Daytona USA (video game)

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Daytona USA
Daytona USA arcade flyer.jpg
Daytona USA arcade flyer
Developer(s) Sega AM2
Publisher(s) Sega
Producer(s) Yu Suzuki[1]
Designer(s) Toshihiro Nagoshi
Composer(s) Takenobu Mitsuyoshi
Platform(s) Arcade, Sega Saturn, Windows, PlayStation Network, Xbox 360 (XBLA), Sega Dreamcast (remake)
Release date(s) Arcade
  • JP August 1993[2] (limited release)
  • WW April 1994
Sega Saturn
  • JP 1 April 1995
  • NA 11 May 1995
  • EU 8 July 1995
  • JP August 1996
  • JP 21 December 2000
  • NA 12 March 2001
  • EU 11 May 2001
Playstation Network
  • WW 25 October 2011
Xbox Live Arcade
  • WW 26 October 2011
Genre(s) Racing
Mode(s) Single-player
Arcade system Sega Model 2

Daytona USA is a racing video game developed by Sega AM2 and released by Sega, with a limited release in 1993 followed by a full release in 1994.[3] One of the highest grossing arcade games of all time,[4] Daytona USA was Sega's first title to debut on the Sega Model 2 arcade board, and, at the time of its release, was considered the most visually detailed 3D racing game. Compared to the flat-shaded polygons of its predecessor, Virtua Racing, Daytona's 3D-world was fully texture-mapped, giving it a more realistic appearance. Daytona was one of the first video games to feature filtered, texture-mapped polygons, giving it the most detailed graphics yet seen in a video game up until that time.[3] In single-player mode, Daytona maintained a consistent 60fps (frames per second) rate, even with multiple opponents on screen, surpassing the motion smoothness of the only other racing game in a comparable graphical arena, Namco's Ridge Racer.

A slightly updated version of Daytona USA was re-released in arcades in 2010 as Sega Racing Classic.

On 12 October 2011 Sega announced that Daytona USA would be coming to Xbox Live and PlayStation Network. This also marked the return of the original name. The game saw its release on 25 October for PlayStation Network, and 26 October for Xbox Live Arcade.


The player is put behind the wheel of a stock car (known as the Hornet), with the choice of three tracks as well as an automatic or manual transmission. The player's objectives are to outrun the competing cars, and complete the race before time runs out.

Daytona USA offers multiplayer and introduced the possibility of linking four twin cabinets or eight deluxe cabinets to create an eight-player competition. Linked deluxe cabinets may also include a camera pointing towards the drivers seat, linked to a closed-circuit television to show the player on a separate screen. Even though the game was released years before the Daytona USA museum (which featured this game in the attraction's arcade) opened next to the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida, the International Speedway Corporation had already held the trademark to the name "Daytona USA." Any future game would require a license to use the name Daytona USA.[citation needed]

In 1994 Sega released a revised version of the game which changed the difficulty of computer-controller racing opponents and completely restyled camera motions in the attract mode, pre-race, and victory segments.[citation needed] In 2010, Sega released Sega Racing Classic, essentially the same game running in 720p resolution, and the lyric "Daytona" in the intro & advanced track (Dinosaur Canyon) removed due to licensing issues.[5]


Development of Daytona USA began in May 1993.[6]

At the beginning of 1995, Sega AM2's Sega Saturn division was split into three sub-departments, each one charged with porting a different arcade game to the Saturn: Virtua Fighter 2, Virtua Cop, and Daytona USA. Due to unexpectedly slow progress in the Daytona USA port, a number of members of the Virtua Fighter 2 team were reassigned to Daytona USA.[6][7] Development on the port was completed in April 1995.[8]

Home console versions[edit]

Daytona USA was ported to the Sega Saturn as a Western launch title in 1995,[9] and to Windows in 1996. The conversion had a somewhat slow frame rate (around 20fps, compared to the arcade version's 60fps), and used 'clipping' to render only the scenery nearest the player.

Daytona USA is compatible with the Arcade Racer steering wheel accessory. It is also compatible with the 3D analog control pad (when switched into analog mode) and the Saturn will detect it as the Arcade Racer steering wheel.

An upgraded version was later released for Sega's Dreamcast console, with notable improvements. Firstly, the graphics had received a massive upgrade, surpassing those of the arcade original. 'Pop-up' had been entirely eliminated, the cars now featured transparent glass and a much higher polygon count, and the game moved at a consistent sixty frames per second. However, this version tends to be criticized for poor controls.[10][11]

There were now a total of eight tracks, including the original three from the arcade machine, the two additional tracks from the Saturn's Championship Circuit Edition, and a further three that were original to this version. All tracks could also be raced in reversed, mirrored, or mirrored & reversed mode.

