Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bang, Zoom, Straight to the Moon: Star Fox 64 3D Review

Nostalgia is an iffy thing. Sometimes it is a love that persists through the ages, an endless love. But most of the time, it's merely a trick to ruin memories. Luckily, I've never played a Star Fox game before. Take that, nostalgia!

Star Fox 64 is one of the most well remembered N64 titles to have come out for the system back in 1997. Sadly, I was busy playing Resident Evil on my PS1 to have ever gotten a chance to play this game. But now that I have many years later, I'm very pleased with what I've played.

For those unfamiliar with the game, it's a mostly on rails arcade shooter, much like Afterburner or Space Harrier. But unlike those titles, this game actually has level design and character to it's stages. Now I say mostly on rails, as this title introduced the "free range" mode. In some stages, the game would switch over to a quasi free roaming arena. These stages, although fun, had some issues that brought them down from the excellent on rails segments.

For one, the camera is a bother. It's next to impossible to tail an enemy fighter, as most of the time they are off screen, and you have no clue as to their exact position. A tighter camera, or a first person camera, could have alleviated this issue. But overall the stages where fun. But honestly, they where the least fun out of all the stages available to play. Luckily, they are only a small handful, but you are almost guaranteed to have to play at least one.

But the on rails levels are very tight, and a blast to play through. The balance and flow of each level is almost pitch perfect, drawing a tight line between being challenging and fun at the same time; something many games this age never seem to nail. The spectacle you get to see throughout is quite amazing given the fact it's a handheld, and a remake of a game that's over 10 years old. From space fleets, to a city under siege, and over a sea of lava, each stage has a character of it's own.

And being a remake, it's worth noting the updates that were added to the game. For one, the graphics are astoundingly well done. Especially the aforementioned lava planet. It's amazing to see how well realized the worlds are. Given it's on the 3DS, 3D is included in the update. And, well, it's pretty damn impressive. It gives very solid depth, and really lets you gauge how far away you are, and exactly where you are aiming. But it's not intrusive to the experience. I actually ended up playing this with the 3D all the way up most of the time. But, like with all 3DS titles, you have the option to have it off as well.

Star Fox 64 3D also includes a multiplayer mode. But oddly enough, it's local only. So if you had visions of blasting fools from around the globe, you'll have to settle with just local friends, if you know any with a 3DS that is. But it does offer bots, so I gave it a go. And it's.....fun. Not really much to it, it's almost all deathmatch, and it's not deep at all. It almost seems like multiplayer was added just to have it. And of course it's a free range style arena, so those issues I brought up earlier rear their ugly heads yet again.

The game also features gyroscopic controls. But they made the game control like utter garbage. Never bother with that option.


I really mean it, never.

What surprised me though was the games lack of story. For some reason I had gotten the idea there was a story. Fox's dad was captured in the beginning, but there is no resolution to what happens with that. It never mentions if he died, was saved, or decided to tour with a circus. Maybe I missed it; but given the fact that the most the game ever gives for story or even setup is a blurb of a sentence, I really doubt it.

Another thing to note was the length. I'm new to the game, so I had to figure out how to get all the paths, so to play each stage.

It took me under 6 hours. And that included 4 playthroughs, and every level.

This isn't terrible, given the nature of the game. It's an
arcade style shoot 'em up, so replayability is high. But the stages don't change very much, and honestly the first level is indicative of how the whole game plays. There isn't much progression, a couple stages with a submarine and a tank. But other than that, it's all the same; so it gets hard to come back to it unless you have a certain itch that needs to be scratched.

And all this boils down to pricing, which I feel the 3DS has been kind of terrible at. $40 is a lot to ask for a game that doesn't offer a lot. Even more so if you played it before, back in '97. It's hard to recommend any 3DS game for $40, save for Ocarina of Time 3D; and Star Fox doesn't prove itself good enough to be worth that $40 price tag either. It's a good game, but it's not $40 worthy good. If you are a longtime fan, you played it to death already. And as a new comer you may be left wanting, due to the lack of depth and content.

Verdict 3/5  

Humor Tumor is currently wondering how hard it would be to have fox fur plugs   all   over his body.
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  1. I seem to not have the option to put a "read more" in the main page.....

  2. Thank you. It's a shame I can't fully recommend the game, because the pricing for 3DS games and what they offer is steep. Considering most are remakes or small games. It's a system I love, but at the same time find it hard to buy the games.

  3. yeah it's a pretty terrible pricing scheme. makes a little more sense now why they were talking about how one or two dollar games don't offer full experiences. maybe they were prepping people to accept paying 40 dollars for a remake like this...

  4. Definitely nice to have the opinion from someone who has never played the original. I REALLY want this game but can't afford it right now. I am willing to pay it at full-price, however. They have me by my nostalgic balls, so to speak.

  5. hah! i loved the shot at nostalgia in the intro!
    i was also surprised to hear that you hadn't played the originals.

  6. Yeah, I had grown up with a Genesis and then went to a PS1. And pretty much the entire neighborhood was Genesis or PC. I only knew one person with an N64, and he had GoldenEye.

  7. Did you only play through it once? While the start and the end are always the same (I think), the path to get there can vary quite a bit and lends to a good amount of replayability.

    Also, I remember playing it way back when and the "deathmatch" is a ton of fun. It would be pretty damn difficult to get people together to play though.

  8. I did do multiple playthroughs. About 4 or 5, trying alternate paths. It does have a lot of replayability, and in that classic way that most games never touch upon.

  9. Really great review. Maybe I'll buy this for the n64 I just bought off craigslist!

  10. 64 version is awesome, but like every other great game it is plagued by TERRIBLE water levels

  11. i have never owned a nintendo console. i've actually been behind on consoles pretty much forever.