|Game - Star Fox 64 3D
Version - 3DS
Obtained - Review Copy courtesy of Nintendo of America
Alright everybody, listen up! Maybe for some of you this is uncharted territory, but for the majority of us these are our old stomping grounds. Way back in 1997, we proved ourselves as we explored the Lylat system, blasting baddies, doing somersaults, racking up some high scores, setting off some bombs, fighting giant bosses and of course doing some of those famous barrel rolls. We proved we had mettle! Then the years went on, we got older. Technology changed, graphics got better, the world moved on. Still, as time progressed we would be hit with waves of nostalgia for games of long ago. So what's a gamer to do? Maybe it's best to let our good memories fade away in time. Or not. Maybe all we had to was wait eleven years (okay, it's not like we were actually waiting) and Nintendo would do what they always do. Give us what we want. On September 9th, 2011 Nintendo released Star Fox 64 3D for the Nintendo 3DS. Does it do our memories and our nostalgia justice?
Uh, yeah and then some! Star Fox 64 3D has wiped out my memories of old and replaced them with memories of water reflection, crisp, updated graphics, 3D depth and BARREL ROLLS! Oh, and what else? Multiplayer! Sorry pal, no online play here just local. Yeah, I'm a little disappointed too, but not to worry because you will have a blast!
Here's a little refresher for all those who don't remember or just don't know. Players control Fox McCloud, leader of the Star Fox team. Your task is to save the Lylat System from the evil Andross, who also happened to have killed your father several years before. Oh look, a reason for revenge! Andross, a scientist from Corneria was exiled to the planet Venom after he nearly destroyed Corneria. The Star Fox team are a group of mercenaries and they consists of Peppy Hare, a rabbit and member of the original Star Fox team; Slippy Toad, a frog and the mechanical and energetic expert of the team; and Falco Lombardi, a falcon and former gang member. Andross' henchmen includes the Star Wolf mercenary team, consisting of Wolf O'Donnell, Leon Powalski, Pigma Dengar and Andrew Oikonny. Are you refreshed now? Good, because I know I am.
Gameplay and Controls
Essentially, Star Fox 64 3D is an on-rails shooter. For most of the levels you will be piloting your Arwing starfighter dodging obstacles and enemy fire, navigating the terrain and racking up that high score. Then there are some levels where you will be deployed in either the Land Master, which is a tank or the Blue Marine, which is a submarine. Of course, this all depends on which path you have chosen in each stage and where it takes you. You can easily breeze through the game within an hour, but you won't see all Story Mode has to offer, unless you take those before-mentioned hidden routes. You can expect to play through the Story Mode a handful of times before seeing all the levels. As you progress through each level you will blast countless enemies in the air and on the ground. You can also pick up weapon enhancements, such as laser upgrades and bombs. The bombs can be used to take out multiple enemies at once. Speaking of taking out multiple enemies, you can also do this by charging your lasers until you lock on to an enemy within a group. Release the fire button and watch the targeted enemy, plus several of the surrounding enemies be destroyed. Once you reach the end of the stage you will face off against a boss who is usually larger than you and your ship. The battles are never too difficult and the challenge is just where I like it.
There are a few gameplay modes to chose from on the Main Menu. You can either play the Main game in Nintendo 3DS or Nintendo 64 mode. You also have the option of multiplayer battling, in which you can engage in dogfights against your friends or even the computer. There are three different battle modes to choose from; Survival, Point Battle and Time Battle. You can also participate in Score Attack which gives you the opportunity to earn medals based upon how many hits you achieve. As expected, there are 3 different medals to obtain; Bronze, Silver, and Gold. The game keeps track of all Rankings achieved throughout the game. I found this to be a welcome addition in the absence of online leaderboards.
Controls come in two different flavors, standard or gyro. You can either control your starfighter using the circle pad or by moving your 3DS around. Either way works quite well, so in the end it's a matter of personal preference. I played using a mix of both, if I felt like using gyro I did and when I wanted to take a break from it, I just used the circle pad. It's a win-win there. You have the option to switch your controls between standard and N64 controls. This is just a simple button mapping change and directional switch. Either way, the controls are fluid and work perfectly.
Visuals and Sound
Goodbye polygons! Smooth textures are here to stay! The graphics got a complete update to take advantage of the 3DS hardware and oh, how sweet it is! The reflection on the water, bump mapping, the depth and 3d effect. Everything goes so well together, I have no complaints about the graphics. Playing the game is such a visual feast and my eyes just eat ate it up! I don't care how cheesy that sounds, it's true.
The sounds and music are all great as well. They even got the original voice actors to come back in to re-record their lines, good move Nintendo. If you find you are enjoying the music, and let's face it you should be, then head into the Options where you can listen to all 47 (yes, 47) tracks! What's great about this is in the middle of the screen is a rotating equalizer in 3D, floating in space. Not to mention, by simply pressing L or R, you can add a couple of extra sound effects during each song, much like the Nintendo 3DS Sound app. It's the little things like that which really make me glad to own these games. As a side note, even Dream Trigger 3D offers the same thing in it's menu, minus the equalizer. Again, it's the little things.
Concluding Overall Impressions
While you can breeze through the story mode in less than a handful of hours, there is plenty to keep you busy well after the fact. The hidden routes, high score rankings, local multiplayer, and the updated graphics make Star Fox 64 a game worthy of your hard earned money. I know I am speaking highly of the game and it's obvious I am a fan. However, I won't let Nintendo get away so easily without at least mentioning my two complaints. Why no online play and why no online leaderboards? That is all. Regardless, Star Fox 64 3D is an absolute blast to play!
Final Score: 5 out of 5
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