The game also features a two-player splitscreen option, with no real noticeable drop in graphic quality, and the ability to race online, though this feature was not included in the European release. The game received generally favorable reviews, with the only serious criticisms being directed at the overly sensitive controls which took some getting used to when played with a game pad. When played with a steering wheel, no such issue existed.

A port that was faithful to the original arcade version was released on PlayStation Network on 25 October 2011[12] and Xbox Live Arcade on the following day.[12] This version featured true widescreen display, high definition textures, 8-Player Multiplayer over Xbox Live/PlayStation Network, and additional content, such as 30 new challenges, Karaoke mode, and an Arranged soundtrack. The game also offered support for console steering wheels, in addition to Xbox Achievements/PlayStation Trophies for the player to obtain.

Available cars[edit]

A single player Daytona USA arcade cabinet, with two player marquee

The racing team featured in the Daytona USA arcade game and Saturn port is called Team Hornet. Although the team is never explicitly mentioned in the games, their car features an easily recognizable hornet logo stamped on the front of the car.

In the arcade and Sega Saturn versions of Daytona USA, the Hornet car is numbered 41. However, on linked arcade machines, players 1-8 will have cars numbered similarly in multi-player mode for easy identification mid-race.

  • The colors of Team Hornet's two selectable cars — automatic or manual transmission — consist of red and blue (automatic), or yellow, red, and black (manual). The cars with manual transmission have a slightly higher top speed than the cars with automatic transmission, a difference of 10 km/h (315 km/h compared to the manual's 325 km/h). The depiction of the Hornet car in the original game resembles both a Chevrolet Beretta and a first generation Chevrolet Lumina, although the former was never entered in NASCAR.
  • In the Sega Saturn version of Daytona USA, available cars include the AT and MT original Hornet, but also the first two multiplayer color schemes (Red and Blue, on arcades respectively numbered 1 and 2). Six other cars are unlockable, which numbered from 3 to 8 on the arcade machine: yellow, green, black, pink, cyan and orange. These can be accessed either by placing in first place on both 777 Speedway and Dinosaur Canyon on Normal difficulty, or pressing Down-Right on the D-pad, left trigger (L), right trigger (R), C, and Y buttons on the Saturn game pad at the title screen. The cars are colored differently according to their abilities:
  • Black (automatic) and Orange (manual) cars will not slow down when hitting walls.
  • Green (automatic) and Pink (manual) cars will crash after hitting a wall, but perform well on grass.
  • Light Blue (automatic) and Light Yellow (manual) cars have a high top speed, but have a low level of grip.
  • There are also two unlockable horses, the UMAs (each either manual or automatic) to race as. The first horse can be obtained by placing first on all three courses on Normal difficulty; the second is unlocked by placing first on 777 Speedway on Normal difficulty in Endurance mode (i.e. 80 laps as opposed to the standard 8).


The soundtrack of Daytona USA was composed by Takenobu Mitsuyoshi,[13] who also performed the vocals.[14] The soundtrack contains the following songs:

  • "Let's Go Away" (Attract/Advertise mode)
  • "The King Of Speed" (Three Seven Speedway)
  • "Pounding Pavement" (Three Seven Speedway)
  • "Let's Go Away" (Attract Mode Music, Dinosaur Canyon)
  • "Sky High" (Seaside Street Galaxy)

The titles of these songs come from the Daytona USA B-Univ original soundtrack CD - in the Saturn port of Daytona USA, the Sound Test screen also displays names for the various themes.[citation needed]

For the arcade version, Sega synthesized the songs with a Yamaha sound chip, including the drums and Mitsuyoshi's voice. For the Sega Saturn version, the songs were re-recorded with real instruments and all the lyrics were re-sung for each audio track in the original soundtrack.[15]

Reception and legacy[edit]

