Review: ExciteBike 64 (~18 hours)

This is a rare treasure from late in Nintendo 64’s life. Much the way the lesser known Wave Race for Game Boy got a sequel with Wave Race 64, the lesser known Nintendo Entertainment System title called ExciteBike got a sequel with ExciteBike 64. Left Field Productions, a California based developer, handled the job, and they did it well. Though not perfect, this is the most fun I’ve had with a motocross game.

At the time of this game’s release, the bike riders looked very realistic, and the way they moved on the bike looked realistic too. When you’re right next to an opponent, you can attempt to kick him or her out of the way, or off of his or her bike, and it usually works. Top speed for a bike is around 65 miles per hour, and you’re usually not going below 45 miles per hour.

True to the original ExciteBike, the slopes come in a series. The idea is to launch into the air off the upside of one slope, and land gracefully on the downside of another slope. If I recall, the Z button gives you a little boost at the top of a slope. You’ll get the hang of it as you play – it is quite fun.

Unfortunately, it’s not hard to maintain the first place position. This is a common problem in racing games of its day, and even in some racing games today – computer-controlled opponents just aren’t that smart. Fortunately, you can play four player, and it’s more fun to compete with a friend or three (in four player) than it is to play against the computer. I did have the opportunity to play this game four player in its heyday.

It’s good to note there are a lot of shortcuts. Once you find one, keep using it. It’s called a shortcut for a reason. Also, as was common in the year 2000, the game had a course creator mode. You could literally create your own indoor motocross course, and it was somewhat like a window into game development. It was the most fun to play your own course after creating. That much, I do remember.

There are a number of courses. The indoor courses are a little too similar, but the outdoor courses are varied (snow, rain, region, etc.). There are twenty courses in all, and a special course in the desert that never ends. Now, it doesn’t sound so impressive, but at the time, a never-ending course was pretty cool.

There are advertisements in-game (also common in the year 2000), with Bell Helmets, Thor, Scott, Fox, No Fear, and SMP. I don’t even know what some of those things are. It would have been nice to have a Virtual Console release, but it seems like Nintendo is taking its “Legacy” content seriously with the Switch, so here’s hoping.

4/5

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