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Posted by eddierichards on Nov 1, 2011
Starfox 64 3D – Nintendo, 3DS

Starfox 64 3D – Nintendo, 3DS

Fox McCloud and Co. are back.

We’ve waited for Nintendo to release a super-sequel to this classic Shooter for years, only to be stuck with Starfox Adventures, and Starfox Assault on Gamecube – both of which fell miserably short of the N64 masterpiece (and the SNES one, too). The original Starfox 64 (released back in 1997, aka ‘Lylat Wars‘ in the West) was a perfect package of fun, humour, action and excitement – and a great test of skill. Fox, Peppy, Falco and Slippy would climb into their Arwings, and set out to save the galaxy from the evil that is Andross, in their quest to bring peace back to the Lylat System. Think ‘Star Wars meets The Muppets’. Happily, this new 3D update brings it all back with a generous lick of paint – but, it’s yet another old game repackaged for the 3DS… Anyway, to start off with (for those of you who know the original), you’ll notice a complete graphical overhaul – everything has a much higher level of sharpness. It is all bright and colourful, with a lot of extra detail. Everything looks like it did before, but tarted-up. It’s very pretty to look at, and the smart, well-presented options provided on the touchscreen layout look cool too, and presumably emulate the look of controls in an ‘actual’ Arwing cockpit. I only wish it were on a bigger screen; it would look even more awesome, and I wouldn’t have to squint whenever trying to find Slippy on the screen to save him. The famous speech in the game is intact, but some of the original voice recordings have been replaced – new voice actors appear to be trying to mimic original voice clips, and adding extra words to sentences now and then. They do a reasonably good job of it, but sometimes sound a teeny bit (more?) camp. Extra speech turns up in places, and while it’s not a carbon copy of all the original recordings, it’s okay. Otherwise, all the hero/villain music and blasting sound effects are here, and sound better than ever. Upon starting up SF3D, you are presented with Battle, Score Attack, and Training modes (which are eventually unlocked after interaction with the Story mode), and all add greatly to proceedings. Training is now a little more in-depth, teaching you more techniques – and a new, optional ‘Trial Run’ offers you an obstacle course to try out before starting the main game. ‘Battle’ offers Multiplayer tear-ups (via ‘Download Play – other players have to be nearby), as well as dogfights against bots in Single player mode, where you get to choose from Time or Point Battles, or Survival. Also on offer are ‘3DS mode’ and ‘N64 mode’ – which, in other terms means ‘Easy’ and Normal’ respectively; so for those of you who prefer the true N64 challenge, you know what to do. Expert mode is in there, too; let’s see who can unlock that. In 3DS mode, the new, optional ‘Gyro’ controls are available – which brings me to the next subject.

The games controls feel a bit odd at first, but it takes very little time to get accustomed to them. You get a fair amount of configuration options, as well as the ‘Gyro’ setting, allowing you to control Arwing flight by turning the 3DS left and right, and tilting it forward and backward. Once again, like the 3D functionality, the 3DS’ internal gyroscope is utilised in a pointless and distracting manner for me, so I prefer to leave it switched off. Having said that, Starfox looks great in 3D -probably the best example I’ve seen on the handheld – but I still can’t get on with it. For one thing, you lose the 3D effect the moment you look at the top screen from any angle other than straight-on – so, what’s the point of using it with the gyro controls on? Also, after a while, it does my head in, and I feel like I’m gonna end up cross-eyed! Anyway, SF643D is as awesome to play as it ever was. The beautiful set-piece dog-fights with explosions all around you as your enemies taunt you over the radio; the super giant bosses; helping out team-mates when they’re in trouble; and the seemingly-endless waves of  Andross’ cronies out to stop you, at all times. It’s all here (including my favourite ‘Indepence Day’ battle on the Katina stage), and still as fantastic as it always was.

Starfox 64 3D is a great package. With or without 3D and silly Gyro controls, it’s gonna keep me busy for a long time as I try to remember how to get to different planets in the Lylat system and accomplishing missions rather than just completing them. It’s just as entertaining and challenging as the N64 incarnation (a challenge I’ve missed greatly), and is much more than a lazy port of the original. However, despite my love of Starfox 64, I can’t ignore the nagging thought in my head that this update could have been something fresh and new and not another remake. Nevertheless, if you weren’t lucky enough to have seen this in its’ former guise, I highly recommend this. This epic adventure is a remake of the best Starfox game in the series, and is a must-buy for 3DS owners.

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