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Updated November 20, 2004

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FoX v1.00
(Terminator_Z and White Shadow)

"Part Animal, Part Special Agent!"
2002 QB Gaming Gold Award Winner for Best Platform Game

Whenever the world is in trouble, it's up to the world's finest and most confident special agent to get down to business. So when the world becomes a victim of a massive and abnormal radiation ploy, the British Intelligence calls upon FoX to find out who's behind this massive scheme! 

From Tokyo to the Alps, FoX is the animal for the job. With up to eighteen levels of play, use remote controls to take out laser barriers, discover Game Boy games and slot machines, and uncover the secret behind the mysterious gems! 

Game Review
Graphics (n.)
The use of animation and visual effects to stimulate the senses
The game's low point. Many QB coding groups who aren't fortunate enough to have a graphics artist in their group choose to borrow some graphics from other games or sources, then finish the job by providing some of their own graphics. FoX takes this practice one step too far by ripping a majority of the game's graphics from other videogames and sprite libraries. As a result, game levels look disjointed and many of the game's enemies and items don't look like they fit with their surroundings.

Videogame fans both inside and outside QB will also notice quite a few appearances of characters from other videogames because of the ripping. Some cameos are cute; seeing Coby from Wetspot drop in during the Alps levels was particularly funny. But seeing overfamiliar characters like the Busy Beetle from Mario and map backgrounds from Donkey Kong Country are not.

Sound/Music (n.)
The smooth blend of atmospheric sounds and original harmonies
Alongside graphics, many of the sound effects in FoX should sound familiar to gaming fans, particularly people who've played the early Sonic the Hedgehog games. FoX dies like Sonic, pick ups items that sound like Sonic rings, and makes jump sounds like Sonic. It would have been nice to see some original sound effects here.

Thankfully, the music is unfamiliar to my ears and is one of the refreshing aspects of FoX. Since the FoX team didn't give credit to anybody for the music in this game, I could only assume the music was either from some elaborate music database, game music from a commercial game I haven't played yet, or an original work by Terminator_Z and White Shadow. In any event, the music is obscure enough and takes good advantage of the BWSB music engine.

Gameplay (n.)
The precision of control and involvement of character within its universe
FoX is a massive, eighteen-level exploration platform game. The main objective of each level is to fight your way to the silver teleporter, usually guarded by enemies you have to stomp on or by laser barriers that can only be deactivated by finding remote controls fiendishly hidden somewhere inside the stage.

FoX also demonstrates some non-linear elements. Within each stage are three gems (also guarded by laser barriers), with the game continuously prompting you to replaying earlier levels so that eventually you can have all the gems and possibly figure out about the game's story.

Other items help FoX in different ways. Save up moneybags and you'll be able to buy hints at the slot machines or save your game at a save point (if you find these on the world map). Drumsticks and 1-UP hearts are your means of gaining more lives, and super shoes give you the ability to jump higher than usual for the duration of the level.

The nicest addition in FoX is the use of a Game Boy Pocket. If you find a Game Boy cartridge during your quest, you can play up to four different mini-games from the world map screen. Not every Pocket game is enjoyable though; without trying to spoil the game, one game was fun, but I found the control for a couple of the other games to be really sloppy.

With all these goodies and 80-screen worlds, FoX showed a lot of promise in the Gameplay department. However, the execution was a little bit on the sloppy side for FoX. For starters, hit detection isn't exactly player-friendly, often giving enemies the advantage. Oftentimes I'll jump directly on top of smaller enemies, only to get hit instead. Other times, an enemy will push me into the wall, causing 5-hit combos that sap FoX's HP meter dry. But what really makes me awry is when you make a long jump across the screen, only to be knocked off to a cliff by an enemy that was off-screen, waiting to ambush you from the other side.

