Starfox 64 3D Review
StarFox hasn’t received much love this generation, mainly due to the lack of new games in the series being released. With StarFox 64 3D; Nintendo and Q-Games try to breathe some life into a series that deserves a second wind. StarFox 64 3D is a remake of a classic N64 game and has been rebuilt from the ground up for the new 3DS hardware, and let me tell you it definitely translates well.
The games plot follows Fox, Falco, Slippy and Peppy attempting to overthrow the evil Andross once and for all. Players will be travelling between planets as they try to defeat many of the monsters, goons, and gigantic robots Andross has released to do his bidding. The story won’t win any awards, but it features a few touching moments such as when Slippy is brought down and the team has to rescue him.
The graphics have received a nice overhaul and they are much better looking than the console original, no more blurry edges and frame slowdown. Lava and Water both look stunning and the former glows superbly thanks to the new lighting effects. Even tiny details such as the reflection of the Arwing as you fly over water looks tremendous.
The main character models are less polygonal than they were back in the 90s but they’re not quite up to today’s standards. A few of the enemies are still a bit on the blocky and low detailed side, but you’ll not care too much when you’ll be blowing them to pieces within a few seconds of them appearing. Animations for the characters have been greatly improved whilst maintaining the intricate puppet look of the past. The graphics aren’t mind blowing and if that helps keeps the game running at a smooth 60 fps, that’s fine.
The stereoscopic 3D is also very nicely implemented and is really suited to the flying shooter genre and as soon as you see the added depth you’ll understand just how much 3D can make a difference to gaming.
The original soundtrack has been re-mastered and a new voice cast has been brought in to re-record classic lines from the series. “Fox! I need help!” has never sounded this good, yet just as annoying as ever. The nostalgia continues with some of the best music that has ever been created by Nintendo, a decade and a half later, players will still feel their ears tingle as the title screen music begins to play.
The game’s level structure features a plethora of levels to play via a branching paths mechanism. Players will have to repeatedly tackle the game’s main story in order to play through every level. Essentially there are three different paths player can take and they can be generalized as easy, medium and hard. The only way to access harder branches is by completing levels like a master pilot.
The easy branch however is chosen automatically if the player fails to impress in the respective level. An example of this is during the first level, Corneria. Falco will ask for help as he is being followed by three enemies. Your pilot Fox, must first save him, then fly through every ring a top the water. If the player is successful in following these steps Falco will bring Fox to a different end boss battle for that level.
Once completed, the player will have the choice between two planets, as opposed to if you didn’t complete the challenge and be forced to play the next easy level. Note; your skills will be tested. StarFox 64 3D rewards players with different medals depending on how well they played a level, taking into account how many hits they received from enemies. The game mostly has you going on a linear path shooting at different enemies, but planets like Katina (a planet that pays homage to the battle scene in Independence Day) will be in “all range mode”; a mode where players will navigate their Arwing in a full 3D space.
Star Fox 64 3D brings back the timeless gameplay of the original and feels just right on the 3DS. Gyroscopic motion control have been implemented, but it quickly becomes an afterthought because it simply lacks the subtle preciseness of the circle pad.
Gamers will have the luxury of experiencing the Landmaster Tank, as well as the Blue Marine, two special vehicles that add a bit of a change to the overall gameplay experience. It would have been nice if there were more chances to use alternative vehicles, still it’s better than nothing.
Collecting medals might give players incentive to play this game over again, but a lack of unlockables, really takes away from the game’s replayability.
Multiplayer has been brought back for up to four players and with new power ups it has become even more frantic and fast paced. However, seeing as the multiplayer features only a wireless option, it will most likely never be used. This is by far the game’s largest shortcoming and truly disappoints. Online play would have been a worldwide hit, instead you need real physical human friends to play with, who has those anymore?
The Graphics and Sound have both been polished just enough and the gameplay is as fluid as ever. The 3D effect will demonstrate its true capabilities, however due to a lack of extra content, it’s hard envisioning a reason to return to this game once it’s been completed. A superb choice for the die hard Star Fox fans and those wishing to get acquainted with the series.