Daytona USA is a racing arcade game by Sega. It was originally released in 1993, with a revision in 1994. The game was built upon groundwork laid by the 1992 release Virtua Racing. At the time of its release, Daytona USA was the most detailed 3D racer on the market.
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 opened in Daytona Beach, the International Speedway Corporation had already held the copyright to the name "Daytona USA." Any future game would require a license to use the name Daytona USA.
There are three race courses in the arcade version of Daytona USA.
Beginner - Three Seven Speedway
- Course Type: Speedway
- Number of laps: 8 / 20 / 80 (Standard / Grand Prix / Endurance mode)
- Number of Cars: 40
- Course BGM: 'The King Of Speed' (alternate theme: 'Pounding Pavement')
- Skill Level: Beginner
The Three Seven Speedway is a standard tri-oval speedway track in layout, based loosely on the Daytona International Speedway and Pocono Raceway. It begins with a rolling start, with the player in 40th place. The first turn takes the player past cheering crowds on the right, with a large field fronting the pit stop area on the left. The next section of track after the second turn is a straight road through a forest setting, and is dominated by three large slot machine reels embedded into a stone arch above the track. If the player presses the Start button while playing, the first reel will stop, pressing the Start button again will stop the next reel and so on; if the 3 reels match the player is awarded with extra time (7 seconds for three sevens, 5 seconds for three bars, 3 seconds for all other matches). The third turn is the setting of a large mountainside, with the image of Sonic the Hedgehog engraved into the rock. This is the tightest turn of the track, which leads to the pit road and the finish line. There are a couple of cars to watch out for to secure first place in the track: cars 20 (MISS Tea), 46 (Bird Line), 53 (OK Bike Works), 55 (Evangeline Motor Oil), and 62 (Gladner Insurance). On 1993 machines, car 20 was normally implemented to be an unfair opponent. However, on mostly all 1994 machines, car 20's AI was toned down. The Daytona USA 2001 manual states this race takes place in a city called Las Segas.
Advanced - Dinosaur Canyon
- Course type: Road course
- Number of laps: 4 / 10 / 40 (Standard / Grand Prix / Endurance mode)
- Number of Cars: 20
- Course BGM: 'Let's Go Away'
- Skill Level: Advanced
Dinosaur Canyon is a medium-length road course. From a standing start, the player heads through tough canyon terrain with many elevation changes. Notable features include a tunnel through a mountain, power generating windmills, and the words "SEGA-AM2" in the grass on the outside section of the penultimate turn. The final turn reveals the reason behind the name of the course: a large dinosaur fossil can be seen embedded in the side of the rocky terrain. There is also a hidden message from the creators of Daytona USA, present in all versions of the game: if you turn the car around after the 'GO' signal is given, and take the road heading away to the right to a tunnel in the mountainside just before the pit entrance (meaning the final turn is to your left), there is a sign at the end: " Congratulations! You Just Lost Your Sponsors!" This course also has some cheap enemies: car number 16 (Tune Insurance), car numbers 12 and 13 (Starline Performance Cars), and car number 20 from the Three Seven Speedway (MISS Insurance). Proper steering and the correct speed will avoid any conflict with these cars.
Expert - Seaside Street Galaxy
- Course type: Street circuit
- Number of laps: 2 / 5 / 20 (Standard / Grand Prix / Endurance mode)
- Number of Cars: 30
- Course BGM: 'Sky High'
- Skill Level: Expert
This winding course begins with a standing start on a large suspension bridge. After crossing the water, the player is taken through several tunnels with hard turns, to emerge on a hill leading downwards alongside a residential area. The course then takes a gentle curve alongside a cliff section, where seagulls fly, horses stand in a grassed section, and sea can be seen all the way to the horizon. Next the player is directed onto the same bridge for the return stretch - after leaving the bridge, the player passes alongside a Space Shuttle readied for launch, and a galleon moored alongside a dock area - the sharpest hairpin turn in the game. After taking this turn, an onramp leads to the first section of bridge, and the finish line.
