"We can complain about the clipping a lot. A whole lot. But we wonít, because it honestly isnít worth going into. "
Title: Excite Bike 64 by Nintendo Sports
Reviewing Monkey: Dungapult
The Hype: The greatest racing game ever to grace the original Nintendo Entertainment System has finally been updated for the N64. Unfortunately there is little to be found here but a cheap knock off of every other motocross game ever made.
What This Monkey Thought...
Graphics: The graphics are, to put it succinctly, average. They are neither anything exceptional nor anything to complain about. Truthfully, I tended to "forget" that the graphics even existed, being much more interested in the suck-ass gameplay (oops, Iím getting ahead of myself) or just trying to scout the track. If youíre one of those new graphic addicts who insists on ultra-cutting edge you wonít find it here, but thereís not too much to complain about either. Well, except the clipping. We can complain about the clipping a lot. A whole lot. But we wonít, because it honestly isnít worth going into. We shall just say these average graphics are helped made so by some significant clipping issues. There, happy now? 3 out of 5
Sound: "Hey guys! Iíve got a great idea! Letís take the same engine sounds from the original NES, digitize them up, and put them in an N64 game! Oh and, in case that isnít enough, lets add a scratchy voice over that says the same damned catch phrase every three seconds! Great huh?" Rotten bastards. The sound sucks donkey cheese and is so far behind the times that itís laughable. Dull, whiny engines, boring voice-overs, and non-existent crash and burn sound effects leave you more than happy to turn off the volume and turn up the stereo. 2 out of 5.
Game Play: Imagine taking the original Excite Bikes regular/turbo throttle (which I loved) but adding it to a Motocross Madness complexity engine and youíll have the formula for one of the most annoying control sets ever created. No differential/ratioed throttle means you either are accelerating or stopping with almost nothing in between which makes the heavy turns and zig zaggy levels ultra ridiculous. The inclusion of leaning turns and pivoting jumps makes you think that youíll be playing a true motocross sim but the physics engine is so deathly bad youíll spend as much time trying to plot your angles as you do completing jumps. The camera views are at such piss poor angles that thereís virtually no way to really tell whatís coming up in front of you. The collision engine sucks so bad that even then times you should be knocking other riders on their asses you have a 50 / 50 chance of getting smoked. Banks play no practical role in the game and if youíre taking a turn on a slope itís no different than turning on a flatÖ. And the list goes on. In short, there isnít much to like here. 2 out of 5.
Level and Environment Designs: This is kind of a tough area to judge on Excite Bike 64. The reason is, the tracks themselves are pretty well laid out and the inclusion of a track editor should make for some killer riding. The problem is that the game play engine is so flawed that the tracks become difficult to navigate with their tight turns and pointless banks. Also, the interface for what could be a perfectly serviceable track editor is so unintuitive that it too becomes a bone of contention and the only terrain types are "brown dirt" and "gray dirt". Overall, though, with all its problems, it only gets a 2 out of 5.
Multiplayer: Actually, not too much to say here. Up to 4 players is supported here via split screen and it isnít too horrible. The big problem is, as said before, the camera angles suck so once you get 4 people going youíre lucky if you can see anything. 3 out of 5.
Replayability: Well, personally, I found the game so frustrating I didnít finish it the first time through. Replayability, as with all these games, comes from redo tracks and having friends over to race. The only cool thing here is that it includes the original Excite Bike (which I would much rather play) and has several different race types that you can unlock (though you probably wonít want to play it that long). 3 out of 5
Story/Dramatics: Itís a racing game, so there isnít a story (which, for the record, I still feel is a cop out). 3 out of 5.
Instructions and Learning Curve: Probably the only place this game shines is that the instructions are well laid out on the learning curve is wee. 4 out of 5.
Installation and Real System Requirements: Of course installation is a snap, but EB64 loses major points here for requiring a memory enhancer to get even the mediocre graphics I talked about above (though is not required to play). 2 out of 5.
Well, if youíre not picking about your racing games or you just canít find any other motocross game for your N64 you might not be disappointed. If, however, youíve ever been on a motorcycle in your life Iíd avoid it.
The Good: Track editor and small learning curve.
The Bad: Everything else.
The Overall Ugly: : I wouldnít bother and would discourage you from bothering.
What it's Worth: Rental, tops.