I guess I should be thankful!
I'm dating myself when I say that the first home console I actually owned was a Nintendo 64. It came wrapped under the tree in several boxes. The first thing I opened was a yellow controller. I had no clue why I'd be getting one of those. My aunt had a Nintendo 64 at her house but she already had four controllers for it.
I opened up Mario Kart 64 after that. Finally the big box came out from under the tree, as well as another controller. Star Fox 64 wasn't opened until several hours later. Of course, that hasn't kept it from growing bigger and bigger in my heart. You always remember your first kiss, your first dance, and your first trip though the Lylat system.
When Nintendo announced that it'd be porting my favorite game of all time to their new 3D-enable handheld, I was enamored from the start. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D has already proven itself a tasteful, faithful remake, with small, almost unnoticeable improvements. But to have Star Fox 64 on the go with me at any time… that was a transporting effect.
Honestly, that's how the entirety of Star Fox 64 3D feels to me. Levels are recreated with the dedication of a monk. Every nook, cranny, secret path, alternate boss fight, hidden bomb, hidden golden ring, and line of dialogue is exactly as it should be.
From the outset, you can take any number of paths through the Lylat system to face off with Andross on Venom. Corneria will forever be the starting point in this galactic war. Meeting special characters like Bill on Katina and fighting by their side is still a treat, as are the special vehicles, the Landmaster and the Blue Marine.
Your path through the galaxy is determined by your enemy kill count or special conditions, like flying through each warp gate towards the end of Meteo. One ending has you killing an impostor Andross while another has you blowing the real-deal's brains out all over his home base.
New features like the Score Attack mode allow you to take on levels at your discretion for high scores. The game also features a new save state that allows you to pick up your campaign again should you need to turn off the handheld after a brief play session.
Of course, within 24 hours of receiving the game, I had finished the full campaign three separate times. You don't need to dedicate a lot of time to the campaign to enjoy it all the way through, but being able to drop your game at one point and pick it right back up again is a welcome addition.
What isn't a welcome addition is the new voice tracks recorded for SF643D. There's a vulnerability, an honesty to all of that original voice work. Sure, it sounded like the characters were talking into tin cans connected to each other, but it's a strong, notable departure from what a remake should be: faithful to the old game.
In fact, the voices were what made Star Fox 64 so special in the first place. The recorded dialogue was a departure for Nintendo and remains so today. Where are those original audio files? The same can be said of the then revolutionary rumble feature. The original game came bundled with a rumble pack to give players the forceful feedback of crashing into the ground or getting hit by enemy lasers.
That's missing in this 3DS version of the game as well. For all of the game's modernizations, online multiplayer also missed the cut. While the download play functionality is welcome, it doesn't excuse the fact that I can't find other 3DS owners to play with very easily. Why can't I connect with others wirelessly at home?
I wouldn't say I'm disappointed with Star Fox 64 3D, and it will prove to be one of the few must-haves at this point in the 3DS lifecycle, but for purists like me, there's something missing. I wouldn't trade the portability for the world, but there's still some ghostly reason to pull out the Nintendo 64 and play the game as it was originally released.