Sunday, April 8, 2012

Daytona USA Championship Edition: That Other Daytona Game...

Alright, so there's quite a few Sega racers out there I've barely scratched the surface of.  Well here's another one for you: Daytona USA: Championship Circuit Edition (1996, also known as Daytona: CCE) for the Sega Saturn and its PC cousin, Daytona USA Deluxe (1997).  Both games are nearly identical in terms of source material, though the PC version has one additional track, better graphics (of course), and LAN play.

So here it is.  It's one of those wonderful "Windows 95" CD-ROM games.  You know you're in for a treat here.  Since I never owned a Saturn, I'm much more familiar with the PC version.  It was around 2002 and "Daytona USA Fever" was here.  Since Daytona USA 2 never got a home port and I didn't own a Dreamcast at the time, I bought three overpriced copies of this game off of eBay (charged me S&H three times, bastards).  Fired this bad boy up on the computer and here goes.

Here's the breakdown.  This game has eight cars and five tracks (six if you're on PC version).  The draw distances are farther than that of the original Daytona port.  There's split-screen and LAN play (PC-only, unless you have the rare Saturn net version).  You can also choose from a couple of options, such as the time of day to race and suspension stiffness (not as spectacular as it sounds), but that's about it.

This game was brought to you buy the folks who ported Sega Rally Championship (AM3 aka Hitmaker, I think).  Now this presents a conundrum--it's like Sega Rally and Daytona USA had a bastard child.  Don't get me wrong, this game's good but it feels a tad bit off compared to Daytona USA 1 and 2.  I'll explain why.  But here goes.

And now, I present to you, the CAR LINEUP...

So here's the eight cars in the game as seen in the game's menus.  They all have their hokey one-word names like the "Phoenix" or the "Oriole."  The cars have various stats which affect top speed & handling but that's about it.  The Max wins the honor of being the "Easy Level Car" (slow but good handling) while the Phoenix wins the honor of being the "Hard Level Car" (fast but poor handling).

Nevertheless, I like where AM3 was going with this but the car designs are a bit bland for my taste.  If Sega were to remix this game someday, I say go all-out with the crazy with it.  If there's a white car with the word "Balance" on it, I say it needs to look a lot more spiffy.  Also really strange how they changed the Hornet number & design, as such...

Oops, mirrored textures.  What's wrong AM3, too lazy to make right-side versions of the car textures???

If you zoom in enough, you'll see there's a "TacoBay" sticker on that car.  


Believe it or not, the game (the US version at least) doesn't have the Mitsuyoshi vocals.  Every original Daytona song is a remix or a Richard Jacques ditty.  So that's lame.  But you get an all-new Daytona song which is called "Sons of Angels."

That's Jun Senoue on Guitar...the Jun of Crush 40.  And that's Eric Martin on Vocals...same Eric Martin from Mr. Big.  Now I wouldn't know about Mr. Big because lousy-ass Harmonix never released any Mr. Big songs for Rock Band until last month (just one song) so thanks Harmonix, this is all your fault.  But anyway, it's a rockin' song like the Winger band on Daytona USA 2 but not as memorable (for me, anyway...this game didn't get as much playtime as Daytona 2).

EDIT: Also worth mentioning this is the only song in the series that mentions the phrase "Daytona USA."  Let's Go Away doesn't count since the lyrics go "Daytona Let's Go Away."  Doesn't count.

Playing the game on WINDOWS 98

Operating my pirated copy en Español.

It's ass.  I've played both Daytona original and Daytona CCE on the PC and it's just not as fun with a keyboard.  In Deluxe they smoothed out the controls so you can turn reasonably well with keys but the car handling feels so bland that way--there's no "oomph" whenever you turn which way.  Get yourself a joystick/steering wheel and wrestle with the damn menus/graphics settings.  Oh well, you wanna play on the Master Race PC, it's not gonna be easy...

Track Selection (with Gameplay Footage!!!)

Three of the tracks are Three-Seven Speedway, Dinosaur Canyon, and Seaside Street Galaxy.  Holy cow, the three tracks from the original Daytona, how convenient.  Two are Desert Canyon and National Park Speedway which also made an appearance in Daytona USA 2001.

I had a crazy conspiracy theory once--it's that the roller coaster in National Park Speedway were the same ones in the Gameworks Amusement Park--hence both courses were in close proximity of one another.  But from the pics, they aren't even the same coaster so forget it.

...but what about the sixth track???  It's otherwise known as Silver Ocean Causeway.  It doesn't appear in any other racing game.  Here it is (thanks buddy for the Daytona USA 2 music!):

Shoot through the neon-lit tunnel before weaving down-hill as you drive across bridges and green hills.  Then take a sharp U-turn as you drive up-hill through the city and to the finish line.  It's not a fantastic course but it's nice to see some new scenery for once.

Secret Cars

Believe it or not, you can unlock the ACTUAL ORIGINAL #41 HORNET is in this game.  However, it is called the "Daytona" car and it has max stats--208 mph top speed and able to corner on a dime without drifting.  Now that's seriously OP, nerf this car now.  BTW, another Eric Martin song (at 3:12), sweet.

There's also two versions of Uma the Horse in this game too.  It looks pretty much like the horse from the original yeah, here's the best clip I could find (notice the original Sky High version with Mitsuyoshi lyrics...much much better).


All the AI/drone cars look oh so beautiful.  They're color-coded too by speed.  That is, the cars from 1st to 8th are black, cars from 9th to 16th are dark blue, cars from 17th to 24th are orange, etc.  EDIT: Cars segregated by color...ha, that's race-ist!.  Sticks out like sore thumb and I don't like it.

More Useless Gameplay Footage

This is Daytona USA: Netlink Edition which is a super-rare version of Daytona: CCE that has online play.    It's the rarest North American Sega Saturn game.  It can be sold for over $1000.  But so what because the Model 2/3 emulators can do so much more than this game for the price of zero dollars, amazing.  But anyway, check out the evening/night-time lighting in this video--you can see s*** in dark because stock cars don't have actual headlights, remember?


There's some more to be said about the game but since I haven't played this in years, I'll stop here.  I think 15+ years ago this game would've been outstanding but it just lacks the polish of other hallmark Sega racers.  Seeing as the game wasn't touched by the magic hand of Yu Suzuki and the AM2 team, I can see why.  Car handling and graphics don't come close to any arcade versions.  You can purchase the game and see for yourself.  I still have the CD somewhere, maybe I'll check it out (or not).

Review Score: Uh, pick a float value between 6 and 8, it's up to you.

No comments:

Post a Comment