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Nitrobike Review

Ubisoft's racer stalls on the starting grid...

Motorbikes with rockets on them! How can Nitrobike be anything other than, as the box claims, "motocross at the speed of fun"? How can this Excite Truck clone from the developers of Excitebike 64 be less than racing perfection?

Loads of reasons, actually. I'll name a few to get us started. Visually, it's a horrible mess of jagged polygons and smeared, ropey textures. The sound isn't much better, with astoundingly generic guitar hammerings making up the game's soundtrack, and bizarre clattering noises coinciding with the unconvincing destruction of trackside objects. The controls are twitchy and the trick system is bland, unrewarding and two-dimensional. Nac-nacs, lazy-boys, lickety-splits - when it comes down to it, all the tricks are just the same. Some just take longer and make bigger numbers appear on the screen.

Click to view larger image

On Yer Bike Mate

Put simply, Nitrobike's biggest problem is that it's not Excite Truck. While it manages to ape the control scheme to an extent - you hold the Remote as you would a tiny, plastic steering wheel - everything else about it falls short of the racing game it so hopelessly mimics.

Compared to Excite Truck's sumptuous, primary-coloured visuals, Nitrobike's attempted realism appears stylistically dull (and, as already mentioned, technically lacking). Excite Truck also offers immediate reward for skillful landings, whereas Nitrobike offers an apologetic increase to your boost bar - hardly an exciting and compulsive reason to hang off the front wheel shaking your legs about.

The tracks featured are mundane too, with none of the huge jumps and chasms seen in Excitebike 64. Linear, narrow courses, populated by AI racers who like to fling themselves off the track as much as you do, are bordered by clusters of objects, the sole purpose of which is to infuriate as you attempt to navigate your way back into the race.

Playing online requires you to over-specify the game type you want to play (leading to ridiculous wait times) or, more sensibly, have your mate's friend code at hand.

On the whole it's a charmless doppelganger, impossible to recommend over its competitors and rendered obsolete the moment it was placed on a shelf next to the game it's ambitiously squaring up to. Shame too, as the thought of rocket-powered bikes is so pleasing.


12 comments so far...
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  1. Ultra mega super Friday 8th Feb 2008 at 17:12

    They took a decent game and added rubbish stuff and instead of trucks there are bikes. Stick with the rrucks as you won't get hurt as much by anything. :lol:

  2. rebornzilla Friday 8th Feb 2008 at 21:31

    :roll: such a shame i was really looking forward to this game hoping it would be a sucess :( well what game publishers need to do is SPEND MORE TIME on the game

  3. dragon2s6 Saturday 9th Feb 2008 at 14:17

    I was actually thinking about getting this game...

    Excite Truck was so awesome and I thought Nitro Bike would follow...

    Is it a sequel...???

    If so it's really let Excite Truck (and Excite Bike for that matter) down.

  4. squiddo Sunday 10th Feb 2008 at 19:17

    if any body's looking at this to get peoples reactions to the game, take it from me it's probably the worst wii game I have owned.

  5. uster dog Sunday 10th Feb 2008 at 19:26

    i saw this on friday in my local gamestation for only Ł19.99 :D & that started the alarm bells ringing :( i thought it would be at least Ł29.99 :!: i was going to by this but thank goodness i did'nt :shock: .

  6. Anonymous Monday 11th Feb 2008 at 11:42

    If you want to spend your money on this try getting Transmorphers on DVD instead. Or Alien vs Hunter.

    Snakes on a Train?

  7. slangman Monday 11th Feb 2008 at 15:50

    I knew this game was not gonna be as good as excite truck since it takes more advantage of the Wiis graphics and controls than Nitrobike (as mentioned in a ONM preview).

    What really suprises me though is that it would turn out to be another dreadful game for the Wii.

  8. willz968 Monday 11th Feb 2008 at 19:20

    To think I was actually going to pick this game up from my local Game today for 19.99... thank god I didn't.

    I was really expecting something bigger from this game, and I was really hoping it would improve over Excite Truck. It seems I was wrong.

    Luckily I decided to read a reveiw on this site before I purchased.

    Instead, I took the smart option and picked up NiGHTS: Jouney of Dreams in a sale for 19.99 at Game.

  9. Akriloth2160 Wednesday 13th Feb 2008 at 08:48

    Oh, Ubisoft! What were you thinking? :(

    That's the last time I think of picking up an Assassin's Creed sequel for the wii. If there will be one. Which I hope there won't be.

  10. Mendez Thursday 14th Feb 2008 at 13:35

    I was really looking forward to this, I love Excite Truck and was hoping for something similar :(

  11. catscan93 Saturday 16th Feb 2008 at 10:00

    excite truck was ruddy good fun flying through the air, so on bikes, with jets on and online would be even better, such a shame that this one can't cut the mustard...
    atleast we've got Ferrari Challenge & MK wii on our way.

  12. Doclector Monday 18th Feb 2008 at 10:14

    :shock: How the hell did they mess it up? I mean, with such a generic bike racer, how could they have gone so wrong? I blame it on trying to be excite truck. Don't mess with the big damn trucks, man.

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