The idea of 3D classics is a good one. Take existing classic titles and throw the 3D treatment on top, a sure-fire success. Super Mario Bros, Zelda and Starwing will be almost fresh new experiences with this new depth. Nintendo give us Excitebike as the first title with Xevious and Urban Champion on the way. Just what we wanted!
OKay, the download was free till July 7th so early adopters don’t have much to complain about here. Excitebike is a simple side scrolling time trial game which has you moving up and down four lanes on a bike dodging obstacles and getting the angle and boost right to leap over ramps. Boost has to be carefully considered as overusing it causes breakdowns, and one of the modes throws A.I bikes in to make things tougher. At five levels, Excitebike is easily bested and it stands out as being perhaps a little bit too simple today. An editor mode adds some depth however and in the 3D Classic version there are plenty of slots to have fun with making your own devious tracks. I spent at least an hour creating a speed focused stage, longer than it took me to beat the main games stages on both modes. It isn’t a bad game by any means, though new players might struggle with it. I blame the engine noises.
The 3D is the main talking point for Excitebike in 2011 though, and it looks good. Playing in 2D you get the same NES game you either love or hate, turning the 3D up makes the background stretch out into the distance. Now you can see how big that stadium really is and it really is a cool visual trick. It doesn’t affect the gameplay one bit, but it sure is cool. Excitebike is a good taster of what to expect for future games in the classic series.
For free it is a nice novelty to boot up now and then, but for new owners it is no longer free. £5.40 for a slice of 3D 80’s biking. Having a laugh!