External Review: Excite Bike
Excite Bike is a timeless classic from the early days of the NES. A title that found itself in many homes, with crashed bikes and high scoring jumps, has now been updated as a 3D Classic for the Nintendo 3DS system. The question is does this high profile update give gamers an entertaining ride, or does it leave them wondering what could have been?
Excite Bike is a platformer racer, that challenges players in a variety of time trials or, if you wish, you can fight it out against rivals in a more brutal race. It’s not as easy as it looks either and success is based on you finding the perfect balance between speed and you’re ‘race winning’ turbo feature which unfortunately overheats your bike forcing the engine to shut down. All the tracks here are on a horizontal plane and feature a wide range of obstacles, which you’ll have to either avoid or jump over. Jumping over them is the easiest option here but you will need to realign your bike (with the d-pad) before landing or you may just wipeout losing vital seconds in the process.
The game attempts to be true to the original NES title and fans of the game will find it all very familure. It does though offer a design mode that allows players to store up to 32 or their self-created tracks. Sadly there’s no Streetpass, online or local wireless functionality so it’s up to you to fill all those track spots yourself.
Basically, the controls haven’t changed over time and remain a button mashing paradise rarely using the touch-screen. This is reserved for when players are creating tracks but even then most of the action is based around selecting and placing with the buttons.
Obviously the D-pad (or circle pad) is used for direction and you can also pull off tricks such as wheelies, with a little practice. The buttons will also get a pounding when you crash, and you’ll need to press A or B repeatedly if you want to run back to your bike. Refreshingly if you don’t like these button combinations the options menu allows you to modify your controls.
The object here has clearly been to take gamers back to when the original NES game was released and the graphics have a very nostalgic quality to them. Players with a keen eye will also notice that the player sprite is 2D, while the rest of the world has been rendered in 3D.
Like the games graphics, the sound and music feels like they’ve been lifted from the NES classic. Gamers can indulge themselves in various blips and bops from all those years ago whilst the main menu does feature some slightly updated music.
It’s clear that the developers have re-written this game from the ground up and visiting the ‘options’ section of the game allows you witness, first hand, just how accomplished the 3D feature is. Here you’ll be allowed to alter the 3D slider in order to control the games depth although this will have to be pushed up to the top in order to enjoy the game in all it’s 3D glory.
Excite Bike is still a simple entertaining game which is initially free, from the eShop, to launch the 3D Classic series. It does slightly improve on the original title adding enhancements only modern day technology can offer.
Pro: A great launch example of what 3D Classics can offer.
Con: A little too basic in some areas.
Final score: 8.3