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North American Nintendo 64 cover art
|Developer(s)||Midway Games (Arcade)
Williams (Nintendo 64)
|Designer(s)||Eugene Jarvis (director)|
|Programmer(s)||Eric Pribyl (lead software)
|Composer(s)||Vince Pontarelli |
|Arcade system||Midway V Unit|
512 x 400 resolution
Cruis'n USA is an arcade racing game originally released in 1994. It was developed by Midway Games and published and distributed by Nintendo. It is the first game in the Cruis'n series and features locations around the United States.
Although Cruis'n USA was advertised as running on Ultra 64 hardware (based on the Nintendo 64's hardware), it was actually implemented on the Midway V-unit hardware. The hardware consisted of a TMS32031 CPU clocked at 50 MHz, an ADSP-2115 DSP clocked at 10 MHz for sound and a custom 3D chip that could render perspective-correct but unfiltered quads at a high resolution (512 x 400 pixels).
Along with Killer Instinct, it was planned as a launch title for the Nintendo 64. Neither game made it out for Nintendo 64's launch, however, primarily because the arcade versions of both games were done on hardware that was very different and somewhat more powerful than the console. Cruis'n USA, although impressive in arcades in 1994, got panned in 1996 when it was finally released on the Nintendo 64 because the port was less polished than the arcade version and its technology had already been surpassed by other games.
It was released on Wii's Virtual Console in Europe on March 28, 2008, making it the first third party developed Nintendo 64 game to be released on the service. It became available on the Virtual Console in North America on March 31, 2008.
Like in most racing games, players race down one-way courses consisting of streets vaguely based on real-life locations. While racing, they do their best to avoid various road hazards such as oncoming traffic and construction. Players chose between seven different cars to race with. As in most racing games, the car can simulate either an automatic or manual transmission. Automatic increases the speed of gear shifts, while players using the manual transmission must switch during races. Players must reach first place to move on to the next track, like in most racing games. Unlike most racing games, there is the option to change the music by pressing the music button. Cruis'n USA's car handling is also very twitchy when compared to other N64 racing games. Whenever you finish the game, you unlock either a new vehicle or a new color, depending on the difficulty completed. Each new color represents a performance upgraded, as indicated in the specifications when selecting a vehicle. Players have the option to select the color of the car that they choose to play, with each color being a higher or lower spec.
The cars in the game are given fictitious names as the developers did not get licenses to use their actual names. The following are the names of cars in the game, and their real-life names.
- Playable Cars
- '63 Muscle Car: 1963 Chevrolet Corvette (C2)
- La Bomba: De Luxe Ford
- Devastator IV: Mitsubishi Eclipse (Modified)
- Italia P69: Ferrari Testarossa 512 TR
- Secret Cars
- ATV: Jeep Wrangler
- School Bus: GMC B-Series
- Police Car: Chevrolet Caprice
- Pick-Up Truck: Chevrolet C-10
- Big Truck: Kenworth T600
- Minivan: Dodge Caravan
- Car: Ford Mustang (first generation)
- Cruis'n USA Big Bus: MCI MC-9
- Fire Truck: Seagrave M
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Along with Killer Instinct, the arcade original was showcased at the June 1994 Consumer Electronics Show as running on Ultra 64 hardware, upon which a 64-bit Nintendo console of the same name would be released. However, a few months later Nintendo of America admitted that Cruisin' USA was actually programmed before Ultra 64 development tools were available, and that even at this point Rare Ltd. (the developer of Killer Instinct) was the only development company to have access to Ultra 64 development tools. Cruis'n USA was programmed to run on arcade hardware that was very different from that of Nintendo's home console, later renamed the Nintendo 64. As a result, Williams, the developers of the Nintendo 64 version, had to downgrade most of the graphics in the home version. Originally announced as a launch title for the Nintendo 64, the game was delayed before the console's release due to the censorship issues. During the last couple of months of development, people sent letters or emails about the censorship.
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