Daytona USA

SEGA, 1995, Japan, SEGA Saturn

Summary: 7.5 of 10

What a game these days! One of the first Saturn games released after the lauch. It features very good gameplay, lot's of cars on the screen, very cool races against the clock with only hundreds of a second seperating the 1st from the other ranks, hidden cars and funny vehicles. But it also features a very short draw distance, too slow framerate on PAL systems, no 2 player mode and only 3 tracks.
The sound is very, ah, japanese with funny vocals. But hey, that's Daytona.

Daytona had 2 updates on Saturn:
Daytona Championship Edition,
Daytona CCE NetLink
one on Dreamcast:
Daytona USA 2001
and appeared on PC, too.
Daytona 2 was never released on a SEGA console.

Graphics: 6 of 10

There are games with worse graphics, but one sees that it's one of the earlier games.

framerate & stability
Framerate is OK on NTSC version, but on PAL it is much too slow.
drawing distance, pop-up
One of the shortest of all Saturn racing games.
graphical detail, realism
Details are OK, much objects at the track here and there, but realism suffers from bright colors and textures.
drawing errors,
polygon clipping
heavy pop-up
light effects
None, except some shadows in the tunnel and under bridges.
weather, night & day
No weather, only daylight driving
further special effects Nice firework like effect when crashing other cars and walls.
The sky is reflecting in all windows of all cars.

Sound: 7 of 10

Daytoooonaaaaaaaa.......aaaaa... . Yeah, you might find the vocals funny, but there's a good chance that you find yourself singing the refrain while driving ;-).

sound FX
OK, only further effects are missing like when driving through the tunnel.
voice samples
"Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines!" Vocal are like they should be.
background music
No rock, no guitars, but strange vocals. Might not meet todays expections. But for me knowing it since back 1995 it's OK.

Tracks: 7.5 of 10

Three tracks being very different in length and difficulty level. The first "Three Seven Speedway" is a good choice for races against the clock with a friend. After some time, the top 20 are in between few seconds! The second "Dinosaur Canyon" is my personal favorite, very well designed. The last "Sea-Side Street Galaxy" is quite huge and more difficult.
More tracks would be fine.

number of tracks 3 (+3 when mirrored)
licensed tracks
track types
round courses,  can't exactly remember, but mirror and reverse driving is only present in later Daytona versions.
track design There's no doubt, the tracks are good.


Cars: 6 of 10

As you proceed the game, more and more cars become available. Even some horses may become selectable.
As the cars are not licensed, they got no name and are seperated by acceleration and grip ratings (A-D) and by colors and textures. The shape is alwas the same.
Driving hints: Manual transmission makes the car faster and furthermore some cars seem to drive significantly faster after a crash!!!! Bouncing against the wall is in some cases superior to pushing the brake. But if you collide with bad angle, you'll crash very hard.

number of cars 4+2
licensed cars None.
change car color No, since color is the main visual difference of the cars.
tuneable No.

Gameplay: 8 of 10

There's no other game with so much cars on the track at once.
The arcade mode offers a race against lot's of CPU cars with a clock limit and a hidden time attack mode.
The Saturn mode adds more cars which are unlocked as you get better in the game. Additionally, there is a mirrored track mode and the clock limit is removed.
The race length can be adjusted from normal to grandprix and enduro, the difficulty and opponent level can be adjusted as well.

Like all SEGA arcade racing games of that time, it lacks evolution modes. But for some strange reason, the replay value is very high and it never gets boring to drive the tracks.

racing modes
arcade mode, saturn mode(+ mirrored), time attack,
no 2 player mode
camera viewpoints
Quite a lot: above track, in car, behind car, far behind car
The replay got a birds view camera.
speed impression
Not as fast paced like SEGA Touring Car or King Of The Spirits, but it's not slow.
racing simulation physics
There isn't much physics behind, it's pure arcade racing with a lot of drifting.
collision detection
Fine, some cars got almost no penalty for crashing the wall.
replay recording
Yes. Not active for grandprix and enduro race length, no saving/ loading to backup RAM.
No controls for replay playback.
A new birds view camera is available.
(input) devices
Couldn't test arcade racer.
3D analog pad is recognized as arcade racer, but it's unplayable, because every little touch of the analog thumb pad makes the car break out.
Backup RAM cart not supported.

Presentation: 5 of 10

There's not much additional about this game, just like in the arcade.
The CD loading times are quite short!

Special features:


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Copyright (c)2005 by The Rockin'-B