Looks like the Lylat Wars are over. Due to some German company called StarVox, European fans had to make do with the title Lylat Wars rather than Star Fox 64. But with StarVox no more, Star Fox 64 soars back into view, with the original name in tow. Plus 3D. This was a big deal to me as a kid for some reason, but now I don’t really care. I kind of miss Lylat Wars. It’s just a name, I’ll get over it.
Star Fox 64 3D is a 3D enhanced remake of Lylat Wars then (I wonder if it has confused old fans who didn’t know about the name change), and Star Wars styled space battles are the perfect fit for this stereoscopic dimension, with lasers flying out of the screen and ships blasting into the darkness of space. It’s a suitable gimmick to replace the rumble pak included pioneered with the N64 version, and it even throws some gyroscopic controls in to soften the lack of vibration even further. It’s all so scopic.
The game follows the original and never veers of course, even included the All Range multiplayer battle mode (offline only) fans try to forget. The Lylat system is under threat from the terrifying floating monkey head Andross, and it’s up to Fox McCloud, Slippy Toad, Falco Lambardi and Peppy Hare to save the day in their iconic Arwing ships. Stages are typically on rails as you pilot your ship through cities, atop deserts and skimming across the sun. Sometimes the game drifts into All Range Mode which allows you to fly anyway you want as long as it’s not too far. Dodging obstacles and blasting nasties is the aim of the game, and how well you do determines which planet you fly to next.
The game is split into fifteen planets (levels) with two possible finales, which brings replay value to the incredibly brief campaign. The 3D version just gives things a new paint job, bringing it in line with how we all remember the game looking back in 97. Though going back to the N64 classic shows how unreliable our memories actually are. This is a significant improvement, even if it doesn’t initially feel that way. Apart from the water effects. They splash you in the face with their freshness the moment you power through Corneria.
Star Fox 64 3D is a simple high score challenge when you break it down, and the game allows you to do so thanks to a new Score Attack mode which allows you to replay any mission without having to take the journey from the beginning. Here the game doesn’t feel quite so fun, as you are no longer taking part in the cheesy but forever quotable main adventure; you’re just playing three minute stages which never feel too taxing. There is a reason the game was structured as it was on the N64, the story and stages work together to provide an interactive cinema experience, with the submarine level being the torture scene. It’s feels like watching specific scenes on a movie, it doesn’t feel right. It never does.
Star Fox 64 3D is still an epic experience in the campaign though, with amazing 3D effects and corny one liners at every turn, even if the rerecorded voices sound a bit off. It was a game I cared a great deal about as a kid, but now I can see the cracks they’ve gone and accidentally exposed. This is for the new generation who have never performed a barrel roll or know what a Lylat is.