If you owned a Sega Saturn (chances are you didn't) it's more than likely that Daytona USA would have formed as part of your early gaming collection.
Those who have played the arcade original will be forced to admit that it's without question one of the best racers in arcade history. So, therefore, a Saturn conversion with all the tracks, vehicles and a prancing pony should be perfect, right? Well, the tracks from the arcade original were faithfully converted, along with the over-the-top presentation and bizarre music (so awful it's good).
Unlike most coin-op racers of the time, the player's view of the racetrack can be viewed from a multitude of different angles, including inside and not just from behind the car. Besides having to stay on the racetrack and avoid crashing into barriers, there are forty other cars to contend with, that see's you competing at three different levels ranging from beginner, advanced and expert.
The Saturn version has more modes than the arcade version, you can officially race all tracks in reverse, earn more cars by finishing in first place and included is a fabulous endurance option which allows you to race up to eighty laps per circuit. What I can't understand is why the game received such harsh criticism. Yes, I know it suffered from background scenery jumping out from a distance, but for me, this didn't damper the gameplay experience one iota.
Okay, so no one really expected an arcade perfect conversion, especially considering the power of the Saturn, when compared to the arcade original (sadly ain't it the truth). On the surface the Saturn version wasn't as glossy, smooth or as shiny as its arcade counterpart, but considering the power difference and comparisons aside, we're still left with an awesome arcade racer in both terms of speed and playability.
Daytona in my humble opinion is still one of the most playable games on the Saturn. I'd even wager it's better than the Dreamcast version, as it doesn't suffer from oversensitive controls. Daytona USA deserves a rightful place as one of the best arcade racers the Saturn had ever seen and should bring sweat to the brow of even the most hardened of petrol heads.