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Star Fox 64 Patch: A Mixed Blessing

by Jonathan Metts - April 30, 2007, 6:13 pm PDT
Total comments: 20

If you choose to update your Virtual Console copy of this game, you'll get both upgrades and downgrades (am total).

It doesn't happen often, but some Virtual Console games are updated after their initial releases to correct various bugs. Many users of the service may not realize these updates are available, because Nintendo does not announce them or notify consumers through Wiimail or any other means. The only way you can keep abreast of the updates is to look at "Titles You've Downloaded" on the Store Channel. Games with updates available will have a small "Updated!" tab above the title. Of course, these patches are free, but you will have to download an entirely new ROM, which may take a while in the case of larger games like Star Fox 64.

Just released today, the update for Star Fox 64 corrects a major complaint about the original Virtual Console release -- that the Classic Controller's joystick was far too sensitive for this game. The updated version puts the Classic Controller on equal ground with the GameCube controller, which was previously the only way for cool people to play this game on Wii. However, you may still find the GameCube controller's button layout to be better suited for the game, and that's one advantage not likely to be fixed by a software update.

Unfortunately, the update for Star Fox 64 also unravels one of the improvements over the original cartridge release, because slowdown is back in the game. After hearing about this rollback on various gaming forums, we tested it for ourselves and found that there is definitely some slowdown in the updated version which was not there before. The effect is immediately noticeable on the planetary map screen before each level. It's the same slowdown that was present in the old N64 version, but the first VC release corrected nearly all of the game's frame rate problems. (Incidentally, the proper speed made levels such as Aquas far more difficult.)

So, is this update worth downloading? Yes, if you don't own any GameCube controllers and found the game to be unplayable with the Classic Controller, as we stated in VC Mondays a few weeks ago. If slowdown really bothers you, and you're already used to playing the game with a WaveBird, there's no need to grab the update as far as we can tell. (It's entirely optional, so if you've already downloaded the game, you are free to leave it as is.)

We also tested to see if rumble support for GameCube controllers was added. It wasn't.

We'll update this story if any other changes in the update are confirmed, but so far it's just joystick sensitivity and reintroduced slowdown. Until Nintendo starts to provide some kind of documentation for these patches, we have to rely on anecdotal reports and our own testing.

Talkback

that Baby guyApril 30, 2007

This is a nice thing to report on, and I have to say, I looked at it a little bit today, and my results agree, except I haven't played it with a Gamecube controller.

nickmitchApril 30, 2007

So, if I were to buy the game now, it would be the "patched" version?

Yes, I'm almost positive of that, TVman.

AlfonseApril 30, 2007

Quote:

So, if I were to buy the game now, it would be the "patched" version?



Almost assuredly.

I don't understand what the problem is with slowdown. It was in the original. And if this is supposed to be a near-perfect version of the original, then slowdown should be on the VC version too. It might make it actually possible to medal on Area 6.

SheckyApril 30, 2007

Thanks for the very useful info. The game played fine with the GCN controller before and I'll just stick with that since I don't even own any Classic Controllers. It's nice to know when an update is worth downloading and what it does exactly.

Authentic slowdown!!!!

YEYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSs!!!!!!!

Thank you Nintendo!!!

... no, seriously guys. Slowdown is PART of the nostalgia. I paid Nintendo 10 bucks and by Golly if they can't give me rumble AT LEAST give me my childhood naivete in thinking the game was being dramatic!

~Carmine "Cai" M. Red
Kairon@aol.com

It would be nice if Nintendo could offer "authentic" and "enhanced" modes for some games that suffered from slowdown or similar issues. For example, I know overclocking an NES can solve a lot of the slowdown found in Kirby's Adventure--that could be done in the emulator without too much trouble. Of course, Nintendo would never confuse their larger audience with such options....

S-U-P-E-RTy Shughart, Staff AlumnusApril 30, 2007

I don't suppose they patched out all the color dithering?

GoldenPhoenixApril 30, 2007

Always leave it to Nintendo fans to be happy for graphical problems that were never really part of the game designer's plan that does nothing but hamper gameplay. Heaven forbid cleaning up the graphical glitches and slowdown that plagued games and was never a positive feature, UNTHINKABLE.

DAaaMan64April 30, 2007

Hmm.. I though Aquos seemed a hell of a lot harder...

UltimatePartyBearMay 01, 2007

Lesson learned: Always check your ref-- I mean, always back up the rom before downloading an update.

If I had known that the frame rate was improved, I might have bought it before this happened.

vherubMay 01, 2007

Have any other vc titles been patched?

CericMay 01, 2007

Quote

Originally posted by: vherub
Have any other vc titles been patched?


