San Francisco Rush

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a game by Atari Co., and Climax
Genre: Racing
Platforms: Nintendo 64Nintendo 64, Playstation
Editor Rating: 7.4/10, based on 8 reviews, 12 reviews are shown
User Rating: 5.0/10 - 2 votes
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See also: Racing Games, Car Games, San Francisco Rush Games
San Francisco Rush
San Francisco Rush
San Francisco Rush
San Francisco Rush

It makes sense to port the arcade hit San Francisco Rush to the Nintendo 64 for two reasons. First, the N64's SGI-supercharged graphics engine can mimic most of the effects pumped out by the coin-op's 3Dfx-based hardware. And second. San Francisco's a foggy place; as most N64 owners will agree, if there's one thing their system can do well, it's fog.

That said, SF Rush looks pretty close to arcade perfect. Sure, they had to take out some of the tiny details, such as a few trees, yet never for a minute do you think you're racing anywhere but the City by the Bay. You get all the landmarks (i.e., the Golden Gate Bridge), all the soupy weather (although you can change the level of fog at the Options Screen) and, most importantly, all the car-flingin' hills.

And with the hills comes the same go-anywhere gameplay that makes the coin-op so freakin' fun. There are very few places you can't take your car in this game, and shortcuts--most of which cut across fields and down side streets--are everywhere for the adventurous driver. Even rooftops and sewers are fair game if you have the right car and an inclination to leave the beaten path.

Speaking of cars, SF Rush give you more than eight to choose from. They all follow the same physics models used in the late-'8os arcade classic Hard Drivin', except now you can power-slide by using the handbrake or dropping into reverse (don't try that at home).

The game packs six tracks in all, three of which aren't from the arcade version. Other console-exclusive features include a new view of the action, split-screen for two players and the optional Death Mode. With this mode activated, all autos that crash and burn during a race will stay wrecked, forcing you to dodge their flaming husks each time you round the course. And while you may not get the force-feedback steering wheel of the coin-op, SF Rush is Rumble Pak-compatible. Your joypad not only rumbles with each fender-bending impact, it also vibrates when you take tight turns. The harder your turn, the more it rumbles.

The meat and potatoes of SF Rush is its Circuit Mode, which is made up of 24 tracks that you progress through by acquiring points. This mode takes the game's six basic tracks and reverses them, mirrors them, then reverses and mirrors them into 24 variations. It randomizes these courses each time you restart the circuit, so you're never quite sure what you're getting into.

Of course, in a game where every hill or ramp can launch you into an impromptu shortcut, not much is predictable.

  • MANUFACTURER - Atari Games
  • THEME - Racing
  • NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1 or 2

Download San Francisco Rush

Nintendo 64

System requirements:

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

System requirements:

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

Game Reviews

San Francisco Rush is... well, a race game (there's a bit of a clue in the title I guess). It's fast, it's colourful, it's... airborne!

For that's the first thing that you will notice about SF Rush (actually, I tell a lie, the first thing you'll notice is probably the graphics, but more on that in a moment). Anyone who's seen the old US cop show The Streets Of San Francisco will know that this particular city is what you might tactfully call 'a little bit hilly' and not the sort of place you'd want to do a Sunday paper round, and the streets of SF Rush are no exception! You'll find that you can barely turn a corner without going up or down a hill, and that makes for some very, well... 'aerial' gameplay.

Visually... Stunning?

As for the graphics... Well, they're, um, 'colourful' and, er... okay, I've got to say it, they look like they've been ported directly onto the N64 from some middle of the road PlayStation game! I mean, when you take a look at something like, for instance, Automobili Lamborghini, you'd be hard pressed to match them both to the same console. That said though, the game is fast and furious, and although graphics are obviously important, far more important (no matter what anyone says) is the quality of the gameplay. It's all very well having a game that looks like it's been painted by Leonardo Da Vinci, but that's going to be no fun if it plays like last issue's Clayfighter 63 1/3.

And gameplay is where San Francisco Rush really takes off – literally! This wasn't immediately apparent, as to begin with the cars handled like they were on rails - that's rails laid in a completely straight line, because the cars just would not turn! Finally, after about an hour of frustratingly yanking the analogue stick right and left only to have the car turn about a centimetre in the required direction and promptly become a fireball upon colliding with some huge building or other, it was back to the manual, where most normal people would have gone in the first place. The manual turned out to be of no use whatsoever though, as the controls page didn't mention anything about making tighter turns.

We were left on the brink of despair. We knew the game should be good - the idea was there - but the cars just handled so sluggishly! Finally, someone (I forget who, I only know it wasn't me) discovered that by pressing the reverse button whilst turning, the cars performed a kind of handbrake turn, which meant successful negotiations of corners at high speed! Hurrah!

