Rush 2: Extreme Racing USA

a game by Midway
Genre: Racing
Platform: Nintendo 64Nintendo 64
Editor Rating: 7.6/10, based on 3 reviews, 7 reviews are shown
User Rating: 8.0/10 - 1 vote
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See also: Racing Games, Car Racing Games

People say:

8.0

Rush fans--grab your wallets and head out to the videogame store because Rush 2 is heck of a lot better than the original. For starters, car control is much more refined and responsive. Whereas last year you could hardly turn more than 30 degrees, now you can whip a U-turn with ease if you need to (well, not quite, but...). It's nice to weave in and out of traffic looking for the right lane with the new agile cars. Also key are several new mod options. Beyond suspension, tires, acceleration and the other standbys, motor type, torque and durability are also included. Picking the right engine is key on some of the more challenging tracks. Retrieving certain power-ups requires massive jumping power and some engines just can't handle it. In appearance, the cars are more detailed with brighter paint schemes and better shading effects. In fact, the entire game has been sharpened-up over last year. It's not nearly as foggy and grey. Light-sourcing effects and just plain ol' color have turned the look around. As for gameplay, finding all of the keys and Dew cans per track is tough but the rewards are worth the hassle. The search adds many hours of replay. The new stunt track is a blast as well. Overall, Rush 2 is a vastly improved sequel and definitely worth a look, especially for Rush fans.

4.5

Rush 2 is a good racer for anyone who doesn't mind repetitive, mindless gameplay. Although, the keys and Mountain Dew cans do add an extra element to the gameplay. The stunt track is the best part of this racer--there's something therapeutic about flipping your car around like crazy and watching it explode. The rest of the game is average at best, except for the Two-player Mode. I would rent Rush 2 before buying it.

6.5

You have to wonder if the developers of this game have ever actually driven a car before because the way it controls is absolutely nothing like you'd expect. Gameplay is much better than the original game though. It feels a bit odd, but the shortcuts and stunts make for interesting races, especially in Two-player Mode. The graphics are horrible--there's not much pop-up, but the smooth candy-like visuals are disgusting.

8.5

Forget the NASCARs and F1s. If you want all-out unrealistic, yet fun arcade action, then give Rush 2 a run. The game is a blast. As you'd expect, the game is full of crazy jumps, high-speed stunts and secret paths, giving Rush 2 a distinct and exciting flavor not found in any other racer. I'm disappointed in the lack of a Four-player Mode, even though it was left out purposely for tech reasons. But overall. Rush 2 is a fun experience.

Download Rush 2: Extreme Racing USA

Nintendo 64

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Rush 2: Extreme Racing USA

Forget traditional racing games and kiss goodbye to the laws of physics, because Hush 2 has arrived!

The prequel to Rush 2, San Francisco Rush, met with a great deal of derision from many people when it first reached the N64 because of its dated graphics, sluggish controls and fairly dull-looking cars. However, those N64 gamers who actually put in a bit of effort and played the game for more than ten minutes soon realised that San Francisco Rush had one very important thing going for it - it was damn good fun!

Quite what it was about the first game that made it so enjoyable isn't easy to pin down. It was possibly a combination of the huge gravity-defying jumps, the massive amount of freedom as to where you could drive and the sheer addictiveness of tracking down and trying to collect the numerous keys scattered around each track. Rush 2 takes the positive elements of SF Rush and builds on them while at the same time eradicating many of the negative elements of the original. Er... apart from the graphics.

This books Familiar...

For despite early promises, Rush 2 is -graphically, at least - almost indistinguishable from its predecessor. You could point out the shiny new cars, polished to within an inch of their lives and so reflective that clouds are actually mirrored in the bodywork.

But shiny chrome exteriors not withstanding, not much else has changed aesthetically. The cars still look like escapees from a late Eighties coinop with wheels that from behind - which after all is where you most often view them - look like non-moving charcoal briquettes. The game also has a habit of dipping through walls, buildings and cars if you do something unexpected, which is surprising considering that you're supposed to be able to drive pretty much where you want. You'd think the game engine could handle it However, graphics were not what made the first game good, and it has to be said that they're not what counts this time around either. Oh sure, there's bound to be some reality-obsessed techies whingeing about the unrealistic physics, or the lack of proper textures on the cars, but they can spend their lives plugged into Gran Turismo on the PlayStation or salivating over the technically excellent but hard-to-get-into F-1 Grand Prix on the N64 and stay out of our way!

