Review by KeyBlade999

Reviewed: 01/04/12

Star Fox 64 on the 3DS. Good idea, or not worth the extra dimension?

Star Fox 64 3D is the remake of the Nintendo 64 game, Star Fox 64. (Yes, you can tell Nintendo has not yet lost their creativity for game names.) It is among the first of the games to be released on the Nintendo 3DS. Therefore, it is playable in 3D. However, is that all really worth it? Is this a genuinely great game, or merely a 3D-capable port of an old game?

I'm a little bit iffy on the details on the history behind the series, so I can't give a bunch of info.

Basically, Nintendo starting making some Star Fox games back in, I assume, the 1990s, a few years after they made Mario and Zelda games for the NES. I assume the original Star Fox and a sequel to it was released on the SNES.

It was later, during the Nintendo 64 era, that they released the original Star Fox 64. They continued to drag the series out a little longer, with Star Fox Command and Star Fox Assault, after which the series saw little light, except perhaps in a few remakes. Nintendo did eventually bring Star Fox 64 to the 3DS, which is what this review is about.

With the Nintendo 3DS, we obtained the ability to play the game a bit differently than back on the Nintendo 64. The controls do feel okay and not exactly awkward, whether you've played it or not. Nintendo, in fact, added an extra feature where the controls were based off of the Nintendo 64 version of the game, for you veterans out there.

One feature also added would be the gyro (motion) controls. As you may know, the 3DS has a pre-installed gyroscope in it. This allows it to detect your movements and interpret them into controls. Star Fox 64 3D has these controls. However, I never did enjoy them.

Firstly, I must explain how they work. You tilt the 3DS up to ascend, down to descend, left to bank left, and right to bank right. Alone, these might work well. However, the all-range environment (basically, you fly where you want when you want) makes this difficult because you have to consider them all at once. Then, of course, you also have to use your other controls, such as shooting and bombing. The precision of the gyro mode is insane -- good with a backdrop. It makes it tough to remain at a certain altitude and such to accurately fight.

But that's just me. I've heard of other people who have found it hard to play without the gyro controls, so it'll have to be something you try for yourself if you buy it.

Game Progression:
During the Main Game mode of the game (the story mode, in essence) you can play missions in seven of sixteen worlds. The missions are in a platformer style, for the most part. You'll go along a generally preset path -- sometimes, you choose a path to take, or sometimes play in all-range mode -- and defeat enemies along the way. At the end of most levels, you'll fight a boss, with the boss being somewhat difficult.

Pretty repetitive, right? I guess you could say that. However, when you finish certain things in a world, such as defeating X enemies, you'll unlock another world to go to. Therefore, after finishing most worlds, you can choose your next destination. Each of these is along a general path on the world map, marking whether it is of the easy, intermediate, or hard difficulties.

For that, that is all you really can do -- go through worlds and defeat enemies. The gameplay of seven worlds ends the game, and that happens in a remarkably short time. You can also play through the Main Game to obtain medals, which are these rewards you obtain for defeating high numbers of enemies in a world. You get rewards for getting all of the medals in one mode.

As described above, I said you could get rewards for obtaining all of the medals in a single mode. The Main Game is actually divided into two modes: Nintendo 3DS (made to utilize 3DS controls and supposedly for beginners) and Nintendo 64 (made to look like a 3DS port of the Nintendo 64 version of the game). After a certain point, you'll also unlock the harder Expert mode to play through. So, all in all, the game offers a fair deal to do.

Alternate Ways to Play:
Assuming you don't want to play the Main Game, you have two other options.

One is Score Attack. In it, you choose your mode (Nintendo 3DS or Nintendo 64) and play a world you've unlocked in the Main Game on that difficulty. You can choose the world, so long as it is unlocked. When you play it, you'll play what is, in essence, the same level as in the Main Game with a few changes. Notably, you want to hit as many enemies as possible. In this way, you can obtain bronze, silver, or gold medals. Much like in the Main Game, obtaining enough of these medals has a purpose. Additionally, you can play the Score Attack mode for the heck of it or to put your high score on the leaderboards.

The other is Battle Mode. Here, you can fight up against three CPUs or human players. In this mode, you can change around a few settings -- for example, type of contest, how long it lasts, and so on. You and your opponents will then start the contest. It is an all-Arwing, all-out aerial brawl, generally. Your goal is to defeat your opponents as many times as possible to gain points or, in a certain mode, just to survive.

In all honesty, the multiplayer is where many agree that this game falls short of anyone's expectations. How do you play multiplayer?

It is Battle Mode, as described above under "Alternate Ways to Play." You can play using the local Wi-Fi function of the 3DS between up to three other 3DS consoles, only one requiring the Star Fox 64 3D game card. That is all you really get. Admittedly, Nintendo could have logically added a Nintendo WFC function with it, but they did not, and we're stuck with the local Wi-Fi.

