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Excitebike: World Challenge review

Should you download it?

As a first-party Nintendo game, Excitebike never really had the popularity of its fellow NES alumni such as Super Mario Bros., The Legend Of Zelda, Punch-Out!! and Duck Hunt. While fans of Kid Icarus and Ice Climber saw their heroes returning in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, anyone with a soft spot for the original Excitebike would have to resort to hoping they'd get to see the little bikers appearing as a lowly Assist Trophy.

Not to worry, though. Much like Punch-Out!! received a Wii update last year, Excitebike has received a 21st century lick of paint and is now available on WiiWare for 1,000 Points.

Click to view larger image

Easy Rider?

As with the original, the concept of Excitebike: World Challenge is simple. You have to complete two laps of a motocross obstacle course in a given time. This isn't a race to beat the other riders, they're only there to get in your way (and believe us, they do). The game is played with the Wii Remote on its side and there are four different lanes on the course, which you can switch between by pressing up and down. The 2 button accelerates while the 1 button lets you go even faster but raises your bike's temperature. If it overheats, your engine blows and you're out of action for a while. If you manage to cross the finish line quickly enough, you'll unlock the next, trickier, course, until you unlock all 16. And that's more or less all there is to it.

As is always the case with the best Nintendo games though, while Excitebike: World Challenge is very easy to get to grips with, it'll take you an awfully long time to master every course and get S-ranks (for exceptionally fast times) on every single one of them.

World Challenge has been developed by Monster Games, the same team behind the excellent ExciteTruck on Wii, and it's pretty obvious. The same C-to-S ranking system has been lifted straight from ExciteTruck, and many of the environments are the same as those in the Wii racer (Mexico, Fiji and so on), albeit in the form of a side-scrolling 2D racer instead. The Wii Remote makes exactly the same overheating noise as it does in ExciteTruck, and the music's also fairly awful (with the exception of the remixed versions of the title screen and results screen from the NES original). There are even odd track-modifying power-ups that make hills and ditches, just like in Nintendo's truck-fest.

The Race Is On(line)

The single-player mode in Excitebike will take you a while to complete but that's only half the story. World Challenge also offers full online multiplayer for up to four players. Unlike the single-player mode, this is a race for first place, and the unpredictable nature of the game (there are other CPU bikers who appear randomly on the track, making it more difficult to find the quickest route and stick to it) ends up making it really compelling.

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The online set-up has more or less been nicked from Mario Kart. Everyone chooses a track they want to race on then, after everyone's voted, the game uses a roulette-style method to determine whose pick is chosen. You get points depending on where you finish in the race, but you don't necessarily need to finish first to get some points. The more points you earn, the more new bike designs you can unlock. There are also two different types of points you can earn - one type for playing with friends and one type for playing with randoms, and certain points can only unlock certain bike designs. This is an interesting way to encourage more people to get to grips with the Friends Code system. What's more, we've been testing the online multiplayer for a while now against American opponents and have found no trace of any lag whatsoever. This is how online should be done and for including this option, Monster Games should be applauded. There's even a track editor in there, where you can share tracks with friends and try them out online against people on your friends list (not randoms though).

Excitebike is great fun and a commendable attempt to retain the addictive gameplay of the NES classic while also giving it a modern day makeover. The lack of local multiplayer is a crime but the superb addition of online play still makes makes this well worth getting, whether you're a fan of the original or have never played it.

Comments

16 comments so far...
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  1. Gavin Rozee Thursday 4th Feb 2010 at 15:17

    It seems to be ONM's policy to score WiiWare games lower just because they're WiiWare games.

    Anyway, I shall be downloading ^_^

  2. Heroofhyrule Thursday 4th Feb 2010 at 15:34

    It seems to be ONM's policy to score WiiWare games lower just because they're WiiWare games.

    Anyway, I shall be downloading ^_^

    And you've played through the game have you?