Notable features of Seaside Street Galaxy include a statue of Jeffry from Virtua Fighter, which can be found beside the track on the first right-hand bend between the tunnel section and the residential hill area. If the player approaches the statue, stops, and presses either X (Sega Saturn) or START (arcade), the statue will move and stand on its head. This feature was removed from Daytona USA 2001. Seaside Street Galaxy also sports some tough drones in all of Daytona USA: Cars 55 (Evangeline Motor Oil, the hardest opponent in the course), 51 (Bird Line), 62 (Gladner Insurance), and 16 (Tune Insurance from Dinosaur Canyon).
Home console versions
Daytona USA (Sega Saturn / Windows)
Daytona USA was ported
to the Sega Saturn
as a Western launch title in 1995
, and to Windows
. The conversion had a somewhat slow frame rate
(around twenty frames per second, compared to the arcade version's sixty), and used 'clipping' to render only the scenery nearest the player. This failed to impress many critics and casual gamers of the time, who voiced preference for the Sony PlayStation
's Ridge Racer
port. It is also worth noting that as a consequence of the Sega Saturn's rushed launch date, Daytona USA's development was severely rushed as a result - had the launch gone to plan, it is likely that the Saturn port would be more faithful to the arcade original, as can be seen by the vastly improved clipping in the Champion circuit Edition.,
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.
Daytona USA: Championship Circuit Edition (Sega Saturn)
In 1996, the in-house team that oversaw the mostly arcade-perfect Saturn port of Sega Rally Championship
remade the original Saturn version of Daytona USA with a new engine (a modified version of the Sega Rally Championship engine). This version, entitled Daytona USA: Championship Circuit Edition
,drastically reduced the pop-up that was prevalent in the original Saturn version. With the increased framerate (now a solid thirty frames per second) came a new selection of cars, two new courses - Desert City and National Park Speedway - and a 2-player mode.
CCE sported a soundtrack by Richard Jacques and Jun Senoue which, while featuring remixes of the original tunes and several new ones, did not feature the original tunes themselves.
This is also the first version of Daytona USA to name the three tracks present in the original Daytona USA game (rather than simply using Beginner, Intermediate and Expert): 'Three Seven Speedway' (also known as 777 Speedway, for the Beginner track), 'Dinosaur Canyon' (for the Intermediate track), and 'Seaside Street Galaxy' (for the Expert track).
It was also separately released for the Saturn as a Netlink-compatible title, entitled Daytona USA: CCE Netlink Edition. Although commonly thought to be Panzer Dragoon Saga, this NetLink version of Daytona USA: CCE is in fact the rarest North American Sega Saturn game. It was available only through Sega's online store, and making it even more rare is its almost total indistinguishability from the regular version of Daytona USA: CCE. The only notable differences are found only when opening the case up, which features a black and white NetLink booklet underneath the standard booklet, and the disc has a small NetLink logo. It fetches up to US $600 on eBay, in the rare instances it does pop up.
Daytona USA:CCE is compatible with the Saturn's 3D analogue control pad, in addition to the Arcade Racer steering wheel and the Virtua Stick accessories.
Daytona USA Deluxe
Daytona USA: Deluxe is a PC port of Daytona CCE. It has an improved draw distance and supports more memory. The game also features an exclusive race course: Silver Ocean Causeway; a Direct3D patch for this version was also later released.
Daytona USA Deluxe was released as Daytona USA Evolution in Korea and Japan.
Daytona USA: Circuit Edition (Sega Saturn)
After the release of Daytona USA: Championship Circuit Edition to the Western Saturn market, a further-updated version was later released in Japan as Daytona USA: Circuit Edition. This version has the soundtracks from both the original Daytona USA arcade game and the remixes from Championship Circuit Edition, in addition to an eight-minute-long medley of all three original track themes (called 'Daytona Medley'). It also retained the drifty handling of the original Daytona USA arcade game that was changed in Championship Circuit Edition, and added the ability to play at night, dusk, or morning (by holding X, Y or Z on the controller as the 'START YOUR ENGINES' screen was displayed). Aside from these differences, it is identical to Daytona USA: Championship Circuit Edition.
Daytona USA 2001 (Dreamcast)
On March 14, 2001, Daytona USA was given a complete revamp for release on the Sega Dreamcast platform. This version (known as Daytona USA 2001 in Japan, Australia, and Europe, and simply Daytona USA in the USA) features every single course from the original Daytona USA game and the Championship Circuit Edition. Three new tracks were also specially designed for this game ('Rin Rin Rink', 'Circuit Pixie' and 'Mermaid Lake'), and all of the tracks are playable normally, in reverse, mirrored, or in reverse-mirrored mode.
