The Star Fox 2 Beginner’s Guide

Can’t figure this game out? We got you covered.
star fox 2

After two decades, Star Fox 2 is finally released thanks to the SNES Classic Edition! Legendary among Nintendo fans for its tragic cancellation, this long-lost treasure from Nintendo’s Golden Era was actually completed in development, and now you can enjoy it just as if it released in 1995! But as the game plays so differently from the first iteration, many of its features have perplexed many and not even the official manual answers all their questions, so I’ve whipped up a beginner’s guide to clear up some confusion and provide some answers. If you’re struggling to understand the game’s mechanics, look no further!

Wasn’t there a leaked ROM of Star Fox 2? What’s the difference between that and the SNES Classic Version?


Well, yes, but there wasn’t just one ROM. There were actually several based off trade-show builds (one even included a dropped battle mode!), but the most well-known one featured an unfinished beta that somehow leaked. As confirmed by Dylan Cuthbert, a former Argonaut developer who was a driving force in programming the first game, this beta lacks key features like rogue enemy encounters and certain battle stages (this isn’t even getting into the tampering by hackers who released the game, be it removing bugs or an English fan translation). Furthermore, as seen in video comparisons, the SNES Classic’s release displays even more differences, be they visual upgrades or Expert Mode needing to be unlocked.

Needless to say, the SNES Classic version of Star Fox 2 is the final vision of the developers. There are already reproduction carts hitting eBay, but we request you purchase a SNES Classic to support both Nintendo and the realized dreams of the original developers.

There’s no auto-scrolling shooting levels! Is the game really all-range mode only?


That’s right! As also mentioned by Cuthbert, legendary designer Miyamoto had intended for Star Fox to be an idea “test bed” from the very beginning, as you can see with Star Fox 2‘s new direction. The game’s combat just involves space dogfights and base infiltration, but as we discuss below, Star Fox 2 is quite a nuanced game.

This map has a lot going on with missiles, battle cruisers, and planets under attack. Where do I even begin?


Well, you could just read the manual, but since you asked…

As you probably already know, the game’s objective is to defend Corneria from enemy attacks, so that’s why all those missiles, battle cruisers and stray enemies are racing towards Star Fox’s home planet. Meanwhile, invaded planets will periodically launch missiles until their enemy bases are destroyed, so you’ll be dividing time between rescuing planets and space dogfights.

In other words, Star Fox 2 is a game all about micromanagement, so here’s some tips to get started. First, take note of your mothership hovering about Corneria! Not only can it heal you, but it can warp to any free planet; in other words, you can save time by moving your base of operations as opposed to racing back to Corneria to heal, or soaring across the solar system to chase down a missile. I personally recommend Meteor since it’s smack-dab in the middle of the map, but if the remaining enemies are hovering all the way near, say, Fortuna, you may want to go there instead.

star fox 2 guide

Also, pay attention to Corneria’s satellite defense system. It charges slowly over time as it rotates in a circular fashion, and it’ll fire at any enemy that crosses its path. While it’s far too slow to always rely on, you can use to eliminate small fry while, say, you’re going off to save a planet, so plan accordingly. However, bear in mind the satellite’s susceptible to enemy takeovers that can fire upon Corneria, so watch for enemy ships that “wiggle” about in the map; that’s the foe aiming for it!

Finally, remember the invaded planets are randomized every time! This’ll shake up every replay, and every difficulty mode includes different types of enemies and bosses on every planet, so adjust accordingly.

The time doesn’t indicate a time limit, right? And can enemy ships and attacks still progress when I’m caught up in a battle?


For the first question, not necessarily, but time does factor into your score. Basically, the more time you take in enemy confrontations and base infiltration, the more points will be deducted from your final score. If you’re aiming for high scores, it’s all the more reason to micromanage carefully. One way to cut down time regards what Arwing form to use when you’re infiltrating bases: typically, you’ll want to clear them out with the Walker form, but if you ever get lost, turn back into an Arwing to zip about.

And yes, ships still move about while you’re in battle! This means Corneria can be attacked from planetary missiles or cruiser beams while you’re liberating a planet, so you’ll have to make some pretty tough decisions. This also means if an enemy’s on your tail, they can infiltrate your space dogfights, so watch out for Star Wolf!

These controls are tough, but I heard about different control schemes? Which is the best one to use?


