Daytona USA 2001
(US version reviewed)
do doot do doot do doot do do doooooooooooo
This game is legendary, everyone I know that plays games, even casuals, loves Daytona. Even the most biased & blinkered Sony or Nintendo fan-boys love this game.........the question is why? Well we can discount the visuals as they have aged alot in 8 years, like most early 3d games, time has not been kind to Daytona, although it still retains a certain visual style and panache, even now. You either love or hate the cheesy j-pop music, so it’s not that. So what could it be?...........I think I know what it is, and SEGA obviously think so too, its the sheer adrenaline rush of grinding up rival cars on some of the best designed race tracks ever to grace a game, cutting through the middle of a pack of rival cars, bashing first place into the wall, causing him to go into one of those mad Daytona crashes and generally causing havoc on the track while pulling off some of the most outrageous power slides ever seen. Indeed it was Daytona that introduced “power sliding” to the world back in the days, of course having a starting grid of up to 40 cars helps immensely.....in Daytona you drive aggressively and OTT or you don’t drive at all.......and now SEGA have decided to let you do this online against other people, recreating the feel off those excellent link-up arcade machines.......except without the 10 grand price tag.
Lets go away, lets go away.......no wait, give it a second chance.
Now I’m going to be brutally
honest here, when I first booted up Daytona my initial reaction was
“What the **** have they done to my beautiful Daytona”, I’m a
Daytona nut and the first badness came when on of the most famous intros
of all time was accompanied by some awful guitar rift thing, instead of
the classic tune that lends this review its title.
Actually no, the first badness
was when I saw the “Genki” logo appear on screen, they were
notoriously lazy with the Dreamcast Virtua Fighter 3tb port, needless to
say the appearance off said logo did not bode well.
After the horrid butchering
off the title music the first thing I did was to go for a single race on
777 Speedway, the handling was atrocious, the cars went into wheel spins
much easier then previous versions, but at least the power slides were
still the same, needless to say, as a Daytona nut, I was literally fuming
by this point, I was ready too send the game back to Tronix on 5th Avenue,
However I fiddled with the handling sensitivity, testing every setting until I found the right one, and DC Daytona was looking like a better prospect, I spent the following 6 hours relearning the courses, the visual breaking markers & getting my Daytona “touch” again.
Graphically disappointing......... but strangely impressive.
First up the graphics are
disappointing, but still look good in a dated, no pop up sort of way.
The game is arcade perfect visually, some people have been upset
because the visuals have not been upgraded, but I’m happy they simply
gave us an arcade perfect port. The visual style of Daytona is as bigger part of its heritage
as the handling, changing it would be heresy and would cause Daytona
nutters to go on the rampage. Arcade perfect is all we Daytona fans have
ever wanted, nothing more, and nothing less.
Some tweaking & under the bonnet refinements have been made visually, for instance when you total your car smoke now pours from the bonnet. The cars have reflections, nice touches, the car models have been rebuilt to today’s level of detail, i.e. about 4,000-5,000 polygons, but that distinctive Daytona style is still intact.
There is no clipping or pop-up
in any way, shape, or form, particularly impressive is Mermaid Lake, as
you go round the long, rising, banking corner you can see almost the
entire course below you just before diving into a huge tunnel, this
probably would not be possible had they significantly enhanced the
Sound wise all the classics
are in the game somewhere, Dinosaur Canyon still has its classic tune, as
does Seaside Street Galaxy, sadly the awful guitar rift I mentioned
earlier has replaced the classic 777 Speedway “Rolling Start” tune.
Ladies & Gentlemen....... and Americans, Start Your Modems.
So, online racing then, it has not worked very well in previous online
racers, so why should Daytona work? Well, thanks to Amusement Visions wise
choice not to upgrade the visuals too much Daytona does not have an awful
lot of polygons to push round at the same time as keeping track of 4
unpredictable player cars. This
in turn helps things immensely lag wise, no flashy effects, no extremely
high poly count to push around, just about enough visually to keep it
playable online & still look fairly good.
The actual online racing its self is generally good, however there are some problems. Since we have to use American servers & a 33k modem, playing with Americans is not particularly reliable. Find a fellow Brit or EU citizen however and your laughing, one person hosts the game, three others can join, the host chooses the tracks, handicaps and so on, the other players just pick a car and wait for the host to start the race.
Playing with a fellow Brit the game is almost as smooth as single player,
the other players cars sometimes “jump” around a little, but not
enough to make the game unplayable or unenjoyable.
You can still grind & block them, see the racing line and
generally be a complete git, thus forcing them to crash and giving you a 5
second lead. However when the lag gets bad, boy does it get bad, my worst
experience was when the frame rate was going between 60fps & about
15fps every five seconds, this has only happened to me once though.
Actually getting online is a whole other kettle of fish though.
Firstly you need to register with SEGA.com, then you need to
download a keyfile to your VMU from the browser bundled with Daytona.
I had many problem’s with this, but it turn’s out my ISP
setting’s were borked, which stopped the browser loading the pages, so
my bad then.
Now since SEGA of Europe have seen fit to flog an incomplete game to PAL gamers, by not bothering to implement the netbattle feature, us scum off the gaming world [read: Europeans] have to import the US version of Daytona to sample the online delights; but boy is it worth it. Thanks to SEGAs sloppy BIOS programming we don’t need mod chips to play imports, we have CD-X & the Utopia boot disk, and the game should only set you back about £26 & £4 shipping, can you say “bloody bargain mate”.
Not just the new music tracks are bad.........
running out of space so this is gonna have to be a quite short bit about
the new tracks, [I’m sure faz is thinking sod this for a second opinion
its a case study of Daytona!]. The new tracks are quite frankly, awful,
Circuit Pixie is a waste of disk space, its a typical stock car track,
i.e. an oval with a banking corner at the end off each straight, if you
cant sleep just play this track for ten minutes, you’ll be asleep in no
time. Next up is Mermaid
Lake, again this is basically a speed circuit all the way, apart from the
nasty final corner, which people negate online by going through the pits,
so much for SEGA’s
request to be sporting then.
To be fair Rin Rin Rink is actually not bad, the first corner will make you its bitch even when you know the track and the second corner is the same, the final bend is also quite deceptive, its a banking 180 degree turn, but I’ve seen it throw people who have driven a perfect race before. On top of that, in single player, Rin Rin, as I like to call it, really shines with a 40 car starting grid, due to the track being fast, wide and having two viscous early corners.. pile-ups ‘a’ plenty sir.
new tracks are also disappointing from an eye candy point of view, you
cannot mess with the original or CCE tracks visually, but the developers
had free reign on the DC exclusive tracks & they have shown a distinct
lack off ambition & innovation in the scenery on said tracks. Also is
the slightly annoying point that Seaside Street Galaxy is still the
longest & arguably hardest circuit, one of the new DC tracks should
have been a long, twisting, difficult bitch maker of a track with some
stunning scenery, maybe an alpine forest or huge city or something
similar. The Daytona 2 tracks are missing as well, which is not the end
off the world, but disappointing all the same. I don’t think the Horse
car cheat is in either, which again, is disappointing for Daytona vets.
Comments or questions? Alexbarnard1@btinternet.com
"Yet another AAA DC racer, but so much more then that, the ultimate version off the daddy of modern arcade racers, with online play to boot. Very few modern 3d games achieve legendary status; this is one of those select few. We finally have a perfect version of Daytona to play at home... Just make sure you get the US version, online racing is the mutts nuts."
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