Daytona USA 2001 - Dreamcast

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Viewed: 3D First-person / Third-person Genre:
Racing: Car
Arcade origin:No
Developer: Amusement Vision Soft. Co.: SEGA
Publishers: SEGA (GB/US)
Released: 11 May 2001 (GB)
Unknown (US)
Ratings: 3+


Daytona USA is back, race fans! Rising from the arcade graveyard and finally finding home on a platform that can do it justice, Daytona is the classic racing game that showcased mesmerising gameplay. The Sega Saturn could not accurately replicate the feel or look of the arcade version, but the Dreamcast can.

Daytona USA 2001 has a selection of eight tracks new and old. All three arcade circuits are included, plus two previously exclusive to the Saturn "Championship Edition" and three circuits that have been designed specifically for this outing. The set-up of the game enables you to race any track forwards, mirrored, backwards and finally backwards-mirrored. Unusually for a game offering mirrored or backward tracks, track details are reconfigured so that the arrows point you in the right direction. It will take time to master all of the circuits and their variants. Most of the tracks are flat-out speed-trials with a few technical sections to learn. The emphasis of this game is on fun.

Where Daytona comes into its own is the amount of computer cars present on the track at any one time. This number is adjustable and can be set to a maximum of 40. There is a simple oval track, which normally would be a bit boring but when you are weaving in an out of 39 other cars it is extremely enjoyable. Computer cars collide with each other flipping themselves up into the air, they close the door on you as you dart to get past and they seem determined to win. Daytona feels like you are really racing.

Daytona USA 2001 features customisable set-up of the cars on offer. You can adjust car colour, tyre selection and transmission. Daytona rewards people that choose the more difficult manual gearbox by giving those cars an extra few miles per hour top speed.

It has to be mentioned how beautiful this game looks. Graphically, it is even nicer than the original arcade version, which is an accomplishment in itself. There is no pop-up and the draw distance is stretched to the horizon. An amazing level of detail, crisp textures and a smooth 60 frames per second update all add to the visual lusciousness. Complement the graphics with catchy remixed tunes (Blue blue sky anyone?) and you have a winner on your hands.

Sega could have done a better job with the control method, which is overly sensitive and not set-up for a joypad. You need to be extremely gentle. However, if you play Daytona with a steering wheel it is a completely different story. Once you master the art of power-sliding Daytona is an absolute joy to play. Learning is fun and being the fastest on a track is a rewarding accomplishment. There are several hidden features and cars to unlock to add to the re-playability factor, as if constantly beating and re-beating your friends' lap times wasn’t enough.

Daytona USA offers full on-line play, the first console game ever to offer this option. Now you can prove yourself as the best in the world. Fantastic!

With Ferrari F355 leading the simulation race and Daytona USA 2001 winning the arcade challenge, the Dreamcast is proving to be racing fan’s dream console.