The only other thing that even gets close to the multiplayer would be Score Attack, also described above, where you and some friends try to compete for the highest score.

STORY: 8/10.
Corneria, fourth planet in the Lylat system. The evil Andross turned this once-thriving system into a wasteland of near extinction. General Pepper of the Cornerian army was successful in exiling this evil, maniacal scientist to the barren, deserted planet Venom.

Five years later, General Pepper noticed strange activity coming from Venom. James McCloud, Peppy Hare, and Pigma Dengar of the Star Fox team were sent to investigate. Upon arriving, Pigma betrayed the team, resulting in Peppy and James being captured by Andross.

Peppy barely managed to escape Venom, and went home to Corneria to tell Fox McCloud, James's son, of his father's fate... A few years later, Andross has once again invaded and began to terrorize the Lylat system. General Pepper has turned to a new Star Fox team -- Fox McCloud, Slippy Toad, Falco Lombardi, and Peppy Hare -- to save the Lylat system once again.

GRAPHICS: 9.5/10.
The 2D graphics of this game are rather nice, a fair upgrade from the blocky Nintendo 64 graphics of the old era. The empty vacuum of space is dotted with a bunch of stars in varying sizes, and the enemies are generally able to be distinguished from your own team. However, some improvement could be done, as far as distinguishing an enemy from an ally goes, because many of the ships use a single shade of gray. Some things also look a bit unrealistic -- for example, I'd doubt there are waves of lava on any star, because of its composition. However, most of these improvements, aside from coloration, are purely along my line of scientific thought, and, in short, I find the graphics to be good.

Now, the 3D graphics is where you'll find varying opinions. This is because some people are incapable of noticing the 3D graphics, or it gives them headaches. If you are not among them, you may as well read on. The 3D graphics, for me, were great. Of the few 3DS games (physical games and pre-installed applications) I have, I found these to be the best (again, of those I own, which number few). I cannot deny that much. However, there is a lot of movement in this game, and I eventually found the 3D function to be more trouble than anything. It is one of those things you'll have to try for yourself, but, again, too much movement in this game just took it away from me. Perhaps it is because I've played 2D games for the past thirteen years, but I digress.

To put it shortly, I never did get around to enjoying the music all too well. Why? Well, mainly because it wasn't exactly varying. There aren't a bunch of tunes Nintendo swapped around to put into the majority of the gameplay -- throughout the main game, you'll hear about twelve different songs in the background, according to the Sound Test of the game. I guess you could now screech at me and wonder why I'm complaining -- they all practically sound alike. Okay? I never really saw any variety in them, though there were a few gems. In short, you won't exactly buy this game for its music.

The sound effects also go along a similar line. You'll be hearing the same laser "phew-phew" a bunch if you play this game, lots of explosions, and lots of speech. Little of it was necessary for the game. Eventually, you'll begin to just block out the sound effects and listen to the music. After all, all the sound is virtually alike. It is not bad, just unvarying.

PLAY TIME: 4/10.
To be honest, I was extremely disappointed with how long one playthrough of this game lasted. Having played a few other Star Fox games that took me several days, it just was surprising. To note one example, my first playthrough took me no less than two hours, and subsequent playthroughs have gone as short as fifty minutes when measured.

However, the game does last quite a bit longer. For example, you'll play quite a bit to obtain all of the Medal rewards. They are quite tough to get, although practice will eventually make perfect, and you'll fly right through the medals for some meager rewards.

Now, just because I tend to dislike games that don't take long to beat doesn't mean that I won't replay them -- even now, I'm still occasionally speed-playing some old PS1 games of mine. Anyhow, this game is similar. Much unlike other games, you get a wide variety of open-endedness in this game, and you can pretty much choose how you want to play it. You can take a hard or easy path, or perhaps an enemy-filled or an enemy-barren path. The list goes on and on. Eventually, though, you'll get sick of replaying Main Game mode. Score Attack will offer little comfort then, so this game will soon become a multiplayer-only game in your collection, mainly because there are only so many ways to play and they all go by so quickly.

THE END. Overall score: 7.5/10.
There it is, the whole basic idea of Star Fox 64 3D all composed into one, semi-lengthy review. I guess you can understand that I mostly enjoyed the game for its graphics and gameplay style, then it fell in most of the other areas. Admittedly, Nintendo did not do their best work with this game.

To answer the question originally posed in the title of this review, this game is just a bag of mixed nuts. Some will utterly enjoy it; some will want to throw it away. This was merely one point of view. However, I did enjoy this game for a short while. I'd recommend renting so as to get a taste of it before making that decision that may throw away money better spent on something else.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

Product Release: Star Fox 64 3D (US, 09/09/11)

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