Cruis 'n USA
System: Nintendo 64
Developer: Midway/Williams Entertainment
Capabilities: Controller Pak Compatible
Nintendo and Midway team up to deliver the arcade hit home on your N64. In this game, pick one of 4 classic cars, and race on various tracks across the USA, complete with landmarks. Will this game pack as much excitement as the arcade version did, or end up as a lackluster conversion? Lets get onto the review and find out.
The cars look excellent in this game. Theyre all have a nice amount of detail, like you can make out license plates and blinking tailgates. I wish I couldve saw some of the cars do animations during a crash, like seeing there trunk pop open, or dents on the car, but no such luck here you only get some sparks and thats it. But wait, theres a little animation if youre driving with the windshield camera, and thats only on a dew courses like the Iowa track where flies will hit your window or some birds will make a mess on the window, which looks pretty cool I should say. The scenery on the road looks amazing, all the buildings look just like real apartments and business buildings, you dont get any of that generic stuff like in Road Rash 64. Plus all the landmarks look great too and really close to the real thing, like Mt. Rushmore, The White House, and the Vietnam War Memorial for example.
Now comes the ugly part. Most racing games like this usually have some fog in the tracks to cover up some of the tracks environment popping up, but that isnt the case here, they decided to take all the fog out of this game for some reason, and the resulting action is a heck of a lot of pop up which distorts the game play a lot, and makes driving sometimes unbearable. Also there tends to be a some slowdown in 2 player mode too, not too much, but its noticeable. And this may be a little bit on the nit picky side, but Nintendo had to edit out some of the graphics. I remember in the arcade, whenever you won a race this really hot girl in a bikini gave you a trophy, and she was dancing and all too, but all you get here is some girl with a shirt dancing.
The sound is one thing marvel over in this game. Remember in the arcade, there was that radio button to press and you would get all those different tunes? Well, theyre all here from the House Special to the Roadkill Jam. They all sound great and fit the game just right. Theres also a girl that gives some commentary over the game. Like if youre about to go into a head on collision shell get all excited and say Look out for the, ahhhh! And she always comments over all the landmarks, for example youll get use to her saying, Oooo Death Valley! Those voice overs barely get repetitive and makes the race more fun to play. Id have to say that Sound is this games strong point.
The controls are easy to get use to, but of course you can customize them any way you want to. I prefer the control stick for steering though. Its way easy to use in the game, and you can always adjust the handling if you think otherwise. I used my Mad Catz steering wheel for the game, and steering was a major pain. The brakes are conveniently placed as the L and R shoulder buttons.
Theres only 2 modes of play here. You can pick a track to race from. Either random, or ones youve beaten in the Cruise the USA mode where you race on all the tracks, where you have to finish 1st on each one to advance on to the next track, and after you finish it all you get to upgrade your car to have a new paint job or make have a faster top speed. Which you can all save on your controller pak. There are a nice variation of tracks, with a few on the easy, medium, and expert difficulty levels. The game can only be played with up to 2 players, and its really fun going against a friend, because you can have the option to disable all traffic and opponents for just a vs. race.
Theres a nice amount of hidden stuff in the game. By just holding a few buttons you can unlock 3 tracks on the track select menu and 3 cool vehicles on the vehicle select menu, which are the All Terrain Vehicle, Police Car, and School Bus. Theres also cheats to have sirens and lights for the bus and cop car. And the game saves high scores too, but a 4 player mode felt like it was a must for this game, but wasnt added to it to my disappointment. But at least the game is fun to play with 2 players, even with all the pop up.
+: Awesome soundtrack, nice hidden vehicles, nothing missed from the arcade port
-: Too much damn pop up, some slowdown with 2 players, 4 player mode seemed like a must, but wasnt here!
The Final Ratings Rundown
Game play: 7.2
Replay Value: 7.0
Rounded to fit GameFAQs Score: 7
An alright game, pretty good arcade port, still fun to play even with all the pop up and such. But I recommend getting Cruis n World because it can be played with up to 4 players, and theres way less pop up and slowdown in it. But I have to say this was a good first effort from Williams/Midway for being one of the first N64 games.