Back in the mid to late 90s, Daytona USA was a game that was in pretty much every single arcade that was in my area. So, it goes without saying that when the Sega Saturn launched the fact that Sega managed to have a port of their monster arcade hit ready was a huge coup for them. Unfortunately, the port they put out on the Sega Saturn was clearly rushed out of the door. While it is kind of like Daytona, it is not the arcade perfect port that many of us had wished for.
Let’s start with the point of the game. You get to pick from a handful of stock cars and you need to try and win the races. You can race on their tracks, but there are mirror tracks as well. You can play against a friend or do a time trial as well. This was an arcade port so that is the reason why the content is rather shallow. Still, being able to play Daytona USA in our homes at the time was a huge deal.
Holy Pop In Batman!
I have to say that the Sega Saturn port of Daytona has the worst pop-in I have come across in any video game! I legit cannot do justice just how bad the pop-in this game has is. You are driving on a bridge and the bridge is being constructed as you are on it! If it was just the scenery that was popping in as you drove, I could maybe deal with that. However, it is not, the actual road in front of you will pop-in as well. Some may think that Daytona USA was a game that was too complicated to port to the Sega Saturn. That is not actually true. Sega wanted this as a launch game for the Saturn and as a result, it had to be rushed out of the door and that is the reason for all of the pop-in.
That Daytona Charm
While the game may look very downgraded from the arcade original. I must admit there is still a lot of charm to this game. The racing feels loose, arcadey and it is fun to pick up and play. Shaving off seconds here and there on your best times is very addictive. The gameplay does resemble the Daytona that we all know and love from the arcade. It is the kind of racing game that anyone can pick up and play. While some might say it is shallow. It does feature damage effects that can alter the way your car handles. Believe it or not, this was a pretty novel feature back when this game was released.
Even though the Sega Saturn port of Daytona USA could not be any further from being arcade perfect. This is a game that I still have a lot of good memories of. It is such a shame Sega had to rush it out the door to meet the launch. To be fair, Sega did fix the issues with the game as they released Daytona USA Champion Circuit Edition which is far closer to what we got in the arcade. They pretty much fixed all of the problems that this original port had and added in some extra stuff too. I often wonder if having the Champion Circuit Edition as the launch game would have made a difference to how the Saturn sold at launch.
- It feels like Daytona
- You have six tracks to race on if you include the mirror ones
- It is the kind of racing game anyone can play
- Racing against a friend is a lot of fun
- The game has a good sense of humor
- It has the worst pop-in I have ever seen in a game!
- This game is made irrelevant by the Champion Circuit Edition
Processor: PC compatible, P-200
OS: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game Features:Single game mode