Cruis'n USA

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Cruis'n USA
Cruis'n USA
North American Nintendo 64 cover art
Developer(s) Midway Games (Arcade)
Williams (Nintendo 64)
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Designer(s) Eugene Jarvis (director)
Programmer(s) Eric Pribyl (lead software)
Carl Mey
Artist(s) Xion Cooper
Ted Barber
Composer(s) Vince Pontarelli [1]
Series Cruis'n
Platform(s) Arcade
Nintendo 64
Virtual Console
Release date(s) Arcade
  • NA November 1994
Nintendo 64
  • NA December 3, 1996
  • EU April 12, 1998
Virtual Console
  • EU March 28, 2008
  • NA March 31, 2008
Genre(s) Racing
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
Arcade system Midway V Unit
Display Raster
512 x 400 resolution
Horizontal orientation

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.


Difficulty Track Name
Easy Golden Gate Park
Easy US 101
Easy LA Freeway
Easy Arizona
Medium Beverly Hills
Medium Death Valley
Medium Iowa
Medium Indiana
Medium Appalachia
Expert San Francisco
Expert Redwood Forest
Expert Grand Canyon
Expert Chicago
Expert Washington, D.C.


Along with Killer Instinct, the arcade original was promoted as running on Ultra 64 hardware, upon which a 64-bit Nintendo console of the same name would be released. However, both games actually ran on different custom hardware platforms. The final version of Nintendo's new console, now renamed the Nintendo 64, was different from and less powerful than the arcade hardware that ran Cruis'n USA. 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.[2] During the last couple of months of development, people sent letters or emails about the censorship.[3]


  1. ^ Vince Pontarelli. "Vince Pontarelli Sound Designer & Composer". Vince Pontarelli. Retrieved 2012-02-16. 
  2. ^ "Nintendo to censor Cruis'n". IGN. 
  3. ^ "Results of Cruis'n USA Poll". IGN. 

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