The Consensus: Excitebike: World Rally Review «

GameSpy’s Take

After recently hailing New Super Mario Bros. Wii as a masterpiece and including the original Excitebike in GameSpy’s 50 Favorite Console Games of the ’80s feature, it might seem a little odd for me to dismiss the WiiWare-exclusive Excitebike: World Rally as thoroughly mediocre. But that’s the weird thing about nostalgia: The game I played on the NES back in 1987 was lots of fun…in 1987. Here, on the Wii, in 2009, it’s nothing particularly special. While Excitebike was indeed a great game in the ’80s, it’s far from timeless.

World Rally plays like a 16-bit remake of the NES game: Race a dirt bike across a series of 16 side-scrolling tracks, avoiding other obstacles and racers in an effort to cross the finish line inside of a specified time limit. One button accelerates, one button provides a turbo boost, and overheating (or colliding with the aforementioned obstacles) causes you to wreck and lose valuable time. The game also makes some noise about new isometric camera angles, an online race mode (every bit as tepid as you expect from an online Wii game — and curiously devoid of any offline equivalent), and a barebones level editor that (unlike the original’s) offers the ability to save custom track data. But these additions aren’t noteworthy or interesting — they’re simply run-of-the-mill, given what year it is. So, all told, World Rally is pretty basic, no matter how you cut it.

Nothing’s truly new or captivating here. It feels like a half-hearted cash-in designed to prey on our nostalgia, not unlike Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled. It’s nothing but a curiosity, fun for the few minutes prior to the realization of just how badly Excitebike has aged. And to anyone who would pose the inevitable “Well, what did you expect? It’s Excitebike!” — see Mega Man 9, Bubble Bobble Plus, Dr. Mario Online Rx, Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, or any number of other like-priced WiiWare titles that succeed at revitalizing beloved games. Excitebike’s a cut below any of those classics, which World Rally pretty aptly demonstrates.


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