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.
I gotta admit I'm disappointed for a number of reasons.... (Mind you, I only played it once on Guest mode because I didn't want to erase my brother's progress which brings me to my first complaint...)
- You can only have 1 game going at a time? Why aren't there multiple save files? - The 3D effect is barely noticeable actually but I hate playing 3DS games with the effect turned off because it just kills the point of it sorta - The 3D effect is either barely noticeable since the game has a quick pace, or the effect just isn't all that apparent - The 3D effect DOES become noticeable, when you mis-align the 3DS and shit starts to ghost and mess up your gameplay - Music is actually worse. What the hell happened there? - Voice acting is so much worse, much more robotic - Did they make the game easier? It took me like 5 seconds to kill every single boss with the Hyper Laser - Controls are less intuitive (granted, I played it once) - Andross' laugh is total shit. He does like a "ha ha ha" instead of his menacing laugh before, but I already said the voice acting sucked in comparison - The boss in the asteroid belt, they took out his awesome line/delivery of YOU MUST BE STUPIDER THAN YOU LOOK cuz let me guess, it coulda offended the kiddies. That's so stupid. - Voice acting. I am repeating this again because it is SO much worse in every way minus the clarity of the voices. Where's the intonation? Where's the voice ACTING and not just reading off a paper? So very disappointing.
Now I can honestly probably assume that me not being able to appreciate the game like new must be because I've played it a million times over the years and have it pretty much memorized, but the one thing I wasn't enjoying and doubt was due to memorization was the toned down difficulty (I'm gonna assume it is cuz I don't ever remember it being that easy). Wasn't the Expert mode on N64 harder?
The one thing I can say is definitively better are the graphics, of course. But I'm sad I leave disappointed in everything else. I'll play it again and I think I'll just leave the 3D off and enjoy what I can out of it. It's still fun and it looks way better. That's basically all I can take from it.
Nice review, ploot! Your score is close to the one I have in my mind for it - with mine being just a smidgeon lower. And while I do have my fair share of issues with the game, it's still oodles of fun, very easy on the eyes, and captures the feel of the original with that extra kick of 3D depth. And as you mentioned, with the various paths to take and control options to opt for, it's a different experience with just about each play through. Good stuff. Oh, and I concur, Falco is a jerk!
You can only have 1 game going at a time? Why aren't there multiple save files?
At a guess I would say this has to do with the way the game progression is set up. It's to stop you from (for example) completing the secondary objectives on Corneria (thus gaining access to Sector Y), saving your game just before you select the next mission, and then using a copied save to jump into the other path (Meteo) as well.
I could be completely wrong though. I'm picking up my copy this afternoon so I don't know exactly where you can save your game so I don't know if the above scenario would even be feasible under a multi-file system. Not only that, you'd have to wonder why anyone would think it'd be worth the hassle to juggle multiple save files. The game is pretty short- you can easily explore the other paths in a future playthrough without too much effort. And of course if Nintendo really felt that this sort of thing was an issue, surely it'd be simple enough to *not* include a copy feature, and make sure all saving automatically writes to the initial save file selected.
Maybe it's just a simple storage issue. Who knows.
What the fuck I just played the N64 version on VC earlier and the same line was missing again. I really doubt I had Peppy down BOTH times... Is it if Falco's missing? I've purposefully had Falco down both times playing so I could see the original first boss and to play the MAIN original path the game expects you to take....
But yeah I guess I was wrong. The line probably isn't missing.
@CB200 Yeah how'd I get that wrong? Regardless, I doubt the delivery is as good as the original. The voice acting took SUCH a hit, along with the music.
@ploot N64 difficulty and it still feels WAY too easy.
@Shadowlink Yeah but my brother is really fickle with games and playing them for a long time so I didn't wanna erase his game and have him annoyed that he'd have to start all over again, especially on his 3DS. Once he finished it though I doubt he'll play it again so I'll have free reign over it.