Rumors and rumblings about two major ’90s arcade racing series panned out this week. Two companies separately announced plans to bring back both the Daytona USA and Cruisi’n series—as arcade-first cabinets, to boot.
A Tuesday tease on Sega Amusements’ official Twitter account hinted at a reveal of a new Daytona game but suggested we had to wait until this month’s IAAPA Attractions Expo to learn more. Clearly, Sega struggled with that kind of anticipation as much as fans did, so it went ahead and spilled the beans: Daytona 3 Championship USA is official and coming to arcades around the world.
This won’t be a slouch of a release, either. It’ll have all three original racetracks returning in “remastered” form, along with three brand-new tracks. One of those new tracks will recreate the recently renovated Daytona International Speedway. The cabinets, as announced, should be beasts, with 47″ LED monitors, eight-player link compatibility, mounted cameras, and “moulded under-seat engines.” The cameras are becoming more common in linked arcade racers, as they allow players to see each other reacting during major moments like passes.
No theme song has yet been announced or teased. We will not be happy until we hear it, even though we know full well any new theme song cannot possibly top the original.
A Sega representative announced that the game is “based on the original engine.” But the announcement also commented about “that amazing ‘AI’ and ‘catch-up’ feeling,” which leads us to believe that Sega is referring to how AI cars handle, as opposed to the 3D rendering we’ll see in the new game. We’ll have to wait until the IAAPA Attractions Expo to see more; hopefully by then, Sega will also announce a release date. Given Daytona USA 2 never received a proper next-gen port, home racing fans can only hope that this release bodes well for more home Daytona, as well.
This week also saw Raw Thrills, the arcade game manufacturer behind more recent racers based on the Fast and the Furious franchise, offer more news about its take on Nintendo’s Cruis’n franchise. Testing cabinets had teased names such as Cruis’n Adventure and Cruis’n Red Line, but its name will actually be Cruis’n Blast. After formally announcing the game in early October, Raw Thrills took the wraps off the final version’s debut trailer last week.
It looks to be plenty authentic. That figures, given that Cruis’n USA co-creator Eugene Jarvis is the guy who founded Raw Thrills in the early ’00s as an upstart arcade-game manufacturer.
The trailer has everything a series fan could want: a catchy, cheesy theme song, flashy, mid-grade visuals, and all the “drive-straight-ahead” racing you could dream of. (Not enough cow gibs in the trailer, however, but I expect to see those in the final game.) The series’ double-pump mechanic of stomping on the gas pedal will now let players pull off flips and spins in mid-air, which seems like a perfect progression for the kind of racing Cruis’n games offer.
While Daytona‘s next entry may take some time to reach arcades, Cruis’n Blast will start landing in them as soon as this December. At least in terms of pole position, Jarvis’ nostalgic arcade throwback has the lead for now.
Listing image by Sega Amusements