|Developer: Sega AM2|
|System(s): Sega Model 2, Sega Saturn|
Daytona USA is a Sega Model 2 arcade racing game developed by Sega AM2 and initially released in Japan in 1993. At the time of release it was considered to be the most detailed 3D racing game ever created, and is now often seen as an arcade classic. Though it had a lower polygon count than Sega's previous creation Virtua Racing, the 3D world was fully texture-mapped making it seem more advanced and realistic. Furthermore it was able to keep a full 60FPS refresh rate, even with multiple on-screen opponents.
In the game the player drives a stock car, known as the "Hornet" racing against numerous other cars around three selectable tracks. However, it is famous mainly for its multiplayer features, allowing up to eight arcade machines to be linked together, with each player capable of competing in the same race.
Later revisions of the game offered more viewing modes, different advertisements and "ghost car" support so that it was possible to race against yourself.
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 extensive clipping so that only the scenery close to the hornet was rendered. 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, had neither issue. It does, however, offer the option to play as the other cars seen in the Arcade version, and via the use of cheats, allows the player to play as a horse.
A port of the game was also planned for the Sega 32X, but was cancelled presumably because of the add-on's failure to attract a large audience.
In 1996 a Windows port of the game was released and was similar to the Saturn version. In the same year the Saturn received an updated version of the game in the form of Daytona USA: Champion Circuit Edition. Like Sega Rally, this version was tuned up by Sega AM3 and offered a more stable framerate with more tracks and features.