Video Game / Daytona USA
The course is really tough, so good luck!
—The track announcer

Daytona USA is a successful 3D Driving Game series created by Toshihiro Nagoshi and Sega's AM2 department and initially released in arcades in 1993 in Japan and 1994 for the rest of the world. The first game, probably the most well known of the franchise, found great popularity in the arcades, for its simple yet realistic controls, NASCAR-like stock cars and up to eight multiplayer arcade cabinets. The original stands as the most successful arcade game in Sega's history.

The franchise consists of:
  • Daytona USA (1993/1994/1995): The original. Was ported to the Sega Saturn as a launch title. Was also ported to the PC, but that version was based on the Saturn version.
  • Daytona USA Championship Circuit Edition (1996): Made as an apology for the original game's Saturn port, and was developed by the same team that brought Sega Rally Championship to the Saturn. Added in a few new courses alongside the originals, retuned the handling to be more Sega Rally-ish, and Richard Jacques was brought in to remix the music.
  • Scud Race (1996): The Spiritual Sequel to Daytona USA, with exotic cars that competed in BPR/FIA GT Championship (Porsche 911, Ferrari F40, Dodge Viper and McLaren F1) instead of NASCAR-like stock cars. Was released in North America as Sega Super GT. First racer to use Sega's Model 3 board, and it shows.
  • Scud Race Plus (1997): A Japan-only Expansion Pack for Scud Race with a Toy Story-ish "Super Beginner" oval course.
  • Daytona USA Circuit Edition (1997): The Japanese version of Daytona USA CCE, with some improvements to the handling mechanics.
  • Daytona USA Deluxe (1997): The Windows PC version of Daytona USA CCE. Had a course unique to this version.
  • Daytona USA Championship Circuit Edition Netlink (1997): Same as Daytona USA CCE, but with online play and several improvements made to the Japanese Circuit Edition release. The rarest Saturn game ever made, even more rare than Panzer Dragoon Saga!
  • Daytona USA 2: Battle on the Edge (1998): The true sequel to the original. Uses a powered-up Model 3 board and a refined Scud Race/Sega Super GT handling mechanic. Totally awesome.
  • Daytona USA 2 Power Edition (1999): An Expansion Pack to Daytona USA 2. Added in a challenge course linking the three courses together in one continuous lap, and reintroduced the car from the original Daytona, with the same handling characteristics too. Also changed the Beginner track from an oversized biodome to a more traditional NASCAR-style track.
  • Daytona USA 2001 (2001): The last game in the series (so far), and the only one for the Sega Dreamcast. Had all the courses from Daytona USA CCE, with three new ones, improved draw distance, remixed music, and online play. It's developed by the same developer of Tokyo Xtreme Racer games.
  • Sega Racing Classic (2010): The original Daytona USA remade in high definition on the Ringwide board, but without the Daytona license.
  • Daytona USA (2011): A remake for Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, featuring the graphical updates from Sega Racing Classic, the original music, plus online multiplayer, challenge and survival modes, and a karaoke mode.

The game features examples of these tropes:

