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The Good And Bad Endings For Star Fox 64 Explained

Unlike its predecessor "Star Fox 2," "Star Fox 64" reached the homes of millions rather than existing on a single, official Nintendo cartridge. In fact, "Star Fox 64" is considered the best adventure that Fox McCloud and his crew have ever been on by no small number of fans. One of the game's key features was its branching campaign that encouraged players to not only explore the rail shooting levels to unlock different areas, but to beat the game all over again in attempts to see each corner of the Lylat System.

Some players probably remember discovering that "Star Fox 64" actually had two different endings. As with many other games that feature multiple endings, one has been determined to be the 'good' ending while the other is considered the 'bad' ending. Of course, depending on how one looks at it, the 'bad' ending for "Star Fox 64" might actually be the better of the two. 

Getting each ending requires specific steps

When players finish "Star Fox 64," they're treated to a final cutscene montage that accompanies the title's ending credits. This collection of scenes shows the Star Fox Team flying away from Venom, the homeworld of the game's villain Andross, and toward Corneria. Once they've arrived and walked through a Star Wars-esque celebration hall, Fox McCloud turns down General Pepper's offer to join the Cornerian army, and Team Star Fox races to their Arwings before flying into the setting sun. What happens next is where the 'good' and 'bad' endings differ from one another.

For the 'good' ending, players must have approached the final level on Venom from Area Six, defeated the Star Wolf team, Andross, and Andross's True Form. With all of this done, the words "The End" will appear over the setting sun featured in the game's end credits before showing the player their score, allowing them to enter their initials, and showing one of three different General Pepper reactions to Star Fox's invoice for their services

The 'bad' ending is only slightly different. To achieve it, players must approach Venom from the Bolse level and have defeated both Golemech and Andross's robotic double. If all of this is done, then the ending's setting sun will transition to an image of Andross's face while his laughter fades in. The implication here is that Andross is still alive and posing a threat to the Lylat System. Not a very happy ending, true, but this was technically good news for players back in 1997. It meant that the "Star Fox" series would continue.

The 'bad' ending for Star Fox 64 is canon

Technically, the ending which implies Andross's continued existence is the canon ending for the "Star Fox" franchise. While the series has seen more than one reboot/adaptation of "Star Fox 64" in the forms of "Star Fox 64 3D" and "Star Fox: Zero," the story that began in "Star Fox 64" continued into two other "Star Fox" titles. 

Released in 2002 for the Nintendo GameCube, "Starfox Adventures" was the remnant of a canceled N64 game about dinosaurs that instead became the story of Team Star Fox's adventure on the dinosaur planet Sauria. According to the game's official manual, the events of "Starfox Adventures" take place in the same continuity as "Star Fox 64." This game's ending also reveals that the 'bad' ending seen in "Star Fox 64" held true due to the fact that Andross survived since he is the final boss for "Starfox Adventures."

"Starfox Adventures" doesn't feature multiple endings, however, and it seems that its ending spelled the ultimate defeat of Andross. However, the story does continue into 2005's "Star Fox: Assault." This game was also released on GameCube, and its official manual also revealed a connection to the past games. It briefly summarizes the events of "Star Fox 64" as "Andross's Ambition" and "Starfox Adventures" as "The Plight of Sauria" before setting up the story for "Star Fox: Assault" as "A New Journey." 

Of course, thanks to the facts that it's been more than 15 years since the release of "Star Fox: Assault," and more than five since the most recent series entry of "Star Fox: Zero," it's unclear if we will ever see another "Star Fox" game.