Nice Little Motors

Anyway, down to basics. You start SF Rush with a selection of different vehicles, eight in all, ranging from a basic Ford through a variety of sporty models to some slightly less so, including a VW Beetle and a camper van. All these vehicles come in a variety of bright colours, so if you've always wanted to race a Barbie-pink VW Beetle through San Francisco (and if so, why?) then now's your chance. By collecting the track 'keys' (more on them in a moment) you can also gain access to two extra cars - an American taxi cab, and a hot rod. Apparently (that should probably be allegedly) there is also another car available in circuit mode, which you can access upon winning a circuit, but it never appeared when I won - what a rip!

There are six basic game tracks that lead you through various parts of San Francisco, taking in landmarks like Golden Gate Park, Pacific Heights, Chinatown and Twin Peaks (not the Twin Peaks, a la 'weird-bloke Lynch', surely?) The tracks can also be played in 'backwards' mode, where you race around them in the opposite direction, giving you an extra six tracks, and they can also be mirrored both normally and backwards, giving a total of twenty-four 'different' tracks.

Let's Key Havin' You

Earlier, I mentioned 'keys'. There are eight of these scattered around on each of the tracks. Some of them are easy to find, others are hidden in obscure locations, such as through fences in ravines, or stashed in concealed caves. Even though some of them can be found fairly easily, the difficult part will be getting to them. They might be hanging in mid-air thirty feet above the track, for example. As mentioned previously, collecting the keys will earn you bonus cars, four for a New York taxi (which looks great in yellow but of course can be any other colour you choose) and eight - which is no easy task, even on the easy tracks - will get you a hot rod. The catch is that when you gain one of these cars, you'll only be able to race it on the track you got it from - which deserves a huge 'boo-sucks' but does mean that there is an incentive to explore all the tracks fully.

You do however, only need to get the car on one version of each track-normal, mirrored, reversed or mirrored and reversed - to get the bonus cars for all four. This is useful, as it means you can play on all four versions of the track when looking for the keys for that track - some keys may be easier to see on certain versions of a track, for example.

So that's the technical aspects of the game. Gameplay wise, this game is mad! As mentioned already, you'll spend an awful lot of time in the air, and the courses are anything but boring. The cars hammer along the track at breakneck (and breakcar) speed, and the difficulty levels have been well-judged. If you like options (and who doesn't?), then the options screen is packed with 'em, from the aforementioned mirror and backward options, to allowing you to change the degree of fog on the track, which is always useful. Sadly, you can't get rid of the fog completely, because it's another one of those games that has the scenery fade away in the distance so it doesn't have to draw it, but at least it's not as obvious as Turok!

Bullitt In The Head?

The main disappointment with SF Rush is the multiplayer mode, primarily because it only allows two players. There is also a lesser problem in that the game doesn't seem to be able to handle the amount of traffic on screen as well as it should - by traffic I usually mean graphics, but in this case I actually do mean 'traffic'. If there are a lot of cars on screen, the game does seem to suffer from slowdown. However, although the speed difference is fairly noticeable if you go straight from a one-player game into a two-player game, on the whole it isn't too detrimental, and the two-player game is just as enjoyable as the one-player version.

One thing that can be annoying in two-player mode is what happens following a crash. In both play modes, when you crash, the computer almost immediately puts you back on the track. However, instead of putting you back where you crashed, you are whisked away down the track, often overtaking your opponents. Presumably this is designed to keep up the pace of the game. In one-player mode it's no problem, but in two-player it's very disconcerting to see the other player crash as you shoot past their burning hulk laughing in triumph, only to have them picked up and whisked off into the distance. It's just not fair! The only consolation is that it works both ways.

San Francisco Rush is a highly enjoyable, fast-paced racing game that makes up for what it lacks in top quality graphics with colourful cars and scenery, and - most importantly - with top-notch gameplay. It may not appeal to those who prefer their driving to be 'real' and 'accurate' (you know the sort, they've got to be driving something that's technically correct down to the last wheel nut and handles exactly like a real car - but in that case, why not just drive a real car?). But if you like your race games fast, furious, and aerobatic, then this is the game for you. Fans of games like Need For Speed 2 on the PlayStation will love it, assuming they've got an N64 that is!

