I Don’t Like Krystal

Sorry, I don’t.

Krystal the fox made her debut in Star Fox Adventures, one of the first games released for the GameCube. She was originally developed between 1999 and 2000 for a standalone N64 game called Dinosaur Adventure, but that was recreated as SFA due to similarities to the existing franchise.

Image Source: dkvine.com

Krystal’s design was upgraded with the new game, too. Early work sees her as white and light blue, equipped with a spear to parallel Sabre’s sword. As anthro legion, all the characters in Star Fox wear clothes. Krystal’s DA version fitted her in a body-length golden dress and laced golden boots. She also had a couple bands below her shoulders and what appear to be plates protecting her forearms. In SFA she was given jewelry, a loincloth, an attractive haircut, and a small top. You can guess what the top covers.

Krystal’s major appearance was in Star Fox Assault, where she traded the cloth/bra combo for something bodied. The game also deepened the hue of her fur. Dark, moody blues now take up most of her body, lightening down her middle to make a white chest and face. As a fox, there is white dabbing her tail, but what really make her stand out are those big, serene eyes, both passive and inviting; the curvature defining her waist; the way her suit fits so snugly over her slender form; the fishnet over her arms; and that no matter how much or how little she’s wearing, there is always opportunity to see her round and fairly-sized t—

Well, Krystal’s design isn’t really the reason I don’t like her. This is recreational media for the masses. More to the point, it’s a video game. A space-shooter, fun-and-thrills video game. A sexy female lead is kind of in the contract. I’m not here to rant about female representation or analyze the intersectionality that leads Sexy to Being the Status Quo. I am going to talk about Krystal being part of that status quo, though. Buckle in.

So, why pick on Krystal? Personal exposure, really. Star Fox was my way of partaking in the mindless lasers-and-guns popcorn fantasy clinical to the gamer’s experience. The franchise isn’t known for rich worldbuilding or quality dialogue. You’re there to fly through the cosmos, blast bogeys, banter with teammates, and love every time Star Wolf shows up onscreen. And you do it all as an animal. Star Fox is nonstop action furrified, and that makes it awesome.

The trade-off is depth. The cast of Star Fox may become more lovable at each game, but their archetypes are immovable. Our main team is made of a fearless and growing leader, a cocky but reliable ace pilot, a wise and occasionally overbearing father figure, a stubby and somewhat emasculated mechanic, a robot that helps out with various tasks, and…a blue otherworldly babe who can shoot a plasma cannon. You see, the others still have personalities! Krystal, insofar as Adventures and Assault, is a standard damsel in distress. You play her for about 10 minutes in the former, only for her to be imprisoned afterward and have to be rescued by the real protagonist, Fox. Their meeting scene portrays him being genuinely awed by her beauty to an outrageous saxophone tune that is as hilarious as it is uncomfortable.

starfoxwiki.info
It’s playing in my head as I type. (Image Source: starfoxwiki.info)

Krystal’s powers are limited because she spends most of the game encased in a cell. But even when she is freed, determination can’t match her against the villain. He’s a god, dude! What are you gonna do with that magical staff? She fights back, but it’s up to Fox to save the day. The ending is worse—she sends the team a hologram thanking Fox in pleasant, somewhat apologetic tones, only to dock right onto the ship with that saxophone riff trailing behind. This scene jokes at Fox’s crush on Krystal, so it’s not totally serious. It is still unabashedly objectifying, perhaps the most overtly of Nintendo’s popular franchises.

ssbwiki
Then again, I’ve heard things about Samus. (Image Source: ssbwiki)

I’m saying Krystal plays a passive role in Star Fox’s career, one that sees her as the token babe who rarely makes an impact and never, ever exists for herself. It’s clear by the end of Adventures that her main role is Fox’s love interest. A damsel-y, emotional love interest. She’s a good pilot, but every goshdarn time she gets tailed in Star Fox Assault she’s gotta be dramatic about it. At least half her lines showcase in some way that she’s a fair sexy woman striving to keep up with the boys on her way through space (I remember playing the final mission at a friend’s house long ago and not being able to save Krystal as she dodged an onslaught of mines. Perhaps to show she’s more sophisticated than the others, Krystal yelled “My fuselage!” as she began her retreat. My friend was passing by and repeated, “My fuselage!” The overdone theatrical tone she used humors me to this day).

My problem isn’t that Krystal is an emotional character. It’s that her emotions are her defining feature, amplified to levels fit for a soap opera. It’s kind of awkward to have her feminine drama playing through your speakers as starry explosions harry the background. Even her general commentary and team banter are complementary to the others’. And speaking of the others, Krystal doesn’t have much to do with them. In the previously mentioned games, Krystal has continual interactions with Fox, Panther, and Slippy. We’ve covered Fox. As for Slippy, we all know he’s the buttmonkey of the crew. Krystal’s dynamic with him usually further pwns him out as being even less competent, rational, and worldly than a girl. Give the guy a break already.

And wow, where do we begin with Panther. He wastes no time to flirt upon finally gaining Krystal’s audience in Assault, starting off with a whistle. He delivers cheesy lines then and later too, as he continues to woo her throughout the game. Panther is known far and wide for his reputation as a ladies’ man. Just listen to his theme song for God’s sake. So it’s not much surprise that he treats Krystal like a coveted lady to be treasured…in an objectifying way. He is the worst at treating Krystal like she can’t take care of herself. Yet sometimes she’s quite flattered by him and wants to hang out! I like Panther as much as the next furry, but I wonder if he’ll ever be thrown at least one lesson about his backwards chivalry.

So yeah, I don’t have the best opinion on Krystal. Despite being the main female character of the series, I think she has little attention and personality. But that’s enough of the negative. What are some positive things about Krystal?

  • She has a pretty cool backstory. Lone survivor of a doomed planet, receives a distress call from a neighboring planet and flies to a world of the mighty saurian in search of answers…okay, I’m fairly certain there’s a variation of this in Star Wars, but it must be a trope somewhere.
  • Her telepathic powers. That makes her stand out as someone we don’t really know, and they come in handy from time to time.
  • Her theme song is great with strong orchestral intrigue that lends to her mysterious reputation.
  • She picks up on piloting quickly, and is experienced by Command.
  • Her inclusion at all brings opportunity for future development. Who knows, maybe sometime in Star Fox 9 she’ll become a stronger, more confident vixen with a story independent of Fox’s romantic life.

Well, these are my thoughts on Krystal the fox. Feel free to agree or disagree, or pass on by. In the end, Star Fox isn’t about epic depth. It’s about multicolored explosions deep in space. I just wish we could have a more memorable female protagonist taking to its stars.

Author: The Invisible Pilot

I'M GONNA WRITE FOR THE GAME OF NERDS

Leave a Reply