Star Fox 64 3D Review

By Jason D'Aprile - Posted Sep 12, 2011

Fox McCloud returns! After its debut on the N64 14 years ago, Star Fox 64 looks better than ever on the go and in 3D.

The Pros
  • Nice graphics overhaul
  • Excellent gameplay
  • Diverse levels
  • Multiplayer
The Cons
  • Multiplayer is local only
  • Overpriced
  • Gyroscopic controls are clunky

Star Fox 64 3D Review:

Nintendo continues their retro roller coaster ride on the 3DS with their revamp of Star Fox 64. Much like the recent 3DS version of the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, this is essentially a straightforward port of the classic game with improved textures and, obviously, 3D visuals. So, if you loved it on the 64, this will bring back wave after wave of nostalgic joy.

Star Fox 64 3D

To the Stars! And Beyond!

If you’re new to the world of Star Fox, the game is a space ship shooter centered around the elite Star Fox team. This four-member team of star fighters is lead by Fox McCloud, the devil-may-care son of the previous leader of the team, who fights against the evil and megalomaniacal Andross, a rogue scientist bent on domination. To this noble end, the team must brave open space, asteroid fields, and a variety of harsh planetary environments. Fox and his anthropomorphic team of animal pilots must even venture into the sea at one point to root out Andross and his endless army of mechanical menaces.

The story is silly and the dialogue is frequently painfully bad, but Star Fox remains an engaging and fun third-person shooter. There are 15 levels, though you’ll only have to get through seven in the race to confront Andross. Each level plays out exactly the same, so memorization is key to earning medals (and the harder difficulty-level setting), and experienced players will be able to get through the game in about an hour. Despite that, the option to find hidden power ups, secret entrances to new levels, and earn challenging medals gives Star Fox 64 3D an amazing amount of replay value.

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Classically Made New

Each level is amazingly different than the previous, which adds a lot to the appeal of the adventure. The revamped graphics certainly don’t hurt. Star Fox 64 might be 14-years old, but Nintendo has done a good job of making the visuals stand out. The colors are bright, the graphics are sharp, the visual effects are frequently impressive, and the 3D adds a great sense of depth.

Star Fox 64 3D

Admittedly, the simplistic polygonal nature of the old N64’s graphic engine is still very noticeable. While the game looks far better on the 3DS, everything is still made of simple geometric shapes. Levels alternate between linear, forward-scrolling sections and free-roaming parts where Fox and company can move where ever they like within a confined area. The latter is mostly used for boss battles and specific dog-fighting sequences.

Controls will instantly feel familiar to fans of the original game. New to the 3DS is the inclusion of gyroscopic controls, but this method is just too imprecise to be useful. Also, gyroscopic movements make the 3D visuals nearly impossible to see. With standard analog stick controls, however, Fox’s Arwing fighter handles just fine.

Star Fox 64 3D

It’s Retro

New to the 3DS version is the four-way multiplayer, which works well and is surprisingly entertaining. Unfortunately, multiplayer is local-only, but only requires one cartridge to play. Other than that, Star Fox 64 3D is essentially the exact same game it was 14 years ago. This is still a good game with plenty of entertainment value, and the visual overhaul is nice. Yet, at $40, Star Fox still seems rather over-priced, especially considering you can buy it for a quarter of that on the Wii.

Still want to play it? Why not rent it at Gamefly?