Strap yourself into your spaceship Fox! We’re back and are bigger than ever in this 3DS version of the much loved game Starfox 64. I was very excited indeed when I heard about this release. Maybe a bit too excited, as I started to quote Starfox catchphrases to my mates all the time. Yes, I know, I’m weird, but aren’t all gamers?
This is basically a revamped N64 version of Star Fox 64 especially for the 3DS to make use of the new handheld. Nintendo seem to be releasing quite a few revamps now for this console, however, I don’t mind as they bring me great nostalgia from my spotty-faced teens, and I was so excited about revisiting this bit of my youth, I almost grabbed it from my postman’s hand.
On again, Fox is back with his budding co-pilots to save the Lylat System from the evil Andross. You take control of Fox McCloud and, with the help of your memorable characters, shoot your way through a series of fast-paced levels. For those of you new to Starfox, this game is a part flight simulation and part shooter adventure, all set in the Lylat System galaxy. If you’re a veteran of the series, perhaps the most important thing you’ll be waiting to hear is that, yes, the barrel rolls arejust as you remember them, and now in stunning 3D.
To start off, after you have loaded the game you are faced with two options; there’s the option to play through the original, unedited N64 version, or the new revamped version. If you select the new version, you then have to decide if you would like to use the 3DS’s in-built gyroscope. This allows you to control your Airwing by tilting the system instead of using the analogue stick to fly through space. This works pretty well apart, from the fact that it means you’ll probably end up turning the 3D off, as tilting the 3DS around means you keep loosing the 3D effect unless you are willing to look daft and move your whole body with it. I myself opted not to use this system, so i could get the full 3D experience.
The graphics in Star Fox 64 3D are great. They are updated and colourful, and gone are the black polygonal shapes and rough edges of the original. What we have here is a fully revamped look with amazing water effects that really come out at you. Even with the 3D turned right up, there is no slow down, and it looks and feels smooth as you barrel roll around the screen. To go along with this, you have some great music and sound effects, the noise of the lasers zapping and the explosions all sound great.
One major disappointing thing that lets this game down, however, especially after I’d got myself all excited about the multiplayer option, was the fact that I’d need to be in the same room as the person I was playing with to use it. This is a slight, and surely avoidable, negative for the game, as it would have surely been easy to implement multiplayer battles over the internet. However, at the end of the day, you still have multiplayer with three types of battle mode you can play against your mates. You can battle for a set number of points, fight for a certain amount of time, or try to be the last Airwing flying.
There is sadly no co-op play here, which would have been great. Imagine being able to play through the campaign together. Maybe one day we’ll get to do this, but for now, we can only dream. One really surprising, and very welcome, feature of the multiplayer in this 3DS version of Star Fox 64, is that you only need one copy of the game to play. Your mates can download a small version across the wireless stream from your host 3DS with the original game. Then you can play the battles against each other. This is a really nice feature, especially if you have a few friends with 3DS’s but not everyone owns the game, but it’s still a little weird that even if everyone does have their own copy, the non-host players still have to download the multiplay file.
No matter which way you come about it though, the actual multiplayer side to the game isreally fun and, beofre you know you can quite easily spend over an hour fighting your mates. To top things off, not only do you get a small live video stream of your friend’s face as you shoot him down, if you win, you get a virtual crown above your head, which the losers gets to see as they grin and smile across at you.
All in all, I loved being back in the Star Fox 64 universe once again this game, flying alongside your trusty shipmates, who all live up to the originals. Even Slippy is there, always getting into trouble and needing to be saved. The game has certainly earned a place in the top 5 3DS games so far. It gets me excited to see how developers are getting used to the new technology that the 3DS handheld brings, and I for one can’t wait for future titles. Once developers get the hang of things I am sure we will see some more spectacular results in future games.
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