Excitebike 64 (Nintendo 64) review
"Imagine, motorheads, if you will, taking your prized Kawasaki out of the garage and overseas to an exotic locale in the midst of the Congo, ripping down a jungle path in the blazing heat, tearing up dust and dirt and leaving the rest of the pack in your tracks. Trees overhang this beautiful course, and you'll fly through their lush branches and vines as you get airborne after ascending steep slopes. The paths you'll rip up in this jungle are so unrefined a rushing stream slices the trails at two..."
Imagine, motorheads, if you will, taking your prized Kawasaki out of the garage and overseas to an exotic locale in the midst of the Congo, ripping down a jungle path in the blazing heat, tearing up dust and dirt and leaving the rest of the pack in your tracks. Trees overhang this beautiful course, and you'll fly through their lush branches and vines as you get airborne after ascending steep slopes. The paths you'll rip up in this jungle are so unrefined a rushing stream slices the trails at two different points -- no wimpy bridges link together land. Take the course as it was intended to be or take your bike and go home. You're just not cut out for invigorating scenery and adrenaline rushes if you can’t enjoy this.
Take your prized bike and go home to that man-made monster nearest you, be it in Kyoto or Madrid or even Seattle. Show the boys who's boss by taming a course engineered not to be tamed, speeding through sharp corners mere inches from stacks of hay spelling disaster and sailing over rigorous ridges, flinging mud and burning fuel as you zoom past onlookers in the grandstand. Who cares if the scenery is a cookie-cutter indoor arena that’d make Veterans Stadium blush? At least here all eyes are on you and not the flowers and the forestry, and you'll make sure that not a jaw is left off the floor.
Now, motorheads imagine doing both. That's Excitebike 64.
Pay homage to Evil Knievel and jump the Grand Canyon or blaze down country roads, John Denver music optional. Put the crowd on their feet as you stun them with a comeback photo finish, or have them gasp in awe as you do a wheelie mid-race (just so everyone knows you're that damn good). No matter whether you prefer indoor or outdoor racing, Excitebike 64 will fit your style with three refined and two raw courses per circuit over four circuits. Do the math if you can (it adds up to twenty), but be aware that only practice and perseverance will have you see them all; "casual" gamers may only unlock half of what EB64 offers.
”But wait, there’s more!”
Along with beautiful, well-designed courses, Excitebike 64 offers a variety of diversions from the beaten circuit mode and time trial paths. There are plenty of secret modes to unlock, such as the three-stage hill climb, a desert endurance run where we burn across the dunes to extinguish ten bonfires, and a soccer mode (play soccer with a giant ball on a dirt bike! Who says innovation is dead?). There are also two really neat unlockables: the original Excitebike is intact within the cartridge for retro freaks to reminisce with, and a revamped version of the same game is playable in 3D. You heard right folks; the old Excitebike can now be enjoyed in a 3D format, and it just feels right.
I could rave on and meet the traditional reviewing quota, but I've really said all I need to distinguish EB64 from the rest of the racing pack. If not for the strength of the Nintendo 64 racing library (full of premier titles such as Diddy Kong Racing and Wave Race and sleeper hits like Stunt Racer 64), I'd proclaim this challenging, invigorating death-defying racer to be the best. But as it stands now, it's just the best motocross game I've ever played, and the only one I intend on playing, because I can't see myself having more fun with the genre as I did with this.
Community review by drella (September 12, 2007)
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