One of the things that the N64 does really well is arcade ports, and Midway is a company that is capitalizing on this fact. First there was Mortal Kombat 4 and then came Blitz and now straight from the arcade comes Crusin' World. Keeping with the, "You love to play it at the arcade so you will love it at home" mentality, Midway has attempted to port this simple and fun game to the N64 and they do a great job at keeping it just that: simple and fun.
The resemblance to the arcade version is very apparent. There is a "Cruise the World" mode which is exactly the same format as the popular arcade version. It is basically a street race between 10 cars all of which are evenly matched from an army jeep to a Camaro to a big rig truck. Needless to say, there is no simulation mode in this game. The race is in one of 14 exotic locations around the world (hence the name). Everything that occurs during the race is silly and exaggerated from flips and tricks to always ending up in a forward upright position after every crash.
There is also a championship mode with turbo boosts and no on-coming traffic. In this mode you race for points. Hit a point goal and you will get special power-ups and treats like "Paint Job" which allows you to change the color of your car. The championship consists of 3 different circuits at 3 different difficulty levels with 3 tracks on each (it really is the magic number). Also included is a practice level which allows a player to go for top speeds while practicing (duh) a track. All of the modes can be used in multi- player games as well, although it does get slower. The game saves all of the data on the cartridge so no memory card is needed which is nice.
Graphically the game looks very nice. The colors are bright and the textures are smooth. There is some pop-up as distant graphics come out of the N64 fog, but this is not too much of a problem since the objects and images themselves are so vivid. The music of the game goes right alongside the concept; humorous and exaggerated. Each course has music that fits the country currently being raced in. Mexico has Mexican music for example. However, as you might have guessed, it is not all very authentic, but it has a nice groove and is fun to race to.
The game play is exactly what you would expect from an arcade style racing game. Fast, simple enough for anyone to pick up and play, and all around fun. There are some special trick moves and some great wipe-outs. It does get pretty difficult to come in first, however. The game highly favors anyone who is not in the lead so you can forget about pulling far ahead from the pack. Even with a perfect race, the computer will still catch up if any mistakes are made. This is nice for a player in second and third place, but for those that stay in first, the game is against you. Actually, this does keep the race exciting being that it is never really over until it is over. Still, when the second and third place racers over take you right before the finish line, I guarantee you'll be pissed. I was.
So if you got an N64 and you want to race without thinking too hard and without being serious, then Crusin' is the one you want to go with. The control is simple to master and it's very playable. If you are one who just hates racing in a game where the goal is to be able to paint the car so the helicoptor jump spins will look cooler you better get something else like GT 64 or Nascar 64, the other new racers. Still, in my opinion, you just cannot beat driving underwater in a specially made aquarium tunnel in Hawaii.
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