CONSOLE REVIEW; Cruis'n USA (Nintendo) N64

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Converted from the ubiquitous arcade machine of the same name, Cruis'n USA invites you to make your way across America in one of seven high-powered vehicles, beginning on the west coast in San Francisco and finishing up in Washington DC. In all, there are 14 different courses to be mastered, and these range from enormous Californian freeways to a pass through the Grand Canyon.

So far, most of the driving games released for the N64 have been disappointing and Cruis'n USA continues this trend. The game's developers have obviously taken its title too literally as the cars really do cruise around the tracks. The cars ghost along like souped-up milk floats with very few sound effects, and the game feels sterile as a result. Racing games should evoke the smell of burning rubber in your nostrils and the roar of ferociously powerful engines in your ears, and this is something Cruis'n USA markedly fails to do.

Another essential ingredient which is conspicuous by its absence is a decent soundtrack. It's difficult to get your adrenaline pumping when your ear drums are being assaulted by a barrage of synthetic twanging noises which have been loosely arranged into a country and western tune. The music alone is reason enough not to buy this game. Its one saving grace is the graphics which will ensure it goes to purgatory rather than straight to hell. It is also relatively inexpensive, but then you get what you pay for. In all, it's more like Driving Miss Daisy than The Cannonball Run.

On release, pounds 34.99

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