Having lived through the build up to the launch, the launch and the gaming drought shortly thereafter of the Nintendo 64 has given me a rather unique point of view when looking back in these historical articles. The build up for Cruisin’ USA was HUGE, it was to be THE game that got gamers to take notice of the Nintendo 64 (besides Mario 64 of course). It was released two years prior in the arcades using hardware that was touted as the N64 with more RAM and it was expected to be at least quite similar in the home. The problems arose when it was revealed that the hardware was not exactly the hardware that people thought it was powering the arcade units (it was quite different which caused delays in the home release of Cruisin’ USA and another title, Killer Instinct Gold).
While the home version failed miserably in comparison to the arcade version, there was still fun to be had in the 5+ cars available racing down the 14 different tracks that were available. Nintendo did drop the censor hammer on various aspects of Crusin’ USA which was weird because they had long since “opened up” on many issues.
Cruisin’ USA is also available on the Wii Virtual Channel (March 31st, 2008) in North America and in Europe (March 28th, 2008).