Star Fox 64 3D (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Adam Riley 05.09.2011 31

Review for Star Fox 64 3D on Nintendo 3DS

The year was 1997 and Nintendo was busy promoting its new home console with a slew of games with the ‘64’ tag to identify how they were indeed part of the Nintendo 64 family, with the likes of Super Mario 64, Pilotwings 64 and Wave Race 64 all gracing the platform. However, due to licensing reasons the second official release of Star Fox could neither be called Starwing 64 nor Star Fox 64, with Nintendo of Europe instead plumping for Lylat Wars. Whilst nostalgia-filled fans will be disappointed to see whatever issue be resolved, hence Star Fox 64 3D being emblazoned on the new Nintendo 3DS version’s box, many will undoubtedly forget the furore caused by the, at the time, extremely awkward sounding alternative name. Whatever the case, Fox McCloud, Falco Lombardi, Peppy Hare, and Slippy Toad are back in what is arguably their best space adventure, presented now in beautiful auto-stereoscopic 3D. Roll on Star Fox 64 3D

Star Fox 64 3D may not come in a larger-than-normal box like Lylat Wars did back in the Nintendo 64 days thanks to the inclusion of the Rumble Pak in the package, yet that does not in any way infer it is a lesser game. Fourteen long years have passed since the original Star Fox / Starwing’s main plot was reinvented for the 64-bit beast of a console, but immediately booting up the new cartridge on the diminutive Nintendo 3DS console brings the memories flooding back, along with a fresh tingling sensation down the spine as realisation kicks in that laid before you is the back-to-basics, pure Star Fox space-based shooter that fans have been craving ever since Nintendo left the series in the hands of other developers, like Rare for the RPG adventure Star Fox Adventures and Namco for Star Fox Assault with its misguided on-foot missions.

For those that missed out on the highly rated original version of Star Fox 64, the Lylat system is under attack from the nefarious Andross, an evil tyrant who was once thought to have been safely locked away, unable to bring disaster unto others, but has recently broken free of his bonds. Players take on the role of Fox McCloud in his spacecraft, the Arwing, battling not only to protect his home world of Corneria, but the entire Lylat system, with a little help from some friends. During missions fellow pilots, Falco, Peppy and Slippy, all shoot down enemies and offer little pieces of useful information. Additionally, some extra fire power comes from other allies eager to help the cause during certain missions, fighting against Andross’ henchmen (including rival mercenaries, Star Wolf), whilst special items are sometimes dropped into play by the mechanical Rob 64 that pilots the Great Fox, the larger main ship that acts as the headquarters for Team Star Fox.

Screenshot for Star Fox 64 3D on Nintendo 3DS

There are many elements that make Star Fox 64 3D a truly extraordinary game, and far more than a run-of-the-mill space shooter. The range of missions on offer, for instance, is thoroughly impressive. In some instances players will have to snuff out a particular threat causing havoc in an area, whilst there are also missions that involve working with other allied forces in an open arena-style fight to stave off an onslaught of incoming enemy craft until their Mother Ship arrives (which must be subsequently blown to pieces), plus there is also the chance to take to the ground in the Landmaster, hovering over obstacles, blasting away at key targets and attempting to achieve the overall objective at hand. Even with the regular on-rails sections, though, where only being able to fly left or right may seem limiting, there are moments of great invention, such as opening up new routes by following a certain path, keeping enemies from shooting down your cohorts (end-of-level score totals also take into account how much energy team-mates have left), building up hit bonuses by charging the Arwing’s lasers and blasting down several foes at once, as well as discovering hidden items by shooting away at structures in the immediate vicinity. People may bemoan the fact that this is based on an old structure and lacks innovation in today's world, but its foundations were so strong back then that it still stands firm to this very day.

Screenshot for Star Fox 64 3D on Nintendo 3DS

This is no basic port, however, with the visuals being totally revamped to take advantage of the Nintendo 3DS’ extra horsepower, and, as with the gloss added to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Star Fox 64 3D has turned out to be far more aesthetically pleasing than the original game, with some of the levels looking absolutely stunning due to the beautiful water effects and flowing lava. There is also the small matter of 3D. The added depth of this may seem subtle at first, but after playing for a while and then turning it off, the effect becomes far more apparent and playing without it starts to feel much less natural. As with Ridge Racer 3D, due to the viewpoint having players flying into the screen, the addition of 3D really does create a fantastic sense of exploring the dark depths of the galaxy, bringing even more realism to the dodging, barrel rolls and intense shooting action.