Another problem I have with FoX is the game's level design. Many of the game's secret items and areas are hidden far away from where the eye can see (which I'm fine with), but sometimes these paths can only be found by making suicidal jumps, hoping that you'll land somewhere safe. And even if you do land somewhere safe, you better have the right laser barriers deactivated or else you'll be trapped and forced to kill yourself.

One final turn-off (which is less major once you get far enough in FoX) is the game's save point fee. Although limiting saves can be a good way to enhance challenge, starting with such a steep save point fee early on in the game without any real means of making a lot of money early on can be a great way of repelling gamers from reaching a point where the game can get interesting. It's a combination of all these factors that are most influential in reducing FoX's gameplay score.

Story (n.)
The creativity and presentation of the game's critical plot
FoX's plot is like a James Bond flick slapped on top of a Donkey Kong game. It's asking a lot from the gamer when FoX is portrayed as a British Intelligence agent trying to uncover a radiation plot put together by the Japanese and American governments, if only because not enough of the game connects to the plot. Some things, like using a Nokia phone and tracking down remote control devices, seem like things an Intelligence agent would do. But FoX rarely encounters any enemy agents or does anything spy-like throughout his quest.
Replay Value (n.)
The timelessness of the gamer's delight, such that the experience can be repeated again and again
The replay value in FoX is all about going back to the earlier levels and trying to find all the gems, Game Boy cartridges, slot machines, and hidden levels. This quest for hunting down secrets is enhanced by the fact that the game remembers all the gems and remote controls you've found in each level everytime you save your game. To encourage some hiking, you still have to grab a new pair of super shoes each time you re-enter a level. 
Challenge (v.)
To strike the mental nerve in such a way as to stimulate human thought and reflexes
FoX must have taken a lesson from Capcom's Resident Evil team, because FoX is one of the hardest platformers to get started. Because collecting money and drumsticks is so critical to keeping your lives and saves stocked, you'll be forced to jump many of the same death-defying holes and enemies over and over again in search of remote controls, gems, and the silver teleporters. Many items are also well-hidden, requiring you to either jump several ledges, or literally jump off of ledges hoping that you've collected all the right remote controls before reaching a dead end.
Fun Factor (n.)
The overall entertainment value as maintained throughout the adventure
It's amazing how much forgetting to add a few gameplay details to an 8-way platformer can devastate the overall game experience. In it's core, FoX is supposed to be a game that should be touched and felt by the gamer, but because of it's restrictive control system, FoX isn't the exploring platform game that Terminator_Z and White Shadow wanted it to be. Instead, it's more of a "jump off a cliff and hope you don't die" guessing game that's riddled with bad hit detection.

This isn't to say that FoX doesn't have any brilliant moments. When you are willing to hurt yourself enough to trudge through the game's start and reach a point where you can save quests and you've beaten most of the game levels, going back to the older levels and trying to find all the gems and Game Boy cartridges is a lot of fun. This is what FoX should have been about-- it's a shame that nobody will probably get that far because they'll be too hesitant to save their quest under the expensive save feature, and too annoyed by the game's other features to reach that point.

FoX should have been the best QB platform game ever made. But several gameplay quirks and ripped off graphics and sound make FoX feel less like a classic and more like a hacked version of an old Genesis game.

FoX v1.00 Reviewed by Vance Velez

Players 1 player Genre: Platform Game
Rating To solve: 10-16 hrs Final Rating: 16/35

To download FoX v1.00 (1.91MB), click here.
wIf you're unzipping this program in DOS, you may have to use the -d option.
wThis game is joystick compatible.
wBefore you run FoX v1.00, make sure you run "SNDSETUP.EXE" to change the game's sound settings.
wTo play FoX v1.00, unzip the file and run "FOX.EXE".

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Game Summary
Coding Group
Terminator_Z and White Shadow
Homepage URL
Final Rating
16 out of 35 points

The Highs: The longest platform game in QBasic, and a good game for people who like to explore and be challenged.
The Lows: FoX's over-ripping of several other platform game's graphics will pretty much repel any gamer who's played games during the 16-bit era.

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