Also available on Saturn, PlayStation 3, Windows, and arcade
Daytona USA is the epitome of arcade racing perfection. Unfortunately, I never had the pleasure of playing the game in the arcades, and I've only played it a few times on Saturn, but when Colin told me that it was on sale for like a dollar or two on Xbox Live Arcade, I knew I had to download it as soon as I got home.
Daytona USA is a simple game - you drive a fairly standard stock car on one of three tracks and try to win. Its brilliance lies in its simplicity; it doesn't try to throw a million statistics at you to make a "hyper realistic" driving sim but rather perfect the basics of stock car racing. Of course, it's a little more involved than NASCAR - you're doing more than just making 2000 left turns (in two of the three tracks) - but it's very much an "easy to learn, difficult to master" sort of game. There are a handful of little secrets in the tracks, and the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 ports give some extra modes like time trials, various challenges, and even the bizarre karaoke mode. All of that is in addition to the online multiplayer via Xbox Live or PlayStation Network that gamers today have come to expect.
The visuals are fantastic for a 20+ year old arcade game. This port sees a nice bump to 720p and an unbroken 60 frame per second frame rate. The latter especially is a big part of what ensures an unforgettable racing experience. With such a simple game, there's not an enormous amount to say about Daytona USA, but the other side to that simplicity is that the gorgeous visuals and KILLER soundtrack really shine through. Anyone who is even tangentially familiar with Daytona USA will recognize the iconic "DAAAAAAYTOOONAAAAAA, LET'S GO AWAY!" of the intro song. Honestly, hearing that alone is worth the asking price in my opinion.
Daytona USA is not a complex game, but it's a masterful game. It may seem a bit shy in content by today's standards, but if you keep in mind that it first came to the arcade in 1993, it becomes clear just how special this game is. The visuals are a perfect fit, the music and sound effects are fantastic, the frame rate is rock solid, and it's just an all around uncommonly playable game. It's not often that a racing game will really knock my socks off, but this one absolutely did.
My Rating - 5 Neps
I'm a teacher.
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach high school history; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.