Another aspect that works to draw the player further into the action is the option to play in ‘3DS’ mode with the gyroscope being used either for space craft control alone, or in tandem with the Circle Pad for the most accurate handling. Many purists will want to stick with the ‘N64’ mode that cranks up the difficulty level and retains a traditional control setup, but for those either coming into the series fresh or after being away for many years, taking the ‘3DS’ route is a highly pleasurable experience. Whilst trying to keep 3D on full alongside the gyroscope control system is futile, leading to blurred images as that 'sweet spot' is frequently lost, the feeling of actually being in full control of the Arwing is so immersive that even switching back to a plain old 2D field does not deter from the enjoyment factor. Personally it was hard to choose between 3D with the Circle Pad or switching the depth off in favour of trying the gyroscope and Circle Pad combination. Thankfully, Nintendo and Q-Games have seen fit to allow players to switch between control schemes whenever they feel like it, meaning the best of both worlds can be achieved.

Screenshot for Star Fox 64 3D on Nintendo 3DS

Missions are not particularly lengthy on the whole, and blasting through one of the three difficulty paths may only take a couple of hours. However, the incentive to return here is that there are actually 15 main stages in total, but not all can be reached in one play-through, with various criteria needing to be met in certain levels in order to change route on the way to finally usurping Andross from his throne of evil and sending him back from whence he came. Nintendo has attempted to lengthen the game further, though, by bringing back the multiplayer mode in a new local wireless play format that means the slow frame-rate of the N64’s split-screen setup is no longer an issue. The multiplayer option also makes use of the external 3DS cameras to provide live video footage of those you are playing against, with the aim being to make the battles more ‘personal’ as you see friends and family straining and cringing during the four-player dogfights using just one copy of Star Fox 64 3D. Multiplayer stages are based on levels from the main game, include new power-ups and special weapons, and come in three varieties: Survival (compete to be the last man standing), Point Battle (amass points for kills, aiming to reach a specific total), and Time Battle (achieve the most kills within the allotted time). For those with no friends, there is also the option to play against three computer-controlled players.

As mentioned earlier, purists may not be best pleased with some of the direction taken with Star Fox 64 3D and its updates, with this extending to the updated voice acting, the reworked soundtrack and even the amendments to the script. However, although some of the voices are indeed a little suspect, overall they are still a worthwhile inclusion and are of a good enough quality throughout, with the same applying to the highly memorable soundtrack, which sounds much better when heard through earphones. Nintendo and Q-Games have attempted to update a classic and make it more accessible for a new audience, something that has definitely been achieved successfully. Unfortunately there is no online battling, nor any Wi-Fi leader-boards for tracking high scores around the world. Similar to how The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D should possibly have had a little more added, the same rings true with Star Fox 64 3D, yet this does not stop it from being one of the best shooting games on the market, and definitely one of the most impressive Nintendo 3DS games released so far.

Screenshot for Star Fox 64 3D on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

After the roaring success of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Nintendo has picked yet another classic from the days of the Nintendo 64 and successfully spruced it up for a new generation of gamers. Star Fox 64 3D manages to force its way into the new market, showing how its strong gameplay foundation from 1997 has stood the test of time to make it one of the most enjoyable titles on Nintendo 3DS so far. It may not be as updated as some may have liked, but that certainly does not prevent Nintendo from having another top quality game on 3DS now.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10 (7 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now    Also on Also on Nintendo eShop


A fair review Adam, great write-up.

I know what you mean about some of the voices, Ross. The one for the training section is especially poor, but trying to avoid comparing it too much to the past, the voice acting isn't too awful and some of the characters are actually quite decent.

As for the soundtrack, I heard the music on some of those video clips you posted a while back, but it's weird because listening through my earphones it didn't sound anywhere near as bad as on YouTube...maybe I'm not as die-hard a fan as you, though Smilie

I'm really pleased to see this is the No.1 selling 3DS game on Amazon UK at the moment, climbing up the charts prior to its release this Friday. Here's hoping its sales performance in the US and Europe helps its chances of a new Wii U version...there were apparently rumours of a Wii version being planned, but I wonder if that has been shelved now? Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

IMDb confirms they got the original voice actors back for the main characters, as well as some of the supporting cast (Bill, Katt, Wolf etc). I guess they haven't done those voices in years though and they generally sound off. Peppy especially doesn't sound much like the original. I think most of the bosses have new voice actors, from what I've heard.

