Deja Review: Star Fox 64 3D

We're of the firm opinion that your time is too precious, too valuable to be spent reading a full review for a game that was already reviewed many, many years ago. What's the point of applying a score to a game that's old enough to be enrolled in the sixth grade? That's why we invented Deja Review: A quick look at the new features and relative agelessness of remade, revived and re-released games.
If you've spent any time with the Nintendo 3DS -- especially if that time was spent with the handheld's aeronautical launch title, Pilotwings Resort -- you're probably aware that flying games are right in this handheld's wheelhouse. Moving forward through the sky as objects and other pilots move towards, around and behind you looks invariably dope with the 3D slider turned on; this law is no less incontrovertible in the system's latest first-party remake: Star Fox 64 3D.

But games can't live on dopeness alone -- they need meat on their bones as well. Star Fox has no lack of content, but if you owned the Nintendo 64 original and thoroughly explored its brief and branching campaign back in 1997, you've probably seen that content plenty of times before. Much like Ocarina of Time 3D before it, Star Fox 64 3D is banking on a single bulletpoint to earn your purchase: You've never seen that content quite like this.%Gallery-128694% What's new this time around? The most evident and, conveniently, most beneficial addition to the title is its newfound depth and overall loveliness. Much like Ocarina, the graphics haven't just been given a meager spit-shine; Nintendo and Q-Games have lovingly redrawn nearly every texture in the game. The deep edges of space and remote alien worlds look about as pretty as anything else we've seen on the console. The sound has also received an overhaul thanks to 14 years of hardware innovation; music and teammate messages no longer sound like they're being emitted from the inside of an oil drum.

A 3DS mode allows the player to control their ship using the gyroscope, but I rarely found occasion for this control scheme to be practical. Star Fox's unique design binds flying and aiming to a single input; a method which requires a level of precision that the gyroscope doesn't provide. Not to mention that it's tough to keep your head in the right spot for the 3D effect to take hold when you're wildly twisting and turning the handheld.

The multiplayer component is just as delightful as it was back in the day -- perhaps even more so, thanks to the ability to use a picture of your own invention as your avatar. Unfortunately, the lack of online support means your opportunities to indulge in it will be limited. The ability to use Download Play to hook up a four-player match on a single cartridge helps; but when was the last time you and your three 3DS-owning friends got together for some good old fashioned game time?

How's it hold up? Star Fox 64 is still a hell of a lot of fun. It's split-path campaign almost never plays out the same way twice, and its bevy of secret areas and unlockable medals -- which can be conveniently nabbed in the new score attack mode -- are as desirable as ever. It looks, sounds, and feels great on its new platform, and the 3DS' portability (as well as a long overdue save state feature for the campaign) makes Star Fox 64 3D a tough game to put down.

It's a thorough remake, but unfortunately, not a very surprising one. Fans of the original who spent their formative years repeatedly zooming through the Lylat System while chasing their friends' hit records might find the game's $39.99 price tag a tad unpalatable -- especially since the original is on the Virtual Console for one-quarter of that cost. If you've got room in your heart for a few more trips to Venom, however, Star Fox 64 3D will not disappoint.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.