Monday, 26 June 2017

Daytona Championship USA review + arcades in Whitby

Hi all, Ted here once again. Just a few weeks ago I went to the coastal town of Whitby, where not only the origins of Dracula are situated, 3 arcades are. I do plan on this blog being more console gaming related but I'll always make posts about arcade games, which is where gaming has its earliest origins. Oh yeah, and I am a massive fan of them of course.

Only 2 of the arcades yielded games. Funland had some nice classics in the form of Sega Rally 1 & 2, Time Crisis II, Manx TT, and After Burner Climax. But it was Pleasureland I was most looking forward to visiting. For it was the very first place in the UK to get Daytona Championship USA!
Announced by the Sega arcade division's Twitter a day before I went, I was ecstatic when first saw it. The first new Daytona in the UK and it's where I was about to go on holiday. What were the chances. Needless to say, I spent quite a bit of money on this machine, and I have prepared a review as such.

Daytona Championship USA (Sega, 2017) Review

First, let me get this out of the way, I think this could possibly be a misconception when it comes to other peoples reviews of this game. Daytona Championship USA is not Daytona USA 3. It is not a sequel. It is a remake of the original Daytona with extra content added. This is probably going to confuse a lot of people and sadly the game may be negatively received as such. Anyway with that out of the way lets talk about the game.


You immediately get the feeling of the old Daytona from the attract mode- there's a beautiful new version of Let's Go Away blaring out of the speakers, there's that classic Daytona font, and the signature Sega blue skies are there.

The graphics are nothing special. They're nice, the blue skies have never looked better and the new cars are brilliantly detailed with all the sponsorship logos. It looks great for an arcade game. I say arcade game because the standard of graphics for these things nowadays is just about on par with PC's and consoles, as the game does run on adapted PC hardware. 

But I am a little disappointed, as when the original Daytona was released nothing like it had been seen yet. I was hoping for Sega to at least go a little further in making the visual for it special, to still have that feeling of it being new, fresh and exciting, at least PS4 quality graphics. Cause these look like a late PS2, early PS3 game at best.




There is a selection of 6 courses to choose from, 3 of which are remodeled tracks from the original. They are all faithfully remade with each trackside detail included, in fact the mountain side Sonic is of course now the modern design! And not just some flat texture, he's fully polygonized (did that sound right?).



                                         

The new Beginner course, Daytona International Speedway, is a simple oval course based off of the real Daytona speedway. We have a complete new recording of Let's Go Away accompanying it, and Takenobu Mitsuyoshi's vocals never fails to impress me. I did think this course was a little drab and unexciting though, isn't Daytona about fantasy locations and unrealistic tracks?




The new Advanced course, Lakeside Castle, is just a mirror of Dinosaur Canyon which is pretty disappointing when we were promised 'new' courses. Come on Sega, it's not that hard to design a track! That being said, this course does look quite pretty, with fireworks going off in the background and the whole thing being somewhat of a Sega Rally reference.



Finally, the new Advanced course, Metro City, is pretty much the same story as above, it's a mirrored Seaside Street Galaxy, which is a massive shame. There's some nice eye candy thorough the course though I guess...

Instead of only being able to have a quick race on one circuit, there is now the 'Championship' mode, where of course you go from track to track. Well, not really. Unfortunately, you have to place first and only first to advance to the next track which isn't very easy, as you could imagine, so it's kind of pointless unless you're really really good at the game.

One feature sadly gone (at least in most cabinets) from the first Daytona is the H-shifter, in its place is a up-down shifter. This makes power sliding trickier to pull off, which I am not a fan of with manual transmission being my usual way of playing it.

In response Sega have said arcade operators can choose to have a 4 gear shifter, but none of the cabinets that have shown up so far have got them. I do supposed using a up-down shifter does prolong the game's playability in the long run though, as a fair amount of Daytona cabs I come across now have damaged gear boxes


 
The attention to detail is nice and you do get a feel that the team working on the game had at least some appreciation for the original. The little jingles from old Sega games can still be heard when entering them at the name entry screen, the Jeffery statue trick still works, and Pounding Pavement can be selected from the V.R buttons. There is even some references to Sega's past on track sponsor boards like this 'To be this good takes AGES' slogan. It's stuff like this that makes the game just that bit nicer.

Lastly I must mention the good design of the actual machine. Looking at it in pictures, I have to say I didn't like it, but in person it's a lot better. The engine underneath the seat is a nice touch, and the control panel is almost a replica of the original deluxe cabs of Daytona. While I thought they were ugly and unnecessary at first I do quite like the screens on the marquee's, and they can be used to arrange tournaments as well in the new 'Party Mode'.

So, finally, Daytona Championship USA is... fairly average. What's here is a little soulless and uninspired, plus the gameplay isn't quite right, but there is some nice aspects like the little easter eggs, the good design of the cab, and well, just the fact that it's back in arcades.

I for one know this could've ended up way worse knowing Sega, and what we have is at least okay in this day and age, especially for a modern arcade game. Overall, I give Daytona Championship USA a 6/10.

(Apologies for the lack of posts recently. Been stuck on ideas for stuff to put on here. Don't be surprised if this happens again. But I do have a couple of things coming up in the next week, so stay tuned. See ya.)

Ted

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