Starfox 64 is legendary at this point. Not only is a hugely popular game with a dedicated fan base, it has also become an internet icon through the endlessly quotable memes it has sparked. The last time we saw a Starfox game was on the DS, and that one came out less than spectacular. Fans were not happy with its multiple endings, and questioned the future of the series. With no sequel on the Wii, or 3DS and no apparent plans for one, Starfox 64 3D may be as close as we get for some time. Is it better than the original, though?
The most obvious improvement to the game is the graphics. I have to say, this is one of the best looking games I've seen on the 3DS and the 3D is most impressive. Things are a bit brighter than they were before, and the models have been totally redone. even though things look much more modern, the effects still have a vintage 90's feel. The graphics hit a perfect balance between nostalgically simple and elegantly modern. The environments arguably got more of a makeover than anything, and really feel like actual planets. The 3D effect, as mentioned, is very impressive, and actually has impact on the game. When an enemy is tailing you, it blocks your view. You may also be able to see some enemies coming from behind or to your sides when in all-range mode if you have 3D turned on. Unlike some other 3DS games, I experienced no "bleeding" images, crossing over of images or even a small amount of blur or eye strain. On most 3DS games, I have to have the slider on low intensity, and can only tolerate that for approximately half an hour at the most. In Starfox, however, I can turn the slider on the highest intensity and play endlessly with no problems.
Quite a difference
The music seems to be ripped straight from the original game, and the sound effects are nearly identical if not perfect replicas of what they were before. The entire script, however, has been re-recorded. Slippy and Fox sound almost perfect, but something seems a tad off about Peppy and Falco. New voices aside, all of those memorable quotes are intact. From "Do a barrel roll!" to "Can't let you do that Starfox!", the script is unchanged.
You know you want to...
The controls mimic those of the original SNES game, Starfox. Unlike that game, there are only 2 layouts, however. I opt to play wiht option A, in which the a button is fire, b is brake, x is boost and y is bomb. No matter which control scheme you select, L and R cause you to veer in that direction and double tapping either induces a barrel roll. The slider is used for movement and aiming, of course. Unlike the control stick, t takes a bit of getting used to having to line up your shots, or at least it did for me. The Arwing is jsut as responsive, but something just felt different. Somersaults and U-Turns are handled by pressing the boost button in tandem with up or down. Alternatively, they are mapped to the up and down buttons on the d-pad.
Control Layout A
The story is, of course, unchanged. Prior to the games events, Andross, a scientist from Corneria, is exiled to planet Venom after nearly destroying Corneria. The Starfox team, then consisting of Peppy Hare, James MCCloud and Pigma Dengar is sent in to investigate the planet. Pigma, however, betrays James and Peppy, causing them to become captured by Andross. James them sacrifices himself to allow for Peppy's escape. Five years later, the new Starfox team is called in again when Andross launches an attack on the entire Lylat solar system. This time the team consists of Peppy Hare of the original team, Fox McCloud who is James' son, Falco Lombardi and Slippy Toad.
Why do the developers look so confused by the games re-release? even Shigeru Miyamoto, the series creator, has a look of "Oh...uhhh...ok...."
Fans of the original will be happy to know that the entire Lylat System is intact. Every level, every enemy, and every alternate path is just the same as before. Would we have it any other way?
Starfox 64 3D is nearly identical to the original. The only real difference is the voice actors and the graphics. That being said, it goes back to my original question. Is it worth buying over the original? My answer is that it is very situational. If you do not own a Nintendo 64 or a Wii, then this would of course be your only option, and you'd be a fool to pass it up. However, if you do own an N64 or a Wii, the question comes down to how much you value portability. If you want the game in portable form, then again, 3D will be your only option. Other than that, it really doesn't matter if you get this, the N64 original, or the Virtual Console ROM. They are all the same basic experience. Starfox 64 is a classic in many ways, and if you have not played it for yourself then it is certainly a game you need to check out. If you already own the original, however, there is no reason to bother purchasing this remake, especially at the $40 price tag. I managed to find a copy in a bargain bin at Books-a-million somehow for $20, but even still I feel as if I wasted my money because there is no new content.