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In 1993 Nintendo sponsored a contest to help promote the release of their latest game, StarFox. Players were challenged to play a special custom version of the Super NES smash StarFox and compete for valuable prizes such as a StarFox leather jacket and free games. Nintendo prepared a special version of StarFox for the competition, and the limited edition cartridges were sent to the various contest sites in different cities. Somewhere along the way one of these cartridges found their way to someone with the ability to dump it into a ROM and today the game is available for play in most Super NES emulators (if you know where to look).

The game itself is a scaled down version of StarFox. A special title screen bearing the contest logo appears first, followed by the familiar control type setup screen. Pressing Start on this screen takes the player right into the game, and there is no Training mode.

The action begins as the arwings fly out of the Cornerian base and engage the enemies. Immediately you'll notice a timer in the upper-right hand corner of the screen counting down from four minutes. The upper-left corner of the screen features the score, and different actions cause the score to increase. Shooting down enemies is worth points, as are picking up powerups and passing through recharge rings. The first level is a shortened version of Level 1 on Easy Mode from the actual StarFox game. The arches that one can fly through to reveal the hidden blaster powerup are present, but after passing that section the towers that require careful maneuvering appear, following by the walkers and then the usual Level 1 boss. Level 2 is a shortened version of the Easy Mode of the Asteroid Belt level, complete with the usual final boss from the complete StarFox game. Level 3, if the player reaches it, is an all-new level and exists only to earn more points. Arwings must fly through rings that are worth points, and then a series of enemies appear that are worth as much as 3000 points each can be shot down. A series of rotating rectangular blocks are next, and then the level repeats until time runs out.

When time runs out the player is "treated" to a horrifying picture of Slippy Toad with the words "Time Up!" above him. The game then displays your final score and then hangs on this screen forever unless reset. At this point in the contest the announcer would record the score, reset the game, and the next player would step up. The game does not record scores or allow continues.

Even though the actual StarFox Competition Weekend Contest is long gone, you can still relive the thrill of arwing competition with your friends thanks to this unique and rare version of one of Nintendo's classic games. Even European fans can take part with the Starwing edition of the competition which is idential to the StarFox one with the exception of being called "Starwing".

Reading about the contest in Nintendo Power back in 1993
Actually playing the competition version of StarFox
Actually playing StarFox

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