(N64 / Nintendo 64)

Cruis'n USA (N64 / Nintendo 64)

Game Review

Cruis'n USA Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Damien McFerran

Put pedal to metal and hang on for a wild ride across the highways of America!

One of the first games to be announced for Nintendo’s 64-bit console, Cruis’n USA was given a fair amount of attention when it was first released; for the 32-bit generation, driving games that had established the credentials of rival machines (Ridge Racer for the Playstation and Daytona USA for the Saturn) and Nintendo fans hoped that Arcade Racer would do the same for the shiny new N64.

Sadly, the fans were to be very disappointed.

Cruis’n USA is actually an arcade conversion, and you know you’ve got problems when the original coin-op was pretty dire to begin with. The N64 port is even worse, with muddy, ill-defined visuals and an unforgivable jerky frame-rate. Ok, so this is an early N64 release and you might be inclined to cut it a bit of slack, but put next to the likes of Wave Race or Pilotwings – two other games released at roughly the same time – and the deficiencies of Cruis’n USA become all too apparent.

Matters aren’t helped by the fact that the game is monumentally dull, possessing none of the excitement so prevalent in other, more notable, racers. It also showcases some shocking examples of poor programming, with collision detection being reduced to a seemingly random affair; your car is often bounced off objects that appear to be a safe distance away, but other times you pass through certain-death impacts without any negative effect. The handling is also laughably unrealistic and thanks to the aforementioned frame rate issues it never feels like you’re travelling at great speeds.

A two-player mode has been included but even it can’t save the game from mediocrity; the frame rate issues get even worse with the split-screen view and it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get anyone to play this terrible game with you anyway.


We can understand why Cruis’n USA has made its way to the Virtual Console; despite the generally poor quality of the game it still manages to retain a sense of respect and is a widely recognized brand (hence the recent, and equally lamentable, Wii update). Nevertheless, we strongly recommend against downloading it.

From the web

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User Comments (12)



Roo said:





akacesfan said:

This game is not the best racing game out there but a 3 is too harsh. I'd probably give it a 7 just because of how fun multiplayer is.



Alpha2797 said:

I have this game for the actual N64. I thought it was fun. I'd have given it a 6 or 7.



Nightsider said:

I give this game a 6.25. I actually have a system of rating. I rate Gameplay, Variety, Story/Progression, Graphics, Sounds I rate every aspect out of 2 which in total adds to ten. Gameplay: 1.25, Variety: 1.5, Story/Progression: .75, Graphics: 1, Sounds: 1.75. Nintendo Life has a problem with reviews being so black and white. Either a game is Amazing or it is terrible.



kartus said:

Don't understand all the hate for this game. I haven't encountered any of these collision or framerate issues, at least halfway through the main mode (I get the feeling that multiplayer would be a huge issue if framerate issues surface); in fact, the fairly decent framerate, plus the crazy handling, makes the game feel like you've got nitrous going at all times. Even comparing it to Wave Race 64, Pilotwings 64, and Mario Kart 64 (you know, that game uses an "awful" lot of 2D too), I'm just seeing three similarly-made early-N64 titles. The funny thing is that it still seems to have more variety and a bit more style than, say, Automobili Lamborghini (a fairly well-liked game). Lots of other stuff to like here: the graphics are pretty amazing for such an early game (the skies especially look really neat, and pop-in really isn't an issue), the OutRun-esque campaign concept never gets old, and--although small--the ability to adjust racers and traffic ("better" games do not have this option), as well as the ability to flip through any song you want like it's OutRunners or something... this whole game is 3D OutRun before 3D OutRun really happened, and probably even better as an arcade game with a real racing wheel.

Really, we should be speaking of "things we don't like about the game" instead of "flaws", because the former is a lot more honest. For example, I dislike that so many of the tracks are on the west coast. When I saw all these stars so close together, I figured this game was going to be HUGE. ...Then it warped from the Grand Canyon to Iowa. And I find it a bit silly that the races have to be unlocked for single play, and that you can't seem to unlock every race. It's also a little strange that the game defaults to the easiest difficulty, but maybe you unlock something in each setting?

But most of that is small stuff. All in all, it's a pretty fun little game, and I certainly don't see the harm in paying $10 for it. I do see the harm in this ridiculous "criticism" that's been slapped on the game for what seems to be the past decade or so, though.



TenEighty said:

Must of missed this review. I have to disagree. This is a pretty cool arcade racer. I enjoyed it on the N64 and still enjoy playing it on the Wii.

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