More Jumps Than A Soho Brothel!

If you're not fussed about physics and are looking for a crazy, non-stop intensely enjoyable racing game with the nuttiest jumps around, then cast your eyes over Rush 2.

SF Rush had seven tracks, all of which were set in fictional cities apart from the seventh secret Alcatraz track. Rush 2 offers you seven enormous courses which take you through fairly accurately re-created versions of well-known US cities, and also throws in three fictional but downright hairy tracks of its own.

Although the game has just ten tracks, all of them can be raced mirrored and/or reversed, making a total of 40 different tracks in all! Curiously, there Is also an option to odd fogging to the game, which seems unusual as the viewing distance in the game is actually very good. The question has to be why would anyone want to add fogging to an N64 game?

The answer comes when you study Circuit mode. As in the first game, you race in circuit mode on all track variations of the first seven tracks (normal, mirrored, reversed, mirrored and reversed). This means that you have a total of 28 races, and presumably someone decided that playing the same track four times would be a bit samey, so the fog was added to make things look a little different and to confound gamers even more.

Speed Demons Apply Here

The Circuit mode is - like in the last game - bloody difficult. However, it's not impossible and with some thoughtful car choices and careful adjustments it is possible to succeed without using any cheats.

Also as in the first game, the racing is only a part of the gameplay. Each track can also be played in Practice mode and also normal Race mode, where you can set the number of laps and competitors and play around with things like wind speed and fogging. Practice mode is best for exploring the cities, because when you crash the game puts you back on the road close to where you exploded, as opposed to rushing you off up the track like it does in when racing.

If you want to collect the keys then you need to be racing. You don't have to do a circuit, but you do need to be competing against other cars. The best thing to do is to put the laps up to eight so that you have plenty of time to explore.

Lime Green With Puce!

The car design facility from SF Rush has been vastly improved. Each car now has two different colours to change - a body colour and an 'accent' colour (bumpers, side stripes, etc) and you can add a number of different stripes too. It doesn't stop there though. Players can choose the hubcap designs, the engine sound, the horn and also change various attributes to make the cars faster, more controllable and more durable (essential on the stunt track).

Take a look at the basic car here, for example, along with one of an almost infinite number of variations you could create from it!

Anyone unfamiliar with the first game won't know about the keys. Basically, there are a number of golden keys hidden at various unusual or near-inaccessible points throughout each track. When you collect a certain number of them, you gain an extra car which can be used on that track. These include a taxi and a hot rod, both of which perform far better than the earlier cars.

This time around, there are more keys per track and as a rule they're more difficult to find than they were in SF Rush. Often you can see them hanging high in the air, only to find out that you need to make a jump from somewhere totally different to start a sequence of leaps which eventually bring you to the key.

Rush 2 The Shops!

Another addition from the first game are the soft drink cans (Mountain Dew, whatever that is). These are hidden throughout the game like the keys and when collected also grant you a bonus car, the dragster.

just like SF Rush, the most enjoyable part of Rush 2 is searching the various tracks to find the best jumps and locate all the secrets. However, unlike the first game, this time the racing element itself is extremely playable. Also improved is the two-player mode which ran a bit slow in the original but now contains all the speed and enjoyment of the one-player game and also includes a 'tag' game. Shame it doesn't support four players really...

At the end of the day. Rush 2 is an incredibly enjoyable game with elements that should keep you going back to it for a long time to come. If you're into technical excellence and top graphics then look somewhere else, but if you're after one of the most enjoyable racing games currently available, then take this for a spin!

2nd rating opinion

Although Rush 2 is better than the first game in terms of car handling, the exploration aspect doesn't seem to be done as well. Some tracks hardly have any hidden ramps or jumps! Rush 2 is enjoyable for a while, but lacks surprises.

