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Video Game / Cruis'n

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Cruis'n is a series of arcade Racing Games developed by Eugene Jarvis for Midway Games and published by Nintendo. The premise is about as simple and arcade-y as it comes — you drive a car across a voyage along a set of tracks that are confined to a specific theme, depending on which game you are playing. Your goal is to come in first on each course and attempt to make it to the very end, while also dodging all the oncoming traffic. Fret not, however, if you run into the traffic, as your car will only comically fly through the air before landing back on track unscathed.

The series began in 1994 in arcades with the release of Cruis'n USA. This game is particularly noteworthy in the fact that Nintendo used it as a catalyst to show off the capabilities of the then-upcoming Nintendo Ultra 64 (which later became the Nintendo 64). They claimed it, along with the arcade version of Killer Instinct, was running on the same hardware that would eventually be seen in the home console proper and that the home port would be a launch title that would play identically to the arcade release. This turned out to be untrue, however, as the N64 hardware turned out to be vastly inferior to the proprietary arcade hardware that Midway actually used.

Two sequels followed — Cruis'n World in 1996, and Cruis'n Exotica in 2000. The former has the player traversing famous locations all around the world as opposed to a single country, while the latter takes the player across exotic places such as Las Vegas, Hong Kong, and Mars. A few more titles have been sprinkled about through the years, including a Game Boy Advance spinoff Cruis'n Velocity, a Wii reboot simply titled Cruis'n (which is actually a Dolled-Up Installment of another arcade racer based on The Fast and the Furious), and a 2017 revival called Cruis'n Blast which received a Nintendo Switch port in 2021.

This series provides examples of:

