It’s now 2011 and Fox has once again been called to the aid of Nintendo hardware in need. As if to say, “We haven’t forgotten you hardcore fans. Or we did, but now we’ve remembered you”, Nintendo dusted off yet another classic and ported it to the Nintendo 3DS. Everything you loved in the original Star Fox 64 is here and updated to take full advantage of the new system including flashy new graphics, lighting and 3D effects. And the 3D effects add a new aspect to the game that goes beyond just the looks.
Unlike the way Nintendo has approached gaming over the last few years, the Big N has chosen to put gameplay before gimmicks. I know I’ll catch some heat for that, but there’s no denying that the Nintendo Wii has put the novelty of motion controls before accuracy, precision and hardcore gameplay. There’s no gimmicky gameplay in Star Fox 64 3D though. You have the option to use the gyro functions of the 3DS, but in all honesty this game I better with them left off. You might not look like a over-enthused teenager from a Nintendo commercial waving your 3DS in the air, but this game is better using the basic controls.
e control setup is basic in fact and will feel familiar to those who are old enough to drink alcohol or owned the original on the Nintendo 64. It’s nice to pick up a Nintendo game and have that familiarity. It’s not often a title comes along that is both “pick up and play” as well as deep and fun. Star Fox 63 3D manages to pull this off.
All the team members you remember from the 90s are back. Yes even the annoying ones. Slippy wil still rub you the wrong way just like Falco is still a complete A-hole. While we as reviewers often chastise companies for not doing enough to update a game when it sees a re-release, Nintendo did a great job of not messing with this title too much and sticking with everything gamers loved in the first place. The original ending has even gone untouched. All the dialog from the original is spot on and back in place as well.
One of the most popular features of Star Fox 64 was the replayability. This comes from the branching story structure in place. New levels and worlds open up depending on the level of difficulty you’re playing on. It’s gives players plenty of reason to tackle this title multiple times and in multiple ways. The only gripe players could have with this portable version of Fox McCloud’s N64 outing is that it is a little too easy. Nintendo hasn’t made the game easier, but it’s the result of gaming evolution. The things players might have found challenging (3D controls) back in 1997 just don’t offer up the same level of difficulty. This is a good thing from this reviewer’s point of view because of the game’s release on a portable format. Throwing a controller out of frustration is one thing. Throwing an expensive portable is another. Thankfully there’s little to no frustration to be had here thanks to simple gameplay and spot on controls.
Those gamers looking for some multiplayer action will undoubtedly spend a lot of time in Battle Mode. It was one of the most popular modes on the original and will likely remain so on the 3DS as well. Players can battle three friends or go it alone with three bots to test their aerial combat skills. It would have been nice to see a little online battle action, but local is fun and allows the action to remain stable and fluid.
As mentioned, the visuals are nice and have clearly got a shot in the arm of “upgrade juice”. The only gripe is that this is yet another classic title being re-released on the 3DS instead of a new game. Fan will certainly enjoy flying through the same missions again and those who have never played the game will get new gameplay. For those older Nintendo gamers that have stuck with the games giant for decades are still looking for something new though. Star Fox 64 3D is a faithful reproduction of the original on a handheld system that appears to have been designed for the game. It would have been nice to see some extras added in like the original Star Fox as an unlockable an unlockable reward or something. We’re sure that Nintendo has plans for a downloadable version of that game on the eShop though which means more money.
Fox McCloud and his friends do provide a fun experience on the young Nintendo 3DS system and considering the lack of system-moving software on the hardware at the moment, those who own the 3DS have limited options. If you enjoy space, furry animals and aerial combat; Nintendo has provided you with the ultimate mash up those three things here. Star Fox 64 is still fun and worth picking up. We’d just like to see something new from Nintendo. Who wouldn’t?