Titania, further down the line, is a wonderfully atmospheric Mars rip-off, built of rusting sand dunes and the spars of collapsing temples, while the skeletal boss at the end of it has been transformed into a spindly and swift-moving horror. The frame-rate never judders, backgrounds never blur, and the metallic textures in particular are really excellent as they glint and shimmer under the light from alien suns.
The 3D effect is rather understated on the whole, but the depth it provides is particularly helpful in busy deep-space sections like Sector Y, where you're ducking space junk and boosting through the gaps that open up in between space hulks. And nudging Falco into passing debris, obviously.
There are still medals to be won for completing a set number of kills on each level, and there's a score attack option that lets you replay any of the levels you've already unlocked. Elsewhere, multiplayer is taken care of with a battle mode that allows up to four players to get together for dogfighting deathmatches.
It's not online, sadly, but you only need one cartridge between you to play, and it does some neat stuff with the 3DS camera, too, highlighting each person in the arena with a live feed of their face. It's another thoughtful touch, and it was enough to make me realise that my new beard probably has to go. If you don't have any friends, incidentally, you can battle against AI. You can also set up fake Facebook accounts and invite yourself to imaginary parties, but it gets a bit sad after a while. That's what Falco told me, anyway.
When it comes to control, you're choosing between two very similar set-ups that simply switch laser and break on the face buttons, and gyro control, which lets you handle basic steering by shifting the 3DS around in the air. If you're playing in full 3D, I simply couldn't get this option to work properly without the screen splitting into separate images, but it's responsive enough in 2D, and you can use it in concert with the circle pad. Elsewhere, you can play the games in 3DS or N64 mode - the latter is as hard as it used to be and locks out motion control, and the former is for idiots like me who can't tackle anything with a faster pace than Farmville anymore.
It's another carefully crafted package in the manner of Ocarina 3D, then, yet the ancient quality that Star Fox 64 3D exudes only makes you wish that Nintendo was releasing a few more, you know, entirely new games. Luigi, Mario and Kid Icarus are still a few months off, for the time being. Until then, I'll be hanging out with Slippy, Peppy, and Falco - that jerk.
8 / 10