  • Artistic License Geography: The end of the Grand Canyon track features Mount Rushmore, which is about 1,000 miles away. In the game, it only takes a couple minutes to reach it. This happens all over the series; in World, the England race goes from London to Stonehenge, which is 75 miles away; also, the New York track looks like a mashup of everything the city has, as it goes from the Cross-Bronx Expressway to South Manhattan, close to the Statue of Liberty.
    • In the N64 port of Exotica, there's a mode where each course can be run as a two-leg race, with start and finish points provided. Aside from both legs being indistinguishable in terms of scenery, the first leg of the Korea race states that it goes from Pyongyang to Seoul. Problem is, in real life, there are no roads in either Korea that cross the Demilitarized Zone.
  • Artistic License Physics: There is absolutely no attempt at realism. When running into other cars, even if it's head-on, the worst thing that happens is that your car flies through the air a bit before landing back on the ground and moving on like nothing happened. You can also plow through things like lamp posts and telephone poles with ease.
    • In an example that crosses over with Gameplay and Story Segregation, the Moon is only shown to have 1/5 of Earth's gravity in its intro cutscene. During the race, the car still jumps at the same height as on Earth.
    • In Exotica, the cars don't run any differently even if they are racing on the seabed or in Mars (whose gravity is 1/3 of Earth's). For that matter, drivers in their convertibles are able to breathe just fine in these environments.
  • Atlantis: A track features this in Exotica.
  • Bowdlerization:
    • The console ports of USA and World suffered from Nintendo's censorship practices. Among the things censored were:
      • The Ludicrous Gibs; animals no longer preside on the edges of tracks, and in cases when they cross the tracks, they are placed too far for the cars to hit them. Incidentally, the roadkill issue happens to be the reason why the game was taken off the N64 launch schedule in the first place.
      • The woman at the end of the race if you place in first; in the original arcade version, she wore only a bikini and skirt, but the console port of USA puts a T-shirt over the bikini top. In the console port of World, she is back to wearing a bikini, but she is disabled by default; you can enable her again in the options menu. Curiously, despite this being the case, the woman who waves the starting flag is still only wearing a bikini (possibly because she's much smaller and lower-res).
      • Bill Clinton in the Jacuzzi at the end of both games (and Exotica as well); you now only see your car on a podium in USA. Semi-justified in World as the final cutscene now leads to an extra track.
  • Big Applesauce: This is one of the tracks in World.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti: Yeti Adrenaline in the Switch port of Blast is a snowy landscape populated by giant Yeti.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: In the arcade versions, if you fail to come in first place, you can still progress forward if you insert another credit. In the home console port of USA, this is dropped and now coming in first is mandatory to move forward. In the console version of World, you can still move forward if you don't come in first, but your ranking will suffer due to it.
  • Build Like an Egyptian: The Egypt track in World has multiple pyramids and Sphinxes.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: The Wii game, simply title Cruis'n, is simply a port of an arcade game based on The Fast and the Furious with all the references to the film removed, though to be fair, that game was a Spiritual Successor to the Cruis'n series to begin with.
  • Easter Egg: On some tracks, if you switch the camera into the first person view, you will occasionally see bugs splatter on the windshield. Of course, you probably already knew this if you watched the Attract Mode on USA.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Tracks in Blast typically have all hell break loose over the course of the race.
  • Fauxrrari: Generic cars based on real-world models were used in the first two games and the N64 port of Exotica. The fictional cars' names were either gaudy or play on national stereotypes, like for example the Toyota Supra Expy "Kamikaze AWD". The arcade version of Exotica and later games in the series eventually featured licensed vehicles (Crusi'n Blast originally featured cars licensed from Lamborghini but lost the license for later arcade releases so dropped those vehicles in favor of more cars from their other licensed manufacturers - the Police Cruiser managing to retain a lot of obvious nods to the fact it was originally the Lamborghini Veneno).
  • Flying Saucer: The console port of Blast offers a UFO as a vehicle, as well as remixed tracks which show the locations under an alien invasion.
  • Living Dinosaurs:
    • Exotica has the Amazon track populated with various dinosaurs.
    • Blast contains dinosaurs in the Madagascar track and offers a Triceratops as an actual playable vehicle. The Nintendo Switch port of Blast has an entire cup dedicated to these creatures.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: In some tracks, you can run through animals and they'll disintegrate into a mess of bodily chunks.
  • Purposefully Overpowered: The Speed Demon in the N64 port of World, which is unlocked after maxing out your score at 9999 points in Championship Mode. It is the fastest car in the game by a long shot.
  • Recycled In Space: In Cruis'n World, the final track is on the moon. The entirety of Cruis'n Exotica can also qualify.
  • Remixed Level: In the Switch version of Blast, each track across the different cups has an alternate variant, five of them based on the tracks from the original arcade version. For example, "Twister Terror" is the arcade version's Death Valley but at sunset and with cop cars pursuing the drivers. It is remixed later on into "Desert Escape", turning the desert into a snowy wasteland and taking drivers along a new route while copters open fire on the drivers.
  • Silliness Switch:
    • Some of the unlockable cars in the console port of World qualify. You can drive a police car, a taxi, a monster truck, and a school bus. That is equally as fast as nearly every other car in the game.
    • Somehow, the bonus cars in Blast are even more ridiculous. Not only do you have cars that are otherwise completely unsuitable for racing in the real world like a British taxi cab and a double decker bus, you also have "cars" like a Roman chariot, and a Triceratops.
    • The Nintendo Switch version of Blast adds a selection of even more bizarre vehicle choices, including a UFO, a hammerhead shark, a tank, and a unicorn.
  • Sprite/Polygon Mix: The '90s trilogy offer some of the biggest examples. The cars and track maps are rendered in 3D (although the cars' textures are slapped-on 2D, which makes them look somewhat crude), but most roadside objects are 2D, including those that you can plow into. Exotica adds more 3D objects to the scenery, but still uses plenty of 2D.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The N64 version of Exotica didn't feature licensed cars, but a few of the cars included are clearly based on ones licensed for the arcade version, such as the Chevrolet Corvette and Jeep Wrangler.
  • Title Drop: In Cruis'n World, when your race car is shown being loaded onto a space shuttle for the Moon, an unseen driver will say "We're cruis'n now!".
  • Title Theme Tune: Each game has one.
  • Toilet Humor: In the India track in Exotica, there is a large elephant facing away from the screen by one of the bends. Passing it will result in elephant poop getting flung into the screen.
  • Wacky Racing: When the series has vehicles like an army Humvee, a big rig, a three-wheeled truck, a Deadhead van, and an old station wagon, it's a step in this direction. The courses take the series the rest of the way, including routes through an Egyptian pyramid, along the Great Wall of China, through a prehistoric jungle, and even on Mars.
  • World Tour: Cruis'n World, Exotica and Blast all have races spanning different corners of the globe.

Alternative Title(s): Cruisn World, Cruisn USA