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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.
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