Wii

North America

Excitebike World Rally

by Matthew Blundon - November 10, 2009, 3:06 am PST
Total comments: 47

8

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.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
7.5 7.5 7.5 8 9 8
Graphics
7.5

While it borrows a page from Excitebots, it would've been nice to see a little more variety among the tracks.

Sound
7.5

Some new musical tracks have been remixed this time around, and some new ones have been thrown in for good measure.

Control
7.5

There are two control schemes to choose from, both of which work fine.

Gameplay
8

The core mechanics from the original are still present, but new ones have been added to make the game feel more modern.

Lastability
9

Thanks to the track editor and the ability to race online, Excitebike: World Rally will keep you playing for hours upon hours.

Final
8

Excitebike: World Rally is a worthy addition to the WiiWare library and one well worth investing in.

Summary

Pros
  • In-depth track editor.
  • Online racing.
  • Some new gameplay mechanics thrown in for good measure.
Cons
  • Might not have enough new content for some.
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

vuduNovember 10, 2009

Hey, you're new!  Welcome!

Nice review.  I got the game yesterday but only had time to play for a few minutes.  It seems fun but the truth is Excitebike was never really my thing.  I hope to put more time in with this game than I did with the original.

How much time did you put into the game?  It looks like this review was written, edited and posted less than 12 hours after the game went live on the Shop Channel.

You can find the friend code exchange thread here.

It appears Stratos is trying to organize an informal online get together for this coming Saturday (11/14).  You can discuss it here.

NinGurl69 *hugglesNovember 10, 2009

Games with no story or cinematic time-consuming fluff certainly do make the review process easier.  The beauty of arcade gaming.

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterNovember 10, 2009

Quote from: NinGurl69

Games with no story or cinematic time-consuming fluff certainly do make the review process easier.  The beauty of arcade gaming.

I agree. My Carnival King review was written an hour after I was done with it. The game was short and simple enough that I could create an opinion of it quickly and elaborate it into a review.

But many games can be time consuming, not just the epics and the cinematic games. For example, multiplayer heavy games require the review to at least play it once with another friend in order to see if it has value. If the game offers multiple modes and options that will take the reviewer some time to look over.

Oh Vudu, Matt has already posted a review. It was for Spaceballs Revolution.

Flames_of_chaosLukasz Balicki, Staff AlumnusNovember 10, 2009

With all the new content and mechanics in the game I wouldn't really call it a remake. To me the game feels like sequel or a full fledged modern update on the Excitebike formula. But I guess whatever floats your boat. I really wish the game had local multiplayer but since the online multiplayer is so fun I sort of can forgive that omission.

NinGurl69 *hugglesNovember 10, 2009

The Nintendo trend I'm starting to see is Nintendo hates split-screen.  If something is suited to split-screen play, local multi is axed and it becomes competitve wai-fai only.  If something is suited to same-screen play, multi will probably get axed.

And I don't mean Axe Spray.

StratosNovember 10, 2009

Quote from: vudu

It appears Stratos is trying to organize an informal online get together for this coming Saturday (11/14).  You can discuss it here.

Thanks for the plug, Vudu.

Very nice review. I'm impress with how you succinctly explained all of the information regarding the game without needlessly stretching out the review length. You know how to wield words well.

This was a pleasure to edit. Excellent review, Matt.

This game is a really nice combination of Excitetruck/bots and the original Excitebike. Local multiplayer is sorely missing, though. I probably won't play the game as much because of that. I will have to hop online soon and play with you guys, but campus internet is a tricky thing.

NinGurl69 *hugglesNovember 10, 2009

"Graphics:  7.5
      While it burrows a page from Excitebots,"

StratosNovember 10, 2009

It definitely burrows a page from Excitebots.

vuduNovember 10, 2009

Quote from: NWR_pap64

Oh Vudu, Matt has already posted a review. It was for Spaceballs Revolution.

