Starwing (or as it was known outside of the UK, Starfox) is one of my all time favourite games. Full, realtime 3D on a SNES. Unbelievable. Fantastic! And a great game as well.

For those that don't remember or were not around during the 16bit era, the secret to the fantastic graphics was actually not down to the SNES at all but instead to the 'Super FX Accelerator Chip', an extra processor added to the game cartridge. The chip was designed by a UK company called Argonaut Software for Nintendo. Starwing was made by Nintendo with help from the guys at Argonaut (as can been seen by reading the end of game credits).

Starwing was a shoot em up game. Like most space based shooters you controlled a ship which could move around the screen and could fire weapons to destroy the bad guys. Unlike most other space shooters though Starwing was controlled from behind the ship, or Arwing, instead of from above. Flying into the screen helped establish a connection to the player, producing a greater feeling of 'being there' rather than just playing a game. Being a 3D game Starwing also offered more freedom in controlling the Arwing. The main direction of flight was always fixed but you could sweep that ship around the screen flipping and rolling as you went. I had never played anything like it before.

Another element of the game that really helped set the tone and overal feel was the music. The pace and style suited the game exactly and really went a long way to achieve the epic feel that the game had.

Along with you for the ride were your three team mates: Slippy, Peppy and Falco. These guys flew along with you, sometimes getting in the way, sometimes needing your help and sometimes helping you out. If you decided to let them deal with their problems on their own they eventually fell foul of the enemy forces and you were left on your own. This didn't have a major impact on the gameplay or difficulty but it just doesn't feel right watching the end of game credits with your wing men missing.

The people at Nintendo and Argonaut did a really good job when it came to boss characters for Starwing. Using the 3D medium to their advantage they created some of the most memorable boss characters ever seen. It started off fairly quietly with the first boss being a large, if unusually shaped, ship that fired missles and launched smaller vessels at you. A few levels on though and you were faced with a giant spider like creature, energy cores and to top it all off, a face. Andross was the final boss and was a face molded out of squares. Once enough damange had been done to him he would split apart to revel his core and some real pain could be served out. But if you weren't quick enough with the fire buton he would reform in front of your very eyes and you'd have to go through the cycle again. Fantastic stuff!

Starwing remains one of my absolute favourite games on any platform. Even though I don't play it all that often any more, it still counjures up that same, warm feeling when those opening credits appear and the same sense of exceitment when the first level music kicks in. As close to gaming perfection as I have ever played.