The game's graphics were significantly updated. It was also playable online, allowing for competition between up to four players and uploading/downloading of best times and ghost car information, although the online options were removed from the PAL version. Another addition to this version of Daytona USA was the Championship mode, where the player must place above a certain point in the overall rankings to progress, culminating in the King of Daytona Cup.
This version tends to be criticized for poor controls. The analog stick's default setting is extremely sensitive, but that can be corrected in the options screen (except in the Japanese version). However, the game still does not handle exactly like the original arcade version of Daytona USA even when using a racing wheel. The physics / handling / control are different from the arcade version. Though it is likely that the game was designed with analog controls in mind and therefore doesn't play as easily on a joypad as the Saturn version which used a standard d-pad.
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-recognisable hornet logo stamped on the front of the car. From Daytona USA: Championship Circuit Edition and onwards, however, Team Hornet's available garage was reduced to one playable car alongside other racing teams' cars.
In the arcade and Sega Saturn versions of Daytona USA, the Hornet car is numbered 41. However, on linked arcade machines, players 1, 2, 3 and 4 will have cars numbered similarly in multi-player mode for easy identification mid-race.
- The colours 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. 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 and PC versions of Daytona USA, there are six unlockable Hornet cars available alongside the standard manual and automatic Hornet cars (making eight cars available in total). 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 gamepad at the title screen. The cars are coloured 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 difficulty gripping the track.
- There are also two unlockable Horses (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).
Daytona USA: Championship Circuit Edition/Circuit Edition & Daytona USA Deluxe (Windows)
Team Hornet and their car do not appear in the game. Instead, there are a number of individual cars selectable, each named after their respective racing team:
- Hornet (Normal, car number 19) - The Hornet car has a grip rating of 3/5, an acceleration rating of 3/5, and a top speed rating of 2/5, making it an ideal all-rounder.
- Gallop (Normal, car number 27) - The Gallop car has identical statistics to the Hornet car, making it another all-rounder, ideal for two-player races.
- Max (Beginner, car number 2) - The Max car has a grip rating of 5/5, an acceleration rating of 5/5, but a top speed of 1/5. This makes it an ideal car for a course with plenty of corners, such as Dinosaur Canyon.
- Phoenix (Expert, car number 8) - The Phoenix car has a grip rating of 1/5, but is rated 5/5 for its acceleration and top speed capabilities.
- Oriole (Expert, car number 16) - The Oriole car is a toned-down version of the Phoenix car, with a grip rating of 2/5, and an acceleration & top speed rating of 4/5.
- Magic (Expert, car number 33) - The Magic car has a grip rating of 3/5, an acceleration rating of 2/5, and a top speed rating of 3/5, making it the ideal cross between the Hornet car and the Oriole car. According to the game's manual, it is the most difficult car to win with because it has no strong suite.
- Wolf (Beginner, car number 41) - This car has a grip rating of 4/5, an acceleration rating of 5/5, but a top speed of 1/5, making this car an excellent choice for those new to the game.
- Balance (Normal, car number 99) - The Balance car has a grip rating of 5, an acceleration rating of 1/5, and a top speed rating of 4/5. This car performs well on long, straight courses such as Seaside Street Galaxy or National Park Speedway.
There is 9th car called Daytona which can be unlocked either by finishing in first place on all five tracks, or via a cheat code. The Daytona car uses the body style, paint scheme and car number of the featured car in the original Daytona USA game. It is rated 5/5 in the grip, acceleration and top speed categories, however, meaning it will not handle the same as the classic car.
There are also two horses that are unlockable and playable, named Uma and Uma 2.
All of the cars have sponsor stickerers on the side that read "Sega Rally Championship" as the game was made from the same department.
Daytona USA: Circuit Edition also featured fictional specifications for the Hornet car as part of the CD case artwork. The car is 4903mm long, 1273mm high, and 1730mm wide. It weighs 1600kg, and is capable of speeds up to 329km/h. Its engine's power output is 812ps/5800rpm.
