by Jason Clement
reviewed on 3DS
A Classic Revisited
Star Fox 64 3D has been a long time coming.
Not only is the original game widely regarded as the best game in the series, it's also been the game future aerial/space combat games would be judged against. And even though the game saw three direct sequels over the next 9 years or so, Nintendo never managed to recapture the magic from the N64 classic, so Fox and his crew went into hiding after Star Fox Command released in Fall of 2006. Now, after 14 years, Star Fox 64 is back and it is glorious.
Star Fox 64 3D, like the recently released The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, is an enhanced remake of the original N64 game, complete with updated visuals and the works. If the series is new to you, the premise is something like this: a group of anthropomorphic animal mercenaries consisting of Falco Lombardi (a bird), Slippy Toad (a, um...toad), Peppy Hare (you guessed it, a hare), and their fearless leader, Fox McCloud (a fox), make up the "Star Fox" team.
They're called in to assist in fighting against the forces of the evil scientist, Andross, who is attempting to conquer the galaxy. What ensues is one of the rootinest, tootinest, shootinest, on-rails aerial/space combat games that has ever graced the video game industry, giving life to some of the most well-known internet memes such as "Do a Barrel Roll!" and "Can't let you do that, Star Fox!"
A Fresh Look
Memes aside, Star Fox 64 3D remains just as good as the original did back in 1997. The first thing you'll notice that's different about this version is the updated and enhanced visuals, which look absolutely fantastic. And while the actual polygon count remains the same, the textures have been completely revamped, and it's especially evident when you see the Arwing hovering over water and lava. Ships have much more detail to them as well; in fact, I was really surprised by how intricately detailed some of the larger ones are (in certain levels) when you fly close to them.
And how's the 3D? In a word, fantastic. Star Fox 64 3D may have just become the new centerpiece for how to do 3D correctly on the 3DS. There are definitely places where it stands out and impresses more than others, but by and large it provides an extra oomph to the visuals as you're blasting through ships and dodging enemy fire. One of the best examples of this is when an enemy is following closely behind the Arwing; it really does feel as if the ship is popping off the screen and you can almost feel the distance between the two ships. A second example can be found fighting a boss with mechanical tentacles that stretch out and try to attack the Arwing. Cliché as it sounds, it's one of the few instances where you really feel a sincere sense of depth in the game, and it makes the complete experience all the more engrossing.
Lots of action, extremely engaging and fun from start to finish, visuals look fantastic.
Lack of extras are a minor disappointment, an entire play-through is only 20-30 minutes long, no online multiplayer.