Cruis'n USA is an arcade racing game released in 1994. It was developed by Midway Games and published and distributed by Nintendo. It's the first game in the Cruis'n series and it features locations around the United States.
Although Cruis'n USA was advertised as running on Ultra 64 hardware (based on the Nintendo 64's hardware), it was actually implemented on the Midway V-unit hardware. The hardware consisted of a TMS32031 CPU clocked at 50 MHz, an ADSP-2115 DSP clocked at 10 MHz for sound and a custom 3D chip that could render perspective-correct but unfiltered quads at a high resolution (512 x 400 pixels).
Along with Killer Instinct Gold, it was planned as a launch title for the Nintendo 64. Neither game made it out for Nintendo 64's launch, however, primarily because the arcade versions of both games were done on hardware that was very different and somewhat more powerful than the console. Cruis'n USA, although impressive in arcades in 1994, got panned in 1996 when it was finally released on the Nintendo 64 due to the fact that the port was less polished than the arcade version and its technology had already been surpassed by other games.
It was released on Wii's virtual console in Europe on March 28, 2008, making it the first third party developed Nintendo 64 game to be released on the service. It became available on the virtual console in North America on March 31, 2008.
Like in most racing games, players race down one-way courses consisting of streets vaguely based on real-life locations. While racing, they do their best to avoid various road hazards such as oncoming traffic and construction. Players chose between seven different cars to race with. As in most racing games, the car can simulate either an automatic or manual transmission. Automatic increases the speed of gear shifts, while players using the manual transmission must switch during races. Players who reach first place move on to the next track, like in most racing games. Unlike most racing games, there is the option to change the music by pressing the music button.
The development for the Nintendo 64 version of Cruis'n USA was announced in 1995. Nintendo promised the game would look and act the same as the arcade version by using Ultra 64 technology. The company called Williams got the Cruis'n USA license to port the game over to the Nintendo 64. But the game was too advanced for the Nintendo 64 hardware due to the reality engine that Midway Games used; it features photo-realistic graphics and detail. Therefore, due to hardware they had to downgrade most of the graphics in order to get the game over to the Nintendo 64. In 1996, Cruis'n USA was announced to be a launched title for the Nintendo 64. However, the game got delayed before the Nintendo 64 was released due to the censorship problems that game had. During the last couple of months of development, people sent letters or emails about the censorship.