Is it worth getting excited over a remake of a 25 year-old game?
The original Excitebike has always been held close to the heart’s of gamers who grew up during the Nintendo Entertainment System era, and for good reason, too. Not only was the game revolutionary for its time, but it was also one of the first titles available for the NES. By combining intuitive controls with a great idea, Nintendo hit a home run with the title, as reflected in its sales.
Excitebike: World Rally is essentially a recreation of the beloved NES gem that many gamers have fond memories of. While the game has been stripped of its vintage look, Monster Games has managed to maintain the feeling and vibe of the original, and it shouldn’t take long to figure out that Excitebike is still just as fun 25 years later.
For those who have not experienced the original, Excitebike is, at heart, a single-player time-trial arcade racer. The main goal in each race is to attempt to cross the finish line in the shortest amount of time possible, while at the same time avoiding other racers and obstacles that pollute each track.
Your bike has two speeds: fast and very fast. Most people are probably going to end up using the latter option the most, it does have some consequences seeing as it heats up your bike's engine, and once the temperature reaches a certain point, your bike will lose a tremendous amount of speed. While there are places on the tracks that will allow your engine to cool off, you'll probably want to stick with the normal pace if you want to get a good time.
Each track is composed of four lanes, all of which have a variety of obstacles, ranging from a typical mud pile to a hill that you can jump off. By successfully making a jump, players can then angle their bike while airborne so that it hits the ground in the right position and get a temporary speed boost.
The Wii iteration of the Excitebike series takes players on a trek across the globe, many of which they may have visited if they have experienced a past Excite title on Wii. This time around, tracks can be found in exotic locations such as the Canadian Rockies, the United States, and even Japan. Each area has several different tracks, similar to what Monster Games did with Excite Truck and Excitebots. Also making a return are trophy races, in which players must compete in a series of tracks and earn a set rank or higher in order to move on.
Another welcome addition is the different control schemes that Monster Games have included. Not only is a classic control scheme present for gamers who enjoy playing their NES games in that manner, but there’s also a motion-based scheme available for players who want a more intuitive experience. Both control schemes work fine, but it would've been nice to see some others implemented as well.
Since the game has been translated into 3D this time around, players can now adjust the camera to the liking, whether it a side-scrolling view as in the original or a more angled view to get a better idea of what’s ahead. It was certainly nice for the developers to go an extra mile and try and make this a game that both seasoned veterans and newcomers alike could enjoy.
One of the most compelling features of Excitebike: World Rally is the ability to head online and engage in multiplayer races with both friends and random players. The online mode is set up much in the vein of Excitebots in which up-to-four players can compete in a group and the winner earns points that will unlock additional content in the game.
Another feature that has been heavily hyped this time around is the new track editior that allows players to create their own tracks to race on. The track editor is easy to use and navigate and it certainly adds a fair amount of replay value to the game. Tracks can be saved this time around, and perhaps even more delightful is the ability to send them to friends using Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.
Excitebike: World Rally is certainly worthy of bearing the Excite name, even if it isn’t a new entry in the series. Veterans of the series will find plenty to love here and newcomers will easily be able to jump in on all the action. The game not only goes above and beyond my expectations, but probably most other gamers as well. Don't hesitate in downloading the game as you are sure to find hours upon hours of high-speed fun.