  • Bowdlerisation: SCUD Race was renamed to Sega Super GT in the US. "SCUD" in this context stands for "Sports Car Ultimate Drive", but it also brings back bad memories of the Cold War.
  • Call Back: The spotter in 2 on the Advanced course references the first game's spotter with "There's a crash coming out of turn three, watch yourself!"
  • The Cameo:
    • Sonic's face appears on the cliff overlooking the third turn on Daytona USA's Beginner course.
    • Also, there's a statue of Virtua Fighter 's Jeffry McWild in the Expert course.
    • Sonic and Tails appear on a billboard in Scud Race.
  • Color-Coded Multiplayer: Playing linked games of USA or USA 2 in the arcade. Each car is given a different paint job to help sort out each player.
  • Cool Car: SCUD Race has you driving supercars.
  • Cosmetic Award: Played straight and subverted with "Saturn Mode" on the Saturn port, where you unlock new Hornet cars with different paint jobs.
    • The Red and Blue Hornets are just a Palette Swap of the normal Hornet.
    • The Black and Orange Hornet cars are very sturdy, and won't slow down after crashing into a wall.
    • The Green and Pink Hornets preform well off-road, but will instantly crash if they hit a wall.
    • Finally, the Cyan and Yellow Hornet cars have a high top speed, but have bad control.
  • Critical Annoyance: Survival Mode in Daytona USA for XBLA and PSN. If you are ANY good at Daytona USA then you will just hear "TIME EXTENSION!" "TIME EXTENSION!" every couple of seconds due to the ways you earn time.
  • Crossover: Hornet appears alongside its AM-2 brethren in Fighters Megamix, and as DLC in Ridge Racer for the PlayStation Vita. It also shows up in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed as the default form of hidden character AGES, complete with crew chief.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • 2's soundtrack to the rest of the series. The soundtrack has a more aggressive rock theme to it, and the vocals are provided by the same person who sang the English Burning Rangers theme, Dennis St. James.
    "This is the race for an ace of aces
    No open grid for rookies
    Meter revs up to the limit
    Beginner's luck means nothing here
    No pain no gain"
    • Also, 2 itself has a gameplay mode that gives much longer courses than the first game, which, along with realistic car damage, full-course cautions, and the need to repair one's car in the pits, bring the game significantly closer to dangerous, arduous real life stock car racing.
  • Determinator: Every car and driver. These cars can take serious damage, but that won't stop them from running in the race.
  • Difficult but Awesome: Drifting mechanic. Unlike most arcade racing games, the simulated physics implemented in the series means that you must execute your right skills and timing in order for it to swoosh around the turns like Keiichi Tsuchiya. It can be a pain in an ass because you must perform powerslides precisely and not to crash. If done correctly, you might as well feel like you're the next Drift King/Queen, beating the race and reach the first place.
  • Difficulty By Region: The lead cars are purposely programmed to be unfair opponents in the Japanese arcade version. They were toned down slightly for outside releases.
  • Easier Than Easy:
    • SCUD Race Plus's Super Beginner course. It's set in a giant house, with your opponents being various toys.
    • Circuit Pixie from 2001 is an standard oval track with no real challenge. For racing purists or beginners.
  • Easter Egg:
    • "Congratulations! You just lost your sponsors!"note 
    • Players can make the Jeffry statue in Seaside Street Galaxy do a handstand with a press of a button.
    • The slot machine in Three Seven Speedway can be stopped. If a players gets 777, they earn bonus time.
    • There is an extra piece of music players to listen to in place of the default BGM for the Beginner course known as "Pounding Pavement." In order to access it, either the fourth VR button (arcade) or the Z button (Saturn) must be held at the "Gentleman start your engines!" screen after the track has been selected.
    • In the Saturn port of the original, it is possible to, once certain conditions are met (or a cheat code is entered), to race as a horse in place of the cars.
    • In USA 2's Beginner course, the player can press the start button and make the bulletin board say different things. Messages include "Error!", "Hello!", "Sega", and "Go to Hell".
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: 2's beginner car has candy as its sponsor and hugging bunnies right on the hood! This was taken out in PE, with a replacement eagle on the hood.
  • Epic Fail: Slam into something hard enough and your car does a pretty spectacular flipout. "Are you alright?".
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Sega Racing Classic is an old Sega racing game!
  • Expansion Pack: Daytona USA CCE, SCUD Race Plus, Daytona USA 2 Power Edition.
  • Forgotten Theme Tune Lyrics: The title track in the attract screen and Advanced course is swapped out in Sega Racing Classic for an instrumental version, due to not having the Daytona license.
  • Fragile Speedster: The Javelin car in 2001 is the fastest car in the series, but is almost impossible to keep under control. As such, it's prone to crashing a lot.
  • Guest Fighter: The Hornet in Daytona USA 2 PE. It handles and goes as fast as its original incarnation, and is the only car you can do "4-1-4" shifter powersliding with (other cars will spin out if attempted on them).
  • Hard Mode Perks:
    • Manual transmission cars get a slightly higher top speed than their automatic transmission counterparts.
    • "Hard level" cars are incredibly fast, but hard to control. Master them, and good lap times are a breeze.
  • Homage: Entering certain three-letter initials in the original will play a short ditty from a past Sega game, but entering silly initals like 'ASS' or 'SEX' will actually cause the game to change it to one of the homage initals.
  • Irony: In USA 2, Player #7's car has a green paint job. Green is often thought to be an unlucky color in racing, so mixing it with Lucky Seven can be seen as ironic.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: In Daytona USA 2 PE, on ending a multiplayer race, you are shown a cutscene of your driver and pit crew reacting to your result. The cutscene gets more depressing the lower your final position is.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: The Scorpio Plasma Batteries car in 2. Hornet takes this role outside the arcades.