Hurry Hurry

Rush 2 is based in part on the arcade version, Rush The Rock, and features 12 tracks, including New York, Hawaii, and Alcatraz, complete with hair-raising corkscrew section. The handling has been improved to match the more exciting courses, so it's now possible to make much sharper handbrake turns than in SFR. The balance of the game has been tilted more towards pure racing, but the low gravity and strange physics model remain, making two-wheel driving and 20-storey jumps a regular occurrence.

To take full advantage of the ability to flip the cars over at will. Rush 2 includes a surreal stunt track packed with ramps, jumps, and obstacles. Points are awarded for style and difficulty, with bonuses for hitting the rings and targets dotted around the course. Wave Race on wheels, anyone?

With 16 standard cars, ranging from family estates to customised hot rods, an additional five secret vehicles to find, the golden keys from SFR, plus the option to customise the cars, tracks, weather, conditions and game style, Rush 2 looks like it'll keep arcade racing fans happy for quite a while. And those of you who recall the original game's "soundtrack" will be delighted to hear that the music has been given a good old-fashioned remix. Ahem.

Midway may have left Its heart in San Francisco--but it's kept the thrills and spills of Rush and taken them on a road trip In Rush 2 Extreme Racing USA!

PURPOSEFUL HAZE?

New Rush locales include Seattle, Los Angeles, Hawaii, Las Vegas, an enhanced Alcatraz, and two New York courses, so watch for landmarks such as the Brooklyn Bridge, the Hollywood Bowl, and every major Vegas casino. The stunt-oriented Pipe, Half-Pipe, and Crash courses offer advanced wall-hugging challenges. However, despite improved graphics overall, the game has been followed cross-country by San Francisco's notorious fog. At the horizon, it's not terribly distracting, but it would be nice if the fog would burn off before the game's release.

SIXTEEN-CAR GARAGE

Sluggish steering plagued the original SF Rush, but Rush 2 offers sharper response as well as adjustable car characteristics, so you can tweak your torque to taste. Even though the 16 cars--including a '60s muscle car, a 4x4, a rally coupe, and a '30s gangster sedan-feature preset attributes, you can tinker with engine size, tires, suspension, durability, color scheme, horn sound, and even choose from 20 wheel rims! When you take that dream machine out of the garage, you'll find Rush 2 offers the same high-flying arcade speedfest that fans know, love, and crave.

It's time to feel the Rush again! For Rush 2, Midway has hot-rodded almost every aspect of last year's model for a second lap of arcade racing thrills.

Into Overdrive

With sequels, the rule is simple: More is more. Rush 2 is no exception, packing 16 cars (plus a few secret rides), 10 tracks (and hidden courses), and more sneaky hidden icons to discover. This time, players can scream around Las Vegas, Hawaii, New York, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Alcatraz--or try their luck on three fantasy stunt courses, including a wicked half-pipe.

View to a Thrill

Take just one look at the arcade-accurate Alcatraz track or the fabulous Las Vegas strip--complete with all the real hotels in their proper places!-- and you'll realize how far Rush's graphics have evolved. Detailed textures and nuances make each race a high-speed sightseeing tour (the rats in the New York subways are a nice touch). Other visual touches include colored lighting and improved reflection textures (lights, clouds, etc.). In short, this game is pretty.

ONE GOOD TURN.....

The tracks, littered with shortcuts and alternate paths, offer plenty of challenging hills, jumps, ramps, and tight turns. It's easy to spend hours goofing around on the psychedelic stunt track alone. An improved physics model enables cars to pop up on two wheels and roll realistally, while the steering problems of the first game have been corrected. At last, you can turn the car just with the analog joystick; slamming the car into reverse is only necessary when taking tight turns. While the engine and squealing-tire sound effects aren't revolutionary, they are satisfying. One cool addition: The crowd now "oohs" and "aahs" when you pull off a stunt or recover from a tricky flip.

Tweaking Your Torque

Drivers will be happy to hear that car setups can now be customized before each race. Whether you want to boost your acceleration at the expense of your car's durability, select specific tires for better traction, choose the kind of noise your horn makes, or just decide which color and style of stripe streaks down your car's paint job, you'll find ample tinkering possibilities here for every kind of gamer. The new options offer flexibility without ruining the arcade-style floor-it-and-go appeal of Rush racing.

All This and Rush 2

Rush 2 packs in enough quality racing to satisfy even the most jaded gamer. All the changes and updates seem minor when taken individually, but they add up to a satisfying new whole. Rush 2 is well worth its price.

