he year 1985 saw me as a disgruntled seven-year-old. While I was the master of such moves as the Mario Hop and the Goomba Stomp, the Motor-Man Shuffle went over my head like a tetherball at recess. Why does his bike overheat so fast? Why is he eating mud on every other jump? Excitebike was tricky and crude, but it showcased advanced mechanics. A remake is long overdue.
Instead of Excitebike: World Rally, this $10 WiiWare game should have been called Satisfaction: Get Some. Just about everything with this remake hits the spot, and it's slightly poetic that the team who brought us Excite Truck and Excitebots gets to revisit the title that inspired them in the first place.
This gorgeous remake's controls are still just as simple but even more refined. On the horizontal Wii remote, Button 1 controls gas and Button 2 issues turbo. Up and down on the D-pad chooses one of four lanes and left and right controls the angle of the bike for wheelies and mid-air adjustments, of which is vital for "smooth" and "nice" landings. Any one button is never held down for too long. Like the original, World Rally is a dance for the fingers, and the fluctuation of the track provides a demanding rhythm.
World Rally is a dance for the fingers, and the fluctuation of the track provides a demanding rhythm.Preparing for track bonuses and obstacles is the secret to learning the beats. Holding down turbo causes your bike to overheat after a few seconds, but driving over arrows rewards a cooldown. Hitting every arrow is essential for maximum turbo allocation, and almost every ramp on later tracks demands turbo for mighty air over mud-and-tumble zones.
And the following statement on control is quickly becoming the Wii-game barrier for hall of fame entry: World Rally gets motion control right. The only time the player ever has to shake and rattle their poor, aching wrists is when a screw-up occurs. Did you crash? Shake. Did you overheat? Rattle. This reminds me of the pigeon toe my father ridiculed me for as a child. He said that he'd attach a sword to my leg that would poke me in the back every time I walked with my right foot inward. I wasn't sure how such a contraption would be possible, but I stopped walking funny. By that I mean, a player will stop crashing and overheating if they value a brain that doesn't bounce off the skull during Wii remote body shakes.
A tilt-the-remote option is available for wheelies and mid-air adjustments, but the only novelty it offers is a sweet, isometric view of the track. Why this view is not available with classic controls is a mystery. Also, the overheat meter is too far to the right of the screen. This hinders because the bike is on the left with eyes needed to navigate through weaving opponents. The firing engine cues help to get around this annoyance.
World Rally leaves fire trails with its track creator and addictive online mode. I understand why local multiplayer would be difficult to implement in such a fast and meticulous game, but this is the Wii, and a four-player Mario game just came out. World Rally would have earned a perfect score with the inclusion of competent local multiplayer.
Regardless, World Rally is a ballet that revs. This explains why I simply could not get the original as a child. I was introduced to it long before the Macarena opened my mind to dance.