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Nintendo's 3DS Excitebike Is - and Isn't - Just the NES Game

o Ray Barnholt
02.06.2011 kl 19:37 | GamePro (online)

Yes, it's awfully familiar, but Excitebike has received a refreshing 3DS remake for the launch of Nintendo's eShop. Our impressions within!


Yes, it's awfully familiar, but Excitebike has received a refreshing 3DS remake for the launch of Nintendo's eShop. Our impressions within!

For a limited time from the launch of the 3DS eShop (30 days; until July 7), Nintendo will offer 3D Classics: Excitebike free of charge. It's simultaneously a showcase of the 3DS depth effect applied to an old game, a vision of things to come for the eShop, and what Nintendo's "3D Classics" series is capable of. And if Excitebike is any indication of what's coming, these aren't just repurposed Virtual Console games -- they're legitimate do-overs.

At last year's E3, the 3DS debuted along with a prototype selection of 3D Classics like Super Mario Bros. and Xevious. The games were more or less the original NES games tweaked so that background elements would appear farther away. Cute, but not super impressive. But now, while Excitebike appears to look identical to the original, it's more or less rewritten. While racking my brain trying to think of an apt frame of reference, I could only come up with the Sub-Con stage from Super Smash Bros. Melee -- NES assets transposed onto a polygonal stage. Take that concept, add 3D depth, and you have 3D Classics Excitebike.

The 3DS depth slider does more than just tighten or expand the depth effect in Excitebike. It functions as a zooming camera of sorts. Not that you can get super tight into the frame -- you have to see what's coming up ahead, after all -- but it's an interesting function of the slider that I haven't seen before. And with the slider at max, it's like playing an "HD" Excitebike, but that can be a negative, as the zooming out can make it harder to see or just concentrate on the small 3DS screen. I appreciate the attempt, though.

I was glad to see that 3D Classics are more than just modified ROMs, but even this 3D Excitebike is just Excitebike; it's not exactly the most elaborate or beloved NES game. Also, it's clearly a bit more work to re-create an NES game from the ground up in widescreen 3D, so I'm not confident that future 3D Classics will really reach beyond the simplicity of games like Excitebike or even the original Super Mario. In other words, I advise you don't hold your breath for a super-duper version of Kirby's Adventure or anything. But for the time being, enjoy your free game while it lasts.

Keywords: Games  
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