On second look, it appears as if he's reviewed a whole bunch of games.  Sadly, he doesn't have a single post that wasn't a review, so I don't think we can count on very much love in the TalkBack threads.  :(

Quote from: NinGurl69

"Graphics:  7.5
       While it burrows a page from Excitebots,"

I really want to burrow pages...
Sorry for the editing fail, everybody. Thanks for the catch!

It sounds like a good remake, but I was never a big fan of the original Excitebike, so I will probably pass on this one too.

Quote from: Jonnyboy117

It sounds like a good remake, but I was never a big fan of the original Excitebike, so I will probably pass on this one too.

Since I know you're a big fan of Excite Truck, I'd say try it out if you ever get a chance (via the proposed demos maybe). It's a lot like the original Excitebike, but it has a lot of that Excite Truck and Excitebots style.

Mop it upNovember 10, 2009

It's a remake since it contains a lot of the same track pieces as the NES version, but the online and track sharing make it worth downloading. I can't say I'm disappointed by the lack of local multiplayer since I didn't expect that feature.

Having a limit on created tracks is a real bummer though. There's no excuse to not have SD card support to allow unlimited tracks.

ZapNovember 10, 2009

You expect an NES remake to have SD card support but not local multiplayer

what is happening to this generation

Mop it upNovember 10, 2009

SD card support would be easy to implement, local multiplayer would not. I don't even know how that could work.

NinGurl69 *hugglesNovember 10, 2009

Quote from: Zap

You expect an NES remake to have SD card support but not local multiplayer

what is happening to this generation

ZapNovember 10, 2009

Quote from: Mop_it_up

SD card support would be easy to implement, local multiplayer would not. I don't even know how that could work.

I don't know all the technical details, but basically a second player would control a second excitebike (in the game) through the use of a second Wii Remote synced to the same Wii. It could be fun, maybe in the next Excitebike remake they can get the kinks worked out and implement it.

Mop it upNovember 10, 2009

But what happens when the second player races ahead of the other player? The screen can't follow both players, and I don't think split-screen would work very well because the view would be pretty small.

ZapNovember 10, 2009

The player that lags behind has to watch their character in the rearview mirror of the one in front.

NinGurl69 *hugglesNovember 10, 2009

DS CONNECTIVITY

Mop it upNovember 10, 2009

I'd think that would be annoying and would make it even harder for them to catch up. Don't get me wrong, I'd have like to see some sort of local multiplayer, though I'm sure it'd be only two-player. But I don't see a way of it working very well so I don't care about its absence.

ZapNovember 10, 2009

Quote from: NinGurl69

DS CONNECTIVITY

There you go. Player 2 has to draw out the dirt path on the DS touchscreen. Excitebike: DirtSpiritTracks.

NinGurl69 *hugglesNovember 10, 2009

YES.

Mop it upNovember 10, 2009

That's actually an interesting idea. Have one player "draw" the track with the DS creating it in real-time, whilst the player on Wii is racing on it. That would keep then on their toes.

StratosNovember 10, 2009

Wasn't that what you did in Line Rider? At least that was the impression of what that game did.

Mop it upNovember 10, 2009

You don't actually control your rider in Line Rider and you create the track before releasing him.

Unless you're talking about a different version of Line Rider that I don't know about.

GregLover5000November 10, 2009

In 2009 I expect two basic things from any game: (1) local multiplayer and (2) cutscenes of gay elf sex.

NinGurl69 *hugglesNovember 10, 2009

Quote from: GregLover5000

In 2009 I expect two basic things from any game: (1) local multiplayer and (2) cutscenes of gay elf sex.

The bar has been set.

BlackNMild2k1November 10, 2009

Quote from: Mop_it_up

But what happens when the second player races ahead of the other player? The screen can't follow both players, and I don't think split-screen would work very well because the view would be pretty small.

TV's today are bigger than ever. It's very common to find atleast one 32" tv in the home. Splitscreen wasn't that big of an issue 15 years ago when the avg. size of the largest TV in the house was probably closer to 25", and N64 was doing 4 player split screen with minor complaints. Why would 2player split screen be the deal breaker now?

