Star Fox was quirky, dash, and debonair Cockily charismatic, Fox McCloud was the first video game character I actually looked up to. When I held that controller in my hands, I felt myself at the helm of an Arwing gripping its controls because of Fox. I felt the thrusters ignite and the cockpit warble under the pressure because of Fox. My body slammed against my chair as I shot down that pixelated, blue wire-framed tunnel and into the battle for Corneria with Peppy and Falco and Slippy at my side.
All because of Fox.
I ducked, dodged, rolled, titled, and took-it-to-the-deck to defeat that first, parallelogramic boss. I didn’t accomplish the feat on my preliminary attempt, but by God I hung in the cockpit and deliberately honed the skills that led me to ultimate and decisive victory.
What could possibly lie ahead?
It felt so good.
Perhaps it was because it was so akin to X-wing or Tie Fighter in that moment. I couldn’t help but feel as if I were Lando Calrissian piloting the Millennium Falcom through the guts of the Death Star.
It all felt so right.
I was invincible, an unwavering action hero, a top-gun, a pirate and space jockey all at once. I was the best star pilot in the galaxy. In that moment I could have done the Kessel in under 12 parsecs. I could have nuked a thousand enemies and mangled a thousand Star Destroyers. But I had a bigger enemy, one that couldn’t wait: Andross. And I was coming for him.
I entered Venom’s airspace.
Venom... A surly, frightening word that, conjured up from the belly of an asteroid like some slimy, tubular space worm or a snarl-toothed, fire-eyed space ghoul, imbued in me a grave sense of pause and heavy hesitation. For a moment, I doubted what I had accomplished to bring myself this far, to the gaping maw of the unknown.
Had I not traversed the cosmos? Had I not, by hook or crook, spiraled and barrel-rolled and dived my way through hordes of nefarious mobs to reach this very place?
I had. And I wouldn’t let fear turn me aft.
Andross slung me through the blustering, crackling tempest of his world and tempered my tenacity, focused my doggedness, anchored in me an unadulterated sense of mission and of duty. I was fire-tested and forged: I would become greatness incarnate...
When I finally defeated him, when I finally watched the putrid, inhuman crags of his face disintegrate into glittering stardust, the air I had unknowingly held captive in my lungs gushed out in a long, undulating sigh. I had done it.
Finally, I had beaten Star Fox…