Difference between revisions of "Daytona USA"
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Daytona USA (デイトナＵＳＡ) is a Sega Model 2 arcade racing game developed by Sega AM2. It was initially released in Japan in 1993, before making an international release a year later. It is loosely based on the NASCAR racing event at the Daytona International Speedway, located in real life in Daytona Beach, Florida in the United States of America. Daytona USA and all of its sequels leading up to Sega Racing Classic have been officially sponsored by the International Speedway Corporation.
The original arcade release has the player drive a stock car, known as the "Hornet" (number 41, producer Toshihiro Nagoshi's "lucky number") loosely based on a Chevrolet Beretta, racing against numerous other cars around three selectable tracks. Player one's car by default is coloured red and blue (the manual car uses a red, black and yellow colour scheme), and can be seen at the forefront of all game covers, flyers and similar media related to the series with the exception of Daytona USA 2 and its update, Daytona USA 2: Power Edition.
The game features both automatic and manual transmissions, the latter requiring use of the gear stick and which, if used properly, can lead to a faster car than the automatic. Crashing into walls or other cars can inflict damage leading to poor performance - to remedy this each level has a pit lane, which, by sacrificing some time, can fix the car.
Daytona USA has smarter AI than many other driving games from around this period. The computer analyses the player's skill during the first lap, and will instruct rival cars to move out of the way if it feels the player is doing poorly (while doing the opposite if the player registers a fast time). Most notably, however, is Daytona USA's multiplayer features. It was the first arcade game ever to allow up to eight cabinets to be linked together, with each player capable of competing in the same race. Each player assumes the roll of a different coloured Hornet, and each cabinet must be ready to race and agreed on a course before this can happen (otherwise the game may start up with less than eight players).
The game also has Team Hornet inform the player of turns and traffic, and will comment on your driving if you crash.
The idea of Daytona USA was conceived during one of Toshihiro Nagoshi's visits to North America, where he went to watch a NASCAR race. At the time, his team were looking for new ways to expand and develop the racing genre, and the simplistic-yet-exciting nature of NASCAR prompted the team to try and emulate this in video game form.
The soundtrack was composed and performed by Takenobu Mitsuyoshi, however in the Model 2 version he does not sing entire songs at once. Instead parts of his vocals were recorded and played at various pitches and lengths in order to construct songs, hence their arguably simplistic nature. This is because Model 2 hardware has comparatively limited sound capabilities compared to systems which rely on CD audio.
Daytona USA's original arcade release was notable for a number of reasons. At the time, it was considered perhaps the most detailed 3D racing game ever created. Though it had a lower polygon count than Sega's previous creation Virtua Racing (released in 1992), the 3D world was fully texture-mapped, giving the impression of a more realistic world. Coupled with this, Daytona USA is able to keep a constant full 60FPS refresh rate, even with multiple on-screen opponents.
The 1994 western release has slightly better AI than the 1993 Japanese original, but is otherwise identical. Other revisions of the game involve advertisements for the Sega Saturn.
Daytona USA has a number of strange features and hidden options.
All music can be overridden in game by holding one of the VR buttons during the "Gentlemen start your engines" screen. VR1 plays "The King of Speed", VR2 plays "Lets Go Away", VR3 plays "Sky High" and VR4 plays the secret bonus track, "Pounding Pavement". The latter can be accessed in the Saturn game by holding on this screen.
Like some of Sega's other games, giving specific initials in the results screen will trigger jingle tracks from previous Sega titles:
Saturn Exclusive Cheats
By far the most interesting addition to the game is the "horse", usually seen as part of the scenery. It can either be unlocked by landing in first place on every track, or by holding and on the title screen, then pressing . The "automatic" horse is brown, while the "manual" horse is grey and both can travel as fast on grass as they can on tarmac. They also cannot take damage and so can use the pit lanes like normal roads. Other cars are unlocked along the way by finishing first on certain tracks.
Ports and Rereleases
Due to its popularity, Daytona USA was released as a western launch title for the Sega Saturn in 1995. This version, like the Sega Saturn itself, was rushed for a quick release and was widely criticised for its lower framerate (~20FPS) and numerous graphical concerns. The Saturn's draw distance is shorter, meaning that only the scenery close to the hornet is rendered, and suffers heavily from "clipping" as the game fails to disguise the problem (later Saturn games would use "fogging", which gives the impression that the world "fades out" when it reaches the end of the draw distance). The camera is considerably more jerky in some sections of the game also.
This was not seen as a good thing for the Saturn, as the PlayStation's port of Namco's Ridge Racer, released at a similar time, was neither rushed nor struggled to mask graphical concerns (it is also widely considered that the arcade version of Daytona USA is more technically advanced than the arcade version of Ridge Racer). These sorts of issues in early Saturn games gave users the impression the PlayStation was much better equipped to handle 3D worlds, which, in the west at least, was seen as the way forward for video games.
The Saturn version does include some enhancements however, such as the option to play as the other cars seen in the arcade version and the use of a higher quality CD audio soundtrack (Takenobu Mitsuyoshi re-recorded each song from beginning to end rather than splice clips around like in the model 2 version). It is compatible with the Arcade Racer Joystick and surprisingly, the 3D Control Pad (released a full year after Daytona USA). The game interprets the 3D Control Pad as an Arcade Racer Joystick when it is set to "analog".
A port of Daytona USA was also planned for the Sega 32X, but was cancelled presumably because of the add-on's failure to attract a large audience, or the limited graphics capabilities of the system.
In 1996 a Windows port of the game was released and is similar to the Saturn version. In an attempt to win back consumers, Sega would also release another version of Daytona USA in the same year - Daytona USA: Championship Circuit Edition. Like Sega Rally, this version was tuned up by Sega AM3 and offered a more stable framerate with more tracks and features.
Championship Circuit Edition would mark the first in a long line of sequels, which, with the exception of Daytona USA 2, simply took the formula of the original arcade game and "upgraded" it, rather than offering a brand new experience. Sega Racing Classic, released fifteen years after Daytona USA is even worse in this regard, as it is almost identical in nature bar some increased screen resolutions and missing Daytona branding.
In 2011 Daytona USA (with Sega having regained the lost brand license) was released for Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, sporting high definition visuals and online multiplayer. It is otherwise identical to the original Model 2 version, containing similar low-polygon graphics (with improved draw distances) and music (a remixed set is also available).
Model 2 Bootleg Versions
Model 2 Version