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3D Classics: Excitebike (3DS eShop) Review

Review for 3D Classics: Excitebike on 3DS eShop - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

3D Classics: Excitebike isn’t anything new; in fact, it’s practically the very same game as the NES version from way back in 1984. That is, if you don’t include the 3D effects that are now present and the addition of save slots for created courses. With such small expansions though, is it a worthwhile purchase?

Featured on the main menu screen are three different options of gameplay. Selection A has you trying to set the fastest time on each of the five courses the game offers, while Selection B pits you in races against other motorcyclists, ranking you based on course completion time. The final option is Design, where you can let loose and create your own courses.

3D Classics: Excitebike may sound and look basic at first glance, and to a certain degree, it is; but there is some uniqueness to the way it’s played though that separates it from other racers. The idea is simple - dodge obstacles and get the fastest time - but there’s also some depth to how the game is played. Getting the fastest time doesn’t just revolve around holding the accelerator down and hoping for the best - in fact, holding down the turbo button will cause you to overheat and is actually detrimental if used extensively - but carefully making sure you head onto jumps and land them at the right angle. Doing so ensures that you don’t fall off your bike, forced to the side of the course as you recover by tapping the A button as rapidly as possible. Once you’ve conquered those tricky jumps, you’re also met with dirt and grass patches, which can slow you down if you head right through them. These elements add a more strategic approach to the gameplay, and without them 3D Classics: Excitebike would be much less interesting to play. Even with these strategic features, though, at the core of the experience you’re left with very little variety and it starts to become mundane very quickly.

Screenshot for 3D Classics: Excitebike on 3DS eShop - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Whilst trying to set times can be enjoyable, the lack of a real racing mode, where you race against other motorcyclists for position, rather than position being awarded based on race time alone, would have been a nice addition to this 3DS version; it certainly would have given it more lasting appeal. Designing your own course doesn’t give you much variety either, with only a set number of jumps and obstacles pieces to put down. The course colour can be changed, but that’s the most you can do to make it look significantly different. When considering how old the game is though, it’s fair to say this feature would have been impressive back in the day and with the ability to now save up to 32 of your created courses, it is an improvement over the original. The inability to share courses or race friends, either online or through local wireless, smacks of missed opportunity.

3D Classics: Excitebike’s major difference over the original is the use of 3DS’ 3D capabilities. This is by far the most impressive feature of the game and seeing a 2D game shift into the third dimension is startling, with the stadium stretching back and more sky being revealed as you push up the 3D slider. Having the 3D effect on doesn’t really influence any change in the gameplay, but because the 3DS features a 16:9 ratio screen you can now see further ahead on the track even when playing in 2D, which does make it easier to prepare for jumps and other obstacles coming into view. This improvement is a welcome upgrade, since Nintendo have been known to port their older games to their digital services without any changes.

Screenshot for 3D Classics: Excitebike on 3DS eShop - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review


Very simple and, though some strategic elements give it a level of uniqueness, there’s little to it, with fun coming mainly in short bursts of play. The controls are fiddly until you have got over the learning curve and got used to the timing, particularly with such a small sprite to manoeuvre. There is the added improvement of a save function, that stores your fastest times and created courses.


Has that 8-bit charm, which may be nostalgic for fans of the NES original, but from a technical standpoint, it’s very basic by today’s standards. The 3D capability of the 3DS gives the game a fresh look though and switching from 2D to 3D gives a sense of amazement. The added benefit of being on a 16:9 screen also creates more time to evaluate jumps and obstacles better.


Apart from the menu screen, there’s hardly any music. The only sound heard, for the most part, is the bike engine noise and it isn’t the most enjoyable sound to hear. It would have been nice if Nintendo produced some new 8-bit music for this version.


Depending on whether you enjoy trying to set record times on the tracks, there’s not much to do. The track creator is basic, but the option to let others try them may bring some enjoyment. An online leaderboard feature would have been a nice addition, or even an online racing mode. Sadly, the game is only temporarily free, and with the price asked sure to exceed £5 in the near future given the cost of other eShop offerings, the value for money is not high.

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 5 out of 10


About this score

3D Classics: Excitebike may be vaguely fun in very short play sessions, but with the advances in technology and a superior WiiWare version available, it simply feels dated. The 3D visuals are fantastic and the added save functionality is an improvement, but those alone are not enough to keep every player hooked.

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Rated $score out of 10  6/10 (1 Votes)

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Staff Member

I like the game, but yeah, it can get boring quickly. Selection B adds a bit more to it, and the 3D effect is of good use, and it's free (at the moment).

Stuart Lawrence
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The 3D effect on this is AMAZING - totally surprised me! Definitely can't wait to see how other classics are 3D-ised.

Admittedly, after playing World Rally on WiiWare, going back to this NES game was indeed painful. It's still pretty fun, but Monster Games just did such a damn good job updating it for WiiWare that it made me glad I'd not parted with money for 3D Classics: Excitebike.

I still wish Nintendo would put Excitebike 64 on Virtual Console. Damn that game was stunning! Smilie Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
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Alright for free, but I got bored really quickly. They should have included online leader boards and maybe exhanging courses with streetpass.

Infact I think EVERY 3DS games should really include a streetpass feature of some sort. Streetpass is easily my favourite feature of the system, and now I've finished the Mii Plaza games and I'm bored of Nintendogs, I wish there was more I could do with it. Smilie

3DS Friend Code: 4425-1453-7061

Ive never been into excite bike, its a boring game.... getting this for free would of the only way i would get it.... and my impression was i really like what they done with it, and hope they do the same thing with other games.

I loved the game as a kid and I love it today too... Anyone made some levels lately? Smilie

Jim (guest) 23.06.2011 13:35#6

This was one of my first Nintendo games as a kid, so it is cool as far as nostalgia goes.

One interesting thing is how the camera zooms in and out depending on how you set your 3d slider. I haven't noticed that in my other games.

Looking forward to any future 3G classics Smilie

wow omg they bring this back game man i grew up playing this game and loved it I wonder if the 3ds verson is going to be any good when comes out I rent it first then if I like it I will buy it. now let's talk about the awsome game comming out this tuseday for the 3ds the name of the game is Resident evil the Mercenariwa 3d omg I am huge resident evil fan and can't wait for this game to come out I preodered my copy at gamestop . I think the Nintendo 3ds is kind of awsome the games are pretty good I don't know why G4 is knocking the hand held well to each its
own Smilie

I like how Nintendo takes old games and make them new again. I like also how the graphics have been updated.

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