Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Star Fox 64 3D - Review

"If he is a Star Fox, why does that Fox not have any stars?"asked Lady BG. Good question... and one I still do not have an answer for. Nor, do I have an answer for why Fox is friends with a rabbit, a frog and a parrot. Star Fox has raised lots of questions from the eldest little gamer. All of which, I have no clear answer for.

Star Fox itself is completely new to me as an experience. Having spent the nineties with PC's and PlayStation, I missed out on all of these classic N64 games that make gamers misty eyed instantly. Now thanks to the power of Nintendo's ever evolving portable system, I can enjoy this classic N64 title. The Star Fox series has been predominately 3D space shoot em ups (Although, the series came over all Zelda in Star Fox Adventures on the good old Gamecube).  Fox and his team fly through different stages in order to defeat the evil Andross and rescue the people of Corneria. These stages can differ depending on your actions during the level. This opens different routes which also are the difficulty levels. There are 15 levels in total, although you play seven in each of the routes.

The Galaxy Map showing the available routes
The game is quite short in length. My first play-through took about two hours, but the replay value is immense. There are medals to collect, the different routes to take, two ways of playing the game (3DS mode and N64 mode) and score attack modes. Plenty to keep you playing again and again. Then you hit the biggest problem with Star Fox 64 3D....  local multiplayer only! No internet multiplayer seriously hurts this from being great. Even global scoreboards on the score attack more would of helped. Just local multiplayer and AI bots. As a gaming Dad, I don't know anyone else who has a 3DS near me. So its bot play only for me, which sucks. I do not understand why Nintendo would spend time getting the mulitplayer working with the camera providing images of the face of the person you are playing with... who is sat on the other side of the room. If I wanted to look at them in the face in my moment of glory, I would look up at them!

Visually, Star Fox shines. The 3DS does a great job of updating the graphics, lighting and effects from the original version (obviously!). It really breathes new life into it, much in the same way Zelda did earlier this year. Of course to compare it to the original, I have to go on the many playthroughs on Youtube. Sound is good, although they have kept the electronic soundtrack, rather than doing the orchestral music of Zelda. I think they have missed the opportunity to recreate "John Williams - Star Wars"-esque anthems here. Everything still oozes that Nintendo polish though.

The 3D has been toned down a lot. I can understand this decision for a more action based game. The fast nature and movement of the game (and your own body) means that the level of depth seen in Zelda would not work here. Even so, the 3D effect whilst crashing through asteroid fields and buzzing across the hulls of capital warships is incredible. The other 3DS feature utilised is motion controls or "Gyro Controls". Now I know that there are many people who will love this control set and see it as the best way to experience the game. For me though, I like to be able to fly in a straight line and shoot thing I was shooting at. Motion controls are also tested to their limit when you have a two year old randomly hanging off your arm and a four year old trying to see the screen, by shoving her head in front of yours. (Just to note: 3D effect when the kids are around). So I will stick to the circle pad, as it seems to be more precise and I don't look like an idiot sat in my own front room swerving from side to side.

Star Fox is a great game and well worth looking at if your 3DS is itching for some action before the big guns of Mario 3D and Mario Kart 7 hit before Christmas. It is not going to last as long as Zelda, but the time you spend with it will be full of that Nintendo trademark.... Pure Fun! Sadly, Online modes would have made this game an instant 3DS classic.

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