As the title suggests, all of the courses in the game are based in California, with the original including Silicon Valley, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Laguna Seca, Highway 1, San Francisco, Central Valley, Los Angeles, Willow Springs, San Diego, Yosemite, Mount Shasta, Mojave Desert, and Sears Point courses. Nintendo 64 version added Clover, Oval, Fuji and San Andreas courses, along with a special bonus track where you raced through a shrunken down version of the entire state, but removed Lugana Seca, Willow Springs and Sears Point.
The game itself has the same kind of fast-paced, arcade-style racing as seen in San Francisco Rush and Cruis'n USA. The arcade version even awarded a free game if you came in first place.
This game contains examples of:
- Adjustable Censorship: Arcade operators can set the arcade game's ending to "Spicy" or "Mom and Apple Pie". The former involves a lady in a bikini with suggestive dialogue, while the latter has a more modestly dressed woman with tamer dialogue.
- Difficulty Levels: Easy, Advanced or Expert.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: One of the tracks goes through a mall, and lets you run over the pedestrians there.
- Wacky Racing: None of the courses are limited to just racing on the roads; they all go off-road at some point. Example: The end of the Santa Cruz course has you racing on a rollercoaster.
- The hidden "California" track on the N64 port cranks this trope up to eleven by having you race through the entire state in one track, but everything is smaller... (Or maybe you're bigger? The game doesn't exactly explain...)