We were considering covering the original, fantastic NES title Excitebike, but considering the age of some of our gaming fans, we opted for the more recent follow-up, Excitebike 64. Releasing in 2000/2001 for the Nintendo 64, it took the simplistic motocross stunt racer and brought it into the future with 3D visuals and style.
Taking the traditional gameplay of the 1984/85 2D classic, Excitebike 64 boosted the game forward with full 3D maps and locations, as well as adding in an announcer which may remind you of the old Rock ‘n’ Roll Racing game for the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis/MegaDrive. Excitebike 64 didn’t make use of weapons and focused solely on the racing, as well as all the tight corners and muddy ramps.
The main aspect of the game featured six playable riders, who each handled differently. The controls were as straight forward as you’d expect, with accelerate, brake, slide, and use turbo boost buttons being used, and you could use the D-pad or the analogue stick to navigate the circuits. Similar to the original Excitebike or with RedLynx’s Trials series, pushing forward or back on the stick would help you jump higher or stick closer to the ground when taking jumps. Sometimes you just didn’t want to stay in the air too long; instead landing quickly to power on into the lead.
Playing through the game, you had access to a 20-track season mode, as well as time trial races, single player events and of course, 4 player multiplayer on the same screen. Excitebike 64 also allowed you to create your own circuits too, just as the 1980’s version of the game allowed for as well.
As well as the racing, Excitebike 64 also featured mini games such as a ‘Stunt Course’, ‘Hill Climb’, a ‘Soccer’ game with giant human sized soccer ball, and an “infinite, randomly generated” ‘Desert Track’ where the player needs to put out ten campfires by driving over them.
The game is a popular hit and often referred to as one of the greatest racing/motocross racing titles to-date. Graphically, it still looks fine considering its age, and for those retro nights when you want to get your friends around for a few hours of nostalgia; this along with Goldeneye, Mario Kart 64 and WWF No Mercy were all you needed.
Before we go, let’s just have a quick look back at the original Excitebike for the NES. The series lives on in the form of Excite Truck for Wii, Excitebots for Wii and Excitebike: World Rally for WiiWare.