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San Francisco Rush

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Reviewed by Raymond Almeda The Nintendo 64 is rapidly emerging as the system for state-of-the-art racing action. After a year in which a grand total of three racers were available for the console, suddenly N64 owners are being besieged by a bewildering variety of killer racing titles, from Top Gear Rally to Extreme-G to Diddy Kong Racing. One of the more promising additions to this list is Midway's best N64 game to date: San Francisco Rush. San Francisco Rush eschews the realism of Top Gear Rally in favor of good old-fashioned arcade fun. This N64 port of the popular arcade game features excellent graphics, and more importantly, plays like a dream. Arcade-style racing means wild jumps, fast cars, and lots of spectacular crashes. The jumps are made almost supersonic by the game's bizarre gravity system. It's as if you are racing through a San Francisco with the gravitational pull of the moon. Cars even sail over buildings at times! One of the most exhilarating challenges in San Francisco Rush is recovering from just such a ridiculous flight without crashing. Gameplay emphasis in San Francisco Rush is on speed, jumps, shortcuts, and secrets. Every track in SF Rush contains a bevy of great secrets, and it will take some time for gamers to find them all. While six massive tracks make up the core game, the addition of mirror and backward options make for an impressive total of 24 track possibilities. San Francisco Rush is also loaded with other secrets in addition to the clever shortcuts. For example, each track contains hidden "keys." Players who collect enough hidden keys will unveil the ultimate San Francisco Rush secrets. These secrets are said to include hidden cars, and even a hidden track. The audio in San Francisco Rush is at best average. At worst, the audio is bizarre. Indeed, many people have touted the San Francisco Rush soundtrack as among the worst of all time. Actually, I think it is so unusual that it is kind of entertaining. Control in San Francisco Rush is also average. There is no powersliding, and the brake is not very useful either. The game makes decent use of the N64's analog joystick, but overall the control is not as precise as in other N64 racers. Again, the crux of this title is the fun gameplay. Despite its flaws, there is simply tons of fun stuff to do in this game. Thanks to the massive variety of track options, the replay value of San Francisco Rush is very high. This excellent play value is enough to overcome some of the game's weaknesses. As always, we recommended you rent this game before making a purchasing decision. San Francisco Rush will not be everyone's cup of tea, and there are plenty of other great N64 racers from which to choose. But those seeking great arcade-style racing need look no further.

Overall 9.5 out of 10

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