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Video Game / San Francisco Rush

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A series of arcade-style racing games, originally developed by Atari Games and released by Midway Games. The games focus on jump physics and wildly insane stunts instead of realistic gameplay, though it's possible to turn up the realism for more advanced players. True to the title, the races are held in the streets and environs of San Francisco (a simplified version, really), where the hilly terrain provides numerous opportunities to perform jumps and stunts.

Also, most tracks have a large number of shortcuts, some very obvious and some that can be found only after being very familiar with the track. The better shortcuts are more dangerous, requiring the player to determine the risk/reward of each in a fraction of a second.

The home console versions also have a stunt mode that really shows off the physics engine, and other extras like Battle Mode.


The series consists of:

  • San Francisco Rush: Extreme Racing (Arcade - 1996)
    • San Francisco Rush: Extreme Racing (Nintendo 64 - 1997)
    • San Francisco Rush The Rock: Alcatraz Edition (Arcade - 1997)
    • San Francisco Rush: Extreme Racing (PlayStation - 1998)
  • Rush 2: Extreme Racing USA (Nintendo 64 - 1998)
  • San Francisco Rush 2049 (Arcade - 1999)note 
  • L.A. Rush (PlayStation 2, Xbox, PC - 2005)
    • Rush (PSP - 2006)

This game series demonstrates the following tropes:

