Cruis’n World (1996)

With the push for graphics, comes the push for realism, but often the core ideal of why we come to Video Games can get lost in this pursuit of pixel perfection. However, there are still a fair few developers that still emphasise the fun of their artistic efforts. Such as Midway, with a proven track record of letting the spectacle of their games speak for themselves. In 1996, following the release of Cruis’n U.S.A. and to show off the potential power of the new Nintendo 64, Midway brought the chaotic spectacle of its arcade counterpart to the comfort of the home, in Cruis’n World.

In the first home installment of the Cruis’n franchise, the world is your oyster!

The core conceit can be inferred from the title, whereas Cruis’n U.S.A. focused on the United States, Cruis’n World focuses on the entire globe. From England to Australia, players can race through over 12 tracks, trying to keep up with both the speed and the consistency of both checkpoints and other racers. Try not to be too distracted by the hidden details of these locals as you constantly gun to reach checkpoints while being in the lead. Success can lead to more trophies, cars, and even a chance to take your racing out of this world. 

As you dash through checkpoints, beat the clock, and avoid traffic, rest assured you are getting the arcade experience at home!

The development team went to town in trying to capture the iconic locales you will drive around in, and you can see the fruits of their efforts in some track and course design. From the background scenery to the roads themselves. To compare against other racing titles like Mario Kart and F-Zero, who each have adapted to the 3.D. world, you can see the fruits of the effort, in the rendering of realistic locations, all while keeping the levels of fun as high as possible.

You unlock a collection of unique cars, like the Stallion P6

While there are three modes, from the Cannonball Run-esque Cruise The World, and the option to practise. The core mode is the championship, where you must demonstrate your mastery. This is paramount to unlock the full arsenal of up to 24 vehicles, ranging from the reliable Stallion P6 to my personal favourite, The Zombie. None of this is particularly that challenging, so if you have some novices in your friendship group that you want to give a fair race against, this might be the game for you. Efforts have also been made to make the presentation as appealing as possible to attract players. Mainly in the menus and soundtrack, of course. Such care and attention are justified, as this title was chosen as the franchise’s home-version ambassador.

The developers went out of their way to capture the look of unique location, without being too distracting to the races!

With more vehicles and a wider globe to digitise, Cruis’n World is an upgrade in every sense of the word. An upgrade that is deftly unafraid to put the Wacky Back into racing. Sure, some sacrifices had to be made to get the arcade experience into the homes of the mid-90s, but full to the brim of design and ambition, to make the fun challenge as exciting as possible. Cruis’n World puts the entertainment value to the max, as it heralds in a new era.

You can choose your preference for transmission too!

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