Reviewed by Scott McCall
Cruis'n USA was an enigma of sorts on the N64. It was a very
shoddy port, which was appropriately lambasted by the press.
Yet consumers bought well over a million copies of it, making it
the 6th best-selling game of 1996 for any system. Now much
like its predecessor, Cruis'n World has hit the home systems
several years late. This time, though, it is noticeably improved
over the arcade version.
First off, Cruis'n World is essentially an enhanced version of
Cruis'n USA. So there are no changes if you don't like the simple,
arcade-like nature of the gameplay. For those who are familiar
with the arcade version, there are a bunch of cool stunts that
have been added and there is a brand-new Championship mode.
The graphics are also smoother, clearer, and faster, and the
sound is improved, too. This port is basically what the original
Cruis'n USA should have been like.
Racing comes in three basic forms in the N64 version of Cruis'n
World: Cruise the World, Championship, and Practice. The Cruise
the World mode is where you go through the game's 14 tracks in
order, which are forward-moving, one-lap races to the finish line
with oncoming traffic and wild crashes, needing third place or
better to advance to each successive track. The Championship
mode, an exclusive addition to the home version, has all-new
variations of the Cruise the World courses, except the shorter,
more difficult courses are three-lap races. Getting points for
stunts and for the position you placed opens up secrets in the
Championship mode. The Practice mode is self-explanatory,
except you can open up secret cars (12 cars are initially
available) by beating the target times. Both the Cruise the World
and Championship modes can be played by one to four players.
The two-player mode is once again fantastic, but the three- and
four-player modes are quite a bit slower, don't have oncoming
traffic, have more pop-up, and lack background music. So it's not
a very good multi-player game.
The control in Cruis'n World is a huge improvement over Cruis'n
USA. It's smooth, responsive, and more tight right off the bat.
And, of course, the controller configuration can be changed. There's
also an Options screen where you can change sound settings,
Rumble Pak sensitivity for individual items (a first), and screen
settings. Do yourself a favor and turn on the "Winning Girl" in the
Options, because the default is off.
As I briefly mentioned above, Cruis'n World contains a Championship
mode that gives you points for doing stunts. (Doing stunts in the
Cruise the World mode knocks a few ticks off your time.) The
Championship mode and stunts really give the game some longevity,
especially since you and a friend can do this together. Let me tell
you how to do some of the stunts. Note that some of these tricks
lead into others: "Turbo" (0 points) is done by double-tapping the
A button. Going up on "Two Wheels" (0 points) is done by
double-tapping the A button while turning. The "Braking Drift"
(0 points) is done by pressing A and B while turning. A "Jump Flip"
(1 point) is done by using "Turbo" over a ramp or hill. The "Super
Heli" (1 point) is done by using the "Braking Drift" over a ramp
or hill. And the "Mega Flip" (2 points) is done by going over a
ramp or hill on "Two Wheels." You can also experiment with
combining some of these to get even more points. You also get
points for finishing in the top three on each Championship track.
What will points get you? Well, 8 points lets you get the Power
Level 2 cars, which increases the top speed of all cars. And 20
points lets you change the color of any car. I'll let you find the
rest out on your own.
Graphically, Cruis'n World is far beyond the pitiful job done by
the team who ported Cruis'n USA to the N64. There is still a lot of
pop-up because of the track design, which is smoothed in, but
everything is much more smooth, fast, and clear than Cruis'n USA.
As mentioned above, the one-and two-player modes are great, but
the three- and four-player modes leave a lot to be desired. Yes,
Cruis'n World looks closer to a 64-bit game now, but it's not a
technical marvel compared to most other racers on the system.
Amazingly enough, Cruis'n World has excellent sound, too. OK, so
you knew there had to be a catch: The music in is monaural. But
there are about 10 location-specific musical tracks in the game.
There's everything from Spanish music with vocals to heavy metal
riffs to jungle music. It's good stuff. There isn't a lot of voice,
but the sound effects are pretty decent. Like the graphics, the
sound is very much improved over Cruis'n USA.
Cruis'n World is nothing more than good, clean, simple, mindless
fun. There's hardly any technique to the game, but the cool rides
(especially the hidden ones), the wild crashes, and the addition
of stunts help out a lot. If you're into arcade racing games, you'll
like it. If you're into racing simulations, you won't like it. At any
rate, Cruis'n World is actually one of the N64's better racing games.
Graphics: 3.3 out of 5
Sound: 4.1 out of 5
Control: 3.9 out of 5
Gameplay: 3.8 out of 5
Lastability: 4.0 out of 5
Overall: 3.8 out of 5