Published on February 15th, 2013 | by octaneblue0
Review: Star Fox 64 3D
Developer(s): Nintendo EAD, Q-Games
Release Date: September 9, 2011 (retail release), October 18, 2012 (3DS eShop)
In 1997, the Nintendo 64 saw the release of the beloved Star Fox 64. The game featured engaging gameplay, memorable characters, and a great soundtrack; it’s regarded as one of the best titles on the system. Since then, the Star Fox series has unfortunately been mostly hit-or-miss. In 2011, Nintendo launched Star Fox 64 3D, a remake of the N64 classic, on the 3DS. Whether you’ve logged in several hours to the original version, or if you’re a newcomer to the series, this is a three-dimensional trip through the Lylat System that’s worth taking.
Once you start up the game, you’ll definitely notice the new graphical enhancements. The original Nintendo 64 version featured mostly blocky visuals, but the graphics in the 3DS version are much smoother and take advantage of the strong capabilities of the 3DS hardware. The 3D effect on the game is fantastic too; flying through the levels looks amazing with it turned up. The audio of the game has been upgraded from the original too. The soundtrack received an update and the recreated tracks sound very nice and don’t stray far from the original versions. The voices for the characters have been re-recorded as well, but the dialogue has been retained from the original script.
The game’s controls fit the 3DS extremely well, and it offers different control schemes to choose from. The first makes use of the Circle Pad for movement in the game, while the other one uses gyro controls to steer. The gyro controls surprisingly work well, as movement is very accurate with that control scheme. However, if you do choose to use gyro controls, turn the 3D off; since you’ll be moving around, the 3D “sweet spot” goes everywhere, so you’ll end up with a blurry mess that messes up the visuals. Upon starting the main game, you’ll have a choice between the two control schemes, and adjustments are made to the game depending on which one you chose.
The gameplay is the same as well. For those that have not played Star Fox 64, it’s an on-rails space shooter. The game moves the Arwing forward as you control its movement. It’s simple to learn, as besides moving around, you other controls involve shooting the Arwing’s laser and shooting smart bombs, which are limited and should be used only when necessary. Other maneuvers include the infamous barrel roll, which reflects enemy shots, and the somersault, which helps with moving behind enemies incoming from the rear of the Arwing.
Each level features a mass amount of enemies, and occasionally, you’ll have to help out your teammates too. Certain levels have “all-range mode” sections, where the action takes places in an enclosed area and features aerial dogfights. Some missions in the game feature secret areas too, usually opened by accomplishing a certain task in the mission. If you’ve played the N64 original, all the tricks and secrets in that version have carried over to the 3DS one, so veteran players don’t have to worry about relearning them. The end of each level features a boss fight. Most bosses have a certain weak spot that has to be exposed by shooting part of their armor off first. The dialogue between the Star Fox team generally exposes boss’s weakness for you.
A really nice new feature in Star Fox 64 3D is that upon completion of a mission, you can choose to replay the level, or, if you’ve found an alternate path, you can choose to go to the other, non-secret path. The N64 version forced you to move onto a set path, so having the choice of movement on the map screen is really cool. The main game doesn’t really stray too far from the original version, which could be a good or bad aspect of the game, depending on how one looks at it. Extra missions would have been a fantastic addition, but there are at least some other neat extras to the game.
Like the original version, Star Fox 64 3D features a multiplayer mode. This version is slightly expanded upon from the original version, with more maps and modes to choose from. One of these new features includes the ability to play against computer AI opponents, so this serves as a nice practice mode too. And you can tweak a lot of the settings such as time limit, item selection, etc. to your liking. What’s great is that the multiplayer is Download Play-enabled, so only one Game Card is needed to play against up to 3 other players. And the multiplayer mode features a camera that takes a screenshot of your opponent’s reaction as they’re gunned down; needless to say, this leads to some really hilarious reactions. The multiplayer mode is local-only, however. Online play would have been great here if Nintendo could pull it off properly. The lack of online isn’t a huge loss, but it would have extended the replay value here by a big amount.
Star Fox 64 3D adds a fresh new makeover to the original Nintendo 64 version it’s based on and adds in some neat new features as well. Simply put, it’s a worthy addition to any 3DS owner’s game collection.
+ Retains the same great gameplay from the N64 original
+ Enhanced graphics and audio
+ Expanded multiplayer mode (with Download Play!)
– Minimal new additions
– Multiplayer is local-only
Final score: 4.5 out of 5