I feel much the same way about Star Fox 64 3D as I do June's Ocarina of Time 3D. If I owned a Nintendo 3DS, it would certainly be on my shelf; but on its own, it's not quite enough to get me to take the plunge on Nintendo's handheld. That said, it's still one of my favourite games of all time, and the superior port to boot.
Not to say that Ocarina of Time 3D wasn't a fine port, but Star Fox 64 3D manages to take things just a little bit further. The graphics are better, particularly on planets like Venom and Macbeth, and its extras are a bit more meaningful. The multiplayer in particular is far superior compared to the original game in the way that it revamps the original maps, adds in A.I. pilots, and incorporates nifty random items like cloaking devices
Even more importantly, the core design, sci-fi flight combat, is still exceptionally strong after 14 years. It feels as if every time I start a new game, I'm undertaking a new challenge. Maybe this time I want to try and get a medal at Solar, or devise a route that takes me from Meteo to Area 6 (still one of my favourite levels for the sheer number of enemies it squeezes onto the screen). Its brevity and replayability make it an ideal fit for a handheld console.
However, in porting this much-loved classic over to the 3DS, Nintendo has made a couple decisions that will undoubtedly grate on long-time fans. The voices, for instance, are an excellent imitation of the original, but they are also just different enough to consistently get under my skin. Understand that I normally don't care about voice acting -- and it certainly won't bother newcomers -- but this is Star Fox 64 we're talking about. The goofy voice acting is just one reason that it remains so memorable today.
The controls also fall a bit short compared to the original N64 version. Not that the N64 controller was the greatest thing ever, but the positioning of the control stick and the buttons made it a comfortable fit for a rail shooter like Star Fox 64. With the 3DS, the positioning of the thumbstick means that my left hand frequently feels as if it's been twisted into a claw. And no, the gyroscopic controls are not precise enough to be anything more than a fun novelty.
Despite these caveats, Star Fox 64 is in fine form on the 3DS. It's dragged down a bit by the nature of the platform -- and those darn voices -- but those issues are outweighed by the fact that, despite its origins, it was born to be played on a handheld platform, and looks great besides.
So while Star Fox 64 3D isn't quite worth a 3DS purchase on its own, it still has a place alongside Ocarina of Time 3D as one of the few 3DS games worth buying immediately. If you decided to spring for a 3DS at the newly-reduced price point, now is the time to make good on your purchase.