Review by JPeeples

"Daytona, let's go away, let's go away."

Daytona USA was released for the Sega Dreamcast in March of 2001. This game was developed by Genki, the same team that handled the Dreamcast port of Sega's Virtua Fighter 3 tb. This game was published by Sega. This version of Daytona USA is, without a shadow of a doubt, the best ever. So many enhancements have been made to the Saturn and Arcade versions, it's not even funny. The resolution has been increased tremendously. The game now sports a super-high polygon count, and you can now play the game over the internet via your DC. Two new tracks have been added just for this version.

The graphics in this game are simply jaw-dropping. The car ooze attitude with new paint jobs and reflections. The car models' increased resolution makes a world of difference, you can now make out even the smallest detail on your car, like the small text ont the side of the cars' tires, or the car names on the hoods of the cars. The frame rate is excellent as well, it's a rock-solid 60 Frames Per Second (or FPS.) The game now features NO POP-UP, this is great news for old-school gamers who loved the Saturn version, but were turned off a little bit by the excessive (read: distracting) amounts of pop-up. The track design in this game is, as always excellent; the tracks, with the exception of two of them, are curvy, some are banked, while others feature hairpin turns, all of them put your racing skills to the test.

The music in Daytona USA games has been heavily debated. Some think that the music is the worst thing they've ever heard; those who say this usually say that the music is far too upbeat and doesn't fit the racing genre. I, on the other hand, think that the music is excellent, it helps me get my blood pumping, and it also makes me want to play the game, if that kind of music doesn't fit the racing genre, I don't know what does. The sound effects are another aural high point. For example, the engine noises are boisterous and really fit the fast and furious mood of the races. Every sound effect in this game is crystal clear. The in-game announcer is a pleasant surprise. He is crystal clear, has insightful comments, and doesn't repeat himself too often. There are also some nice, small sound touches, like the announcer saying your initials out loud, that really add to the overall tempo of not only the sound, but the game as well.

Well, on top of the usual Arcade and Versus modes, you now get a Championship mode that was made just for this version of the game. The same goes for the Net Battle mode. The gameplay in all modes of the game is as tight as always. The in-game engine rarely slips up. The racing action is always fast and frantic. There are two brand new, never before seen tracks in this game, as well as the extra tracks from the Circuit Edition of the game on the Saturn; these tracks are pretty good. The brand new tracks are decent enough, they are well laid-out, like all of the tracks are in this game, but they're just not as memorable as the original three tracks from the Arcade. Numerous new options are available to tweak your car. You can now change the colors of your car, as well as change the type of tire you would to use. There are five tire choices: soft, medium soft, medium, medium hard, and hard. The harder the tire, the more drift you'll get from them. As always, you can pick from an Automatic, or Manual transmission.

The control is, for the most part, unbeatable. There are some problems with the sensitivity of the analog stick. If you want the analog response to be like that of the Saturn version, change the analog response, believe me, it makes a world of difference; if you don't do this, you'll be slipping and sliding all over the track. Other than that fixable qualm, the control is spot-on perfect. It is very responsive, yet it's never too responsive as to cause you to spin out. The R Trigger is used to accelerate the car; while the L Trigger is used to brake the car. You can toggle between racing views by using the D-Pad. I like this feature, as it makes changing the viewpoints a breeze.

The presentation of the game has been done a complete 180 from the Arcade original. In the original game, menus were kept simple; now, they are a bit more complex than they should be for an arcade racing game.

There are three difficulty levels in this game: Easy, Medium, and Hard. Too bad all they do is adjust the amount of time you have to pass through a checkpoint. This game is in some serious need of ntelligent AI; most of the time, the CPU cars just follow a pattern. The game's harsh hairpin turns provide the only real challenge in the game; they more than make up for the lack of AI.

This game has almost limitless replay value. There's a boat-load of secret cars to unlock. Plus, you can always try to beat your best time. The game is a joy to play and will keep you entertained for quite a while.

All in all, Daytona is a must-buy. The graphics are simply amazing; the same can be said for the sound, and the gameplay. The only real downside to it is the lack of intelligent AI.

The game offers you far too much to do; you'll never be able to get the most out of it if you rent it. You'll miss out on a ton of fun if you rent this game.

WOW, this game is awesome. All I wanted was an arcade-perfect version of Daytona, what I got was that, plus so much more. I implore every DC owner to go out and purchase this game, it's only $40. If you've ever been a fan of the Daytona series, BUY THIS GAME. It is, without a doubt, the best racing game yet on the Dreamcast; and that my friends, it true.

Differences Between This Version and the Arcade Version- There are now reflections on the cars. The polygon count has been raised significantly. The game is at a higher resolution. There are more tracks. There are more cars. There is a new announcer.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 03/22/01, Updated 06/20/01

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