N64/3DS Review – Star Fox 64

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I remember picking up Star Fox 64 for the first time, plugging in the rumble pack, and finishing the game within a few hours. I was initially disappointed because I thought it would have been more challenging. My disappointment slowly dissipated as I started to replay the game, finding new paths to beat Andros, and unlocking the medals! It probably became one of my most replayed Nintendo 64 games. When the 3DS remake came out, I got it immediately!

The game takes place in the Lylat System, and follows the story of Star Fox and his team pilots trying to thwart Andros and his plans of destroying everything. While the story is simple, the multiple paths allowed for different parts of the story to reveal itself, depending on the play though. If you follow a certain path as well, secret endings were also possible! This story variety added substantially to the replayability and kept me playing for many hours.

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In terms of gameplay, this is an on-rail 3D shooter! You take control of Fox’s various vehicles including the Arwing, Landmaster, and Submarine. As you move through levels, you can blast enemies with your upgradable lasers and limited quantity of bombs! Player’s also must dodge numerous environmental hazards like collapsing buildings and destroyed ships. Each level generally ends with a boss fight (to be discussed later)! In addition to the on-rails levels, there are numerous free-roaming arena levels where Fox is able to fly around a particular area in any direction. These levels generally require Fox to shoot down a certain number of enemies, and a set of mini-bosses (like the Star Wolf Team). The dynamic between the free-roaming and on-rail levels kept things interesting and really helped each of the levels feel unique.

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The introduction of different vehicles really added a ton of variety as well. Each of the vehicles really feel unique and handle differently. The Arwing really offers a sense of freedom. The Landmaster laser feels really beefy and satisfying, and the unlimited number of torpedoes for the submarine made it tons of fun to play. The game also adds in a multiplayer battle mode. I have not played this part of the game for years, but don’t remember it being particularly memorable. I think it is fair to skip this portion of the game. One cool aspect of it is you can play as any of the vehicles, and even on-foot (if you get enough medals)!

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In terms of bosses, the game introduces a new one at each stage. While the early bosses are actually a bit too easy (especially on the easy path), later bosses actually have multiple forms and really require you to think in order to defeat them. I particularly enjoyed the boss on the desert planet when you need to save Slippy! The final boss also has multiple forms (and even different versions depending on the path), which was also much appreciated.

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In terms of graphics, the game has certainly aged since the 64-bit era with lots of blockiness and blurry textures. Despite this, the game still offers a ton variety with stages ranging from metropolis cities, to astroid belts, to crazy space zones, and even under the ocean! There are also tons of different enemy types, and the bosses themselves look great and often take up the whole screen! I noticed very little slowdown as well, which is impressive given how many enemies appeared on-screen at times. The music and sound-effects for Star Fox 64 are excellent and have tons of memorable pieces that still sound great today!

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Overall, Star Fox 64 is an excellent (and possibly the best) Star Fox game ever made. The game introduced tons of great new features to the series like new vehicles and branching paths – making it incredibly replayable! While the game has aged a bit, it is still very fun, and the 3DS remake looks fantastic! If you have a Nintendo 64, grab your rumble pack, and go save the Lylat System! Even better – grab your 3DS and play the game with even better graphics and amazing 3D effects! I give this game a final score of 9/10.

Final Score: 9/10

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