It was mainly the Venom music, which actually has a technical flaw in it and nothing to do with the actual sound. The rest of the soundtrack seems fine, it just depends on whether you like the new instrument sounds and extra parts of music they fitted in.

Very happy to see pre-orders doing well, I hope it prompts Nintendo to make one for Wii U and they add an online mode, which this game is lacking.

( Edited 05.09.2011 22:59 by Marzy )

Most of the same voice actors? Hmm, I thought Slippy in this Euro version sounds like the boy that does Luke in Prof. Layton and Mark Evans in Inazuma Eleven...i.e. annoying Smilie

I had to refrain from using the gyro mode on the train to work because I got funny looks from people Smilie

I'm really surprised to see the omission of online, especially considering Star Fox Command on DS had it...but saying that, Square Enix's Puzzle Bobble Universe is also lacking online, despite its DS precursor having it. Odd Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

The voice of Slippy is done by a woman. Smilie

Here's an interesting bit of trivia for Star Fox fans.

Rick May, who voiced Wolf O'Donnell in Lylat Wars also voiced the Soldier in Team Fortress 2. Grant Goodeve, who voiced Wolf O'Donnell in Star Fox Assault voiced the Engineer in Team Fortress 2.

( Edited 05.09.2011 23:23 by Marzy )

Our member of the week

jesusraz said:
I'm really surprised to see the omission of online, especially considering Star Fox Command on DS had it...but saying that, Square Enix's Puzzle Bobble Universe is also lacking online, despite its DS precursor having it. Odd Smilie

Puzzle Bobble lacks it, starfox lacks it, PES lacks it...

The only one that comes to mind on 3DS, which has online, is SSF4. Did that game use Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, or was it an online mode handled by Capcom themselves like they did in Monster Hunter 3 ?

Seems weird to me that online capable games are almost totally missing from the 3DS altogether.

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

yaknow it seems every time i mention something about the 3ds is negitive, and this will be no different :V starfox is a great franchise though very under used, and im happy yo see them still releasing games but i would of much rathered a new game entierly, once again, i have starfox 64 already. The selling point of this for me would of been online multiplayer. But without it, theres nothing really added the original n64 one had.

Also whats with the stupid name? Starfox 64 3DS? Mario DS wasnt called mario 64 DS. if its so people know the name of the original, the original in europe was called "Lylat Wars", so that point is redundant, Starfox 3D would of been fine , i just find the whole logic in the title lacking.

I won'y be buying this one, theres no point what do ever, i only hope this opens a door for a revival of the series to continue from this point in the story and pretend the gamecube games never happened.

welshwuff said:
Mario DS wasnt called mario 64 DS.

Yeah it was. Super Mario 64 DS was its full title. And I do get why people would prefer this to be called Lylat Wars 3D or whatever, but the fact is it's the Star Fox series, and all games after Lylat used Star Fox. Going backwards and not using the Star Fox name again for a Star Fox game wouldn't make much sense nowadays. I think someone here suggested a subtitle for the European version instead, like Star Fox 64 3D: Lylat Wars, or something like that, which would have worked fine.

i only hope this opens a door for a revival of the series to continue from this point in the story

This is what I think will happen. I don't think they even knew themselves what the hell they were doing with the story after Command, and I remember some strange hints about which ending they were thinking of using to lead to the next game. But I do think that this will be the beginning of a reboot of the franchise now, with future games perhaps retconning what happened after Lylat Wars.

and pretend the gamecube games never happened.

Am I the only one that enjoyed both Star Fox games on the GC? :L

Kintobor (guest) 06.09.2011#9

No online = no likey. What a stupid move from Stupid old Nintendo once again. Shambles.

Squidboy (guest) 06.09.2011#10

I've got no problem with crude voice work as long as it's charming, like the original game.
The lack of online MP is hugely disappointing, it's inclusion would have prolonged this games life and appeal to me a great deal. As it stands, I'm certainly in no rush to acquire this.

The games UK adverts showcasing video screens in MP are deceptive, they blatantly attempt to imply ONLINE MP inclusion.

Nintendo advertising tactics are disgustingly crude these days, I know first hand what underhand tactics they use. Nintendo UK reps tried repeatedly to get me to go on camera and praise the 3DS at launch event at HMV in London, after they offered me "free gifts", that never appeared for all those that signed the release.

I'll get it along with Ocarina and another 5-6 games when I get my 3DS next year. Great review!

