The Two-Wheeled Trojan Horse

Nintendo has once again found a way to get us to buy its classic games, and once again it’s made them better.

By Michael Edwards. Posted 07/11/2011 15:00 2 Comments     ShareThis

Excitebike: Two Wheeled Trojan Horse Masthead

If there’s one thing that Nintendo loves to do more than deny RPGs to their North American audience, it’s selling us games that we already own multiple copies of. Although they’re maybe not as aggressive as Square Enix (who has caused some to add expansions to their homes for Final Fantasy IV remakes alone) Nintendo’s re-releasing of the Super Mario Advance series, Classic NES series for GBA, Super Mario All-Stars for Wii, and of course both Virtual Console all but prove this fact. Knowing this, it wasn’t much of a surprise when Nintendo announced something called “3D Classics” for the Nintendo 3DS. The idea here? Classic NES games would be available for download, with an added 3D effect.

I knew eventually something like Super Mario Bros. would appear on the service and I’d happily fork over my digital dollars to the eShop to get a glimpse at 8-bit Mario in 3D. Of course that wasn’t the first title– instead the eShop premiered with 3D Classics: Excitebike, and best of all, it was free. While the idea behind the giveaway may have been a reluctant apology for the eShop’s delay, it had an unexpected, almost instant effect on me: I will absolutely buy every single one of these.

Excitebike is, unsurprisingly, even more exciting in 3D.

There’s no reason I should have been surprised in the amount of polish put into this game. If you go back and look at that list of remakes I just mentioned, all of those games were enhanced in some way. The Super Mario Advance games had extra levels, a multiplayer Mario Bros. game and, for better or for worse, added sound and graphical effects. The game was also formatted for the wider GBA screen, as were the NES classics. Even the NES classic version of the original Castlevania received the save feature that was once only available on the Famicom Disc version. While Super Mario All-Stars for Wii was just the ROM on the disc, the enhancements were all external, with collector’s packaging and a booklet. Although easy to implement, Virtual Console games have been given much-appreciated quick save features.

This continues with the 3D Classics, something I never would have realized had the Excitebike download not been free. While the graphics remain 8-bit, the field of vision has become wider thanks to the extra screen space. Nintendo could have easily used the original game, but instead chose to utilize the entire screen’s real estate and create a crisp, clear widescreen version of a classic game. Honestly, this alone had me sold on the series.

Not only can you now see wider, but deeper as well– thanks to what I feel are the best 3D effects yet to grace the early life of the handheld. Thus far with 3DS games, adjusting the slider only increases or decreases the amount of 3D effect. With Excitebike, the 3D effect changes in the same way, but also creates depth by extending the “camera angle” and allowing you to see more of the background. It’s a really nice effect, and something that I hope continues throughout the series.

Beyond the visual pleasantries, Nintendo also added a save feature, especially helpful for player-created courses, and an incredibly welcome addition to any “Password Pak” classics that make their way to 3D.

Urban Champion in 3D? Sign us up.

The question now is, what titles are on their way? Right now Xevious is out in Japan and Urban Champion has been announced. Sure, there’s been some controversy at the quality of Urban Champion, but so far we’re seeing some of the earlier titles rather than going deeper into the catalog. Hopefully this means we’ll see a Super Mario Bros. in 3D before year’s end.

Miyamoto has commented on how he’d love to see the original The Legend of Zelda reappear. Since there are supposedly some more surprises left in store for this year’s 25th anniversary celebration of the series, this could be a possibility. Personally I’d love to see Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, as I’m part of the minority who loves that game. I’d also be quite happy with one title a month, as the initial flood of releases, which has now been reduced to a trickle, was no good for the original Virtual Console on the Wii. (But that’s another topic for another time.) For now, the two-wheeled Trojan horse known as 3D Classics: Excitebike has made its way onto my 3DS, and if this is an example of the quality of future releases, I’m ready for more 3D Classics.

2 Responses to “The Two-Wheeled Trojan Horse”

  • 1570 points
    penduin says...

    I second the motion for a 3D Adventure of Link. It’s actually better-suited to 3D imagery than the original if you ask me. And, it’s one Zelda game that could get altered pretty radically and not have anybody complain. Wider view? Definitely good. Improved translation and non-experience-wasting saving? Yes please!

    The previously-bland overworld map could be great in 3D; Death Mountain’s maze could be even more disorienting, the hills and swamps and forests could have the same nostalgic, boxy graphics but feel much more like real terrain, and the climb towards the Great Palace could be truly dizzying.

    I finished Adventure of Link once, but not when I played it as a kid (not even close). Some optional tweaks to make the game’s combat less brutal would go a long way in opening the game up to less hardcore players. For us veterans, let us keep all the challenge and just experience the game again with its new fancy effects and modern conveniences.

  • 678 points
    amishpyrate says...

    Wish nintendo would realize Urban Champion is a horrible game. lol, First time I played it I found it hard to believe it was even made by Nintendo.

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