Yes, Military Madness. It had a scrolling issue. Which means I own every game that was patched... (I also own every game on the Cube that uses the Dance Pad... All two of them...)

trip1eXMay 01, 2007

I played it with a Classic controller. It didn't notice any problems with the joystick. I do wish they would let you save. Even saving your state when you exit would have been fine. It doesn't seem like that happens in N64 games though.

Quote

Originally posted by: GoldenPhoenix
Always leave it to Nintendo fans to be happy for graphical problems that were never really part of the game designer's plan that does nothing but hamper gameplay. Heaven forbid cleaning up the graphical glitches and slowdown that plagued games and was never a positive feature, UNTHINKABLE.


I'm not happy for the graphical problems. But nostalgia is nostalgia, for better or for worse.

~Carmine "Cai" M. Red
Kairon@aol.com

KlapauciusMay 01, 2007

Quote



I'm not happy for the graphical problems. But nostalgia is nostalgia, for better or for worse.


There was a glitch (?) in 'Link's Awakening' on Gameboy, that let you jump over walls and such by pausing as the screen scrolled between squares of the map.
They removed it for 'Link's Awakening DX' face-icon-small-sad.gif

Ian SaneMay 01, 2007

"It would be nice if Nintendo could offer 'authentic' and 'enhanced' modes for some games that suffered from slowdown or similar issues."

That would be nice. Then people who like accidental flaws that were never part of the original design can have them if they want them. I think R-Types for the Playstation which contains R-Type I and II offers slowdown as an option. You're right that Nintendo would never risk confusing their audience and that's a shame. I really don't like how Nintendo assumes we're all idiots. It would be nice if they just made all the "confusing" stuff accessable by code. Thus of us who care would know the code and can enter it to access button mapping options or multiple versions of the same game and stuff like that.

One game I would love to play without slowdown is Mega Man X. I never really noticed it at the time (except for the minecart part) but that game slows down tons. An enemy explodes and there's a hiccup. It's still playable but playing it with a smooth framerate would be fantastic.

GoldenPhoenixMay 01, 2007

Quote

Originally posted by: Kairon
Quote

Originally posted by: GoldenPhoenix
Always leave it to Nintendo fans to be happy for graphical problems that were never really part of the game designer's plan that does nothing but hamper gameplay. Heaven forbid cleaning up the graphical glitches and slowdown that plagued games and was never a positive feature, UNTHINKABLE.


I'm not happy for the graphical problems. But nostalgia is nostalgia, for better or for worse.

~Carmine "Cai" M. Red
Kairon@aol.com


I really disagree there, nostalgia is much more than graphical glitches it is the game itself. I'm not asking for graphic overhaul but if they can get rid of slowdown and elminate glitches, that will make the game BE what it was meant to be further increasing its playability.

Quote

Originally posted by: GoldenPhoenix
Quote

Originally posted by: Kairon
Quote

Originally posted by: GoldenPhoenix
Always leave it to Nintendo fans to be happy for graphical problems that were never really part of the game designer's plan that does nothing but hamper gameplay. Heaven forbid cleaning up the graphical glitches and slowdown that plagued games and was never a positive feature, UNTHINKABLE.


I'm not happy for the graphical problems. But nostalgia is nostalgia, for better or for worse.

~Carmine "Cai" M. Red
Kairon@aol.com


I really disagree there, nostalgia is much more than graphical glitches it is the game itself. I'm not asking for graphic overhaul but if they can get rid of slowdown and elminate glitches, that will make the game BE what it was meant to be further increasing its playability.


My dear Dark Queen: Greedo did NOT shoot first, Ganon spit up RED blood, and "old" is mispelled in the first castle of SMB3 as "oid."

~Carmine "Cai" M. Red
Kairon@aol.com

GoldenPhoenixMay 01, 2007

Quote

Originally posted by: Kairon
Quote

Originally posted by: GoldenPhoenix
Quote

Originally posted by: Kairon
Quote

Originally posted by: GoldenPhoenix
Always leave it to Nintendo fans to be happy for graphical problems that were never really part of the game designer's plan that does nothing but hamper gameplay. Heaven forbid cleaning up the graphical glitches and slowdown that plagued games and was never a positive feature, UNTHINKABLE.


I'm not happy for the graphical problems. But nostalgia is nostalgia, for better or for worse.

~Carmine "Cai" M. Red
Kairon@aol.com


I really disagree there, nostalgia is much more than graphical glitches it is the game itself. I'm not asking for graphic overhaul but if they can get rid of slowdown and elminate glitches, that will make the game BE what it was meant to be further increasing its playability.


My dear Dark Queen: Greedo did NOT shoot first, Ganon spit up RED blood, and "old" is mispelled in the first castle of SMB3 as "oid."

~Carmine "Cai" M. Red
Kairon@aol.com


I would say those changes are something to get upset with because they are changing how the game was originally designed (well maybe not the typo). Graphical glitches and slowdown are not in the same league as changing content, which IS changing the original vision.

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