  • Lethal Joke Character: A horse, a Secret Character that can be selected in the Sega Saturn version of the first game. Lethal because it doesn't take pit stops, which allows it to just run through them. This is particularly helpful on the Beginner track (if you're in the mood to be a big fat cheater) as the pit lane doesn't run parallel to the main track like it does on other courses.
  • Licensed Game: The game's title name was already owned by International Speedway Corporation and the game is obviously based on NASCAR, more specifically races held on Daytona.
  • Marathon Level: The higher lap settings.
  • Multiple Endings:
    • Finish 3rd or better in a non-multiplayer race in the original, and you get a special "Victory Lane" cutscene.
    • Upon ending a multiplayer race in Daytona USA, your car is shown attempting to do an about-turn, ending with a skid-stop, on the track. Only the winner does it flawlessly; other racers will fail to some degree, with their failure increasing in severity the lower down in rank they are.
  • The Mountains of Illinois: There are no mountains in the entire state of Florida and a large portion of Daytona Beach (the part with an actual beach, though not the speedway) has water on 3 sides, but the game prominently features them in skybox.
  • Mythology Gag: The expert course in USA 2 has roadsigns that mention places from past games.
  • Nintendo Hard:
    • One of the more difficult arcade racing games. Many players have difficulty with the third turn of the beginner courses, and the strict time limit ensures that only sufficiently-skilled players will finish.
    • To add some more difficulty, the AI racers in Power Edition are much more aggressive than Battle on the Edge.
    • Drifting. See Difficult but Awesome above.
  • Noob Bridge: The third and final turn of the Beginner course in all games is a sharp turn that mandates powersliding through it to complete without losing a lot of speed. Unfortunately, new players of the original are not likely aware of how to powerslide and usually end up eating wall; the end result is that an overwhelming majority of players run out of time before finishing the required laps because they slam into the wall every time. Daytona USA 2 alleviates this a little by showing a powersliding tutorial during the Attract Mode.
  • Palette Swap:
    • The opponent cars, but to be fair it is based on NASCAR.
    • Manual transmission cars have a different paint job than their automatic counterparts.
    • The different 'Hornets' you can unlock in Daytona USA's Sega Saturn port are this. And there's eight.
  • Purposely Overpowered: The Daytona car in Deluxe, which had maxed stats. You can take it for a spin if you get first place on every track.
  • Retraux
    • Sega Racing Classic takes the "Classic" portion of the title literally. Aside from an improved draw distance and a true 16:9 widescreen resolution, it looks exactly like the original Daytona USA.
    • The PlayStation 3 port of the game comes with an 8-Bit XMB theme.
    • The Hornet Classic in USA 2 has a retro Model 2 look.
  • Rubber Band AI: A staple "feature" of most arcade racing games, of course.
  • Scenery Porn: Multiple courses, such as the nature-themed Beginner course in the original Daytona USA 2. It was sadly replaced with a generic NASCAR-style course in Power Edition. The Beginner theme still remained 'musical porn' though.
  • Secret Character:
    • A horse in the Saturn games. See Lethal Joke Character. In the original game, there are four horses, two for each transmission. White horses are manual, brown ones are automatic and there are versions that race by themselves and versions that race with a baby colt behind them. CCE also has two horses (brown and white again) that can be "driven" in either transmission.
    • Several cars in 2001 are hidden, like the Unicorn and Javelin. See a few of them being viewed here. Deluxe also had a special car called "Daytona", which was shaped like the original Hornet.
    • The Hornet Classic is hidden within Battle of the Edge, but it plays nothing like its original or Power Edition counterparts.
    • In addition to the standard four cars available, the Super Beginner course in Scud Race Plus allows the player to choose between a cat, a tank with a head (that can shoot shells), a bus filled with the developers, and a rocket car by holding down the Start button while selecting a normal car.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: The hidden "Maniac Mode" in the Saturn version makes the opponents faster and more aggressive.
  • Shown Their Work: The Hornet Classic in Daytona USA 2: Power Edition controls exactly like and has the same red-blue AT/red-yellow MT paintjob as the Hornet in the original game. It even has the same rolling start on the Beginner course. It's also the sole exception to the game penalizing you for attempting to shifter-drift with a spinout.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Keeping in the spirit of the first game, Mitsuyoshi versions of 2's soundtrack exist. They can even be raced to. All three songs. Now try racing seriously with him singing in such a goofy way.
  • Spiritual Successor:
    • SCUD Race, at least until Daytona USA 2, a proper sequel, was released.
    • Le Mans 24 is this to Scud Race.
  • Stalked by the Bell: In the original game, the timer starts beeping when it counts down to 5 and beeps faster when it counts down to 3. In both versions of Daytona USA 2, the timer turns orange and starts beeping when it counts down to 9, then turns red and beeps faster when it counts down to 5. All these are also accompanied by a notification from your crew chief.
    *beep-beep-beep-beep* *beep-beep-beep-beep* *BEBEBEBEBEBEBEBEBEBEBEBE-* *engine revs down*
  • Updated Re-release:
  • What the Hell, Player?: In the Advanced Course in the original Daytona, there's a branching path that requires you to turn around at the starting line to find it. Drive to the end of this path and you'll see a message that reads "Congratulations! You just lost your sponsors!"
  • You All Look Familiar: The purple #00 and #99 cars in the original.

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