If there is one thing that Nintendo has an abundance of, it’s flagship characters, and the Star Fox franchise is one of those titles that falls into that revered bracket. This iteration is actually a 3D reboot of Star Fox’s second console outing on the Nintendo 64. For those that haven’t played any in the series, Star Fox 64 3D is an on-rail flight blaster where players take up control of Fox McCloud as he takes intergalactic nasties in his trusty Arwing space jet. Pinpoint aiming and mercurial dodging is a necessity as you hurtle through space taking on hundreds of alien enemies which are spawned at will. At the end of the level you’ll encounter a mega boss fight where you’ll need to work out weak points which you can exploit if you wish to progress to the next level. Certain missions take place on land or undersea which provide a good variety in addition to the flight excursions.
Although it’s an on-rails shooter at heart, the game often goes into a free-roam mode where you are given free reign on wherever you want to fly, albeit with the restrictions of imposed boundaries. These spaces allow for some of the most fun and furious dogfights as you’ll find yourself barrel-rolling or executing slick aerial manoeuvres in order to get an advantage over your opponents. This mechanic also forms the basis for the games multi player component where up to four players can engage each other in an arena-esque deathmatch which can be set throughout the various backdrops of the single player campaign. It was this 4-player mode which made the original Star Fox 64 so wildly popular, and nothing has changed with this latest rebirth.
What really makes this game incredible is its 3D capabilities thanks to the Nintendo 3DS’ screen. Even though it is essentially a rehash of its Nintendo 64 namesake, the depth that the 3D allows makes an for an incredibly gorgeous game. The 3D also adds to the gameplay and makes it easier to judge the proper depth of the obstacles you’ll have to navigate or the enemies heading towards you from a distance. The one area where the 3D does conflict with is the game’s gyroscopic control system. This extra addition is really cool because it allows you to manoeuvre your vehicles by tilting the 3DS in the intended direction. This aspect, however, does interfere with the 3D view which requires a fairly consistent angle of viewing for the best results. That said, the game provides a number of options which you can toggle in order to take full advantage of both features.
All in all, Star Fox 64 3D is a great addition to a 3DS lineup which has been lacking. Its fast-paced action coupled with its eye-popping graphics is well suited to the system. Now all Nintendo needs to do is create a new Star Fox built from the ground up for the 3DS and I’ll be one happy camper!