  • Arrange Mode: The N64 San Francisco Rush and Rush 2 have a tag mode where the game lasts 5 minutes and the player who is IT! tries to tag the other player's car to make them IT! Each player has a timer that counts up so long as they're IT!; whoever has less time on their clock when the game ends wins.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Rocket in Rush 2, Has explosive acceleration and handling, and, unsurprisingly for a rocket on wheels, handles like an elephant on ice.
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  • Benevolent Architecture: Sure, the streets are cordoned off for the race, but someone still overlooked those ramps, subway tunnels, spacious sewer pipes, and hills that are just perfect for shortcuts...
  • Bland-Name Product: Most of the cars. E.g., the Muscle Car is a Corvette Stingray, the Prototype is a Ford GT-90, the Sportster is a Dodge Viper, and the Panther is a McLaren F1.
  • Cool, but Inefficient: 2049's Track 3 has a bridge ramp you can jump, and the game will measure your jump height. It is possible to get a jump height of over 100 by driving up one of the bridge rails, at which point the height counter will flash, but you get no gameplay advantage for it and you'll likely slow yourself down more than if you just jumped normally, if not outright make a crash landing.
  • Cool Car: Some propelled by rockets, some with wings and all get bonus points for doing wicked midair spins.
  • Capcom Sequel Stagnation
  • Damage-Proof Vehicle: In 2049, you can make your car go end over end, and, unlike other Rush games, where this trope is averted, if you manage to land on your wheels, the car will be completely undamaged... usually.
  • Decade-Themed Filter: The Playstation intro starts in this manner, using jumpy film stock and vintage piano music, and being presented in black and white. It quickly fades to color though.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: The shortcuts. It's fairly easy to crash while taking a shortcut, but get through without bursting into pieces and you'll put yourself at an advantage.
  • Drive On Water: Except when it just resets you because you're not supposed to be there.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The Alcatraz course first appears in the N64 version as a Secret Level, but in a far different state than how it would appear in later games, with less guardrails, looser turns, heavier use of generic textures, and less flashy shortcuts.
  • Easter Egg:
    • In San Francisco Rush Track 2, if you can jump across the gap in the Bay Bridge, you'll find a hidden half-pipe stunt area with advertisements for Mace: The Dark Age, one of Midway's other games.
    • In the console ports of San Francisco Rush and Rush: The Rock, Track 6 (7 in The Rock) has a hidden cavern where the Sutro Baths would be containing a two-story stunt arena.
  • Energy Weapon: In battle mode.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto:
    • Your car will instantly explode if flipped upside down, no exceptions. Or if you crash at a certain speed.
    • Rush 2 adds a "Suicide" mode which exaggerates this trope, found in the cheat menu. Even TOUCHING another car causes both cars to explode, with especially hilarious results at the beginning of an 8-car race when the CPU-controlled opponents inevitably bump into each other. However, turning the Suicide setting to "Humans" will cause only human-controlled cars to exhibit this behavior.
  • Expansion Pack: The arcade version of 2049 got two of them: The Tournament Edition which adds some now-defunct tournament functionality, and the Special Edition which adds the two courses from the console versions with some new paths and shortcuts.
    • Additionally with an N64 Expansion Pak you can to unlock 2 more tracks and an additional circuit in 2049.
  • Fake Longevity: The console versions' Circuit Modes are as long as they are because they use not only the base versions of the tracks, but also their reversed, mirrored, and reversed-and-mirrored variations, resulting in four times as many rounds as there are unique tracks.
  • Final Death Mode: In the console ports, turning on "Death Mode" causes any car that explodes to remain gone for the remainder of the race. If no player cars are remaining, it's a Game Over. Subverted in the circuit modes; dying will end the race but still allow you to move on to the next round.
  • Harder Than Hard:
    • The "Extreme"-level cars in San Francisco Rush.
    • In the console versions, turning up the difficulty reduces the time limit.
    • In Rush 2049, the "Extreme" handling level.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Of a sort, in arcade games other than 2049: as you go up the car list to more difficlt-to-use cars, an increasingly urgent car alarm plays. When you get to "Extreme", an "IT'S DANGEROUS!" sample followed by a scream track plays as well.
  • Invisible Wall: Sometimes you'll be scraping the side barrier 50 feet up in the air, although it does help you stay on track.
  • Jump Physics: Let's just say that flying over the top of the stunt levels is far from unusual, and the things you can do with that amount of airtime are absurd, to say the least.
  • Later Installment Weirdness:
    • The console versions of 2049 remove the arcade-style time limit, when even previous console games have it (and in which the timer can only be disabled with cheats), and allow you to open wings to control your vehicle's orientation in the air.
    • L.A. Rush is nothing like the rest of the series, drawing more inspiration from Need for Speed: Underground with a touch of Pimp My Ride by featuring an open world and visual car customization, with backing by licensing West Coast Customs as the entity tricking out your ride.
  • Minus World: The "underworld" underneath the track, which can be accessed by glitching through the ground or jumping off the track where the Invisible Wall is absent. In most cases though, landing outside the track resets your position.
  • Mission-Pack Sequel
  • Multi-Platform: As noted, 2049 was released simultaneously on the Nintendo 64 and Dreamcast. As well as LA Rush.
  • New York Subway: Available as shortcuts in Rush 2's New York courses.
  • No Fair Cheating: Trying to get keys in the console ports? Sorry, you can't pick them up in practice mode! Subverted, in that you can just enter the "no time limit" cheat and play the basic race mode, then get the keys with no issue.
  • Numerical Hard: The only things that the difficulty settings change in the console versions is how much time you start with and how much you gain from a checkpoint (if checkpoints are set to give time extensions).
  • Oh, Crap!: Switches in 2049 do a lot of different thingsl one in particular raises a wall with a smiley face on in it directly in your path.
    • Another sends a giant piston out about 100 yards in front of you. Admit it, you would pay to see the looks on the other drivers' face when the giant piston comes out right in front of them.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • In the N64 games, the "cones into mines" cheat will turn all traffic cones into mines that will instantly detonate your car upon contact. There is another cheat that also turns cones into mines but on contact transforms your car into a mine that will instantly destroy the next opponent that you touch.
    • In Rush 2, the Suicide cheat causes cars that touch each other to explode instantly.
    • Rush 2's Killer Rats cheat turns the rats in the New York courses from harmless objects that can be run over into bigger, malicious-looking rats that will instant-kill you on contact.
  • Product Placement:
    • Mountain Dew cans act as collectibles in Rush 2. Collecting all of them on a course will unlock a special Mountain Dew car just for that course.
    • Billboards for Electronic Gaming Monthly and other Atari games such as California Speed and Area 51 appear in the games.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: FIFTY YEARS IN THE FUTURE for 2049
    • Also, Rush 2, which is Rush in places other than San Fran! Which is also the reason it dropped the "San Francisco" part of the title.
  • Re-Release Soundtrack: The Midway Arcade Treasures 3 version of The Rock had the arcade soundtrack replaced with Suspiciously Similar Songs. The N64 version of Rush 2049 had a completely new soundtrack, with some of its songs carrying over to the Dreamcast and MAT 3 versions, which otherwise retained the original arcade soundtrack.
  • Rule of Cool: Why cars have wings in the home version of 2049
    • Not to mention the stunts as a whole. The first race in the first game allowed you to drive under an 18-wheeler semi, vault up eight stories to land on top of an apartment building, then drive back down to the street level with a sizable lead... if you could pull it off, of course.
  • Secret Level:
    • In the N64 version of the original game, the Alcatraz course is available as the seventh and final track, although it must be unlocked by winning the Circuit Mode trophy (or entering a Password Save to bypass that) and then perfoming a series of button commands. It has a similar layout to the version seen in later games, although it is missing a lot of elements. Later games either make it available by default (Rush: The Rock and Rush 2) or with a more straightforward unlock method (Rush 2049, where you just need to grind mileage).
    • In Rush 2, the Midway course can be unlocked by winning Circuit Mode. The course is a trip through the Midway headquarters; depending on your interpretation either the office is giant-sized or the cars are toy-sized.
  • Shortcuts Make Long Delays: Many of the shortcuts are more hazardous than sticking to the main route, resulting in the player crashing if they are careless (and a Game Over if "Death" is turned on).
  • Spikes of Doom: Cheat codes in the console ports of San Francisco Rush and Rush 2 turn the traffic cones into spiky mines. Depending on which of the two cheats you enter, they'll either blow you up upon contact, which renders coned-off shortcuts practically unusable, or turn your car into a mine that will blow up one other car on contact before reverting back to normal form.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Atari Games' earlier racing sims, Hard Drivin' and Race Drivin' .
  • Take That!: In the arcade version of 2049, entering 8675309 (as in "867-5309/Jenny" by Tommy Tutone) and then hitting the pound/Enter key during gameplay results in an instant Game Over.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Selecting an "Extreme" level car in San Francisco Rush will cause a voice clip to shout "IT'S DANGEROUS!" In the console port, the "IT'S DANGEROUS!" clip plays as soon as you highlight the car, rather than when you actually select it.
  • Timed Mission
  • Timelapse: The Playstation version intro is done in this manner, with a car driving at fast speed through San Francisco traffic.
  • Title Scream: "3, 2, 1, RUSH!"
    • "WHAT'S YO NAME?!"
  • Updated Re-release:
    • San Francisco Rush: The Rock Alcatraz Edition, which adds the courses from the console ports and a new Alcatraz course, as well as new cars. A later revision allowed arcade-to-arcade online matching.
    • San Francisco Rush 2049: Tournament and Special Edition. The former adds support for tournaments, though strips the unique fonts used in the original version. The latter adds two new courses.
  • Vehicular Combat: Battle Mode

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