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The N64 limitations meant Midway were never going to come close to producing a perfect port of the arcade checkpoint racer, Cruis'n USA, but to rub asphalt into the wounds, the title would be censored by Nintendo (at the least animals were removed), whilst bloody fighting games Mortal Kombat Trilogy and Killer Instinct Gold avoided being butchered...
Speaking of which, the frame rate gets rather choppy when driving through detailed surroundings, such as downtown San Francisco - this is also the section where the external views can be blocked, albeit partially and briefly, by cars behind. There are direction signs in Cruis'n USA but nothing to tell how tight an upcoming turn is - there is a radar for CPU presence, but no map present so you never know until too late, and traffic is sure to come blind as well.
The analog stick works well for when weaving in and out of the traffic, but the collisions in Cruis'n USA are crazy - traffic does indeed jam, and the CPU are capable of taking each other out, and when vehicles (cars, buses, trucks) come together there's no knowing whom'll be sent spinning. There are collisions where the game just jerks. And, from the traffic cones to the trees, you can send these tumbling - timber! Though there are police cars present on patrol, none are prepared to pull you over.
See, some of the stuff that happens in Cruis'n USA is silly. There's how the bikini babes (and topless dudes) are stood right behind the finishing line - thankfully for them the racing freezes just as the player passes the finishing line. And also, the initials for a record time to be put up on the Hot Times board should be mirrored for stamping onto the license plate.
There are only four themes to cycle through for listening to in a race, but the MIDI instrumentation is weak. 'The House Special', with the naughty "ooh ahh", is the best of a bad bunch, but the strongest song is the starting theme.
It can take about two hours to complete Cruis'n USA for the end credits - this cannot be skipped, yet unlocking goodies requires replaying the game. The game has five difficulty levels, but regardless, despite being a checkpoint racer, players never really run the risk of running out of time. Still, that's not to say it will indeed be cruisin' USA as players need to finish first to progress - though the difficulty of the game depends on the vehicles available. Cool as it was to be sight seeing and landmark spotting in the USA, the game does become a drag, what with the infinite continues.
"Cruis'n USA" is a racing video game. It was first released for the Nintendo 64 in 1998 by Midway. In the United States, the game received a guidance rating of "E" which deemed it appropriate for all ages.
Cruis'n USA first saw mild success in the arcade. I remember the unit as being a full scale, sit down racing game complete with moulded plastic seats and a rather small steering wheel. When the video game made its way to the Nintendo 64, it was one of the first titles I picked up for the console and found the gaming experience to be very weak in comparison to the arcade version. While the title was successfully able to capture the race courses, vehicles, and general pandemonium, I found the visuals and audio suffered greatly.
As the name of the video game implies, the race takes place within the United States. There are a total of fourteen different race courses which span across realistic regions such as Death Valley, Beverly Hills, the Grand Canyon, and Washington, DC. The player will initially begin the game with four vehicles but will unlock additional vehicles such as an American style school bus at set intervals. The gameplay experience is typical to what one may expect from a racing title and does not stray from established traditions; it is the player's objective to maneuver through swarms of traffic and opposing vehicles in aims of reaching the finish line in the shortest period of time. There is little by the way of innovation in the race itself. The only aspect which immediately struck me as different was the ability to select a music track from a range of short snippets. This alleviates the typical repetitive soundtrack of most modern racing games, though the scores in themselves aren't all that pleasant to listen to.
The graphics are presented from a trailing view of the player's vehicle. This perspective can also be changed to a far away camera and a first person view. While the road and vehicles come across as acceptable for a Nintendo 64 release, I found the environmental accents to be poor. There is a distinct sense of flatness to the imagery which is most apparent while driving through the redwood forest. Upon crashing into a nearby tree, the object simply uproots itself from the ground and falls in a uniform linear fashion. I also found the game's frame rate to be very choppy. In more "detailed" areas, the game noticeably tugs along through a fragmented presentation which is difficult to play through. The soundtrack is likewise poor. Basic "screeches" and other wailing tones accent the vehicle, and short, looping fragments of music overlay the experience. The player is able to change these musical scores throughout the race, though there is little incentive to do so as they are all very brief in their duration and become annoying rather quickly.
Cruis'n USA may meet a racing enthusiast's desire to drive through realistic American locations. In general, though, this isn't a game which I would recommend to prospective buyers. It is standard fare in terms of the racing genre and is hindered by poor audio and video.
Cruis'n USA was probably a big hit when it first hit the arcade back in 1994, but the 1996 port to the N64 fared badly. Many people complained as the game was a direct port and therefore received no enhancements even though it was produced 2 years later on a console with more power.
The game delivers quite a dull experience, you'll often find yourself driving ahead of the pack and not seeing another driver for a couple of minutes, the best remedy for this is playing in the 2 player mode, although that doesnt make it much better.
A few cars are available to drive, with various upgrades as you beat the USA tour with them. There are numerous tracks in the game, each based in a different USA State.
In the end i think you'd be better off buying Cruis'n World, its a bit more expensive, but it wasnt a port and was designed specifically for the N64, it features better music, graphics, more cars and secrets to unlock.
