Review by mkbk
""BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR" now in 3D!"
Anyone from the NES era has to remember Excitebike. What seemed to me a mindless run through of various tracks when I was a kid has returned in glorious 3D. It's impressed me way more than Excitebike did when I was young. Back then, I found the game to be mediocre but was really impressed with its track creation, as few games then (especially console games) allowed the player to edit aspects of the game. Now, holding Excitebike 3D, it's not the track creator that gets me but the amazingly fun but simple gameplay. Armed with stereoscopic 3D, a love for beating my own scores and a free price tag, I've spent plenty of time dodging fellow racers and leaping off of ramps.
Excitebike's premise is simple. There are two game modes, A and B. A allows you to race your dirt bike against nothing but your own time while overcoming the wily obstacles of the 10 premade tracks and game B is the same as game A except other racers are thrown into the mix. To race, you hold A to accelerate and you hold B to use your turbo. Turbo must be managed carefully as your engine heats up and if it gets too high you'll crash. In Excitebike you're capable of crashing to many things. A bad landing from a jump, driving into another racer or overheating will crash your bike and the game will take you off the track. Your racer runs slowly to his bike but you can mash A or B to get him back faster.
So that's it. All the gameplay mechanics right there. Why is the game so fun then? Well, it's the simplicity of beating your own scores. Each track has a preset time that you must beat to get 1st place. If you're the kind of gamer who loves getting higher and higher scores, this game can get pretty intense. The tracks accordingly get harder as you go (if you continue after beating a track you'll be presented with a more difficult version before moving onto the next track) and the game gets very intense as you try to hit all the ramps and land perfectly without mess ups. Throw other racers into the mix with a high level of unpredictability and this game becomes perhaps the most intense sports game I've ever played. In beating a track, several mechanics will come into play. While in mid-air, you can tilt the angle of your bike for your landing. If you land perfectly horizontally you'll retain all your speed and continue on. If you land too much tilted back (as is the default pose) you'll bounce a few times and lose a bit of speed. If you're tilted forward too much, you'll crash. So it becomes essential to get the fastest time to land correctly. Also, if you're going fast enough, you'll topple other racers!
Designing your tracks is also a great feature. In this version you can store up to 25 custom tracks. The game allows you to use every asset for the tracks and lets you test or play them in both game modes. I myself enjoy creating tracks with specific challenges but whether you want to cruise and have fun with ramps or make the most impossibly hard track for fun, it's a feature that definitely adds to the game.
The graphics here are interesting. As you can guess from the game's 3D Classics title, it supports the 3DS' stereoscopic 3D feature. But the way it's implemented I definitely did not expect. When the 3D slider is all the way down, the game will be presented in its original graphics. However, the more 3D you apply, the more the game's camera angle changes. The crowd in the background slips away and the camera pans out until you're viewing the game has 3D graphics. The sprites and graphics themselves retain their original selves but now the crowd is actually in the background rather than on a flat 3D plane. This is not just an effect of stereoscopic 3D but the game's plane itself has been reworked in 3D for this game (and is planned for all future 3D Classics). A nice touch they added was the sky that can now be seen above the crowd with clouds that look a little bit beyond the NES era.
This effect is impressive and I was pretty awed by it for a while but interestingly I now find myself preferring the original graphics. Newcomer or not, I'm sure you'll find one or the other to your liking.
As implied by my title, this game retains all original sounds including the constant rumble of the motor that dominates this game. The game has no music except in the new 3D Classics menu you're initially taken to and then in the original game menu. In game the sounds are consisted of your bike running, crashing and running back to it. Simple. I myself can't ask for more and love the classic NES sounds. At first I thought I'd be annoyed by the constant motor but I really don't mind it.
Like I mentioned earlier, if you're the kind of person who loves beating their own score, this game is perfect (as are many NES games). Until July 7th, the game is free, so I'd recommend it to anyone but at the game's intended price tag, $5.99 I'd say hold off unless you REALLY like Excitebike. The game doesn't hold much content for those who don't like a game where its purpose is pretty much your own drive.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 06/15/11
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