Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cruis'n USA and Cruis'n World

John Marine | 8/12/2010 01:55:00 AM |
(UPDATED: June 22, 2012)

This is a blog entry on the first two Cruis'n games. Cruis'n USA took you around the United States while Cruis'n World took you on a world tour. The goal behind all of this is to beat the other nine drivers to the finish line. Sounds simple, right? You're dead wrong! You have to dodge traffic, avoid any hazards, and if you can- find some shortcuts. Cruis'n USA began the craze while Cruis'n World took it to a new level. This was all before the complete overhaul for the series came when Cruis'n Exotica came out. This blog entry, however, only concerns Cruis'n USA and Cruis'n World.

--- Both Games at a Glance ---

These two games offer arcade thrills that are still amazing even more than 15 years since Cruis'n USA and just over 10 years since Cruis'n World. Neither title blew anyone away with outstanding graphics. Neither title had anything seriously sophisticated. Like, for example, there was absolutely no shading, no environment mapping, no spectacular particle effects... if it's one thing these games DID deliver, however, were timeless arcade racing experiences only Midway could provide. Even when you see both of these titles in arcade rooms, you still find some enjoyment in racing these two games. Though real-life locales and landmarks are featured, the game is not 100% accurate in recreating roads exactly as they are. So what you have is a bunch of creatively-designed point-to-point courses and closed-circuit (especially in the home version of "Cruis'n World") that offer their own experiences with their own challenges.

And with all due respect, this was back when Midway was at its best (compared to now) with all the games they've come along with for arcade and/or home consoles. I will talk about both Cruis'n USA and Cruis'n World and my thoughts on both games.

--- Cruis'n USA ---

Cruis'n USA
^ from: - box art for Cruis'n USA for the Nintendo 64.

Back when the Nintendo 64 was conceived as the Ultra 64 in 1994, one of the big-time games to be released was Cruis'n USA in the arcades. Cruis'n USA featured the primary goal of going from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. to party with the President of the United States (Bill Clinton at the time). It was an ultimate journey across multiple states and into multiple locations.

You can race only one stage or Cruise the USA. The majority of your action will take you into places such as the West Coast, the American Southwest, the Midwest, New England, and eventually in Washington, D.C. Along the way, there are four cars to choose from, all of which are fictitious (but based on certain real cars). You choose between what looks like a C2 Corvette, a cool-looking classic hot rod (La Bomba), a very sporty car (Devastator VI), and a car that looks like a Ferrari Testarossa (Italia P69). Pressing the View buttons will unlock hidden courses and cars as you select them. The hidden cars include a variety of machines, including a school bus! The biggest thing to be concerned about when racing is making sure not to hit oncoming traffic. You need to win to advance at least in the Nintendo 64 version. In the arcade version, the next race is free after winning an event.

Here are some of (or maybe ALL) the many locales you will visit on your way to our nation's capital:
• Golden Gate Park - a romp through San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.
• San Francisco - beautiful San Francisco boasts a difficult stage with winding streets and many elevation changes.
• Redwood Forest - drive through a forest full of sequoia trees.
• Beverly Hills - a race through the glamourous streets of Beverly Hills and through Hollywood. Don't hit the palm trees!
• LA Freeway - a fairly simple high-speed highway through the Los Angeles area and into the Inland Empire.
• US 101 - leave the city life behind and head into the desert on this highway stage.
• Death Valley - be careful weaving through traffic on this mostly two-lane stage.
• Arizona - a fairly simple high-speed stage with four-lane roads and simple corners.
• Grand Canyon - weave through the Grand Canyon to make your way into the Midwest.
• Iowa - a high-speed run through the humble country roads of Iowa.
• Chicago - an urban jungle race through Windy City against some bad drivers. (This game makes it seem like Chicago has America's worst drivers)
• Indiana - a country romp through the Hoosier State, but very similar to Iowa.
• Appalachia - a stage with many elevation changes and undulations around and through the Appalachian Mountains.
• Washington, D.C. - winding roads and cherry blossom-lined streets (or sakura) await in this final race.

This game is pretty fun and remains a great game to play at the arcades. I've been fortunate enough to clear the American tour a few times in the Nintendo 64 version. So there are a number of places you don't race in this game- the Pacific Northwest and the American Southeast don't have any stages in Cruis'n USA.

--- Cruis'n World ---

Cruis'n World
^ from: - Cruis'n World may just be the best game ever in this series. The box is for the Nintendo 64 version of this game.

