It’s about time you showed up, Star Fox!
Very rarely does a remake outshine its original counterpart, but Star Fox 64 3D seems to do so in almost every single way. Not only did Q-Games completely revamp the old Nintendo 64 original, but they also added many new features and much more polish that the original game didn’t have.
For starters, Star Fox 64 3D is an on-rails space shooter that was first released on the Nintendo 64, and is considered by many as the best Star Fox game out there. The plot centers around ace pilot Fox McCloud, who guides his team through a series of stages in order to fight and defeat the evil scientist Andross in order to save Corneria. There are branching paths in the game, but in order to access them, you must complete a certain set of goals in certain stages (think of them as secret exits to secret stages). Each stage is requires you to complete a unique mission, and in doing so it is important to keep you teammates alive, adding extra depth and challenge to the game. It’s basically Star Fox 64 as you have always known it to be, but with a whole bunch of extras.
There are two ways to control your Arwing spacecraft: by traditional controls or gyroscope controls. The traditional controls allow you to move your Arwing with the circle pad, and shoot with the face buttons. Though I found it difficult at first to aim precisely using the circle pad, it didn’t take long for me to get used to it. Also, I found it very difficult to do somersaults and U-turns correctly, but lucky for me the d-pad acts as a shortcut button that made those two moves easier to carry out. The gyroscope controls are basically the same as the traditional controls, except for the fact that you now steer by moving the 3DS around, which ruins the 3D effect unless you are moving around with your system. Though the gyro controls are fun to play around with, I found it rather difficult to move around my Arwing in the way I wanted it to, though admittedly, they work quite smoothly. Luckily, you can still use the circle pad even when the gyro controls are on.
The 3DS game packs a whole bunch of new features that the original didn’t have. First off, there are two starting difficulties (a third one is unlockable) labeled 3DS Mode and N64 Mode. The 3DS Mode is the easier of the two, while the N64 mode retains the original game’s difficulty. There is also a new Score Attack mode, which allows you to play your unlocked stages again to try for a high score and earn medals. The medals are very hard to get, so those who are looking for a challenge will find Score Attack a whole lot of fun.
Along with Score Attack mode comes a new revamped Battle Mode. In Battle Mode, you and up to three other friends can duke it out via dogfighting. The multiplayer forces you to only use one game card (there is no multi-card play) to play, and allows you to see choppy footage of your friends’ faces while you shoot them down. New items are featured in the new Battle Mode, but the Landmaster and On-Foot Battle modes were cut from the orginial. The game also lacks online play and online leaderboards, which hurts the longevity of the title. But despite its online shortcomings, you can still play Battle Mode alone against the computer.
Graphically, the game is beautiful. Every single model has been redone to give it a more modern look, with new water textures and physics making the game look highly polished. The added 3D effect works perfectly in this game, and adds depth to the shooting field in front of you. Though there are some textures that remain slightly unattractive, the overall package is a beautiful representation of what Star Fox 64 should have been.
The updated graphics also complements the redone soundtracks and voice acting. Amazingly, Q-Games has tracked down most of the original voice actors and rerecorded them, adding to the charm of the remake. A “Sound Check” mode is unlockable for those who want to just sit down and listen to the fantastic music the game has to offer.
Overall, Star Fox 64 3D is a solid package that adds both beauty and fun. The extra modes implemented into the 3DS version are enough for veteran players to buy this game and play it again. Not only that, but the game now features a new save feature, which allows you to stop in the middle of the main game to go play something else, a feature that the original frustratingly didn’t have. And even though the lack of online functionality is definitely disappointing, it does not take away from the gameplay experience. All in all, Star Fox 64 3D is a great game that all players should take the time to try out.