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.

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. The environments of the tracks range from Golden Gate Park to Washington DC. 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 Cruise the USA
Route Order
Easy Golden Gate Park 1
Easy US 101 3
Easy LA Freeway 6
Easy Arizona 8
Medium Beverly Hills 5
Medium Death Valley 7
Medium Iowa 10
Medium Indiana 12
Medium Appalachia 13
Expert San Francisco 2
Expert Redwood Forest 4
Expert Grand Canyon 9
Expert Chicago 11
Expert Washington, D.C. 14


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.[2] 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.[3] During the last couple of months of development, people sent letters or emails about the censorship.[4]


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 50.63%[5]
Review scores
Publication Score
AllGame (ARC) 3/5 stars[6]
(N64) 2/5 stars[7]
Edge 4/10[8]
EGM 5.25/10[9]
Eurogamer 5/10[10]
Game Informer 7.75/10[11]
GamePro 3.5/5 stars[12]
Game Revolution C−[13]
GameSpot 6.1/10[14]
IGN 4/10[15][16]
Nintendo Life 3/10 stars[17]
Nintendo Power 3.13/5[18]

The game was met with mixed reception; GameRankings gave it a score of 50.63%.[5]


  1. ^ Vince Pontarelli. "Vince Pontarelli Sound Designer & Composer". Vince Pontarelli. Retrieved 2012-02-16. 
  2. ^ "At the Deadline". GamePro (65) (IDG). December 1994. p. 288. 
  3. ^ IGN staff (October 16, 1996). "Nintendo to censor Cruis'n". IGN. Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  4. ^ IGN staff (October 28, 1996). "Results of Cruis'n USA Poll". IGN. Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "Cruis'n USA for Nintendo 64". GameRankings. Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  6. ^ Baize, Anthony. "Cruis'n USA (ARC) - Review". AllGame. Archived from the original on November 14, 2014. Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  7. ^ Ziegler, Adam. "Cruis'n USA (N64) - Review". AllGame. Archived from the original on November 14, 2014. Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  8. ^ Edge staff (January 1997). "Cruis'n USA (N64)". Edge (41). 
  9. ^ EGM staff (February 1997). "Cruis'n USA (N64)". Electronic Gaming Monthly. 
  10. ^ Whitehead, Dan (March 28, 2008). "Virtual Console Roundup (Page 2)". Eurogamer. Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  11. ^ Reiner, Andrew; McNamara, Andy; Anderson, Paul (January 1997). "Cruis'n USA (N64)". Game Informer (45). Archived from the original on October 21, 1997. Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  12. ^ Air Hendrix (February 1997). "Cruis'n USA Review for N64 on". GamePro. Archived from the original on December 5, 2004. Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  13. ^ Dr. Moo (February 1997). "Cruis'n USA Review (N64)". Game Revolution. Archived from the original on June 6, 1997. Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  14. ^ Gerstmann, Jeff (December 4, 1996). "Cruis'n USA Review (N64)". GameSpot. Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  15. ^ Schneider, Peer (November 14, 1996). "Cruis'n USA (N64)". IGN. Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  16. ^ Thomas, Lucas M. (April 2, 2008). "Cruis'n USA Review (Wii)". IGN. Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  17. ^ McFerran, Damien (March 28, 2008). "Cruis'n USA (Wii Virtual Console) Review". NintendoLife. Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Cruis'n USA". Nintendo Power 92. January 1997. 

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