Longtime Nintendo fans will know that the Cruis’n series has an interesting history with the company. The original arcade version of the first game, Cruis’n USA, was said to be the first title to run on Nintendo’s upcoming Ultra 64 hardware, a claim that ultimately turned out to be a bit of a cake.
Its later Nintendo 64 port was generally criticized (a bit unfairly) for not keeping up, but that wasn’t enough to prevent the sequels Cruis’n World and Cruis’n Exotica from making their way onto the N64, followed by a GBA. spin-off, before the series was quietly discontinued (we’re not talking about Cruis’n on the Wii). Cruis’n Blast is an attempt to resurrect the series, and we are absolutely thrilled that the attempt was made because it succeeds in a way that we never dreamed possible.
Blast launched in arcades (remember arcades?) In 2017, but the drastic reduction in foot traffic in arcades means that for the vast majority of Switch owners, this will be their first experience with the game. And what an experience it is. Simply put, Cruis’n Blast is a fantastic example of what makes the arcade racing genre so entertaining when handled at its best.
Fans of the arcade game will be happy to see that all five tracks are present and accounted for here, but given that this is around 10 minutes of racing, it’s probably a good job that the Switch version has a Tour mode that includes significantly more. tracks: 24 more of them, to be precise, divided into six four-race courses. Each tour focuses on a specific theme, whether it’s driving at night, racing through a storm, avoiding helicopter attacks, or dodging dinosaurs. The original Cruis’n games weren’t exactly crazy – they were obviously based on arcade-style racing, but the most surprising element of the first game was its liberal use of scantily clad women (who aren’t present here this time).
The series didn’t really start showing any signs of insanity until the third game, Cruis’n Exotica, and even then that only meant a couple of novel courses set in places like Mars and Atlantis. The race itself was pretty tame, save for the addition of wheelies and the like in later games.
Cruis’n Blast, then, outperforms its predecessors by offering a ridiculously exaggerated series of high-octane races, each with spectacular parts. One of the London stages, for example, opens with the London Eye (the big wheel) breaking free from its frame and rolling down the road, shortly before one of its passenger capsules detaches and lands with a crash. right in front of you.
Another clue has you driving off a huge jump, seemingly in the path of a huge Yeti waiting to grab you, but before you get to it, the floor gives way and you crash into an underground section. There are countless examples like this throughout the game and rhyming with a list of them ruins the surprise, but rest assured that each level has its own wacky moments like this one that make things an absolute spectacle for both players and players. the spectators.
All of this would be for naught if the game itself wasn’t fun to control, but the handling is perfectly weighted and the mechanics of drift, showing an indicator showing how long you need to hold a first to get the best speed boost. – It does not take time at all to learn. In no time, you can learn to drift straight to get the speed increases you need to win races on Hard and Extreme difficulties.
The goofy feel spreads to the cars, which is good because that was the only area where previous Cruis’n games allowed themselves to go crazy. While you start out with a handful of licensed cars, including a 1959 Hummer, Nissan GTR, and Corvette, you can eventually unlock more vehicles by completing the games’ various four-race tours and finding the three hidden keys on each track.
Later vehicles range from slightly less conventional examples like a police car, F1 car, motorcycle, and fire truck, to more ridiculous offerings like a helicopter, UFO, and Triceratops. All of these ‘cars’ can also be leveled up by using them in numerous races, eventually allowing you to unlock upgrades for them, such as neon lights, special decals, and body redesigns.
The longevity of the game, then, comes from collecting all 87 hidden keys, earning gold trophies on each of the six tours (across all four difficulty levels), and then leveling up each of the game’s vehicles to its maximum level. . That will take a while, but it will be fun to get there.
For those looking for multiplayer action, there is a splitscreen for up to four players (which works quite well) or local wireless, but there is no online multiplayer to speak of, which is a shame. We would have loved for the game’s carnage to improve with the unpredictability of online racing, although we assume this would have made it very difficult to trigger set pieces.
The only other notable thing we can poke holes in here is game performance. Cruis’n Blast is aiming for 60 frames per second, and when it does this, everything works out spectacularly. However, it must be said that it regularly falls short of this goal, especially when applying a turbo boost, which causes the frame rate to drop dramatically.
Now let’s not overdo it: these frame rate drops are far from the most devastating thing a game can suffer, and the game remains perfectly playable even as performance struggles to reach optimal levels. It’s too bad an arcade racer who thrives on breaking the rules and going crazy feels restricted in some way.
We weren’t sure what to expect with Cruis’n Blast given that the N64 trilogy received a mixed reception at best in its day. We enjoyed those N64 games, but we also knew that not everyone felt the same way. Rest assured, however, that Cruis’n Blast is very much its own and is a hilariously exaggerated demonstration of what the arcade racing genre can really achieve when it is at its best.
And when we say that, we mean the genre as a whole. It may have the name of Cruis’n, but some of its ridiculous moments reminded us more of other Midway racing games like San Francisco Rush 2049 and Hydro Thunder, while the way its massive jumps tilt the camera down to Giving players a feeling of dizziness comes straight from Excite Truck. And if titles like that get you excited, this is the game for you.