Like the recent Zelda remake, Starfox is largely a huge success. Gamers who played the original will find the improvements very welcome and newcomers will get a great experience. The game is all about arcade style on-rails shooting. Playing as Fox McCloud you and a team of animals set out to save the galaxy from the evil Andross. There really is no need for plot as it is pretty much not needed at all.
Control wise, Starfox offers play with either the control stick or gyro controls. I despise the idea of gyro controls, especially on the 3DS, but they do work. The ship moves responsively to your movements and is actually quite fun. However the standard controls do the job better and feel perfectly suited on the 3DS console. Your ship can do barrel rolls, loop de loops and backflips with ease. In fact mastering these techniques is essential if you wish to collect all items in a level and get the highest scores.
The game is incredibly fast paced, with multiples enemies on-screen, with no slowdown evident, unless in 3D mode, where the game can slightly fall in frame rate. There are a nice variety of levels on offer too, from space levels, to volcanoes and even a Hoth-like snow level. The game is an homage to great sci-fi films, one level in particular offering an awesome Independence Day style dogfight with hundreds of ships. Sound-wise the game has an impressive score, but the voices are terrible, as always. Whiney toad Slippy is the worst of the lot, constantly needing your help and whining throughout. Another annoying aspect for me, was the fact that in almost every level Peppy talks about Fox’s dead father, we get it, he’s dead, stop with the dead dad chatter!
The single player mode is admittedly quite short, offering around an hours play from start to finish. However this game is all about replay, going for the highest scores possible. Add to that the fact that there’s a tonne of alternate levels to unlock, depending on your in-game decisions, the longevity is greatly lengthened. I have played for some time now and I still cannot get higher than a silver medal on the Corneria level, this is a hardcore Nintendo game at its best. Multiplayer is also included, offering 4 player dogfights in different modes. This can be a good laugh, especially with super weapons enabled. Also you can see your opponent’s faces as you blast them, thanks to the 3DS inwards camera capturing every moment.
Compared to the N64 original, the graphics are excellent, especially on the water levels which look great. Some textures are a little bland at times, showing the game’s roots, but with so many enemies and explosions going on, who cares? The draw distance on most levels has improved greatly, removing the N64’s infamous fog, though there are some pop up on space levels, which is a little disappointing. So how does the 3D effect hold up? Surprisingly well. As lasers whip past your ship, the 3D looks very impressive, especially when a large enemy ship or asteroid come close to your ship. The game isn’t necessarily improved by the 3D, but it looks very good indeed.
Starfox 64 3D is another successful remake for the 3DS. The visuals, sound and gameplay make for an all-round great package. A couple of annoyances aside, this is a great game and always was, now if only we can have a new game next time!
Intense flying and blasting action
Great visuals, some old textures, great 3D
Excellent score, awful voices