Squidboy (guest) said:
The games UK adverts showcasing video screens in MP are deceptive, they blatantly attempt to imply ONLINE MP inclusion.

I actually don't get it. What was going through their minds when making this feature? What the hell made them think it would be a great thing to put in the game if there is no online play and you'd be playing with your mates in basically the same room? I think it's a terrible decision to put something like this in, especially as it's as you say: it implies there is online play. I bet the ads have text saying no online or something, to cover their backs, but it's still guaranteed to misinform customers.

Azuardo said:
What was going through their minds when making this feature?

I thought the same thing but not specifically because it's not online. Why did they go for the effort of updating the multiplayer mode with new weapons and other stuff but didn't add online while they were at it? The omission of online would have made at least a bit more sense if they did change nothing about the multiplayer mode at all, except the graphics.

A little bit of anecdotal evidence here: today at work a mid-20s guy was asking me about this because he knew I'd likely be reviewing it. He was talking about how much he loved the N64 version and had seen the advert for this 3DS version and couldn't wait to get this update. Even when I told him there was only local multiplayer, his only worry was that it would need 4 copies of the he was really happy to hear that it's four-player battling from one game card alone.

Just thought I'd share that little bit of info Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses
Mika (guest) 07.09.2011#15

The game looks promising for the "true" Star fox(snes) and star fox64 fans, like yours truly because at one point I liked Star fox adventures, but done some researched and found out that It was originally supposed to be Dinosaur planet.

I was upset that they put Star fox characters in a abomination game called Dinosaur planet. instead put a annoying characters like Krystal in the series. I mean it didn't make sense that a magical jungle raised princess would be any use for the series.

She just a character in my opinion shouldn't be in the series at all.I mean they could create another vixen who shares the same bad ass job as Fox.I would be happy if they reboots the whole series and erase Krystal,Tricky, and Panther and give a new love interest for Fox instead of a useless character like Krystal. Thumbs up if you agree with me Smilie

Jman (guest) 07.09.2011#16

Does this site only rate games on a 7-10 scale?
There's no excuse for the lack of online, and what's the purpose of choppy "live footage" of the people I'm playing against, when they've got to be sitting right next to me?
I'm sure some will be happy with the game, but I would've preferred a new entry with modern features.

Rob64 (guest) 07.09.2011#17

What are you talking about? Recently I've seen games getting between 4 and 6 as well. Chose not to look at those, though, didn't you? Smilie

I love SF64 and even without online I still want this update. I reckon there are more like me as well.

Schifterlicious (guest) 07.09.2011#18

No online mode?! Say it ain't so....there's no way they can go back and put it in somewhere later on down the line? What a bummer....

My theory is that Nintendo had various quick upgraded games ready for launch and then held a bunch of them back in order to let Third Parties take the lead. That's why the initial batch of releases have no online.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

I should also have mentioned there is a save function now, meaning you don't have to start from scratch every single time Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Can't wait to play this tomorrow. Smilie

jesusraz said:
I should also have mentioned there is a save function now, meaning you don't have to start from scratch every single time Smilie
Definitely a great addition that was needed! Smilie
Hopefully this should arrive today, Shopto told me it was dispatched yesterday afternoon. I'll probably play some of this before/after some Dead Island. Smilie

( Edited 09.09.2011 05:46 by Mush123 )

Jman (guest) 09.09.2011#23

jesusraz said:
My theory is that Nintendo had various quick upgraded games ready for launch and then held a bunch of them back in order to let Third Parties take the lead. That's why the initial batch of releases have no online.

No offense, but your "theory" is the classic apologist type, trying to deflect blame for Nintendo being behind the times.
For the record DOAD, SSF4, and Resident Evil Mercs all have online, and they're great.
Starfox is the kind of game that could've used some sort of online mode, and while it may not have been amazing it would've at least been an added benefit, for those that don't have a bunch of 3DS owning friends.
And in this day and age of FREE/$1 iOS games with online connectivity, there's simply no excuse for a $40 game to not have it.

IMO all Nintendo games with competitive multiplayer play should have online - Mario kart does it pretty darn well with racing/battle so we know Nintendo can pull it off. SF64 3D is not a new game, it does look lovely, but not everyone has a 3DS - online really should have been included for that extra longevity.

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

Maybe they're testing the waters so if this sells loads they'll release a Star fox with an online multiplayer, with this giving the franchise a much needed relaunch.

Nice review Adam, I'm not getting it for a while (at least until I've finished about 10 of my games) but I will definitely get it.

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