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   PlanetDreamcast | Features | Previews | Daytona USA 2001

Daytona USA 2001
Do Do Do Do Do Do Do Do Doooo! Daytonaaaaaaaaaaaa! - by Mr. Domino

Daytona USA 2001 Logo
Rolling Staaaaaaaaaaart! There I was, standing in aisle B of Toys R Us nearly six years ago and being utterly captivated with the Sega Saturn game Daytona USA which was on display. (Yes, believe it or not, there was a time when you could actually find working Sega demo machines.) I had not seen the arcade game, so the Saturn port of the first texture mapped game just floored me. Look it! Cloud reflections on the windows! Decals on the car! A slot machine and a rocket ship! Daytona USA not only looked great, but knew that it looked great and flaunted it with some of the most colorful and unreal courses allowable in a NASCAR racing game.

Of course, people wiser than I knew what a poor shadow the Saturn port was of its arcade parent. The game suffered from massive pop-up, a low framerate, and low resolution. Perhaps it was good that I hadn't seen the arcade game at the time, because I was still able to enjoy the terrific gameplay. Daytona USA was the best arcade racer around with loads of competition and power slides. Tip: Power slides make the world go round. They also make racing games a lot more exciting and fun to play. You're not just driving, you're flying. Well, you don't really fly. I guess "skiing" would be a better word, but "flying" sounds neater and better conveys the fun well implemented power slides can bring (cough cough Metropolis Street Racer cough cough).

Enter the dragon: Daytona USA 2001. You cannot imagine my excitement when I first had seen that Sega had listed a new Daytona USA game on its schedule. Immediately I thought it would be a port of the arcade sequel, Daytone USA 2: Battle on the Edge. Instead, it has been revealed that Daytona USA 2001 would feature not only the three original Daytona USA tracks and the two extra tracks from the Saturn's Daytona USA: Championship Circuit Edition, but it would also include three brand spanking new tracks! The seizure lasted well into the night, and when I came to I was a happy whatever I am.

Some not-so-subdued Sonic advertising is carved in the mountain ahead.

Numbering a car "41" mustn't do much to help the driver's state of mind.

Daytona USA 2001 will not just meet the old Model 2 game's graphics, but it will exceed them. As beautiful looking as the original Daytona USA arcade game is, there still is some pop-up in the distance, to say nothing of the original Saturn tracks which suffered from the limitations of the system. Daytona USA 2001 will not only remove such blemishes but also generally improve upon the graphics. Cars now are sleeker and even shinier than they had appeared in the past, and it's as though Sega found a whole 'nother spectrum of colors to splash all over the game. The original Daytona USA made your eyes bleed; the new one will have them begging for mercy... if eyes could do that.

Besides the addition of three very nicely done tracks, Daytona USA 2001 also adds some more cars and a handful of enhancements to the mix, notably a tire selection and color configuration. Gear heads need not apply; Daytona USA 2001 still is an arcade racer, but the options (as little as there are) are still a nice improvement over the Daytona of old and help expand upon the game's depth. The game also features several new tracks and remixes, although I can't be but a bit upset that the original songs are not to be found while racing. I really need my "Rolling Staaaaaaaaaaart!" Still, it's a far cry better than Daytona USA: CCE's 80's rock. I'm still hoping that Sega includes an "original" mode in the US release. The songs are there in the sound test, but you can't adjust which music plays on certain tracks as in Daytona USA: CCE and other later Model 2 conversions. The analog control can be adjusted to make it feel more like the original game's control. Control has always been a big factor in making Daytona USA the enjoyable racing series it is, and the ability to tailor it to one's liking is a plus.

01 molests the green car for position.

"Orange orange skies I see!" just doesn't have the same ring to it.

Daytona USA 2001 looks to be the most fun you can have racing with your Dreamcast, and you'll be able to enjoy it like never before as you race online. With up to sixteen human opponents, the action is sure to be fast and tense. SegaNet promises a lag free experience, and given recent plays of Phantasy Star Online, I'm inclined to think that's a good possibility over the little modem that could. Jostling for position, rubbing against an opposing vehicle while you fight for the inside line... Sure, these things are factors in other racers as well, but Daytona manages to elevate racing duels to the nth degree with style and speed. Free online gaming via SegaNet is a wonderful thing to be sure.

Fans of arcade racers unite! If you enjoyed all of Midway's offerings and if you're already racing online with the Dreamcast's other available online racers, then you owe it to yourself and the Dreamcast racing community to get this game. Team Hydro Thunder has commented that Daytona USA was the inspiration for its extremely popular Hydro Thunder game which says volumes about how much Sega's AM2 developers did right with its game.

Next: More screenshots, and some movies!

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