Review by Writer
"Fun, enjoyable. One of the finest arcade-style racers"
[Note: This review was based from gameplay not regarding the online multi-player racing, therefore that exciting feature could not be taken into account]
Anyone that stepped foot into the arcades or owned a Saturn during the early 90s may remember a game called Daytona USA. The game was hailed as one of the most phenomenal racing games ever created. With it's impressive graphics (at the time), break-neck speed and fabulous track designs, Daytona earned it's hype and title as one of greatest stock car racers. Now in the year where the Dreamcast is about to join the ranks of other deceased consoles, Sega has done us all a great service by rereleasing Daytona USA on it's 128-bit baby. If you haven't played Daytona when it was first released, then you really missed out on a spectacular arcade-style racing game.
One of the finer points of Daytona is that you don't have to be a long-time fan of the arcade or Saturn games to enjoy this Dreamcast package. The game's five play modes, single race, championship, time attack, vs. battle and net battle can be enjoyed by novices and veterans alike. Championship modes is the main course of Daytona. In this competitive mode you're placed against 19 CPU controlled cars in a four series race set for a total of 16 races. The AI can be a bit on the nasty side which gives Daytona a competitive edge. In addition to passing you when you make errors, the CPU racers will bump you for position when you attempt to take the lead and fight other CPU racers. Now who says all of today's games are lacking in difficulty?
Winning the races isn't a matter of simply choosing the best car. Your own skill will play a large role in whether you cross the checkered flag in glory or defeat. This is largely why mastering the game's slightly intimidating controls is to your advantage. You may be a little turned off by Daytona's controls at first, mainly if you've never touched a Daytona game, but some practice will easily lick these problems. Some turns require powersliding, which isn't always easy to pull off. And in case you're wondering, sorry there is no digital pad steering, but the analog stick does the job fine, although some may find it a bit too sensitive. It's suggested that you go into the control settings and adjust the steering a bit. Other than that, Daytona's got some good controls.
For all the flash of today's current racers, some of them don't do the best job of conveying a good sense of speed. Daytona gives you speed in spades. In this game, going 130 mph is considered slow no matter how fast the trees may appear to be whizzing by. Now when you get up to 184 mph or 200 mph, that's fast. Of course Daytona is no slacker is the flash department either. Much like the hot girl you're too shy to talk to, Daytona is one good-looking game. Bright, colorful visuals light up the race tracks and pop or slowdown never rear their ugly heads, even in two player vs. mode. While some may scoff at Daytona's visuals after seeing Test Drive Le Mans, the graphics are unique and do an excellent job of bringing the game to life. Depending on what mode you choose to play, you can jack up the number of cars to 40 and the framerate still remains rock solid.
As it should be, the best part of Daytona is the racing, which is what many arcade racers must excel at to get by. With all the twists and turns and straights, the Daytona tracks are more than enough to satisfy your racing needs. And for all you speed freaks, Circuit Pixie, an oval track has been implemented in Daytona and you know what that means: no breaking whatsoever. Loyal fans will be familiar with some of the tracks like Three Seven Speedway and National Park Speedway. The game has five tracks from previous Daytona games, but Sega went the extra mile and included three brand new tracks for the DC version. While the game's eight tracks more than offer enough variety, you can race any of the tracks in four different types; normal, reverse, mirror and mirror reverse, giving you a copious amount of track options.
Daytona doesn't offer full blown customization options, but it does let you customize your car color and going to an even deeper extent with tire customization. Tire customization lets you choose from soft, medium soft, medium, medium hard, and hard. Soft tires offer a better grip while hard tires give you the advantage of a better drift.
If you're a fan you'll be happy to hear that the ''Day-ton-aaaaa!'' song is back. If you're new, well, your opinion could sway in any direction. The game's got some rock music that tinkers on the brink of being cheesy, but ''Rolling Start'' never get's old. In the grand scheme of things, the audio is far from being horrible. It isn't the grand daddy of all video game racing soundtracks (really, what were you expecting?) but it's very fitting for Daytona.
With great single player racing, fun two player races, tons of tracks and types, funky unlockable cars (wait til you see the Pywackett Parchetta Super), and online play, Daytona USA has tons of replay value. If you love arcade-style racing games or just racing games in general, you owe it yourself to play this game. Whether you're a fan looking for nostalgia or a newbie in for some racing thrills, Daytona USA does not disappoint.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 11/12/01, Updated 11/12/01
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