Back in 97 there was a humble little game released for the N64 called Lylat Wars here in Oz. It came with a special little device requiring its own batteries called a “rumble pack” and featured (for its time) great visuals, complete voice-acting (unlike many Nintendo games back then) and some awesome four-player split-screen multiplayer, all BOTS included. Times, they have a changed though, and rumble is now a standard inclusion with all gaming controllers, multiplayer is a necessity, 3D is all the rage and a Nintendo game without voice-acting? (Hmmm not much has changed there).
Finally, seemingly in line with Nintendo’s retro obsession to appease hardcore gamers, and their once rabid fanbase, you can now purchase for your RSI infected appendages Star Fox 64 3D for the 3DS (obviously). If you're an old hand at this, well, you know what you’re gonna get. The entire game you loved from the N64 is present, looking better than ever. Crisper, more improved detail in textures present themselves along with nice reflections and lighting effects to add to the already great 3D corridor style shooting gameplay.
And, as with most games of this sort the 3D effects add realistic depth, adding another dimension to gameplay (literally).
Nintendo’s history of implementing new, immersive
gameplay peripherals leaves a lengthy legacy, but since the Wii, in this humble reviewer’s opinion, these tend to be more gimmicky and detract from gameplay, blowing precision right out the airlock. Thankfully Nintendo have opted not to succumb to any touch-screen gimmickness, relegating feeling it up
to the most basic intuitive functions leaving the true controls to use of the Slide Pad and the triggers to fly your Arwing. Gyro controls can be turned on, but *shrugs* meh...
There’s familiar control set-ups for the nostalgic amongst you, mimicking the good ol’ 64 controls, which for those of you still smashing emulated versions using your freshly modded USB 64 controller will find mighty comforting.
It’s nice to see Star Fox has stuck with his crew and his mercenary roots even after all these years. The whole team is back; Slippy being as annoying as ever, and Falco still being a right dick. I’m pretty stoked to see they haven’t messed with the original and have included the original ending with its still quite awesome cinematics, the much lauded (at the time) voice-acting returns and is verbatim the original, even Wolf O’Donnell’s scream of pain as the inevitable occurs.
One of my personal favourite levels, which culminates in an open
battle world opening up the corridor style gameplay into a large 360 Degree playing field, similar to where multiplayer takes place, is still a pleasure to play, although as with the entire game it seems a little too easy these days. I finished the game in a couple of hours max.
Be aware this was just straight playthrough though. The game’s inventive tiered and branching progression structure allows for plenty of replayability, requiring finishing missions in a certain way to progress through the game on higher difficulties or to open up new levels. This shortness of gameplay lends itself to a portable gaming format in this world of more developed and advanced games, so it’s nice to see something that you can pick up, play for a brief period, and come back to later with little detriment to gameplay.
Finishing the game gives you access to Sound Tests and if you're keen, clock it in a single sitting to get a nice bragging rights ranking.
You’ve got the option of three basic game modes: Main Game, Battle Mode and Score Mode. It’s awesome to see Battle Mode back as it was one of the best aspects of the original and is just as sweet as ever, allowing battle with up to three friends via download play or with three bots for those friendless
. The only downside to the multiplayer is the lack of any online battle support. Finally we have Score mode which is as it sounds, a selection of levels for you to gain the highest score, refine your gameplay and decimate the Leaderboards with your huge-arse hit number.
Ultimately this is a solid, although quick, flight down memory lane. If you’re new, then welcome to the world of Lylat Wars 64 (Sorry, Star Fox 64), and if you’re an Arwing veteran, it’s time to relive the experience again. Definitely well worth the purchase.