REVIEW – Excitebike: World Rally (WiiWare)

Like The NES Version But With Online Multiplayer

Initially released back in 2009, Nintendo is offering Excitebike: World Rally as a 200 Coin download for Club Nintendo members here in April 2012.  In short, it is basically the Excitebike you remember but with the inclusion of online multiplayer.

The goal of the game is to reach the finish line in the shortest amount of time as opposed to beating your opponents.  Yes, there are other riders on the track, but they are treated more as obstacles than opponents.  Track memorization is essential to advancing to new tracks, especially in the second half of the game.  Since each track usually takes just a minute or so to complete, shaving milliseconds off your time is a big deal.

Controls are just as simple as they were on NES – one button accelerates, while the other uses turbo but can overheat your vehicle.  Landing jumps perfectly, taking out other riders, and driving over arrows resets the overheat meter giving the player more time for turbo boosting.  Instead of taking tight turns, each track is linear but the player can move up and down between four different lanes.  But if you over heat or land a jump incorrectly, the player will lose precious seconds off the clock and must waggle the Wii remote to scoot back into the track.  Popping wheels is also one of the highlighting features as it not only looks and feels cool, it is used to gain additional air time as well as hop over other riders.

The biggest edition of World Rally is the inclusion of online multiplayer up to four players over Nintendo WiFi Connection.  Unfortunately, I had trouble getting into a match because of the age of the game, but the few matches I played had little to no lag.  It is also strange that multiplayer is designated for online only; no same sofa multiplayer here. Bummer.

Just like the NES version, the player also has the option to create custom tracks which can even be saved and shared with friends over the Wii Message Board system.  But other than this, there is not a whole lot of staying power.  Completing circuits will high grades merely unlocks additional colors for your racer, hardly a solid incentive to punish yourself against the ever present difficulty.  Luckily, the graphics, although 3D models, look similar to its NES sprite-based roots and even shares re-vamped musical tracks – and Excitebike has some catchy tunes.

Excitebike: World Rally is basically the same game as it was on NES but with an upgraded coat of paint and the ability to play online against three other players.  Riding strong with nostalgia, fans of the NES original will surely appreciate this updated classic but newcomers might feel gipped on the lack of extras.

7.5/10

Better Than: Excitebike 64

Also Try: Motocross Maniacs

Wait For It: a new Excitebike that has Mario Kart style weapons

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and SquallSnake.com

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