Nintendo's second-biggest 3DS game is now available and, like Ocarina of Time 3D, it is an enhanced port of an N64 game. Does this version stack up to the original? Does it surpass it in any way? Is Falco really on your side? Read on to find out. Additionally, to get a take on the original game this is following, check out GelatinousEncore's hilarious and informative review.
Story: You are Fox McCloud of the Star Fox team and it is your job to destroy the evil mad scientist Andross while keeping your nearly useless teammates alive in the process. There are a lot of fun story bits tossed in told through radio chatter between Fox, his teammates, and his enemies. I would not dare spoil the now-famous story of Fox and his team in a mere review! Play it and enjoy the many, many quotable quotes for yourself.
Blah blah barrel blah...
Gameplay: The single player experience has you playing primarily on-rails missions in your trusty Arwing star fighter (Team Star Fox's preferred mode of transportation). There are three missions that utilize a total of two other vehicles, and some missions drop the on-rails for a total 360 degree control scheme. The game always keeps itself varied and thus interesting to complete.
Many levels have hidden (and some not-so-hidden) objectives that allow the player to advance through various routes. There are three distinct-looking paths on the map screen, but there are many different ways one can progress through them. This type of gameplay can make each play-through quite different from the last.
Fox's teammates constantly get into trouble, and if you keep them alive through a level by destroying the enemies that attack them, they will each help in various ways. Slippy can analyze a boss's shields, giving you a view of its health meter, Peppy gives various tips, and Falco... Gets mad at Fox a lot. He's a jerk.
The Arwing fighter begins with a single green laser as a weapon, but that can be upgraded twice through power-ups found in the levels. The double blue laser is the strongest, but requires both of your aircraft's wings. If you crash too much, you will certainly lose one, if not both of your wings before losing a life. Fox's lasers can lock onto enemies by holding the “fire” button then hitting fire again. A locked-on hit in the middle of an enemy squadron will take down the surrounding ships, adding to a point total. Additionally, shooting down bosses as quickly as possible is another way to grab big points before the end of a level. You can also collect Smart Bombs that blow up everything within its explosion range. Proper use of your lasers and bombs, along with quick boss dispatch will award a player enough points for a medal in each level, as long as the three teammates are kept alive. Attempting all the medals can keep a person busy for quite some time.
There are two difficulty settings to choose from when you begin the game. One is “Nintendo 3DS” mode, which is the easier mode, designed with the 3DS controls in mind. It is perfectly playable with either the gyros or the thumbpad. The second difficulty setting is “Nintendo 64” mode, which recreates the original Star Fox 64's challenge (and it is quite a challenge).
Controls:The 3DS analogue thumbpad moves the Arwing flawlessly and players are given a couple options to fine-tune the controls to their liking. The game defaults to not using inverted Y axis controls, so Star Fox veterans will probably be visiting the control options menu. Additionally, the player is given two button placement options for firing, braking, boosting and bombs. I found the newer setup preferable, but the older N64 setup is there for nostalgia's sake. The controls aren't totally mappable, but the options are appreciated.
The next big control addition is the use of the 3DS gyro sensors. Instead of using the thumbpad, players may choose to tilt the 3DS to control the Arwing fighter. This control method works quite well, but can get dizzying if the player keeps the 3D turned on. The player therefore has two options: To play the game in 3D or to play it with motion controls. Both are great ways to play and add more reasons to play through the game again and again.
Presentation: You will be getting all the fun radio chatter of the original game, but with updated and redone voice samples. Many characters are voiced by new talent, but they generally hit the inflection and sound of the original cast. Each level has its own fantastic soundtrack that fits the specific situation perfectly, there's a fun story going on, and the graphics have gotten a huge overhaul form the original. Your first visit to either Solar or Zoness will be a jaw-dropping one for sure, especially if you are familiar with Star Fox 64.
Solar looks dang-spiffy this go 'round
Multiplayer: The multiplayer in this game is to-the-point but a lot of fun. It's just too bad that it doesn't have an online component. This fact is especially disappointing considering its DS predecessor, Starfox Command had a very playable online multiplayer mode. The multiplayer can be played against bots, or players can use DS download play to play against up to three other people in various modes. Timed, last man standing, and point battles can be played on stadium versions of Macbeth, Meteo, Corneria, and Venom. The usual upgrades are found within the arenas, including laser upgrades and bombs, and you also have the option to play with additional items a la Mario Kart. Grabbing a question mark will give you such items as shields, homing missiles, and items that slow down the competition.
Multiplayer mode also allows players to watch their human competition through the 3DS camera. Each character will have a live portrait displayed next to his or her fighter, but considering all people have to be in the same room to play one another, this addition is sort of pointless. If it was online, that would be another story.
Replayability: One play-through of Star Fox 64 3D takes about an hour, but the fun comes in the different ways you approach your path to Venom. Players will not see everything the game has to offer in one play-through. It will take a number of play-throughs to see everything, and if players are shooting for all of the medals, they have quite a task set before them.
Verdict: Star Fox 64 3D is the best version of Star Fox 64. Though it is missing “rumble” feedback, it makes up for this through various control options and a fun, yet disappointing multiplayer mode. There are two difficulty levels at the onset of the game, and medals are tallied seperately for each difficulty level.
If you are a big Star Fox fan, go ahead and buy this title. If you have not played Star Fox 64 before and are a fan of well-presented shooters, go and buy this title! If you are a passing fan of the game, you will find that Star Fox 64 on the Virtual Console has aged pretty well and you will probably be happy sticking with it.
As for me, I'm off to show Star Wolf that their “new ships” are no match for my new gyro controls.
That reminds me. Picked up my copy yesterday and was flicking through the manual when I noticed a distinct lack of critical information.
In the manual for the original game, there was a section at the back which told you two things: The kill targets required to obtain the medals for each level, and the secondary objectives necessary to access the harder paths in the game. None of this is in the new manual.
It's ok for those of us who played the original and know all this stuff already, but what about everyone else? Are they just expected to figure it out themselves or go on GameFaqs?
It's like the Legend of Zelda all over again. Ok, not really. It's still stupid though.
Yeah you're right, I forgot you didn't have to have Falco down. I thought leaving him alive was what caused the hidden boss. My bad. I guess I'm a tad rusty with Star Fox, I've even been getting some quotes wrong. Ignore me.
BUT anyways I purposefully let Falco down in the first level on my playthrough on 3DS and VC just the other day cuz I thought that was the main path through the game. I wanted to see the original boss, original path, etc.
So that's why I missed the awesome line from the Asteroid Belt Boss, since Falco was missing.
@ploot Strongly disagree. It only looks better. IMO it sounds much worse, controls worse, screen is smaller adding to confusing gameplay, hard to see stuff, 3D effect isn't even that great/apparent, etc.
Only definitively better aspect is the graphics. That and you can save your progress. Star Fox 64 is overall a much better experience, I think.
I'd say it'd be a better idea to play the original game first anyway. It came first, so play it first. Or you could play the 3DS one first and find a great game but then play the N64 one and experience a much greater game . I just don't think this specific game was made for handhelds. It gets very busy on screen and I found myself just spraying at everything cuz it was hard to distinguish stuff on that small screen. The inevitable ghosting when moving the 3DS around a bit also hindered gameplay. Sometimes I'd take damage cuz I'd be readjusting my position!
@chrisbg99 What Bill scene? On Katina? If you don't destroy good guy ships aplenty, you will get the awesome shot of flying with the others and talk to Bill. A lot of things we remember only happen under certain conditions.