360 XBLA Review - Daytona USA

15th November 2011 - "Daaaaytoooona!" Ah the memories of being down at my latest TimeZone Arcade in the 90’s! You’d walk into the Arcade and the biggest feature would be 8 Daytona machines all lined up.  So much money put into the machines but it was well worth it. Fast Forward to 2011 and we get the pleasure of playing this beacon of arcade racers in the comfort of our own homes in front of our big screen TV’s (well for some of us anyway! Lol) Does Daytona hold up in today’s gaming climate where graphics is king? Read on to find out.



Daytona USA is pretty much an exact port of the famous arcade game with the 3 original tracks (and reverse options for all 3) included. Everything handles the same as it did back in the day and one thing I noticed with this version in comparison to the Sega Saturn and Dreamcast versions (yes I owned a Saturn and loved it!) is that the Xbox Live Arcade version handles better with the controller than the Saturn or Dreamcast versions did. I had the steering wheel for the Dreamcast version and that was awesome but I don’t miss the wheel with this version as the 360 controller handles it well and makes you feel like you are in the arcades again.

There’s not a whole lot to Daytona USA, it would have been nice if they threw in some of those Dreamcast exclusive tracks which weren’t bad, but with only 3 tracks and their reverse versions there isn’t a lot of variety. You do have plenty of fun and quirky challenges to have a crack at and there is the time trial mode where your best score is uploaded to an online leader board, but most of your time is going to be spent in multiplayer. Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of people playing this online, but if you can get 7 other mates and go in a party chat and race against each other, you will have countless hours of fun. It may not have the same atmosphere as being in the arcades sitting in one of the 8 cabinets lined up, but it is a pretty good alternative.



Being a exact port of the original arcade game from the 90’s, Daytona is not going to make you sit back and go “wholly crap” but for what it is and what it was trying to achieve the game still holds up well today. I play on a 54inch Full HD Plasma and at that size it feels like I am back in the arcade which is awesome for this 32 year old!


The sound is arcade perfect too and as with the graphics, even though it doesn’t hold up to today’s standards and the likes of Forza etc, all the old theme music and sound effects of the checkpoints etc are faithfully recreated and still sound pretty good. If you are like me and played the game in the arcades, the sounds in this game will put you straight back to the 80’s!



At only 800 MS points you’d be crazy not to give this game a shot! Just the nostalgia factor is worth 800 MS points in my opinion but gamers who aren’t so old and didn’t grow up with Sega owning the arcade scene may disagree. Give the demo a shot and you are guaranteed to fall in love with "Daaaaytoooona!".


Daytona USA is the ultimate arcade racer and although lacking in content and variety, proves to be a nostalgia hunters dream. One of the best arcade games in the 90’s is now one of the best Xbox Live Arcade titles.


Score: 8.5/10



+ It’s "Daaaaytoooona!"

+ Great Nostalgia value

+ Only 800 MS points

+ An arcade perfect port

+ Did I mention this is "Daaaaytoooona!"



- Some may be put off by the old graphics and sound

- Only 3 (well 6 if you play the reverse options) tracks

- May not last long if you don’t have mates on Xbox Live with it


Reviewed and Written By Craig Cirillo