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Forgotten Racers of SEGA’s Past: Daytona USA 2

Hello and welcome to another edition of Forgotten Racers of SEGA’s Past. This one is kind of special as it features another Model 3 racer I used to play tons of back in the day. It’s also a sequel to a game featured in the site’s Game of the Month a while back as well. So without dragging on this introduction any longer, here is a tribute to one of the best 3D SEGA racers to ever grace an arcade. Get on your helmet and grab your Takenobu Mitsuyoshi mixtape. It is time for the greatness that is Daytona USA 2.

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Brought to us in 1998 by SEGA-AM2, Daytona USA 2: Battle on the Edge was SEGA’s first attempt at making a sequel to their smash arcade hit Daytona USA. Never ported to any console, Daytona 2 is a perfect example of an arcade game that deserves some type of HD re-release. Like SEGA Super GT/Scud Race before it, Daytona USA 2 was built on SEGA’s powerful Model 3 arcade board. An upgraded version was released in 1998, dubbed the Power Edition.

Daytona 2 brought back a lot from the original game and added new gameplay aspects to make sure the two were different. The core gameplay is still the same though – take your pro-tuned NASCAR style stock car and win a circuit race.

Daytona 2 feels more like a professional stock car game though, both in its graphics, gameplay and design. In addition to drifting, a core technique in the first game, slingshot passing was another gameplay function put into Daytona 2. Slingshot passing in stock car racing is the act of drafting behind an opponent’s car and picking up speed through their air flow to slingshot around them to make a pass. Pretty cool stuff.

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Gameplay wise, Daytona 2 handles like a dream. This game has almost the perfect balance of arcade and simulation type handling. Drifting through corners never was better.

Daytona 2 also added the aspect of having a selection of cars to drive. There are three cars based on difficulty (easy, medium, and hard) and an additional fourth car in the Power Edition, based on the Hornet car from the original Daytona USA.

There are also two new courses, with the addition of a re-creation of the oval course from the first game, as well. The courses and new cars definitely add a level of challenge as opposed to the first Daytona, with new racing lines to learn and a new set of handling types to get accustomed to.

Daytona 2 had replay value and was not afraid to show it off. Also as a Daytona tradition, multiplayer was added to Battle on the Edge, as well, with a high number of linkable cabinets. The familiar Daytona control scheme has returned too, with a four speed shifter gas/brake, and four view change buttons, just like the first. The Power Edition also added a challenge course, that combined all three courses into a point-to-point race.

Daytona 2 came in two flavors in the arcade: a twin and deluxe, with the twin cabinets being based on SEGA Super GT’s cabinet design and the deluxe being its own moving cab with a huge projection screen.

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Another strong point in Daytona 2’s prowess was its graphics. Daytona 2 looks beautiful, even today. With car damage and a high quality in course design, it still holds up. Daytona 2 had a more realistic design than Daytona 1, looking almost real at times. Add a speed of 60 FPS, and you have a match made in heaven for a driving game.

I remember this game being in almost every arcade back in the day and just being blown away at how it looked. Being a NASCAR fan back then, and seeing how close SEGA had came to making the cars look almost like real stock cars was astonishing. Graphically, Daytona USA 2 will always be a looker, and definitely pushes the Model 3 to its limits at times.

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Audibly, Daytona 2 does not stop with the great presentation. The car audio sounds great, and so do the other sound effects. This game also had surround sound on some cabinets, with you hearing every crash in every direction.

The soundtrack took a different turn than the first, with a type of hair metal/hard rock soundtrack. Fitting, since the guitarist and drummer for Winger worked with SEGA on the soundtrack. Takenobu Mitsuyoshi also worked on the OST, with his vocals, but was only in the Japanese version, with the option to change the vocalist from Takenobu to the American vocalist, Dennis St. James. Both versions sound great, and are a great addition to the spectacular car audio.

All in all, Daytona USA 2 kicks ass. Being one of the best SEGA racers not get a home port is a shame. At least the challenge course from the Power Edition was added as a bonus to OutRun 2 on Xbox, alongside a course based on SEGA Super GT. But as an arcade racer, it still stands as one of the greats and is still be one of SEGA’s best.

If you ever see Daytona 2 in the arcade, it’s worth the play, especially if it’s the deluxe cabinet. You won’t be disappointed if you love arcade racers. Here’s hoping that SEGA releases an arcade racer collection one day, with this and all the great Model 2/3 racers.

Jayson Lamp

Resident SEGA racer expert of sorts,been playing them since OutRunners. Writer of the Forgotten Racers series,among other things. Favorite SEGA series is Hang-On,and my favorite console is the Saturn. "Welcome to our exciting circuit. Do your best,and good luck!!"-Power Drift,1988

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