ProTips:

  • Grab three keys on any one track to unlock the taxi.
  • Drive the formula car by snagging 12 keys on any one course.
  • When hunting for keys in Practice mode, choose a fast car (like the Exotic or Concept) to facilitate those inevitable giant leaps.
  • In Los Angeles, watch for this car dealership after Checkpoint 3. It hides a key--and a preview of the secret car you'll drive when you collect all 12 keys.
  • Collecting six keys on one track will give you access to the hotrod.
  • If you bear left at the university after the first checkpoint in Los Angeles, you'll find a dirt path shortcut that skips the freeway entrance.
  • To collect a key, you must touch the key itself, not just the sphere surrounding it.
  • For a high-flying shortcut in downtown New York, look for this parking garage to the left shortly after passing the first checkpoint.

Graphics

Rush 2 Extreme Racing USA looks gorgeous, sporting detailed textures, colored lighting, animated reflections, and a wide color palette. A fast frame rate and minimum pop-up make it ever sweeter.

Control

The sluggish steering problems from the original version have been fixed--the wheel's a lot more responsive now and the controls are once again fully customizable.

Sound

User-selected engine sounds and car horns join the standard explosions and tire squeals. The tunes are a bit funkier and more percussive, and, for better or for worse, the wacky high-score music returns.

Fun Factor

Better graphics and tracks, more secrets... Rush 2 is exactly what fans of the original had hoped for. It's how arcade racing games should be done.

One of the best racing games for the N64 has just gotten better. Now I know that this is not saying much since the majority of racing games on the N64 have been average at best. Rush 2 Extreme Racing finally breaks out of the average label and actually makes its way into the not too bad category. If you are looking for realistic racing, you may as well stop reading now because this game is anything but realistic.

Rush 2 moves out of San Francisco and ventures out to see the rest of the world. There are 11 shortcut filled tracks and a ton of cars available for your racing mayhem. Everything you know about cars, physics and racing can be thrown out the window because these tracks might as well be on the moon. You will et the opportunity to rip through the streets of some of the major cities in the US and it just so happens that I am lucky enough to live in one these cities so I can actually vouch for the realism or lack of in at least one of the cities. It is time to strap on your flying gear and Rush.

Gameplay

I am almost tempted to call this game a flying sim more than a driving sim. Wait a second. Retract that last statement. There is actually nothing sim about this game at all. It is 100 percent pure arcade racing. There are minor things that may be considered sim elements, which I will discuss later but make no mistake about it, this game is not sim. If you go in looking for a driving sim, you will not make it to the first checkpoint in the first race before ripping the game out and smashing it to thousands of pieces.

While playing this game, I found that there are really three big draws to it. The first of these draws is the cities that the races are in. You can race in Alcatraz, Hawaii, Hollywood, Las Vegas, New York Uptown, New York Downtown and in my home city, Seattle. Now I can't vouch for the rest of the locations but I will say that they did an admirable job on recreating Seattle. Is it perfect? No, but it does give a good enough representation for someone who has never been here and just wants to rip through town at 150 MPH. I assume the other tracks are the same. There is just something that is really cool about playing a game and seeing landmarks from your city. I don't really know why that is. Now that I think about it, it is the same thing with TV and movies. People always get excited to see the city they live in (Hollywood excluded) on TV or in the movies. Sorry, I guess I am straying from the review at hand.

The second big draw to this game has to be the available vehicles. This game does not have the licensing rights to actual cars but you would have to be pretty dense not to see that they are real cars that just are not referenced by the real name. The Viper is obviously a Viper. The Mustang is obviously a Mustang. The old Corvette is obviously an old Corvette. The point is that it will be very obvious what the cars are. Now, I figured since the cars were blatant replicas of real vehicles, they would give the names that were close to the real names but not quite the same. You know, they could have called the Camaro the Samaro or something. I guess that would have been a little too close to for the lawyers liking.

The one are that this game can almost be considered a sim is when it comes to setting these vehicles up. You can leave them as the default set up or you get your hands dirty and start some customization. You can change everything from the color of your paint to the color of your racing strip to your tires to the engine you want to use. I thought that it was really strange that you could put different engines in your car. This was cool but it didn't really fit this game. This is something that most die-hard sims don't even let you change. It was nice to have the option to do so but I always felt like I was screwing things up rather than making them better.

