#438 Excitebike 64

Posted: 3rd November 2017 by Jeroen in Games
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645th played so far

Genre: Racing
Platform: Nintendo 64
Year of Release: 2000
Developer: Left Field Productions
Publisher: Nintendo

The original Excitebike game isn’t on the list. I’ve been exposed to it many times, most recently thanks to the excellent NES Remix, and it’s part of the classics that you associate with the NES – not quite Super Mario Bros or the original Legend of Zelda, but as iconic and accessible back then. In part, the track editing feature made it stand out – an early tool like it, it felt new and different.

This is arguably not much of a direct sequel – a 3D racer just isn’t the same, and there’s no similar track editing. It’s a re-invention, like we’ve seen with Super Mario 64 before.

Our Thoughts

Excitebike 64 looked pretty decent as a racer – for its time the tracks are pretty varied and they are readable. While looking fairly realistic, these days twenty year old “realistic” looking games tend to become a mess of pixels, but that hasn’t happened here. You know what’s going on quite easily.

And that’s needed, because the game can feel quite punishing if you fall off your bike, which early on you’ll do quite often. Bikes are harder to control and this game goes more for realism than I expected. There was quite a bit I had to keep track of, and not enough where I did. What felt annoying though is that the opponents didn’t keep their side of the deal.

First of all, what’s up with the rubberbanding? I mean, I appreciate the chance, but it feels like you always have at least one driver behind, no matter how badly you do. At the same time, they were rubberbanding to make sure I didn’t fall too far behind – in the other direction as well, but it wasn’t quite as obvious there.

The other side of that is knocking off and getting knocked off. Any time you’re not careful and get too close, the other opponent will knock you off. Now, it wouldn’t be worth trying, but you figure that would work both ways – if they get to you, they run the risk of getting knocked off themselves. However, it doesn’t work that way. While you are often knocked off, the opponents are immune to it and can take more risks than you can.

Final Thoughts

The game looks decent – especially for a Nintendo 64 game – and has a lot of the mechanics implemented – not much different from what modern games would offer. It’s a shame that some other gameplay elements make it more difficult and that I struggled, in particular, with the opponent’s mechanics. Something sadly felt off about them.