This game makes me sad. The reason this game makes me sad is because of the hopes I had for it when I bought my Sega Saturn. As it turned out, when I bought my Sega Saturn, it came along with three games (Virtua Cop, Virtua Fighter 2, and Daytona USA.) When I saw Daytona USA, the first thought to go through my head was, â€œOh, cool. A racing game. Maybe this will be a fun grand prix/racer game to come along with my Saturn.â€ Everyone can enjoy a racing game; you just have to accelerate, maneuver, weave in and out of traffic, feel the rush of the speed and enjoy the scenery, and get ahead of everyone else. It's a classic concept. And even thought I knew the graphics and features might not be as in-depth as some modern, circa-2006 racing game, I knew I'd be willing to appreciate whatever the game had to offer because after all it was I who had the crazy notion to buy a Sega Saturn in the first place. Sadly, this game was a bit of a mediocre disappointment. It's not a terrible game, but I don't think it's going to get much use from me.
There are a number of problems with Daytona USA. I'll be ordering these in order from trivial, mostly immaterial problems to the more crucial, core issues. Let the countdown begin.
Problem number 4: pop-up
Daytona USA is an old game. It came out in 1995 on a slightly 3D-challenged system. As a result, there is a noticeable amount of â€œpop-upâ€ in the 3D rendered environments through which you have to race. Objects and polygons have a way of â€œappearingâ€ over the horizon, just sort of materializing into view as they're rendered. It looks like the race track and scenery is being â€œbuiltâ€ ahead of you, off in the distance. This isn't a terrible problem and it doesn't really affect the gameplay, but it sure isn't the most pretty thing to look at. I sort of ignore it... but my ignorance doesn't negate its existence.
Problem number 3: corny music
It might just be me, but I think some J-Pop singer yodeling â€œDo-do-do do-do... Dayona-aaa!â€ or â€œI wanna fry, into the skkyyyy! Brue, brue skys!â€ is corny. Endearing â€“ maybe, in a strange way â€“ but ultimately corny.
Problem number 2: severe limitation, lack of options
There's only three tracks in this whole game; â€œbeginnerâ€, â€œintermediateâ€, and â€œadvanced.â€ I don't think there's any split-screen multiplayer mode, so don't expect to be able to plug in an extra controller and compete with your friends. I don't think you can unlock any easter eggs, extra levels, or stuff. As far as I'm aware the only objective is to get a good placement and time in the race on the same three tracks (the likes of which is saved in the high scores.) So really at this point the only saving grace of this game would be if it could provide a really fun racing experience, the likes of which would make you willing to play the same three tracks over and over with the same car with the same corny music.
And last but certainly not least, we arrive upon problem number 1, the likes of which totally shoots the game down: harsh and unforgiving gameplay
I once bought this old Sega Genesis game called â€œVirtua Racing.â€ I bought it because it was supposed to be a special 3D game that let you race blocky race cars on a system that was never, never, never designed for 3D. Upon acquiring the game, I played it, and while I was amused by the graphical novelty of triangle cars with hexagon wheels driving around in cyber-land, the game itself really didn't strike me as being much fun. You always started out in last place. Steering was difficult; there were lots of sharp turns to make, and your car turned stiffly. Also, if you over steered, you would go spinning out of control. If you accidentally crashed (or over steered), at least eight other racers would blaze ahead of you, and it would take a long time to build up all that velocity you lost and avoid crashing long enough to regain your original place. While it had novel graphics, Virtua Racing didn't actually feel much like a racing game; it felt like a bloody, painful struggle to fight (and stay) ahead of everyone else meanwhile avoiding the fatal mistake of crashing.
Daytona USA reminded me a lot of Virtua Racing. You always start in last place. Steering â€“ while manageable with practice â€“ is always treacherous. The opposing, CPU controlled racers never make mistakes. And ultimately, if you crash your little Daytona car, you're toast. Press start and XYZ, because you might as well just restart.
In conclusion, Daytona USA is a game I really wanted to like. Honestly â€“ I REALLY wanted to find something worth my time in this game. I can put up with old graphics (am I not a retro gamer?). I can put up with corny music â€“ in fact if the game itself was fun I'd probably sing along myself. But I felt there were just too many things to â€œput up withâ€ in order to â€œenjoyâ€ the game. In the end, I feel like I was exerting my effort to â€œtolerateâ€ the game rather than to just have fun with it. I must admit, there is always a certain incentive in Daytona USA to always try again... to race down those blocky, pixelly, angular tracks and try to get ahead â€“ maybe I'll win it this time, maybe â€“ but I don't feel it's worth it. Not to me, anyway.
Final score: C-
"It might just be me, but I think some J-Pop singer yodeling â€œDo-do-do do-do... Dayona-aaa!â€ or â€œI wanna fry, into the skkyyyy! Brue, brue skys!â€ is corny. Endearing â€“ maybe, in a strange way â€“ but ultimately corny."
I agree with everything in your review from this. The corny music made me laugh, and almost redeemed the game for me.