Daytona USA 2001
There are four cars available from the beginning of the game. Unlike in the previous games, three of the first five cars resemble high performance supercars. All four are numbered 41, despite being from different racing teams:
- Hornet - with a Grip, Acceleration and Maximum Speed rating of 70/100, and a top speed of 319km/h (automatic) and 334km/h (manual), the Hornet car is once again an excellent all-rounder. The slogan underneath the Hornet logo painted on the front of the car reads 'High-Class'. Resembles an ordinary NASCAR style stock car
- Grasshopper - This car has a Grip rating of 90/100, an Acceleration rating of 40/100, and a Maximum Speed rating of 30/100. Its top speed is rated at 294km/h with automatic transmission, and 309km/h with manual transmission. This makes the car ideal for inexperienced players. Resembles an ordinary NASCAR style stock car.
- Falcon - The Falcon has a Grip rating of 80/100, and an Acceleration and Maximum Speed ratin of 50/100, making it an ideal cross between the slow Grasshopper and the fast Hornet cars. Its top speed is 309km/h and 324 km/h for automatic and manual transmissions respectively. Resembles a Ford GT40.
- Lightning - With a Grip rating of 50/100, but an Acceleration and Maximum Speed rating of 80/100, the Lightning car is the most powerful car available from the beginning of the game. This comes at a cost to maneuverability, however - this car is highly prone to oversteer. It is capable of reaching speeds of up to 330km/h (automatic) or 345km/h (manual). Underneath the Lightning logo painted on the front of the car is the text 'The Lightning Racing Team'. Resembles a 2001 Dodge Viper.
There are also six unlockable cars:
- Unicorn, car number 41 - This car is an upgraded version of the Lightning car, with a top speed of 349km/h (automatic) or 364km/h (manual). Its Grip rating is 35/100, its Acceleration rating is 90/100, and its Maximum Speed rating is 90/100. The Unicorn is even more prone to oversteer than the Lightning car, but is incredibly powerful in the hands of an experienced driver. This car is awarded when you complete Championship mode. Resembles the Hornet car from the original Daytona USA arcade game.
- Red Cat, car number 77 - The Red Cat is the Daytona USA safety car, which can be obtained either by winning a Netplay race or logging 20 hours of gameplay time. It has a Grip rating of 60/100, an Acceleration rating of 80/100, and a Maximum Speed rating of 65/100, and has a top speed of 310km/h (automatic) or 325km/h (manual). This car handles exceptionally well whilst cornering, making it ideal for courses with long, smooth turns - such as Mermaid Lake, or Rin Rin Rink. Resembles a NASCAR style pace car.
- Pywackett Barchetta, car number 69 - This can be won by finishing a race on Three Seven Speedway in all four default cars. The Pywackett Barchetta has a top speed of 295km/h (automatic) or 310km/h (manual). Its Grip rating is 85/100, and is rated 80/100 for Acceleration - its Maximum Speed rating, however, is lower at 65/100.
- Rule of the 9th, car number 99 - Rule of the 9th is a car shaped like a 1930s roadster, with a curiously-shaped driver. Its top speed is either 335km/h (automatic) or 350km/h (manual). The Rule of the 9th is a moderately powerful car, with a Grip rating of 50/100, an Acceleration rating of 85/100, and a Maximum Speed rating of 85/100. To unlock this car, you need to beat the original track time records for all eight tracks in Mirror Reverse mode, using the 'Fixation (number)' number of laps.
- Javelin - unlocked by logging 100 hours of gameplay time.
- Pywackett Barchetta Super, car number 69 - an upgraded version of the Pywackett Barchetta, this machine has an extremely high grip ability at 100/100. Its Acceleration is rated at 60/100, and its Maximum Speed is rated at 45/100 - 303km/h with automatic transmission, and 318km/h with manual transmission. To unlock this car, select any track in Single Race mode, with the number of laps set to 2. Select the original Pywackett Barchetta, and begin the race - once the 'GO!' signal is given, turn around and race the track in reverse. As long as you make it to the checkpoints within the time limit, when you finish the race (in last place, obviously) you will be awarded the Pywackett Barchetta Super car.
