When the original Starfox 64, or Lylat Wars as it was called in Europe, was released for the N64 back in 1997 it came bundled with the Rumble Pack. At the time this was revolutionary for a home video game system, now in 2011 Nintendo have brought Starfox 64 back to life for the 3DS without rumble. Did they succeed?
The answer to that question is an emphatic yes! Nintendo, with the help of Q games, have brought Starfox across to the 3DS, yes dropping the rumble, but at the same time enhancing the graphics, adding new control schemes and fleshing out the multiplayer.
Just like with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D before it, Starfox 64 3D has seen a graphical update, rather than a complete from the ground up remake. This may sound like a cop-out, but it works, the slightly polygonal appearance of Starfox is every part of the franchise as flying Arwings. Who else remembers first playing the original on the SNES? At the time this was a visual masterpiece, using the FX chip, Nintendo had brought never-before-seen 3D visuals to the mass market. The presentation throughout is cleverly done as it creates nostalgia but with the enhanced texture, lighting and particle effects, it is beautiful.
Some of the visual effects in this game make it one of the most beautiful games to date on the 3DS. Flying through armadas of enemies, around asteroids as they collide and rebound and even seeing tsunami’s of lava shooting out solar flares, every level offers a new visual treat!
The 3D effect here really brings to game to life, just like with Pilotwings Resort, flying is really enhanced. Being able to tell the distance between obstacles and your craft aids gameplay to no end. The best example of this is on Venom, the final level in the game. It sees you flying through tightly wound corridors with falling pillars, jutting platforms and shooting lasers. This truly gives you a sense of claustrophobia, and whilst playing this I kept ducking and contorting in real life!
When starting the game you’re put into a tutorial so you can get used to the controls. You get to try two different options, either classic or gyro. Classic sees you flying the craft using the Circle Pad, up to go down, and vice-versa however this can be inverted if you wish. A fires your lasers, B acts as your break, Y fires bombs and X gives you a speed boost. The controls feel comfortable and natural, with L and R also helping you turn or spin to deflect enemy fire.
I tried the gyro controls, but after a couple of minutes I switched to the classic option and didn’t look back. Technically they’re fine, just not for me, especially as I’d rather get the most out of the 3D depth. If your constantly twisting your 3DS you will loose the effect so its best to play gyro controls with the 3D turned off.
Once your ready to begin the solo mission, you are then given an option which has been optimized for the gyro controls, which alters the pace of the game and enemy placement, or you can play the N64 original. I choose the original for my first play through. Your next greeted with a Star Wars inspired opening sequence complete with flying text, you hear from General Pepper and head off on your first mission to defend Corneria.
The music in the game has been brought up to date, but still retains the original tunes. The original cast of voice artists have also returned to re-record the same lines from the original. This works incredibly well as you feel responsible when Slippy yells for help, or Peppy returns to the Great Fox for repairs!
The multiplayer has had a complete make-over. The only memories I have of the original were of a small, hidden dark level with a pyramid and barely any options. The multiplayer this time has been fully fleshed out with mutliple levels, all have distinctly different designs, different modes such as survival, point and time. You can play this solo or with friends on their own 3DS. The game supports local single card play which is fantastic news! The game is also the debut of a new 3DS feature, live-stream video during gameplay. As your having a dog battle with your friends, you’ll be able to see a live-stream of their faces and see every frown, grin or cry as you fight for your life!
Starfox 64 3D is as much of a must-own title for the 3DS as Ocarina of Time. While OOT3D has a much longer single player campaign, Starfox’s multiplayer mode makes up for this, as you’ll be able to have hours of fun with friends, and seeing their reactions is incredible! It would of been nice to have online multiplayer though. I didn’t miss the rumble at any point, I’d take the 3D over that any day. Just like Grezzo (who co-developed OOT3D), Q games have done themselves proud, but also given 3DS owners yet another reason not to regret buying the device!
I’d happily recommend this game to anyone looking for a reason to own the 3DS.
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