  3. GeDe Thursday 4th Feb 2010 at 15:37

    Great to see the recent trend of reviving awesome retro-Ninty games. :D

    Lack of local multiplayer is a bit of a let down though... :(

    Could we have Kid Icarus next, please Nintendo?

    (Btw when is Excitebike actually released?) :?:

  4. nintendo_guy Thursday 4th Feb 2010 at 15:49

    Ah good. A Wiiware blast from the past!

  5. Gavin Rozee Thursday 4th Feb 2010 at 15:50

    It seems to be ONM's policy to score WiiWare games lower just because they're WiiWare games.

    Anyway, I shall be downloading ^_^

    And you've played through the game have you?

    Yes. You?

  6. ChrisONM Thursday 4th Feb 2010 at 16:39

    It seems to be ONM's policy to score WiiWare games lower just because they're WiiWare games.

    Anyway, I shall be downloading ^_^

    And you've played through the game have you?

    Yes. You?


    Very nice. I have too, and I scored it accordingly.

  7. mirage 5x5 Thursday 4th Feb 2010 at 16:52

    it looks just as bad as it did back then :cry:
    and thay want 1000 point for that nintendo im sure you can do better than that c**p
    nintendo are geting more money hungry :evil:

  8. Ai64 Thursday 4th Feb 2010 at 17:20

    Better & longer than it's NES brother. Worth downloading when I top up.

  9. Gavin Rozee Thursday 4th Feb 2010 at 17:41

    It seems to be ONM's policy to score WiiWare games lower just because they're WiiWare games.

    Anyway, I shall be downloading ^_^

    And you've played through the game have you?

    Yes. You?


    Very nice. I have too, and I scored it accordingly.

    That's cool. I won't try and change your opinion. 81% is still a good score, anyway.

  10. HNF1 Thursday 4th Feb 2010 at 18:42

    Is this awesome news? Yes. Will I get it? Probably.

  11. Nintendo Boy Thursday 4th Feb 2010 at 22:09

    Will be downloading this soon!
    It's a quality game.

  12. Bretteh Friday 5th Feb 2010 at 02:12

    Seen very mixed reviews for this.

    If it had local multiplayer it would have been a must for me, but I shall leave it for now, with many reviews I've read calling this poor (and the fact I don't have my Wii atm) I'm in no rush to purchase.

    I may go pressure my mates to get it though...

  13. Heroofhyrule Saturday 6th Feb 2010 at 11:11

    It seems to be ONM's policy to score WiiWare games lower just because they're WiiWare games.

    Anyway, I shall be downloading ^_^

    And you've played through the game have you?

    Yes. You?


    Very nice. I have too, and I scored it accordingly.

    That's cool. I won't try and change your opinion. 81% is still a good score, anyway.

    Judging by the fact you said "I shall be downloading" I'm pretty sure you hadn't played the game before judging ONM's scoring of the game.

  14. Gavin Rozee Saturday 6th Feb 2010 at 14:18

    It seems to be ONM's policy to score WiiWare games lower just because they're WiiWare games.

    Anyway, I shall be downloading ^_^

    And you've played through the game have you?

    Yes. You?


    Very nice. I have too, and I scored it accordingly.

    That's cool. I won't try and change your opinion. 81% is still a good score, anyway.

    Judging by the fact you said "I shall be downloading" I'm pretty sure you hadn't played the game before judging ONM's scoring of the game.

    Cool assumption bro.

    Maybe I have an American Wii? Maybe I have a friend with an American Wii? Maybe I work for Nintendo? Maybe I hax my Wii (I don't... but still)?

  15. Ai64 Monday 15th Feb 2010 at 15:39

    A fantastic update to a NES classic. Quite addictive too. PM to exchange codes in this game.

  16. Lucario Tuesday 23rd Feb 2010 at 23:34

    No way guys, I dont agree at all.

    The game is far too short to be given 81%. And considering that the only unlockables are colours, is it even worth getting an S rank on every course?

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