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Retro Review: Daytona USA


I’m pretty sure by now everyone knows that i was one of the very few people who owned a Sega Saturn in the United States. While I owned my share of sports titles and Sonic games, I did have some other games for it as well. One game in particular that I owned was a racing game called Daytona USA. This game has become quite popular in later years due to the internet’s fascination with all things stupid. Of course, I can tell you that the game itself isn’t really stupid…just the music.


The one thing that everyone seems to enjoy about the game the most is the soundtrack. Something about starting up the game and hearing somebody in an upbeat person goin “do do do do” like in the tv show Doug (only with some mid 90s arcade music) and yelling DAYTONA!!! It might just classify as the video game soundtrack equivalent to the movie The Room, in the sense that it is so bad it’s amazing. The game also features a very memorable Game Over song that has a group of people selling out Game Over and then saying it over and over again.


As for the game itself, it’s not really that bad. It of course does have its fair share of limits. The game only features 2 cars and the only way to choose what vehicle is be either choosing automatic or manual. Automatic will have a red car, while manual will have the blue car. There are also only 3 tracks. The beginner track is the most famous as it’s the same track used for the Daytona 500. The Advanced track isn’t totally that memorable, but the Advance track was always special. It’s not as memorable as the Beginner track, but it does have things that made it stand out. For one it was only 2 laps and features lots of water since you drove along a coast over bridges. It also had a statue that it seems like everyone remembered.

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One thing that everyone seems to complain about is the graphics being a little choppy, especially considering that the Saturn version was a port of the Arcade. While I do seem to notice it, I do believe that this was almost unavoidable given the circumstances. You see, the Saturn was originally released 6 months ahead of schedule due to Sega of Japan trying to beat the Playstation to market. Because of this, developers were caught off guard and only 6 games were even remotely close to being released, and all of them just happened to be owned by Sega, Daytona USA being one of them. This along with using 2 CPUs made the system extremely difficult to develop on and nobody knew at launch just how to use both CPUs to their capabilities.
Overall, this game is very nostalgic for me since it was a game that I grew up on. When I found out that it was going to be released on Xbox 360, I instantly bought it and it’s still one of the only games that I’ve ever got all the achievements for. If you can get a hold of it on Xbox Live or Playstation Network it’s worth picking up for amusement. If you own a Sega Saturn then you need to pick this up for your collection if you haven’t already. They did later release a Championship Circuit Edition which fixed the bugs of the original launch version. None still come close to the experience of the arcade, but it’s still an enjoyable racing game for the time. If all else, just look up the soundtrack on YouTube, you won’t regret it.

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