playboy.com / digital culture / software /
May 16, 2000
By Howard Wen
Excitebike 64 probably wouldn't recognize its
predecessor if the two games landed on the same shelf. Based on the
popular, if simplistic, Excitebike of the old eight-bit-graphics
days of the original Nintendo Entertainment System console, this
64-bit descendant is just as addictive and goes miles further --
giving you an exhilarating sense of what it's like to catch air when
your on-screen motorbike launches off ramps and hilltops.
Players race on 20 tracks set in indoor arenas or outdoor
locales. There are six riders for you to choose from, each of whom
steers and brakes differently. Each also can do a unique midair
stunt that you can perform for extra points.
Excitebike 64 is loaded with features: There's a soccer game in
which players, still on their bikes, bump around a giant ball. A
desert setting pits you and other players in a race across looming
sand dunes. You can even design your own indoor racetracks and, if
you have an optional Controller Pak accessory, save them. The
original Excitebike game is also available, adding a nostalgic kick
to this 3D update.
Multiplayer gaming, always a strength of the Nintendo 64, remains
strong here. The competition is brutal, since you not only can ram
into other racers to make them wipe out, you pretty much have to if
you're going to win.
Up to four people can race at once, but splitting the screen into
three or four points of view works best on 32-inch or larger TVs.
Two-player games are acceptable on smaller sets.
next1 | 2