Daytona USA's soundtrack was composed by Takenobu Mitsuyoshi and is as follows:
- Let's Go Away (Attract/Advertise mode; a shortened version of the Dinosaur Canyon course theme)
- The King Of Speed (Three Seven Speedway; alternatively known as 'The King of Speed (ROLLING START), or simply 'ROLLING START')
- Pounding Pavement (Three Seven Speedway; accessed in the arcade version by holding the VR4 button during the 'GENTLEMEN START YOUR ENGINES')
- Let's Go Away (Dinosaur Canyon)
- Sky High (Seaside Street Galaxy; also known as 'Blue, Blue Skies')
These names 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.
If you remain on the track beyond the length of the CD soundtrack (for the Saturn port) - for example, whilst in Endurance mode - the next track on the CD plays.
Daytona USA: Championship Circuit Edition's main soundtrack is as follows:
- Sons of Angels (Introduction)
- The King Of Speed (Three Seven Speedway; a remix of the original Daytona USA theme)
- Pounding Pavement (Desert City; a remix of the original Daytona USA theme)
- Let's Go Away (Dinosaur Canyon; a remix of the original Daytona USA theme)
- Sky High (Seaside Street Galaxy; a remix of the original Daytona USA theme)
- Funk Fair
- The Noisy Roars of Wilderness (National Park Speedway)
- Race to the Bass (removed in Daytona USA: Circuit Edition)
- The American Dream (Replay)
- Daytona USA Medley (Japanese Circuit Edition and PC version only)
It should be noted that any of the course themes can be mapped to another course through the Options menu - The King of Speed can be mapped to Dinosaur Canyon, for example. Daytona USA: Circuit Edition also featured the original Daytona USA arcade themes, which could be mapped to courses.
The Daytona USA 2001 soundtrack is a mix of remixed and original music:
- Let's Go Away (Introduction; a shortened version of the Dinosaur Canyon course theme, remixed from the original Daytona USA theme)
- The King Of Speed (Three Seven Speedway; a remix of the original Daytona USA theme)
- Let's Go Away (Dinosaur Canyon; a remix of the original Daytona USA theme)
- Sky High (Seaside Street Galaxy; a remix of the original Daytona USA theme)
The courses taken from Daytona USA: (Championship) Circuit Edition do not have their original themes; instead, new songs are used in place of Funk Fair, The Noisy Roars of Wilderness and (strangely enough) Pounding Pavement. Race to the Bass, and the Daytona USA Medley do not appear either. The new songs are not given names ingame, and with the lack of an official soundtrack CD it is assumed they are named after their respective courses.
In addition to the above themes, Daytona USA 2001 also features different remixed music for the mirror and mirror-reversed versions of the courses. Theme music from the original Daytona USA arcade machine is selected at random and used as title screen music - these songs can be found in the Sound Test from track 48 onwards.
- In the Sega Saturn game Fighters Megamix, one of the Hornet cars was unlockable as a hidden fighter. Hornet's stage is even Three Seven Speedway.
- At the high score screen, you can enter your initials as something like P.D, V.R, SMG, R.M, SHO, and more to hear short versions of classic Sega tunes from games such as Virtua Racing, Rad Mobile, Super Hang-On, Turbo Out Run, and more. O.R, for example, will play a short clip of Magical Sound Shower from OutRun - A.B will play a shortened version of Final Takeoff from After Burner. This feature works in the arcade and Saturn port of Daytona USA - it does not work in CCE, CE, or Daytona USA 2001.
- In the arcade version of Daytona USA, it is possible to change the display range of the 'TRAFFIC' display, by holding the Start button and pressing VR2 (for Short range), VR3 (for Normal range), or VR4 (for Long range) at any time during the race.
- In the arcade version of Daytona USA, holding the start button while chosing the transmission allowed a "Real Racers Only" mode. No computer opponents were present. In single player mode, doing so would prompt a single-car time trial mode.
- It is also possible to adjust the size of the map displayed on the right side of the screen, by holding down the Start and VR1 buttons and pressing either VR2 (for a Large map), VR3 (for a Normal map) or VR4 (for a Small map).
- The Game Over screen features Tetsuya Mizuguchi and other singers spelling "G-A-M-E O-V-E-R" while techno music plays. The letters animate, in two variations, depending on whether or not you finish the race or fail to reach a checkpoint before the clock hits zero.
- An interesting trivia is how the V is pronounced on the Game Over screen. The singers pronounce V as "vwooh", not "vee".