E3 2011: Star Fox 64 3D

E3 2011: Star Fox 64 3D

One of the Nintendo 64’s classic titles makes its return to the gaming world on the Nintendo 3DS. Star Fox 64 3D–set to launch Sept. 11, 2001–brings a few new features to the table while keeping the original formula that drew so many to the game 15 years ago intact.

Now Star Fox 64 3D‘s existence to the gaming world has not been exactly hush-hush over the last six to eight months, but E3 brought news a few new features, the aforementioned release date and a suggested retail price. But before we get to all of that stuff, let’s look at this nice and shiny E3 trailer.

Not much has changed from the original, even the voice acting, corny and overdramatic though it may be, it’s still a neat little nod to the classic Star Fox 64.

Also true to the original game’s plot, the Lylat System–home to protagonist Fox McCloud and his friends–is being terrorized once again by the evil scientist Andross. Star Fox 64 3D places the player in the cockpit of Fox McCloud’s Arwing (a “spaceworthy” fighter jet) as Fox and his legendary mercenary band Team Star Fox engage Andross’ forces to save the Lylat System.

The game’s mechanics remain the same as mentioned earlier. Wingmen Slippy, Falco and Peppy return to the fray and will occasionally require aid during missions or will be forced to retreat, reducing your fighting strength for a couple levels and eliminating the bonuses they provide you (items, advice, boss health bars, shortcuts, etcetera). Additionally, the choices you make during and outside of missions influence the way you take to complete your objective and possibly the outcome of the story.

While the mechanics have stayed intact more-or-less, Nintendo is adding a few more bells and whistles to Star Fox 64 3D to take advantage of the 3DS’ capabilities. Let’s start of with the control schemes planned for the title. There are two: a Nintendo 64 Mode, and a newer Nintendo 3DS Mode. The Nintendo 64 Mode will retain the old controls from the original title for the gamers who prefer the more traditional control scheme while the Nintendo 3DS mode will utilize the 3DS’ built-in Gyro-Sensor to allow for motion-based controls. The Nintendo 3DS Mode seems really cool, especially for those of us who really like to get into our gaming experience, or want to feel more in control of the legendary Arwings.

Marooners’ Rock’s own Lindsey scored some time with Star Fox 64 3D at E3. Here’s what she had to say about–among other things–the control scheme in the game. “The hands-on time I got with Star Fox was badass. It was smooth, controls were easy to pick up, I did a barrel roll (which is pretty much mandatory)…I didn’t have to change menu options to switch from playing with buttons to moving the 3DS around so that was nice.”

Another new feature is the use of the bottom screen to display your cockpit and any dialogue you may receive from your wingmen/other characters over the course of the  mission. While not necessarily novel to the DS generation of games, it does serve a slightly more personalized purpose in the next feature in Star Fox 64 3D.

Star Fox 64 3D will offer a multiplayer mode for up to four players that will be held over a local wireless connection and DS Download Play using only one cartridge across four systems. As in Star Fox Command, multiplayer will offer several power-ups and special weapons to help up the ante in fierce aerial combat. This feature will also utilize the built in camera on the 3DS to record a live-feed of the player’s face and project it onto the bottom screen’s cockpit. There is no word on whether or not we will see multiplayer mode done over the Nintendo WiFi Connection a la Star Fox Command, so we’ll have to wait and see on that one.

The graphics look really solid, crisp and smooth while managing to retain the retro look from the N64 days. For example, the Arwings don’t look as sleek and the wings aren’t as long as they were in Star Fox Assault and Star Fox Command. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as Star Fox 64 was a pretty solid game on its own merit. The vistas–on the other hand–got a total graphical makeover, they look a lot more fleshed out and vivid than they appeared in the N64 version.

Now let’s cut to the chase and talk pricing. Star Fox 64 3D will hit the shelves with a suggested retail price of $39.99, placing it on par with other 3DS titles on the shelves currently.

Below are a few screenshots from E3 this year. Please note that these are 2D images of a 3DS game, the actual 3D effect may only be viewed on the 3DS system.

 

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