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Cruis'n USA N64 Review

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Cruis'n USAFirst the good news. If you like the arcade version of Cruis'n USA you're going to love this. With the N64 analog stick it handles just like the coin-op, and if anything, the graphics are even better, with mip-mapped textures and Pilotwings-style fade in to disguise pop up. All of the hidden cars are here (the jeep, school bus and cop car are also selectable) and there's even a split-screen two-player mode that lets you and a friend race across the country simultaneously.

Now the bad news. Cruis'n USA was never a very good arcade game in the first place, and the best conversion in the world isn't going to change that. The graphics are jerky and un-realistic, the tracks are repetitive and uninteresting, the muzak is positively ear damaging (think supermarket meets elevator) and the actual play mechanics are among the most simple I've ever encountered in a driving game. Even OutRun had more depth! The two player mode is a little more fun, but the frame rate and pop-up are so severe with two players that it actually affects the gameplay. The only other two player mode this bad is in Daytona CCE, and that at least kept the frame rate up.

The bottom line is: If you liked Cruis'n USA in the arcades, you're going to like this. It's the only racing game available for the N64 at the moment, and I suppose it is kind of fun... for like, 5 minutes. But for the rest of us, Cruis'n USA is a substandard racing sim that offers little depth. I look at Rage Racer on 32-bit hardware and I look at Cruis'n USA on 64-bit and I wonder, where's the leap? The worst N64 game yet, and the second chink in the N64's armor.

Final Score: 4


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