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VS Excitebike gets a home on the north american virtual console is it worth getting.

Updated on September 25, 2015

Excitebikes title screen

Note all pictures for this hub were captured by me playing the game and using a game capture device.

I got VS Excitebike a few weeks ago when it came out on the Wii U Virtual Console. I bought it out of a bit of a curiosity while our American version of Excitebike was not my favorite NES game by any means, it was guilty pleasure of mine and I was just curious about this Famicom upgraded version enough to pick it up. Is it worth the 5 dollars it costs on the virtual console? Well let’s find out in my review of the game shall we.

Goal of the game

There is no story in this game but basically the idea is to get through each race track by beating a certain time. Each track begins with a time trail by yourself doing one lap, beat the time and you move on to the actual race. Now the 2nd time thorough you will be racing against other opponents and be going for two laps. Now this 2nd time the other racers don’t matter, there is no score keeper so it doesn’t matter if you come first. You just have to clear the track by the time on the bottom of the screen. These extra racers are just there to mostly get in your way. Needless to say the 2nd time around is always harder.

You will glow when your about to overheat.

In game glowing is about the only graphical improvement you will see
In game glowing is about the only graphical improvement you will see


The graphics for the most part are mostly the same. In fact playing the game you won’t notice any difference between it and our NES version when it comes to the race track. However things like the victory screen and a few other things in the title screen do look nicer than our NES version. Still don’t buy this game if you’re looking for a graphical upgrade, there are some small improvements but nothing major. The biggest being is that your bike will now glow before it over heats I like the nice little visual cue that your about to get slow down big time.

A few graphical improvements like in the award ceremony is all your getting here.
A few graphical improvements like in the award ceremony is all your getting here.


Sound is another story the original Excite bike had your motorcycle sound effects and nothing more. This Japanese Famicom version gives our real music and it’s actually somewhat charming and catchy has far has 8-bit sound tracks go. Of course the bike sound effects are still there but they have been tone down quite a bit too allow for the new music.


Like I already said in the goal of the game section the idea to move forward is to beat a specific time on the track. Each track also has obstacles and jumps that you have to overcome on your bike by jumping over them by gaining momentum and then popping a wheelie in the air. How you land your bike also determines what your momentum is when you return to the ground.

Also there are two speeds. One button makes you go a normal slow speed which doesn’t get you anywhere fast. And then the turbo button which goes a speed possible to actually get the times you need. Problem is turbo quickly over heats your bike and if you over heat your bike you’re on the side line for several seconds. There are arrows on the road that will help keep your bike cool so you can keep your speed up. On the single player track the whole idea to win is to balance your speeds so your always going fast enough, without over heating your bike.

Of course 2nd time through you other racers and if you tap them you spin over and have to pick your bike up causing you to loose time, sometimes more than just over heating your bike.

The idea in the 2nd race is to still get under par time

But getting knocked off of your bike can cost you more time then just over heating.
But getting knocked off of your bike can cost you more time then just over heating.

In the end normal excite bike is a fun and addictive game but VS does throw in a few things different.

First is the original NES did allow you to create your own tracks but it had no way to save them. In the VS version on the virtual console you now have that option. The creator tool is still has fun and has addictive has ever and the tracks you can create can be quite challenging. And if you have friends that you can share them with this mode can be quite addicting.

There is also a new 2 player mode that was added into that game unfournatley I diden’t have anybody to really try it out but it does sound kind of cool.

Final Recommendation

VS Excitebike is not a game you’re going to be playing constantly just like its North American counterpart. But it’s fun in short doses when you’re looking for something old school. The updated music and the ability to save your tracks make this a game that is definitely worth picking up on the virtual console.


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