Do you remember the first time you experienced the N64 Rumble Pak? In 1997 I walked into EB Games to find the manager demonstrating his imported Starfox 64 (due in the States two months later). I joined the line of customers eager to give it a whirl, and soon found myself flying over Corneria and grinning as the controller shook, buzzed and rattled with every hit. The effect was great fun, and the store sold a lot of pre-orders that day.
The Rumble Pak (included with Starfox 64) changed the course of console controller design for both Nintendo and its rivals. Many N64 games supported the add-on, but I only recall three titles in which the rumble effect added a huge amount of impact to the gameplay: Top Gear Rally, 1080 Snowboarding, and–of course–Starfox 64. In each case, the tactile element–wheels on gravel, different snow types, a ship on the verge of destruction–played a major part in the experience and actually gave you constant useful feedback.
Starfox 64 is, no question, a wonderful game with or without the rumble effect. When I bought the VC edition for Wii, however, I played a few levels and then never returned; for me, the lack of rumble removed half the game’s fun.
I’m buying Starfox 64 3D to experience the improved visuals and new gameplay features. I’m looking forward to it, and hoping my one concern–that I’ll again greatly miss the rumbling feature–will be quickly forgotten. I certainly don’t want rumble added to a handheld game; remember the tiny DS rumble pak? It was ridiculous, and made playing Metroid Pinball feel like it was taking place on an angrily buzzing cell phone.
I can’t wait to play the 3DS edition, but I’m facing the fact that Starfox 64 will–most likely–never again be the complete sense-rattling, revolutionary ride it began as.
How about you? Do you think the improved graphics of Starfox 64 3D will make you forget the Rumble Pak?