Doing a barrel roll and being more like your father was never this good before.
Regardless of the added 3D effects, refined controls, completely improved graphics, beautifully remastered soundtrack, and brand new multiplayer, Star Fox 64 3D is, at heart, the same wonderful game that came out in 1997. Star Fox 64 was a landmark Nintendo 64 game, coming out within a year of the system’s release. The remake, handled by Star Fox Command developers Q-Games and coincidentally coming out within a year of the 3DS’ release, isn’t quite as important as the original, but it’s still an excellent game bolstered by a hefty and pleasant visual upgrade.
But still, this is just Star Fox 64. You should know what you’re getting by now. It’s an outstanding arcade shooter with branching paths and a cinematic presentation. The gameplay is top notch, as you control Fox McCloud through a variety of different levels, some more interesting than others, and shoot your way to victory alongside fellow anthropomorphic wingmen Slippy Toad, Peppy Hare, and Falco Lombardi. For the most part, you take flight in the series trademark Arwing, but a few levels feature the Landmaster (a tank) and the Blue-Marine (a submarine). They are a nice change of pace, but they don’t control nearly as well as the Arwing.
The game offers three different game modes that do not have any apparent differences outside of difficulty. Nintendo 64 mode features the same difficulty level present in the original, while Nintendo 3DS mode takes into the account the added benefit of the Circle Pad and the new gyroscope controls. Expert mode, unlockable by earning medals on stages, is just a crazy-hard version of the other modes.
The gyro controls are novel, but when combined with the 3D, they’re a little tough to use. Basically, you can move the system around to move your Arwing in conjunction with using the Circle Pad. On one hand, it’s more immersive, as you can literally move the system to the left to avoid an obstacle. On the other, you might lose the 3D if you play with it on, screwing you up and getting you damaged anyway. It’s implemented well, especially as there are subtle meters on the outside of the screen telling you how your system is oriented, and it is a snap to recalibrate mid-mission. The presence of this feature on the menus is also neat.
New to this version is a Score Attack mode, which allows you to easily replay any level for medals. It’s nothing too fancy, but that, combined with the new save functionality, makes the game easier to pick up and play -- ideal for a portable game.
The original was known for its audio, with full voiceovers and a suitably epic soundtrack, and the remake doesn’t disappoint. The original voice cast returned to re-record every line of dialog. It sounds a lot better, and they do a serviceable job of recreating the cheese of the original, right down to the flapping mouths of each character when they speak. The soundtrack is completely redone, and sounds wonderful and crisp on the system’s speakers. This is a game worth busting out headphones for.
The multiplayer Battle Mode is completely revamped from the original, featuring all-new levels and power-ups. It’s a ton of fun, even when you’re just playing single-player with bots. Unfortunately, the multiplayer is Download Play only, which is good and disappointing at the same time. On the off chance I’m around other people with systems, I have no doubt it’ll be a blast, but it’d be wonderful if I could play this online.
If you’ve never played Star Fox 64 before, then the 3DS remake is 100 percent worth getting. This is a fantastic game, and this iteration is the definitive version. The big question with Star Fox 64 3D, though, is should people who played the hell out of the original get it. There isn't much new content in the remake, but if you’re hankering for some barrel rolls, then you should get Star Fox 64 3D. It’s a splendid update of an already great game.