Arcade Review: Daytona USA
Xbox Live Arcade Games
800 MS Points
Originally released in 1993 for arcades, Daytona USA was a well known and very much played racing title that took the idea of NASCAR type racing and blended it with arcade controls. This made for an outrageous title that was a blast to play. Now that it’s been given the High Definition treatment and re-released over 15 years later, does it hold up as well in the comfort of your own home, without the arcade cabinet complete with steering wheel, chair and shifter?
Even with the HD treatment, Daytona USA is not a whole lot to look at. The game certainly looks cleaner and the 16:9 aspect ratio is very much a welcomed addition to how it looks, but as far as the game itself, it does still look like it did back in 1993. Shadows are almost non-existant, colors are primary and bland and textures in the distance clearly don’t load until they’re within a certain distance from your car, making it difficult to look at what is coming towards you at times.
There are a few things that do look nice, such as the small details in damage to your vehicle when you suffer a crash. The roof will dent, the wheels will wobble and the car will start acting like it’s equipped with a hydrolics system if you take too much damage. You can also make a pitstop to change out wheels if you feel the need, but during arcade mode, this is unlikely. The animations for the pit crew are laughably funny, but certainly entertaining and worth watching.
As in the arcade, Daytona USA still doesn’t require a great deal of thought to play. You press the gas, hit the brake before a turn, rinse and repeat. You can fishtail in order to make the sharp turns or to make the experience more entertaining, but other than that there’s not a whole lot to the controls. The game features challenge modes and other extras such as a karaoke mode (if you wish to sing along with the songs) but all of these different modes take place on one of three tracks. There are no other tracks to the title and it gets very redundant having to play the same levels over and over again. You’ll figure out the turns and how to pull them off without a problem within an hour of playing.
Online pits you up against other human players while also racing AI controlled racers. It’s not much different than playing offline and thus doesn’t really seem to add much to the experience. If anything, it seems like a tacked on addition that wasn’t really cared about throughout this process.
All of the original tracks from the arcade edition of the game are in this version. While these tracks do well when you’re only playing one race or two at maximum, they become unbearably annoying if you play the game repeatedly. One particular song sounds like the singer is literally an engine and it left nothing but a ringing in the ears. The other songs aren’t nearly as annoying, but they’re not preferred. All in all, playing a single race with music will be fine, but trying to play multiple races will lead to an annoyance with each and every track that were once seen as perfectly acceptable in the arcades.
The achievements for Daytona USA are more along the “easy to unlock” end of the spectrum. You can very easily obtain half of the achievements without even feeling like it’s a challenge. The others won’t take too long, as they all are about finding secrets, messing with environmental objects or playing certain modes of the game. There’s no real challenge to any of these achievements, so expect to unlock all of these in no time at all.
You’ll find that if you turn off the music, you can play the game for a decent amount of time without feeling like you’re bored or annoyed. However, this does not lead to a long term want to play the game. It seems that this title is purely running off of nostalgia to get people to buy it, and the nostalgia factor is there for sure. It’s just not as long lasting as some other titles are. Don’t expect to be playing this title nearly as much as other HD remakes.
- Relive your arcade memories at home
- HD treatment adds some better looks
- Gameplay is simple to pick up
- Game hasn’t aged well
- Limited tracks
- Horrible soundtrack
- Low replay value
Daytona USA is a classic title from the past and this version of it seems like a rushed attempt to make a quick buck. The lack of detail to the HD textures, the lack of content and the poor design of the online play leaves a feeling of dissatisfaction. If you’re looking for nothing more than the original game with some slightly added features, then this will work for you. If you want a fun title that revitalizes your youthful memories of this title, then this is probably not what you want. As stated before, it seems rushed and like the developer didn’t take the time to really make this worth your money.
Replay Value- 8.00