Review scores
Publication Score (PSN/XBLA) B[16]
AllGame (Arcade) 4/5 stars[17]
(Saturn) 3/5 stars[18]
(PC) 2.5/5 stars[19]
CVG (Arcade) 96%[20]
(Saturn) 96%[21]
Edge (Saturn) 8 / 10[22]
EGM (Saturn) 15.5 / 20[23]
Eurogamer (XBLA) 9 / 10[24]
Famitsu (Saturn) 30 / 40[25]
(Saturn) 8 / 10[26]
(Saturn) 9 / 10[27]
GameFan (Saturn) 264 / 300[28]
GamePro (Saturn) 4.5 / 5[29]
GamesMaster (Saturn) 84%[30]
GamesRadar (PSN/XBLA) 4.5/5 stars[31]
OPM (UK) (PSN) 8 / 10[32]
OXM (UK) (XBLA) 9 / 10[33]
Games World (Saturn) 94%[34]
Maximum (Saturn) 5/5 stars[35]
Mean Machines (Saturn) 96%[36]
PC Team (PC) 86%[37]
Player One (Saturn) 95%[38]
Sega Pro (Saturn) 94%[39]
Sega Saturn Magazine (Saturn) 5/5 stars[40]

The original arcade version was critically acclaimed. It received a very high score of 96% from Computer and Video Games magazine in 1994.[20] All Game Guide gave the arcade game a rating of 4 out of 5 stars.[17] In a 2015 retrospective, IGN's Luke Reilly stated that it "remains a shining example of arcade racing done oh so right."[41]

On release of the console port, Famicom Tsūshin scored the Sega Saturn version of the game a 30 out of 40,[25] before giving it first an 8 out of 10[26] and later a 9 out of 10 in their Reader Cross Review.[27] The two sports reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the Saturn version scores of 8 and 7.5 out of 10, noting some problems with the frame rate and animation but declaring it an overall good conversion. One of the reviewers particularly applauded Sega of America for taking the time to polish up the North American version so that it plays better than the rushed Japanese version.[23] GamePro praised the addition of Saturn mode and mirror mode and the strong gameplay of the core game. They concluded that "Daytona pales in comparison with Ridge Racer for the Japanese PlayStation, which takes an early lead with better features, gameplay, and graphics. ... Regardless, Daytona's intense gameplay and breathtaking graphics will exhilarate any racing fan."[29] Maximum commented on the Saturn version's low-resolution texture mapping, clipping, large borders (in the PAL release), and lack of multiplayer, before adding that "we'd be doing you a disservice by not mentioning every one of these deficiencies, but the truth of the matter is: it's not that important. Gameplay is what it's all about and in this respect Daytona USA is an unmitigated triumph." [emphasis in original] They applauded the challenging track design and realistic game mechanics, particularly mentioning the impact of wind resistance, and gave the game 5 out of 5 stars.[35] Sega Saturn Magazine also gave the Saturn version 5 out of 5 stars, saying that the game is graphically impressive aside from the pop up and has strong arcade-style gameplay.[40]

GamesRadar gave the HD re-release a score of 9/10, writing that "Daytona USA is a joyous, jubilant celebration of everything that made arcade games so exciting" and calling the survival mode "a brilliant test of memory, logic and dexterity."[31] Eurogamer also gave the game a 9/10, explaining that "age doesn't seem to have ravaged Daytona USA's core" and noting that it serves as "a fitting epitaph to the genre."[24]

Edge ranked the game number 70 on its list of "The 100 Best Games To Play Today" in 2009, stating that, "A pure expression of arcade racing, Daytona USA hasn't lost its capacity to entertain on every level."[42] It has also been listed as one of the best games of all time by Next Generation in 1996,[43] Computer and Video Games in 2000,[44] Killer List of Videogames,[45] Yahoo in 2005,[46] Guinness World Records in 2008,[47] Empire in 2009,[48] NowGamer in 2010,[49] and Electronic Gaming Monthly in 1997,[50][51] 2001[52] and 2006.[53]

