Cruis’n Exotica (1999)

In the medium of video games, there’s always a push to grow bigger and better, with improved graphics, higher frame rates, more levels, etc. Artistry and creativity can sometimes be an afterthought, although in other cases improvements can allow for these elements to shine even brighter. After offering a whistle-stop tour of the world, Midway games let their imaginations go above and beyond, to push the creative visuals to the edge of attitude, in the follow-up sequel known as Cruis’n Exotica.

Exotica adds some wacky inclusions, like letting you be a Martian, for example.

While seldom has changed in the technical nor the gameplay side of Cruis’n, after four years, Midway pushed their patterned entertaining and inspired ideas, beyond the conventional settings of both the United States and the Earth. Focusing more on the hypothetical racing locales that your imagination could muster, who wouldn’t want to push the pedal to the metal on the sandy dunes of Mars? Or pilot a U.F.O. amongst the tundra of Alaska? As you once again, race in championships, unlock cars, and enjoy the classic outrageous ride that is Cruis’n Exotica.

Living up to the exotic name… tracks consist of Korea to Mars!

From the offset, Exotica tries to live up to its name in the same way that Cruis’n World did. Mars is a viable racing location, as is the watery ruin of Atlantis, and if you want to avoid Dinosaurs, best to stay out of the jungles. As are some of the more familiar sights, like Vegas, or the streets of Holland, and the hilly countryside of South Korea. For those who were a fan of Cruis’n World and Cruis’n U.S.A., Exotica’s gameplay retains that familiar arcade feeling, leading to an experience that most veterans can quickly return to.

The locations retain their level of detail, but not too much to be distracting.

Much like the aforementioned F-Zero’s conversion to the Nintendo 64, Exotica offers a slight gambit in its graphics. Favouring a silky frame rate over a higher detailed experience, Exotica provides an experience that works well with the racing anyway, as the high-octane races give you little time to stop and take in the scenery. Although, for couch-bound spectators or co-op races, the sights are engaging enough for casual onlookers to be enticed by the gameplay. The music and sound effects combine the peppy and groovy spirit into a sound for the new millennium, one that matches the on-screen visuals rather well.

Wackier vehicles are available to unlock too!

Midway’s patented approach to catchy vistas for the sense will always pay off. Here, the second home-console version allows for more envelope-pushing as more fantastical and futuristic elements are added. The sequel is expanded and built upon in every sense of the word. Its flourishes of character feel zeitgeisty of the youthful excitement and funky attitudes of the new century, Cruis’n Exotica is generally fun to both watch and play. Showing that the experience is always on the horizon.

Live the dream by driving a convertible on Mars!

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