Nintendo's second batch of 3DS titles, as revealed at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo, will bring a host of well-loved Nintendo properties to its newest handheld console. Leading the charge is Star Fox 64 3D, a remake of the 1997 N64 title Star Fox 64, jazzed up with stereoscopic visuals and the option to steer your Arwing starfighter by tilting the 3DS. We got our hands on the enhanced remake at Nintendo's Unleashed booth at the London Film and Comic Con, which is on in Earls Court this weekend. We played the medal-chasing Score Attack mode, taking in the sights across three of the Lylat Systems' locations: the rural planet Corneria, the asteroid field Meteo, and the surface of the star Solar.
The game plays like the original; Fox's Arwing flies a set path through a mission location, leaving you to pilot the plane around the screen, dodging obstacles and blasting enemies. You can brake and accelerate to nip through, for instance, clusters of asteroids and perform somersaults and the requisite barrel rolls to outmanoeuvre enemy aircraft. The fight with the boss character at the end of the Corneria mission, the giant robot Granga, takes you off the rails and into a large open arena, where you can also perform U-turns to do a quick about-face.
Steering control is given to the 3DS's circle pad, but you can also tilt the console to get around. The tilt-based control feels suitably responsive--as with other screen-tilting 3DS games, though, this method is best used with the 3D slider all the way down, as the shifting viewing angle takes you out of the sweet spot for seeing the 3D effect.
3D is at its best on Solar, where the churning, lava-like star surface and huge, arcing solar flares look great with stereoscopic depth. The 3D effect is easy on the eye throughout, though, placing Fox's Arwing in the foreground and the landscape far beyond, with your targeting reticle moving on a layer between the two. The 3DS's touch screen, meanwhile, is used to receive messages. When one of your squadmates (Slippy, Falco, or Peppy) is talking to you, his face appears on the lower screen.
More often than not, they'll be asking you to get some enemy fighters off their tail. You can oblige them with the double lasers or the smart bombs on Fox's Arwing--the former can be used in a charged shot, with a homing lock-on, or in rapid-fire mode. More of the latter can be grabbed midflight with a bit of quick manoeuvring, along with health pickups and the like. The action from the N64 translates well onto the 3DS, with some minor tinkering. To those who played Star Fox 64 the first time around, this will feel agreeably familiar. The generation that came after them, discovering Star Fox maybe for the first time, will seemingly get a worthy translation. To check out the game itself, head to the Nintendo's Unleashed booth at London Film and Comic Con this weekend, and watch out for more coverage on the game soon.