Star Fox 64 3D preview: Something old, something new

Remember how fun Star Fox 64 was? And remember how fun the multiplayer was, with the tanks and the Arwings? If you were looking for a more portable version of that multiplayer experience ... well, you won't find it in Star Fox 64 3D. Oddly enough, the original multiplayer mode has been scrapped in favor of something different.

There are three different multiplayer modes: Survival, Score Attack and Time Attack. Survival is an elimination-based mode, while the latter two task players with scoring the most points overall in a match and in a set amount of time, respectively. Each of these game types modify the formula slightly, but overall the goal is the same: shoot everyone else and don't get shot yourself. It's basic stuff.
%Gallery-128694% Four maps are available for dogfighting: Corneria, Venom, MacBeth and Meteo. Each level feels open and is set up much like an arena, though Corneria was the real stand-out with its tall skycrapers and freeways. I flew into them several times while I tried to escape from the bogey on my tail (that's what pilots say, right?).

Power-ups also make an appearance, allowing players to unleash a flurry of deadly homing missiles or switch positions with the nearest player. The latter move works especially well, since a majority of my experience in the multiplayer consisted of freaking out about a plane on my six (my pilot lingo is coming along, yes?). Using this power-up, I could instantly switch spots with my pursuer and change roles from prey to predator.

The multiplayer was serviceable and, at times, quite fun, but I wonder why Nintendo would ditch the old multiplayer suite. Considering this game is trying to capitalize on (what else?) nostalgia, and introduce new players to the franchise, why wouldn't the Big N include the same multiplayer I spent so many hours playing in my younger years? Maybe the 3DS just can't render tanks?

Regardless, the multiplayer certainly won't turn fans away -- it undeniably feels like Star Fox and extends the game appropriately. It's also worth pointing out that the multiplayer only supports local wireless, though the ability to game share with other individuals is a nice feature. Still, it's curious that Nintendo wouldn't add online features when spending time to develop this new multiplayer mode; it's not like there was a new single-player campaign occupying its time.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.