Console
Star Fox 64 3D: released (Japan) on July 14, 2011/(North America/Europe) on September 9, 2011/(Australia) on September 15, 2011 on Nintendo 3DS
Star Fox Zero: released (Japan) on April 21, 2016/(North America/Europe) on April 22, 2016/(Australia) on April 23, 2016 on Wii U
Star Fox 2: released (North America/Europe) on September 29, 2017/(Australia) on September 30, 2017/(Japan) on October 5, 2017 on SNES Classic Edition
Starlink Battle For Atlas: released (World Wide) on October 16, 2018 on Nintendo Switch
Super Smash Bros.: released (Japan) on January 21, 1999/ (North America) on April 26,  1999/ (Europe) on November 19, 1999 on Nintendo 64/ (Japan) on January 20, 2009/ (PAL) on June 12, 2009/ (North America) on December 21, 2009 on Virtual Console
Super Smash Bros. Melee: released (Japan) on November 21, 2001/ (North America) on December 3, 2001/ (Europe) on May 24, 2002/ (Australia) on May 31, 2002 on Nintendo GameCube
Super Smash Bros. Brawl: released (Japan) on January 31, 2008/ (North America) on March 9, 2008/ (Australia) on June 26, 2008/ (Europe) on June 27, 2008 on Wii
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS:  released (Japan) on September 13, 2014/ (North America/Europe) on October 3, 2014/ (Australia) on October 4, 2014 
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U: released (North America) on November 21, 2014/(Europe) on November 28, 2014/(Australia) on November 29, 2014/(Japan) on December 6, 2014
Super Mario Maker: released (Japan) on September 10, 2015/(Europe/North America) on September 11, 2015/(Australia) on September 12, 2015 on Wii U
Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS: released (Japan) on December 1, 2016/(Europe/North America) on December 2, 2016/(Australia) on December 3, 2016 on the Nintendo 3DS
Mario Kart 8: released (Japan) on May 29, 2014/(Europe/North America) on May 30, 2014/(Australia) on May 31, 2014 on Wii U
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: released (World Wide) on April 28, 2017 on the Nintendo Switch

Cancelled Games:
Star Fox (Virtual Boy)
Star Fox (Arcade)
Star Fox Warriors

Well, that's all on Fox McCloud, and, as always, don't forget to comment if I've made a mistake/missed anything out or if you can think of the next character that deserves to win the prestigious Video Game Character of the Month award! 

Goodbye for now, Harry


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