When Dinosaur Planet was announced last year for the Nintendo 64, developer Rare called the game "one of our most ambitious projects to date." It would turn out to be too ambitious for the N64 altogether, and has now become the first GameCube title for one of Nintendo's most popular franchises -- Star Fox.

Now that's bravery
The running Fox

    Star Fox Adventures: Dinosaur Planet builds on the third-person adventure elements pioneered by the Zelda series, but brings more complex combat and more exploration to the table. The world of Star Fox has been integrated not only through new characters, but the fact areas are now located on different planets, and that traditional Arwing combat is promised between planets.

    The original Dinosaur Planet was significantly more serious in tone than the average Star Fox game, and the playable levels shown so far have kept that tone despite Fox's usually goofy wingmen. Slippy is now off designing new equipment for Fox, Peppy offers directions from Mission Support, and Falco has disappeared in search of fame. Some of the original Dinosuar Planet cast remains, as heroine Krystal has been kidnapped by the evil Krazoa, and young triceratops Tricky now follows Fox instead of original hero Sabre. The same lizard villian, now known as General Scales, also reappears.

    The battle system revolves around the staff wielded by Fox and use of Tricky in combat. The staff is used for hand-to-hand combat and is the basis for a projectile magic system. The Y-button locks onto an enemy once an arrow appears above their head, allowing Fox to stay focused on them while moving in a way similar to Zelda. Magic attacks can be queued by pushing C-left, including a basic fireball and green magic missile. A third attack, which creates a clone to distract enemies, is one of many promised transformations the staff will allow Fox to make.

 Zap!  Pow!
A hint of the promised Arwings

    The C-stick also controls the many possible actions for Fox's dinosaur sidekick Tricky. he will play a key role in battles, and the playable boss fight at E3 required use of him as a decoy while Fox snuck behind the enemy and struck its tail. Tricky can also attack on his own, dig, and retrieve items independent of Fox's actions. This aspect of the gameplay showed the most progress since last year's E3, as issuing Tricky's commands was both smooth and intuitive.

    But the most significant change has come not from the addition of Fox and friends, but the jump to the GameCube hardware. Dinosaur Planet boasted impressive visual design on the N64, but even the required expansion pak left the game with limitations, especially in texture variety. The GameCube has allowed Star Fox Adventures to boast stunning water and shadowing effects, even on Fox's constantly moving tail.

   Star Fox Adventures: Dinosaur Planet has the potential to be a blockbuster title for the GameCube, benefiting from years of development time and a new marquee franchise. The original Dinosaur Planet never received a release date, but Star Fox Adventures is now set to launch alongside the Nintendo GameCube on November 5, and Fox McCloud may just find a new home outside his trademark Arwing.

Preview by Ed McGlothin, GIA.
Star Fox Adventures: Dinosaur Planet
Developer Rare
Publisher Rare
Genre Adventure
Medium Disc
Platform Nintendo GameCube
Release Date  Unknown
E3: High-resolution Version of Star Fox Adventures footage
5 screenshots
Fox McCloud render