The third thing that this game has going for it is the over the top gameplay. Like I said above, this game is almost more like a flying game than a driving game. You will spend more time in the air flying over jumps than you will on the road. Is this bad? No, it was actually kind of fun. It does take some getting used to though. The game does not try to pretend to be anything but an outrageous and exaggerated attempt at racing so if you keep this in mind, you will be in better shape.

Aside from the massive jumps, this game has a few other things that give it a feeling of exaggeration. For one, each track has a bunch of multiple paths. I quickly learned that not all branches are the fastest. Usually in racing games, taking an obscure branch in a road would almost always be a short cut and net you some extra time. That was not always the case. It seemed like more often than not, the branches were about the same as the obvious path. One thing that I did not like about some of these branches is that it was difficult to tell if they were taking you the correct direction or not. For example, in the downtown areas, everything is broken out into blocks. Most of the blocks have 90-degree turns. Sometimes I would try to take a different road only to find out that I was going the wrong way. There was no way of know until it told you. I guess this was just part of the challenge but what it did to me was keep me from trying new paths.

The game also has one thing that is a little different from other games. Scattered across the cities were Mountain Dew cans and keys. I really should not scattered across because they are really not scattered. More like hidden. You really have to search hi and low for them. If you collect enough keys, you will unlock a bonus car. The MD cans give your current vehicle a jolt. For the most part, these things were located in obscure places so they were difficult to find. I would usually stumble across one every now and then but I really did not go out of my way to find them.

Graphics

This game has a fog setting. Can somebody please tell me why anyone would intentionally add fog to a N64 game? IT DOES NOT NEED ANY HELP! After saying this, you should have a pretty good idea of my feelings toward fog in games. Even when you crank the fog all the way down, it still has a bit of fog in the distance. it is not too terrible but it is there. Aside from the fog, the graphics are pretty good. There was nothing that was overly impressive but they were pretty standard N64 graphics. The cars did look cool and you could always tell what kind of car you were next to or you were in.

Bottom Line

This game was not too bad. The more I played it, the more I enjoyed it. At first, I really did not like the multiple paths because I always felt that I was missing out on some great short cut. After I played a bit more, I came to realize that the branching paths may be good or may be bad. If you are a fan of arcade racers that have very little resemblance to real racing, you would like this game. If you are a fan of the NASCAR racing games, run far, far away.

The home versions of San Francisco Rush were certainly unique playing experiences. On one hand, you have some great track designs that made for some very exciting matches. On the other hand, you had some shoddy controls that made for some very frustrating matches. Well, the developers have listened to all the comments, criticisms and complaints and are now attempting to bring us a new-and-improved Rush experience.

Rush 2 uses a completely reworked version of the original Rush engine--the cars will drive much differently than they did in San Fran. Certain cars can now drift, meaning you'll be doing a lot more fishtailing and powersliding than you did before. You'll still be able to pick non-drifting cars (i.e., "realistic" cars--after all, real-life racing cars aren't supposed to powerslide at 150 mph), which may actually perform better in the hands of veterans.

On top of control tweaks, the game will have 11 new tracks (plus one hidden one). Most of the courses are themed around U.S. locales, like Las Vegas and Alcatraz. The others are strictly stunt tracks and are designed to cause havoc, like the Half Pipe. Of course, Rush 2 will be full of shortcuts and rooftop racing.

Besides the new tracks, you'll get to drive one of 16 selectable and five secret cars. You can customize them, from altering the detailing and color, to changing the engine, tires ... even the horn! You'll also be able to dress your car with heavy-duty roll bars and body framing--all the better to smash other cars with.

The improvements don't stop there. The programmers have tweaked the physics engine, improved the graphics, and perhaps most importantly of all, changed the music. It certainly seems the development team took the time to listen to the gaming community and fixed a lot of the problems plaguing the first game. So if you were left with the impression that San Francisco Rush could've been something great, keep an eye out for Rush 2. It may finish what the first game started.

Snapshots and Media

Nintendo 64/N64 Screenshots

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