Star Fox 2 is the sequel to 1993's Star Fox. Unlike the first game, which featured Muppets in cutscenes and Muppeteer voice acting, here, the characters are rendered entirely in-game (similar to OTL Starfox 64). The game shares most of its controls with OTL Starfox 64, including all-range mode, lock-on, somersaults, and U-turns, in addition to all the other familiar rail shooter controls that Star Fox has. The game features a bit more voice acting than OTL Starfox 64, and the game lets you pick up to two wingmen (out of four: Peppy, Falco, Slippy, and Krystal) before entering each mission. The wingmen have different ways to help Fox during a mission, and what wingmen you pick may determine what parts of the mission you'll be able to complete. The game takes place in the Lylat system, and you can navigate an icon around the map screen to select your stage (similar to the canceled OTL Star Fox 2 for the Super Nintendo). As you go through missions, you'll collect points from shooting down enemies, with more points possible if you take out multiple enemies at once. Points are used for bragging rights mostly, though some missions will grant a better result and access to different stages with a certain point total. The game takes place as Andross wages all-out war on the Lylat system, and his forces are plunging the star system into chaos. While you'll always start out in Corneria, after the opening mission (in which there are three possible ways to finish), Fox will have the option of traveling to one or more “hot spots” in which a battle is taking place. It's similar to the system in OTL Starfox 64, but more open-ended, with less of a defined path through the levels. For example, the team can move to liberate a besieged planet, investigate one of Andross' bio-labs, or push forward with an attack on a crucial base. There are far more choices and each choice is fraught with both strategic and moral value. The team doesn't start out with Krystal, she becomes available during an entirely optional mission after Corneria (no matter what conditions are met, the Krystal recruiting mission becomes available after Corneria) and you'll have either one or two more chances to recruit her during the course of the game (if you don't recruit her the first time, it's likely Andross will capture her and you'll have to save her then). There are 19 different locations in the game, and 28 different possible missions. You'll complete between 8-12 missions on your way to the final showdown in Venom with Andross (in which there are four different paths: easy, medium, hard, or extreme, the extreme path provides the best ending).
The game's plot is nearly identical to OTL's Starfox 64, complete with the background involving the betrayal of Fox's father James and Peppy Hare by Pigma Dengar, who joins Star Wolf along with Wolf O'Donnell, Andrew Oikonny, Leon Powalski, and Vespa Sciutto (a wasp girl who is the evil counterpart of Krystal). However, there is an additional plotline of Krystal's homeworld, which has been ravaged by Andross, with Krystal as one of the last survivors seeking to avenge her family.
The locations that return from OTL Starfox 64 are...
- Fortuna (w/alternate mission involving a longer route and no Star Wolf encouter)
- Sector X (w/alternate mission involving an intact research base and a more powerful secret weapon)
- Titania (w/alternate mission involving the excavation of a hidden weapon)
- Macbeth (w/alternate mission involving the rescue of a scientist and a Star Wolf fight, this alternate mission is TTL's equivalent to Bolse, leading to Venom on the easy path)
- Sector Y
- Zoness (w/alternate mission involving the purification of the planet's waters)
- Area 6
- Venom (w/four different routes)
The six new locations are...
- Serena (Krystal's homeworld, a world of poisoned forests, two different possible missions here)
- Eladard (From OTL Star Fox 2, a ringed world where you must navigate a meteor field and then a planetary battlefield, you encounter Star Wolf here)
- Exxcel (a world with many futuristic factories where Andross is constructing an enormous killer robot)
- Virion (a world navigated with the Landmaster tank, where strange and dangerous bioweapons lurk, this also is the final stage on most “medium” paths to Venom)
- Lab 0 (an underwater bioresearch lab navigated with the Blue Marine, another potential “medium” path to Venom on certain routes)
- Nebula (a mysterious realm of warped space, navigating this difficult and difficult to reach level is the only way to reach the “extreme” path of Venom and the true ending)
In order to get the best ending, you must take a grueling 12-stage route involving a number of difficult choices (hint: always make the moral decision) and skill checks with difficult objectives. The best route will take you through Corneria, Serena, Sector Y, Aquas, Exxcel, Titania (alternate mission), Zoness (alternate mission), Lab 0, Macbeth (blowing up the train), back to Serena (instead of to Area 6 which will only lead to the hard path, not the extreme path, though if you “fail” the second Serena mission you also end up in Venom on the hard path instead of going to Nebula), Nebula, and finally to Venom. In the “extreme” path, the Venom mission is a lengthy gauntlet, navigating several huge landmarks, dodging lots of enemy fire, hundreds of falling columns, battling a huge enemy bioweapon, THEN a very difficult Star Wolf fight before the final showdown with Andross, a multi-stage battle where Andross' brain inhabits a huge mechanized cyborg, where Fox gets to avenge his father, Krystal gets to avenge her people, and the Lylat system is truly liberated from Andross' evil rule.