In 2015, it appeared on IGN's list of The Top 10 Most Influential Racing Games Ever, ranked at number six. According to writer Luke Reilly, it is "perhaps the most recognisable arcade racing game of all time and the highest-grossing sit-down cabinet ever," with machines "still resting proudly in arcades and bowling alleys the world over". He noted that, while Ridge Racer also featured texture mapping and "certainly enjoyed the better home release conversion," Daytona USA’s "eight-player action made it king of the arcade."[41]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Works of Yu Suzuki, Ys Net
  2. ^ Electronic Gaming Monthly, issue 51 (October 1993), page 222 (published September 1993)
  3. ^ a b IGN Presents the History of SEGA: Reap What You Sow, IGN
  4. ^ Morgan McGuire & Odest Chadwicke Jenkins (2009), Creating games: mechanics, content, and technology, A K Peters, Ltd., p. 492, ISBN 1-56881-305-8, retrieved 1 May 2011 
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b Ogasawara, Nob (May 1995). "The Creation of Daytona, and the Future Projects of AM2". Electronic Gaming Monthly (Ziff Davis) (70): 70–71. 
  7. ^ Leadbetter, Rich (November 1995). "Virtua Fighter: The Second Coming". Sega Saturn Magazine (1) (Emap International Limited). pp. 36–41. 
  8. ^ "Virtua Fighter 2 Development Diary". Sega Saturn Magazine (2) (Emap International Limited). December 1995. p. 46. 
  9. ^ "Sega Hopes to Run Rings Around the Competition with Early Release of the Saturn". Electronic Gaming Monthly (Ziff Davis) (72): 30. July 1995. 
  10. ^ "Daytona USA 2001". IGN. Retrieved 26 June 2014. 
  11. ^ "Review – Daytona USA". Retrieved 26 June 2014. 
  12. ^ a b "Daytona USA page on Sega's website". Sega. Retrieved 13 October 2011. 
  13. ^ "Daytona USA / B-univ CD". Chudah's Corner. Retrieved 17 September 2007. 
  14. ^ Ramos, Jeff (7 July 2010). "Takenobu Mitsuyoshi & Rony Barrak perform "Let’s Go Away" from Daytona USA". p. 1. Retrieved 11 March 2012. 
  15. ^ jeriaska. "Sound Current: 'Let's Go Away - Daytona USA Audio Reunion'". GameSetWatch. Retrieved 30 August 2011. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ a b
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ a b Computer and Video Games, issue 154 (September 1994), pages 66-67
  21. ^ Computer and Video Games, issue 163, pages 15-21
  22. ^ Edge, issue 21, pages 72-75
  23. ^ a b "Team EGM: Daytona (Saturn) by Sega". Electronic Gaming Monthly (Ziff Davis) (72): 114. July 1995. 
  24. ^ a b Robinson, Martin. "Daytona USA Review." Eurogamer. 26 October 2011.
  25. ^ a b NEW GAMES CROSS REVIEW: ディトナUSA. Weekly Famicom Tsūshin. No.329. Pg.33. 7 April 1995.
  26. ^ a b 読者 クロスレビュー: デイトナUSA. Weekly Famicom Tsūshin. No.341. Pg.32. 30 June 1995.
  27. ^ a b 読者 クロスレビュー: ディトナUSA. Weekly Famicom Tsūshin. No.342. Pg.33. 7 July 1995.
  28. ^ GameFan, volume 3, issue 7 (July 1995), page 13
  29. ^ a b "ProReview: Daytona USA". GamePro (IDG) (83): 50. August 1995. 
  30. ^ GamesMaster, issue 30 (June 1995), pages 58-59
  31. ^ a b Towell, Justin. "Daytona USA Review." GamesRadar. 16 November 2011.
  32. ^ Playstation Official Magazine UK, January 2012, page 114
  33. ^ Xbox 360: The Official Xbox Magazine, issue 79 (December 2011), page 104 (published 31 October 2011)
  34. ^ Games World, issue 15, page 69
  35. ^ a b "Daytona USA". Maximum: The Video Game Magazine (Emap International Limited) (1): 146–7. October 1995. 
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^ Player One, issue 55, pages 58-59
  39. ^ Sega Pro, issue 45, pages 40-41
  40. ^ a b "Review: Daytona USA". Sega Saturn Magazine (Emap International Limited) (1): 95. November 1995. 
  41. ^ a b
  42. ^ Edge Staff (9 March 2009). "The 100 Best Games To Play Today". Edge Online. Retrieved 21 January 2014. 
  43. ^ Top 100 Games of All Time, Next Generation, 1996
  44. ^ Computer and Video Games, issue 218, January 2000, pages 53-67
  45. ^ Our List of the Top 100 Coin-Operated Videogames, Killer List of Videogames
  46. ^ The 100 greatest computer games of all time, Yahoo!, 2005
  47. ^ "Top 100 Arcade Games", Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition, 2008
  48. ^ The 100 Greatest Games, Empire, 2009
  49. ^ "100 Greatest Retro Games", NowGamer (Imagine Publishing), 2010  (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4)
  50. ^ "The 10 Best Arcade Games of All Time", Electronic Gaming Monthly, issue 100 (November 1997), page 130
  51. ^ "Best Games of All Time" (developers' picks), Electronic Gaming Monthly, issue 100 (November 1997), pages 101-155
  52. ^ Top 100 Games of All Time, Electronic Gaming Monthly, 2001
  53. ^ "The Greatest 200 Videogames of Their Time". Electronic Gaming Monthly. 6 February 2006. Archived from the original on 1 August 2013. Retrieved 19 November 2013.