As a veteran of the original, I also noticed something was off regarding the controls and soon realized what the problem was: Star Fox 2’s default control scheme has the fire button set to B, whereas the original game had them set to Y. Thankfully, not only are there four separate control schemes available on the character select screen, but one of them (Type C) is the original control set-up from the first game. I highly recommend veterans and newcomers alike select it; it feels far more natural.

star fox 2 guide

This is also covered in the manual, but there are two things you want to keep in mind: power blasters and boosting. Like other Star Fox games, you can charge your shot to unleash a power blaster, but unless you’re acquired a hidden upgrade, they won’t lock on to your enemy. Unlike other Star Fox games, however, you can boost for as long as you like, so use that to chase down fleeing enemy fighters!0 And remember you can turn the camera via shoulder buttons; that’s the key to mastering the Walker form.

By the way, have you noticed “View 1” in the pause menu? That’s referring to an option to switch between first-person and third-person views in space battles, but while I personally feel first-person view allows for better aiming, it’s totally up to you. Oh, and it’s activated by the control pad.

Are there any differences in choosing characters?


That’s also answered in the manual, but yes, characters are divided into three categories: Prototype Arwings (Fox and Falco), Armored Arwings (Peppy and Slippy) and Light Arwings (Miyu and Fay). All have their strengths and weaknesses: Fox/Falco are well-rounded, Peppy/Slippy have high shields but low speed/chargers, and Fay/Miyu are speedy but are low on shields. Each also comes with their respective items: bombs (Fox/Falco), healing capsule (Peppy/Slippy) and shields (Fay/Miyu), but they can be switched through pick-ups.

star fox 2 guide

We recommend using whichever type works for you, although we have two tips in a) as you’ll be selecting two wingmates, you’ll probably want two different types of Arwings, and b) Fay/Miyu seem to be designed more for advanced players, so maybe you’ll want to hold off using them on higher difficulties until you improve.

Remember, however, that when a wingmate goes down, that’s the end of them, so you’ll want to switch wingmates by pressing select. Also remember that you can retreat from enemy encounters at any time, but bosses and Star Wolf members will chase you down anyway, so you’ll likely have no choice but to tough it out.

The Star Wolf team is kicking my butt! How do I defeat them?


They’re definitely annoying, that’s for sure! However, they have one fatal weakness: smart bombs. Upon firing, most of their life meter depletes, and then they’re easy pickings for your blaster If you’re using Peppy/Slippy or happen to come across a bomb capsule, this is why you should always conserve them: aside from maybe Andross’s first form, no other enemy squadron or boss necessitates their use. In the immortal words of Peppy, use bombs wisely!

However, using bombs is easier said than done: with how your strategies pan out, you may be forced to pick up healing capsules, and so that means no bombs. In that case, we recommend firing well-aimed power blasters until they go down, but watch out for when they turn around towards you: that’s when they barrel roll and fire off a power blaster of their own (and it homes in, too! Cheaters!).  In the meantime, you’ll definitely want to master barrel rolling yourself; remember, the timing may be difficult, but it deflects all enemy fire.

What are the General Pepper medals for?


Well, first off, they heal you completely. Isn’t that handy?

Their true purpose, however, lies in collecting them all. Every difficulty mode has a certain amount of hidden Pepper medals — 13 for Normal, 19 for Hard and 20 for Expert — and once they’re all collected for that respective difficulty, a Secret Base appears on the map! This base holds every upgrade within the game, including the secret homing shot for your power blaster. Better get searching! (By the way, collecting them all apparently changes the title screen.)

How do I unlock Expert Mode?


Ah, now here’s a common question. The requirement for Expert Mode requires getting a “B” ranking upon clearing the game on Hard Mode, which definitely requires some practice. To achieve this rank, you have to ensure no wingmen fall in battle and to ensure Corneria takes absolutely zero damage. Star Fox 2 is a game all about trial-and-error, so it may take a little while to achieve this!

Okay, but this game’s still really tough. What other methods are there?


The SNES Classic has save state and rewind functions for a reason! If you encounter a tough battle, don’t feel ashamed about using it; I certainly am, as I’m a busy individual and I’m sure you are too, so take advantage of them. Once you gain enough confidence in your skills, perhaps you’ll find you won’t be needing them after all!

star fox 2 guide

And that’s all the advice we have to share! We may not’ve covered everything there is about Star Fox 2, but hopefully this guide can get you on the right track to approaching it properly and, most importantly, have fun with it! As said before, it’s all about trial-and-error, so practice, practice, practice!

Did our Star Fox 2 guide help you out? Let us know in the comments below!

Anthony Pelone
Eating, breathing and living video games on a daily basis, Anthony is particularly fond of the Nintendo variety, but is by no means a console warrior. Somewhere in the midst of his obsession with cat pictures, he finds the time to pen about his favorite hobby. Having previously written for over three sites, Anthony remains dedicated to spreading the gospel of EarthBound.

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