Before beginning the game you must select two characters. You will be using these characters for that entire game. There are two characters per Arwing model. There is no difference between the two other than the color (red or blue), this simply allows you to have two characters using the same Arwing type. You can select which of both characters you want to control by pressing on the map screen. Note that your team-mate only serves as a backup, he or she will accompany you while you travel through the map and will appear in the space battles, but won't really assist you. When your main character dies you can still keep playing with your second character (though you will not be able to use again the other character for the remainder of the game), but note that both characters have only one life, so if you lose them both it's the end of the game.
|Character||Arwing Model||Shields||Energy Charge||Speed||Item|
|Fox Falco||8||Medium||Medium||Nova Bombs|
|Peppy Slippy||10||Slow||Slow||Repair Item|
|Miyu Fay||6||Fast||Fast||Shield Item + Twin Blaster Type A|
- Fox and Falco have the most balanced Arwings: average shields, speed, and Blaster charging time. Their Special Item is the Nova Bomb, which is really useful taking down whole fighter squadrons and severely damaging bosses.
- Peppy and Slippy are defense-oriented coming equipped with high shields, but they are slow on speed and it takes the longest to charge the Blaster. They also come with the Repair Item which makes them even more durable, and because of that, capable of attacking long range objectives away from the Mothership without having to go back for repairs. Still they are too slow to chase some of the fastest enemy ships, making it easy for them to escape if you do not destroy them quickly.
- Miyu and Fay, the newcomers, are built for speed: they're fast and the Blaster charges up almost instantly, making it easy to take down fighter squadrons. However, they only have six shield points, so if they get damaged, unless they can find a Recovery or Repair Item on a level, they would probably have to go back to the Mothership to have their shields replenished, thus potentially losing precious time despite their high speed. So because of their low shields their ships are a risky option, very useful if you can manage to avoid taking damage as much as possible, but with the danger of getting shot down quickly if things get bad. Their special item is the Shield Item, which at least makes up somewhat for their lack of Shield points, plus they also come equipped with Type A Twin Blasters giving them an initial advantage on offense over the other ships.
Note that any character can use any Special Item if it's collected inside one of the levels or encounters.
Probably the best team for beginners is Fox and Peppy. Fox's ship is well-balanced and can handle everything pretty well, and if he gets low on shields (or even shot down), Peppy will be a useful backup to handle the danger with his abundant shields and Repair Items (of course, you can use Falco instead of Fox and/or Slippy instead of Peppy). Peppy and Slippy are also a safe team to choose, but they may be a bit too slow for the higher difficulty levels.
Miyu and Fay are fine for Normal and Hard because their low shields aren't really a problem against the forces you face on those levels. On Expert mode though there's a dilemma: their higher speed is more valuable since time is of the essence, but at the same time it's much easier for them to get shot down. If you choose one of them, it may be particularly wise to pair her with Peppy or Slippy.
- General Pepper : General Pepper is the Commander-in-chief of the Cornerian Defence Forces and thus responsible for the military defence of Planet Corneria. Overwhelmed by Andross' fierce attack he has again hired the famous Star Fox team to counter-attack this renewed threat.
- Emperor Andross : Andross, leader of a vast army, obsessed with the conquest of Planet Corneria waged war over all the Lylat system, but his plans were foiled by the Star Fox team hired by General Pepper. Now with the intent on taking revenge against Corneria and Star Fox, he has launched his army on a new attack.
- Star Wolf : Star Wolf is a team of starfighter mercenaries hired by Andross to take down the Star Fox team. The leader of the team is Wolf O'Donnell.
(Note that the Star Wolf member that resembles a monkey or lemur is referred to as "Algy" in the original Japanese version of the game, but it was translated to "Andrew" in the translation project, thus making that character the same as the already established Star Wolf pilot Andrew Oikonny, who appears in other Star Fox games. Since this guide is meant for the patched version of the game, it will also refer to him as Andrew.)