"A great port of a great game, nothing more, nothing less."

Daytona USA is back. It's the same and just not quite the same.
Originally released in the arcades during the era where the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo where still hot stuff. It was later ported to the PC, Sega Saturn and the Sega Master System (in Brazil, or so I hear..). A Sega Genesis version was planned, with it using the “SVP” chip, the same processor that gave Virtua Racing on the Genesis great graphics; it was cancelled, along with the 32X version. Daytona USA changed the conventions of what gamers had come to expect from a 3D racer. Featuring textured polygons, on a powerful arcade system that was about five times more powerful than the consoles and computers their where out at the time. It also featured a superb soundtrack, and lastly great (but basic) track design; it was a great game to say the very least. Close to eight years later of the original arcade version, Sega has brought Daytona USA to the Dreamcast. Unfortunately, along with all of the good, this port has a fair amount of bad.

While Sega's first attempt at bringing Daytona USA to the next generation of gaming systems is good and has a lot of sound from the original, this game is completely different in a few areas. To put it bluntly, you'll get the distinct impression that you are playing Daytona USA on your Dreamcast. Nothing was changed at first impression. The menus, the music and sound effects…

Wrong. At the default setting, the control is just terrible. I mean the steering is just way too sensitive. I noticed Sega missed out on every chance to cut corners, a good thing. The graphics are a lot better than the original arcade or Saturn version, to the point where the entire game has very little popup. The game even looks better than some PlayStation 2 games. Those same tracks you loved (and even hated) in Daytona USA make an appearance, along with the tracks from Daytona USA CCE on the Sega Saturn making an appearance, along with 3 new tracks. However, the track that was in the PC version of Daytona USA CCE, is missing. No big deal because the track was pretty dire and lame. The audio seems to be unchanged by the move to the Dreamcast, although the music and sound effects are just as distinctive as they are where in the Arcade.

Adding insult to injury is the online play, to put it mildly; the online servers are down. Well, I can tell you that the online play from what I hear was great. However, there was a fair amount of lag. If it weren't for the online game, people would complain about the lack of replay value. Sure, the servers are gone, but there is split screen mode for 2 players to satisfy your multiplayer needs. And the split screen mode is pretty decent to boot.

In short, this game is almost the same game it was seven years ago. A great game that should be played. It plays great, but with the default control it plays even worse then you might once remember. As I said, you can change the control and with minor tweaking, the control is perfect. If you have any interest in playing Daytona USA at all, you'd probably better give the Arcade, Saturn or PC versions a good test-run first, before plunking down some cash. You can buy with confidence that there is a fair amount of replay value, even though the online play is lacking. A few cars to unlock (this will take you a while), 2-player splitscreen, and beating your track records and the ghost in the Time Attack mode.

You can buy it for less than an already cheap 20$. And it's not really worth renting cause not many places rent Dreamcast games and they’re pretty cheap now. And bear in mind if you rented the game you probably wouldn't unlock everything in a weekend. Overall, I give this a 9/10.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 09/15/02, Updated 09/15/02


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