The year was 1997. While I was stumbling through the Nintendo 64 rental aisle of my local Family Video, I came across Star Fox 64. After a recommendation from my Dad who wanted to see what a “plane game” would look like my shiny new Nintendo, I decided to check out the game. Needless to say, I was hooked by the title screen. Now, fourteen years later, Star Fox 64 has found a new home on Nintendo 3DS and remains just as engaging today.
First and foremost, I’d like to touch upon the gameplay, which remains largely untouched from the original game. Players pilot Fox’s Arwing through the Lylat System taking down the evil Andross’ minions planet-by-planet. Each level has been lovingly re-created in perfect detail. Secret warps and silver rings are all in the same spots and all of the in-game dialogue uses the same script as the Nintendo 64 original. Peppy still tells Fox to “Do a barrel roll!” and Wolf still blurts out “Can’t let you do that Star Fox” with the same sly confidence as he did fourteen years ago. That said, the game’s in-flight banter has all been re-recorded to fix the many voice actor inconsistencies in the original. Remember when Falco’s “This is horrible” voice was different from his “Pretty smooth flying Fox” voice? That’s one of the many voice over samples that has been fixed for the remake.
Right from the get-go, gamers also have two distinct ways to play through the main single player experience. In Nintendo 3DS mode, the game is balanced to complement the new gyro controls and the 3DS Circle Pad. The Nintendo 64 mode, on the other hand, exclusively uses the 3DS Circle Pad and delivers an experience that is closer to the original game. While I enjoyed playing in 3DS mode, the 3D easily fades in and out when using the gyro sensor. Most of the time, I played in Nintendo 64 mode with the 3D cranked all the way up.
Graphically, Star Fox 64 3D is stunning. Aerial battles look absolutely epic in 3D and the updated graphics simply make the game a better experience than the original. One level in particular, the lava planet Solar, really takes full advantage of the 3D visuals. Lava plumes pour over the screen, flaming vultures swoop down at the player, particle effects are everywhere and the game manages to accomplish all of this without a lick of slowdown.
I do have one big gripe with Star Fox 64 3D though and that gripe lies within its multiplayer component. While seeing your friends’ faces during four-player dogfights is an extremely cool feature, it’s kind of pointless considering the fact that Star Fox 64 3D’s multiplayer is strictly local. There is no online play and the game has no online features; not even online leaderboards. The omission seems extremely odd considering the fact that other early 3DS titles like Super Street Fighter IV have full online play and because the 3DS was crafted specifically with online features in mind. That being said, the inclusion of the Download Play feature so that other 3DS players can join in on the multiplayer fun without owning Star Fox 64 3D is a welcome addition.
Overall, Star Fox 64 3D is a fantastic package. Fans of the original game should pick up this remake without any hesitation and for newcomers who have want to immerse themselves into the world of Star Fox, this is a perfect place to start. Sure, there’s no online multiplayer but the omission certainly should not deter you from the game. Simply put, Star Fox 64 3D oozes quality and belongs in any 3DS owner’s collection.
VG Tribune gives Star Fox 64 3D 9.0 out of 10
This review was based off of a copy of the title provided to us by Nintendo of America.