Mop it upNovember 11, 2009

It doesn't matter how big the screen is, this game isn't really suited for split-screen. Two players might still work okay but with four players the viewing area would be too small to see very far ahead.

BlackNMild2k1November 11, 2009

I don't know, imagine some 4 player split widescreen gaming on a 52" HDTV.
Everyone would have their own 20something" widescreen section.

Not all of us are still gaming on 20" tv's you know ;)

Mop it upNovember 11, 2009

It doesn't matter how big the television is, the resolution would be the same. There wouldn't be enough space to do split-screen properly and zooming out the camera would make it really blurry and hard to see.

I'm not saying I didn't want it, I'm just saying I understand why it wasn't a priority.

I don't know if I buy that either.  480P is still 5x the resolution of NES, SNES, and 4x most N64 games.

Mop it upNovember 11, 2009

I don't follow your math. I thought that 480p had the same number of lines as 480i, only the image looks more smooth because the lines are all displayed at the same time, or something like that.

It's a $10 download game, local multiplayer isn't the only feature they could have implemented and didn't.

The nominal resolution of NES and SNES games was 256x224 and 320x240 for N64.  Then it gets stretched to 480i.

Mop it upNovember 11, 2009

Which is double, not quadruple, I thought.

Do the math :-p

Mop it upNovember 11, 2009

I did. It is double, but you said it was four times the Nintendo 64 and five times NES and SNES, so I don't know where you're getting that from.

NinGurl69 *hugglesNovember 11, 2009

Yes, do the math.  Count the pixels 1-by-1.

BlackNMild2k1November 11, 2009

2x resolution top to bottom
2x resolution side to side

2x + 2x = 4x resolution

Mop it upNovember 11, 2009

Ah, I see. Math has never been my strong suit. I just saw that 480 is twice that of 240 and 640 is twice that of 320 so I assumed that 640x480 is twice that of 320x240.

Does widescreen have more vertical lines?

NinGurl69 *hugglesNovember 11, 2009

SD widescreen has the same number of lines/pixels.  The difference is the screen is stretched sideways (or squished vertically if you prefer) to display short & wide pixels instead of standard square pixels.

vherubNovember 11, 2009

does track sharing require friend codes? or can they be shared from a hub website or a delivery system like boom blox or blastworks?

I think the troubles with split-screen are due to perspective, not resolution or performance. We all know there were many 4-player games on N64, but most of them were either FPS or standard racing games. Both genres involve the player looking and moving into the distance. In other words, reducing the display to quarter-size doesn't change how far each player can see, just the relative size of everything, which our eyes and brains are built to interpret anyway (hence perspective and depth perception).

With a game like Excitebike, there are probably two ways to implement split-screen:

1. Crop the view, keeping the racers and track elements roughly the same size as before. This severely limits how far the player can see down the track, thus affecting gameplay in a negative way.

2. Shrink the display, keeping the same "draw distance". The problem here is that the standard Excitebike view is already bird's-eye, with racers and track elements appearing fairly small in single-player mode. Reducing the size of every visual element to half or even one-quarter of its original size will make the game very difficult to play, because it will be hard to distinguish different objects and racers on the track. There are probably some visual tricks, like glows and trails, that could be implemented to lessen the impact, but then the game's presentation will be more abstract and less identifiable as Excitebike.

Mop it upNovember 11, 2009

That's what I was getting at, I just couldn't find the words to express it.

Flames_of_chaosLukasz Balicki, Staff AlumnusNovember 12, 2009

Quote from: vherub

does track sharing require friend codes? or can they be shared from a hub website or a delivery system like boom blox or blastworks?

It uses Wii Connect24 so the 16 digit Wii Console Friend Code.

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Genre Racing
Developer Nintendo
Players1 - 4
OnlineYes
Controllers

Worldwide Releases

na: Excitebike World Rally
Release Nov 09, 2009
PublisherNintendo
RatingEveryone
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