Tuesday, 11 October 2011

First Impressions: Starfox 64 3D

I've been saving up my pennies for Skyward Sword of late, so I've not really managed to put much money aside for other games that have interested me lately, mainly titles that have been released on the 3DS. The likes of Ocarina of Time 3D, Pac Man and Galaga Dimensions and even some of the launch titles such as Ridge Racer 3D have caught my attention as of late, so it's slightly painful to think I won't be buying them for quite a while (although I'd take Skyward Sword over any previously released or other upcoming game at this moment in time). Despite showing interest in the remake of the much proclaimed 'best game ever' on 3DS, I initially never showed much interest in the other Nintendo 64 classic that you can find in a glorified, remade shell on Nintendo's latest handheld's library as of recently. I originally had little intention of buying the 3DS remake of Lylat Wars, the second Starfox game that was released many years ago on Nintendo 64, which is why I still haven't bought it (alongside my lack of funds). However, I happened to borrow the game off a mate a few days back and I must say it's pretty wicked, and that my previous opinion on what I reckoned was just another way to cash-in on a classic Nintendo game was pretty much false, as you'll find out in this First Impressions post and possibly a review in good time.

Despite Starfox 64 3D being a graphical remake of the Nintendo 64 classic Lylat Wars, it's clear that a lot more work has gone into this version than the 3DS remake of a certain N64 Zelda game from the moment you start playing. First off, the 3D effects in the game are literally incredible in comparison to most other stuff I've seen in 3D on my handheld. When I watched the game's opening sequence, I literally felt like the pointiest parts of Starfox's Great Fox starship were going to poke straight through my eyes. This 3D amazement continued throughout pretty much the whole game, and I declined to ever turn the setting off when playing Starfox 64 3D because there's really no turning back. The 3D effects also help the sense of depth in the game, making it somehow seem a bit less difficult to play. Speaking of which, there really isn't anything else like Starfox when it comes to gameplay.
As you can probably guess, this looks pretty damn amazing in three glorious dimensions.
You, as Fox McCloud, must fly through both linear and open stages (unless you're trawling along the ground or navigating the sea in Landmaster tank and Blue Marine submarine stages, respectively) set both in space, and on memorable planets spread throughout the Lylat System. Starfox 64 3D isn't necessarily a hard game to beat, and it'll only take around an hour to an hour and a half to best the final boss of the game. What gives the game its replay value, however, is the fact that there are quite a few different routes you can take through the Lylat hub, with your fate changing depending on whether you fulfill certain conditions in a previous level. For example, if you fly through all the archways in the sea on Corneria, the game's first stage, then you'll have the option to either pick the stage you would've reached had you not flown through said rings, or an entirely unaccesible level had you not fulfilled those conditions. It's a clever concept, and this also carries over into the story and dialogue, triggering set-pieces depending on your actions throughout a playthrough. For example, on one stage you encounter Katt, Falco Lombardi's lady-friend, who later on turns up in subsequent levels; but only if you encounter her on a specific stage. This may not sound extremely exciting, but Katt will generally help you by shooting down enemies, and give Falco a taste of his own cocky-boy medicine in the process.
The amount of alternative routes through stages you can take in a single playthrough is immense, and you'll have to play through the game a number of times to experience each area of the Lylat System.
And that's where the sheer charm of Starfox 64 3D comes in: With the dialogue and the characters. This title would've been a great experience even if it had starred generic heroes and a lack of dialogue, but the fact that you can share some form of connection with your intergalactic animal colleagues in a major plus when it comes to charm factor in the game. The characters are lively and original, with Starfox team's members being a highlight. The main cast consists of the ignorant and cocky Falco Lombardi, the aged wise hare Peppy, the extremely annoying but still rather hilarious Slippy Toad and of course, Fox McCloud himself; Nintendo's own Luke Skywalker. The dialogue these characters exchange is often witty and memorable, and all in all makes you want to play the game through a lot more than you would if the game's cast consisted of a bunch of generic spacefaring humans. And when it comes down to it, Starfox 64 3D's charm is what really makes it worth buying. While there's a great deal of replay value included in the package, from collectible medals for achieving impressive feats on stages to an awesome Battle Mode which greatly improves on the multiplayer feature that was included in the original Nintendo 64 game, it's the standard Nintendo charm that really takes the cake. While the game can be a little repetitive and it won't last you an extremely long time if you just want to play through all of the levels, I'd definitely recommend this title if you find it for a good price. I can't say anything other than I'm glad I borrowed it, and I'd be tugging at the cartridge when my mate asks for it back.


Tom said...

Nice post. I might buy this if I have enough money and I ever get bored of OoT 3D, Pilotwings and Street Fighter xP

George said...

Great post; really enjoyed reading this!
I thought that the sense of depth on the very first part of the opening video (when it says " Starfox... On... Nintendo 3DS") was amazing!

Noodle said...

Thanks for the comments doods, and agreed. Not only is this the best 3D I've seen on 3DS so far, it's also the best 3D I've ever seen on anything ever x3