I know this is one of the first N64 releases, but give me a break, half the screen is full of graphics popping out of nowhere. These are the worst graphics on N64, and with how fast it feels like your're going you might as well be playing Super Nintendo. The combination of no challenge,no fun, no excitement, and Super Nintendo graphics all make this the worst Nintendo 64 racing game. This is even worse than the "fast-paced and exciting" GT64. Do not rent this game, but instead buy the best Nintendo 64 racing game,San Francisco Rush.
Imagine fast paced racing, graphics so sharp you almost can cut yourself, an amazing polygon game engine with no pop-up, accurate collision detection, fantastic music with memorable melodies and bass-pounding sound effects! Imagine hours of racing fun with an addictive two player split-screen mode, realistic landscapes, awesome crashes and intelligent computer enemies. Now imagine a game that has none of the above. Welcome to Cruis'n USA. Cruis'n USA. was one of the first games announced for the Ultra 64. The idea is simple: Drive through the United States in one of four (plus three hidden) cars and manage to beat the other racers. Given the long development time and the fact that Nintendo promised to exercise their strict quality control on this Williams/Midway racer, this should have been a top quality game. It's especially embarassing that Nintendo published the title themselves, furthering the gap between the quality associated with Japanese made games and NOA's sorry American attempts. Cruisn', by the way, will probably not see the light of day in Japan. The opening of the game isn't really all that bad. But it all goes downhill from there. The game is everything it shouldn't be. Instead of expanding on the (aging) arcade racer's theme by adding N64 specific features, Midway basically made a bad copy of the arcade version. That's like Sega bringing out Virtua Racer on the Saturn without any improvements or additional options. So much has happened in video gaming that Cruis'n U.S.A.'s flat bitmappy graphics look very dated -- especially since Nintendo's own Wave Race 64 has shown what the N64 is capable of. The pace is slow, the frame-rate often choppy (especially in city zones) and somehow excitement doesn't really kick in. For some strange reason I still felt compelled to drive through the whole country, just to be able to say: "There, I finished it!" Lit
tle did I know that it would only take me about two hours to finish the whole game. The graphics look flat, but offer some nice detail in some of the levels (like Chicago). To achieve a modest feeling of speed, switch the viewpoint to a first-person perspective. There are some nice little touches, like flies that smack into your window and birds using your car for target practice, but that's about it. The music is bad. Not only are the midi sounds badly selected, but the compositions are really rather annoying. Thankfully, you can turn down the volume. There's a short glimpse of potential when you hear a guy singing "cruis'n', yeah!" (that's how it should be spelled) over a midi soundtrack, but it soon lapses back to Pilotwings/elevator music gone mad. The sound effects are okay, but yet again Midway shows a total lack of attention to detail. For example, when your car jumps over a ramp or a bump, there is no difference in the engine sound--and even when you hit the ground, there is no corresponding impact noise. Collision detection is bad. Sometimes you spin out because of an invisible enemy behind you, other times you're caught in a crash that's more like a traffic jam than anything else. And try running into one of those huge redwood trees. It simply falls over like a cardboard sign. Level design is unexciting and nowhere near Wave Race or Mario Kart. Sure, it's nice to have linear tracks, where you don't always come back to the same obstacles. But there's also nothing like coming around the corner for the third time, you're in the lead, and you can already see that dreaded curve up ahead that gives you problems every time. This sense of anticipation, or of worry of a tricky spot is almost gone in a linear racer like Cruis'n. The two player mode is Cruis'n USA's only saving grace. Unfortunately, the frame rate drops even further and the odd impact d
etection makes pushing someone of the road a matter of luck, not of skill.
When this game first came out on the arcade I thought it was the best game ever, and for its time, it was. About 18 months later we had bigger and better technology in the arcades and Cruis'n had only just hit N64. It was starting to look shabby on the arcades, but with cut down graphics, sound and detail in the 64 version, it both looked, and played awful. The only factor that was the same was the american rock soundtrack which on the arcades was great to drive to, but with the cut down sample rates along with everything else, even that seemed to have no effect on the game anymore. I think it is possible to get hold of a copy of the sequal for 64 called Cruis'n World, it is very rare and costs you about a fiver second hand. I am told that this version plays almost as good as the first on the arcade, but the graphics and sound are still not up to scratch. Over all I think that Nintendo should have played the final 64 version before bragging in magazines that it would be "Arcade Perfect!" Those of you who are (or were) fans of the arcade game may be interested in a cheat to revive that classic gameplay we once enjoyed, especially as you can play it at about 10p a credit these days. If you hold the view point 2 button down while inserting your coins, and keep it held until you get to the car selection screen, you get the option to play as a 4x4 truck, a police car and the best of all a school bus! Enjoy
This is the only review on this game for the simple reason that i was the only person who was stupid enough to get this game! The cars are square and unrealistic the game play is shockingly bad and the graphics really will make you laugh. All the scenery just pops up out of the blue! It is one of the easiest game that i have played and you will complete it in a few hours. Most magazines gave it below 60%- the only reason that i got it was becuase i found it cheap at a car boot sale! If you love driving games you would know not to get this. If you are considering it- Don't!