Cruis'n World enhanced and expanded upon what Cruis'n USA started. You still race in the United States. But now, you race across every continent except South America and Antarctica. You even race on the Moon! What awaits you is a variety of intense racing action romping the streets and roads of many of the world's locales. What makes Cruis'n World more fun than Cruis'n USA are the tricks. Performing a trick while getting some air from jumps can earn you a bonus that knocks off a full second of your time for each stage. What presents a unique touch is knowing on what side of the road oncoming traffic goes on. For example, people drive on the left-hand side through places like England and Japan.

A lot of the same elements from Cruis'n USA was added to Cruis'n World. New to Cruis'n World (and exclusive to the Nintendo 64) was a new circuit-racing mode that let you race on closed-circuit tracks from all the locales in Cruis'n World. This added some new depth to the series along with being able to customize many more features with the game. Four new playable cars were made available: a car that GREATLY resembles the Dodge Viper RT10 (Serpent), a car that resembles the Toyota Supra MKIV (Kamikaze AWD), a Humvee (ATV), and a car most likely resembling the mid-1990s Ford Mustang (Zombi XXX). You can unlock a bevy of other machines and tracks by pressing and holding the view buttons. Bonus cars include a big rig truck, a car similar to the 1992 Mitsubishi 3000GT/GTO, a Dodge Ram-style pickup truck, and more!

• Hawaii - the journey begins on the winding highways and beautiful tropical scenery of Hawaii.
• Japan - a "sugoi" tour around Japan, mostly featuring Kyoto and Japanese country highways.
• Australia - a tough off-road stage through the Australian Outback. Watch out for kangaroos!
• China - a twisty race on the Great Wall of China that leads to the finish at Tian-an-Men Square.
• Africa - take a trek through Kenya while avoiding the wild animals crossing the road. Roads are very bumpy.
• Egypt - pyramids, sand, and ancient structures await you in this highway stage that also takes you into an ancient tunnel.
• Moscow - the Russian Federation's beautiful capital city features this intense romp on Moscow's highways and streets.
• Germany - a very fun and simple high-speed blast on the Autobahn through the German countryside.
• Italy - blast down winding Italian country roads on the way to Rome. The number of lanes vary greatly here.
• France - go through the French countryside as you make your way into Paris.
• England - a race that starts on the London Bridge and winds its way through London and at Stonehenge.
• Mexico - bumpy roads and ancient Mayan and Aztec artifacts await you through the only Latin American stage in this game.
• New York - get ready for high-speed highway racing weaving between the buildings and towers of New York City.
• Florida - make your way around highways and beaches of the South Florida to head to Cape Canaveral, Florida.
• The Moon - once Florida is complete, you've cruised the world. Now, cruise the Moon in one great stage!

The usage of things like tricks and temporary boosts help make this game fun to play. It's great fun at an arcade room or at home with the Nintendo 64. The simplest trick you can do is to just depress the gas twice to get a wheelie launch. If you do a wheelie launch while going over a ramp or bump, you can do a very cool end-over-end flip.

Both games deliver arcade-style racing thrills. Both game remain fun to play at arcades. You can play the home versions of these two games on your Nintendo 64. Also, I think both are also available for the Wii through the Virtual Console (at least, I know Cruis'n USA is). These are really two of the best arcade racing games of the '90s. And again, the series was in for a complete overhaul when Cruis'n Exotica was released. Exotica was still fun to play and had amazing graphics, but it didn't have the kind of character that the first two Cruis'n games had.

You're probably thinking I post a few Amazon links if Cruis'n games are available on Amazon, are you? Well believe or not, I'm working on another project for my blog. If both games are on Amazon for the Nintendo 64, I WILL post them so you can buy them as seen in my blog. I want to do this blog project first before adding any Amazon material.

Here are the two games in question for the Nintendo 64:

1.) Cruis'n USA for the Nintendo 64. If you can't bring Cruis'n USA home (which you likely won't), you can take home this game for the Nintendo 64. Rated "E" for Everyone.

2.) Cruis'n World for the Nintedo 64. Take the insanity of Cruis'n USA and go global! Exclusive to the Nintendo 64 version are closed-circuit runs around the courses that still deliver the same insane action of the regular point-to-point races. Rated "E" for Everyone.

Don't have a Nintendo 64? You can shop for a Nintendo 64 (as well as any accessories) on Amazon by visiting Old-School Gaming Consoles on John's Shop Space!

Thanks for reading! :)

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John B. Marine said...

if anyone has any info on the full motion Cruis'n USA or has any spares for sale please contact me at

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