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Proto:Star Fox/1992 Star Glider Proto

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This is a sub-page of Proto:Star Fox.

This cactus is UNDER CONSTRUCTION
This article is a work in progress.
...Well, all the articles here are, in a way. But this one moreso, and the article may contain incomplete information and editor's notes.
Hmmm...
To do:
Some slightly more in-depth research than just playing the game and noting the differences would help.
Star Fox proto-main select.png

Star Glider (not to be confused with Argonaut's 1986 game of the same name) is a prototype of Star Fox that was found pre-built in a tape backup present in the July 24, 2020 Nintendo leak. At this point, the game is in an extremely early state - the Star Fox team is absent, and the level map design is drastically different, with more cosmic details.

Note that this build lacks the ROM registration data section of the header, and therefore will not work in emulators. In order to run this prototype in an emulator, you'll need to add said data to the ROM.

General Differences

Star Fox Proto-gameplay1.png

Stage Select

  • There is no title screen and no menus, and so no controller customisation is possible.
  • The player can press Left and Right on the map to progress through a path, or press Select to change the course to play (Easy, Normal, or Hard).
  • The difficulty of the paths is in the order of left to right, whereas in the final game the easiest path is the center one.
  • None of the levels are named.
  • When selecting a level, the map fades out and the selected level moves to the center of the screen as usual. However, the icon doesn't zoom in, and General Pepper (who is also absent in this build) doesn't debrief you. Instead, the level begins immediately.
  • Corneria stages are absent. Instead, the paths start in what would become the second stage in the final game.


Gameplay

  • Regardless of the stage picked, the text at the start of a stage will always say "Stage-2".
  • The player's ship model is drastically simplified in comparison to the final game's, sporting paper-thin wings and a back end made up of literally three polygons.
  • There is only one Arwing during gameplay, though at least two others are visible in the tunnel sequence on Fortuna and the cutscene following the completion of the Venom stages.
  • Instead of firing bombs, pressing A simply kills all onscreen enemies, including small hazards and bosses.
  • The game cannot be paused.
  • While the player can rotate with L or R, barrel rolling has not been implemented yet.
  • Essentially all forms of getting hurt will cause much less damage in this build.
  • The soundtrack is almost entirely different, with more of an emphasis on a rock vibe. The only tracks from here that are also in the final game are the boss theme and the level clear music, the latter of which goes unused in the final. Two of the tracks used in this build would later be touched up and used in Star Fox 2.
  • Most sound effects are different, and the boost/brake effects are absent.
  • The game locks up when the player dies or clears a stage.
  • There is no final boss.
Hmmm...
To do:
get some music rips from the game so we can compare them.

Stages

The names for these stages are based on the final game. They are not named in this prototype.

Sector X

Starglider proto sector x.png

This stage is fairly complete, with waves of enemies, many of which made it into the final. A few of the enemy types resemble bizarre insects. The view of Corneria is much darker. It ends with a much faster and more resilient version of the Rock Crusher boss from the final game.

Titania

Starglider proto titania.png

This stage is an unfinished version of the Titania boss sequence from the final game.

The player is flying below an unsuspended bridge over a large body of water and various enemies leap from below to attack them. As Professor Hanger himself is missing, the stage is simply a short loop of aquatic enemies that goes on forever.

Venom

Starglider proto venom stage 1.png

Venom in this build has more of an orange tone with a more industrial background and strangely cheery music. This stage features scrapped bird-like enemies that, when shot, burst into flame and fall to the ground, where the wreckage sits and smokes until the player passes it. These enemies, while technically impressive, were most likely removed to keep the technical demands of the game in check.

The boss of this stage starts with a huge invincible monolith-like structure moving overhead which, after spewing waves of enemies and rocks at the player, moves on to reveal the true boss - the Spinning Core from the final game's Macbeth stage.

Fortuna

Starglider proto fortuna.png

Identical to Venom, however the background is replaced with a new, more appropriate one.

Sector Z

Sector Z's opening cutscene.

This stage begins with a cutscene: the player's Arwing is grounded in formation with three others in a tunnel. Two enemies fly down the tunnel towards the player and shoot two of the other ships, which blow up. The player and the one remaining Arwing take off and begin to fly down the tunnel, where two more Arwings join the formation. The three other Arwings fly off into the distance and here the player takes control.

As the Arwings in this cutscene begin on the floor, it is possible that this is an early intro cutscene for the game.

The stage begins as a continuation of the cutscene, where the player flies down the tunnel. For a few seconds, the player has control while the other Arwings are on screen, and it is actually possible here to shoot them down. They take only one hit before they blow up.

The player must destroy a few enemies and open a door, after which the stage opens out into Fortuna. After the intro sequence, this stage is identical to the last which in turn has the same layout as the Venom stages.

Macbeth

Starglider proto macbeth.png

This hollow planet has the same stage layout as Venom again, but with a Macbeth-suitable background that features some nicely-animated parallax rock formations. The Spinning Core boss makes a lot more sense in this context.

Other Stages

Sector Y, Asteroid, Space Armada, Meteor, and all three of the Venom Airspace levels, while on the map, are all fundamentally identical to Sector X. All three of the Venom ground levels are the same as well. These duplicates are presumably placeholders for the final levels, which at this stage hadn't even begun development.

Unused Backgrounds

Unused Venom Highway background.
Unused Atomic Base boss room.

Pressing Select during gameplay cycles through most of the stage types in the game. In order, they are:

  • Space (unused)
  • Venom Highway (unused)
  • Fortuna
  • Titania Boss
  • Space with meteor (unused)
  • Corneria airspace
  • Small purple corridor (unused)
  • Wide purple corridor (unused)
  • Wider green corridor
  • Atomic Base boss room (unused)

The tunnel and highway backgrounds all have working wall collision. Strangely, the Macbeth background is absent.

Developer Code

  • Object symbol names are present in the ROM.
  • The debug menu text is present here, but is still inaccessible.
  • Pressing Select during gameplay not only changes the background (as noted above), but randomizes the state the player's Arwing is in. They can either be in the normal state, a non-functional shielded state, or an invisible state (possibly an early step towards the final's first-person mode).

Crash Handler

StarGlider CrashHandler.png

There is a crash handler that can display one of the following messages, with a short scroll animation at the start. It can appear when you apply custom cheats when loading a level.

  • Oopps, I think I just blinked 1
  • Oopps, I think I just blinked 2
  • Oopps, I think I just blinked 3
  • Oopps, I think I just crashed!

In the released game there isn't a crash handler, soft crashes usually redirect the player to the "controls" screen (and the progress is reset).