People say:


To be honest, the PlayStation version of San Francisco Rush doesn't hold a candle to the arcade game. That in itself is not a crime, but in truth, San Francisco Rush on the PS is a little too watered down for my liking. The main problem I have is that all of the excitement and tension of the coin-op game is much less intense and exaggerated in this version. There is a fair amount of the dreaded polygonal pop-up we've all come to know and hate, and the fade-in effect of the fog isn't very convincing at all. On the other hand, the control is responsive and the music is fairly good (much better than the N64's trashy music), but on the whole the game just fails to keep me interested for extended periods of time. Another problem I have deals with how crashing the car can be used as an advantage. If you blow up your car, the game sometimes puts you back on the track far ahead of where you crashed, so if you wreck at the right spot (like just before the slowest part of the track, for instance), you can gain a huge advantage. You could do this to a lesser extent in the arcade game, but the way it's used in the PS one takes all the fun out of it. In the end this version of Rush is an average racer with cool jumps and shortcuts, but it doesn't quite live up to the much more polished N64 and arcade versions.


The PS version of Rush is a far cry from the arcade and N64 versions of the game, but it didn't turn out to be quite as horrible as I thought it would. Climax did a good job turning what could've been a huge disaster into a moderately playable game with better music than the N64 version and one nice advantage--a two-player link option. The load times are pretty bad though and overall the game just isn't much fun. A rental.


I'm not a big fan of S.F. Rush, but I can tell you that this doesn't play or look much like the arcade game. The graphics are average, containing pop-up-laden tracks, and unattractive cars. Even worse, the physics feel different from the arcade, and the music is downright terrible. Rated as its own racing game, it might have fared better, but it's definitely not a good conversion. Unfortunately, it looks like Midway rushed it into stores.


Who forgot to finish making this game? It suffers from massive load time. Graphical glitches pop up constantly. The textures are ultra-blocky. Analog control is so touchy it's useless. And the Two-player Split-Screen Mode has many camera problems. If you can overlook all these gripes, the actual game-play isn't too horrendous. But it certainly lacks the arcade feel of Midway's port of Rush for that other console.

Is this a joke? PlayStation gamers were expecting an exciting, high-flying arcade romp with San Francisco Rush--not this all-around disgraceful disc.

Sure, this version features a Speed-style don't-go-under-60-mph Explosive mode, plus snow and nighttime racing, but they hardly matter when compared to the botched basics. It's stunning to see this many poor elements together in one game: massive draw-in, polygon distortion, twitchy controls, anemic music, engines that sound like muffled lawnmowers, and cars that almost move as slow as the loading times. And a completely inaccurate physics model means less breathtaking jumps--much less air, and sometimes none at all.

Don't buy this shattering disappointment for the name--it's simply not the Rush you know and love.


  • Because skidding around turns slows you down, lightly but repeatedly tap the directional pad to keep your speed high around the corners.

People say:


Atari Games' arcade racer comes home to the Nintendo 64. Not only does this port of San Francisco Rush emulate its big brother well, it includes three additional tracks that the arcade game didn't have (for a total of six in all). My favorite part of the coin-op Rush is the flying jumps, and I'm happy to see the Dukes action has been left intact. I really enjoy how this game is full of shortcuts off the beaten track, just waiting to be found. It adds realism and gives Rush extra replay value. The graphics are clean and although some fog found its way into this game, it's pretty far away and isn't noticeable in the heat of racing. The control is similar to the coin-op and takes some getting used to but once you do, Rush is a blast. Though Rush has a lot of things going for it, not all is rosy in San Francisco. Aww shucks, there's no delicate way of putting it--the music in Rush bites harder than an attacking pit bull. Some of the soundtracks in Rush are only mildly annoying but one song in particular (with wailing ohhs in the background) was so bad, it had me and others around me cracking up continually. If you want to induce laughter amongst your peers, man, the music in Rush is the way to do it! Seriously though, San Francisco Rush is fun to play and a solid addition to the Nintendo 64's already large library of racers. Not bad at all.


SF Rush is one of the more solid racers on the N64, but I honestly think it could've been a lot better. The brake is practically useless, and it's really annoying how the more advanced cars will burst into flames on the slightest impact. On the upside, graphics are excellent and the sensation of speed is nice, but the music is the absolute worst crap I've ever heard from a video game. Still, if you're a fan of the arcade game you won't be disappointed.


Although it's almost arcade perfect, S.F. Rush wasn't my kind of racer. The physics in the game are kind of goofy, especially when Jumping over large hills. There is no powersliding, and It Is ridlculously.hard to see where you're supposed to turn (the one positive here is that it'll make you find secret areas by accident.) The graphics are good, but the music is probably the worst on the N64. Overall, this a nice-looking racer with major problems.


This arcade port is one of the most unusual racers ever, so you'll probably either love It or hate it. I liked exploring the enormous tracks in Practice Mode, which gives you unlimited time. It's amazing just how many secrets and wacky jumps Midway has packed into Rush. But it's too easy to get lost come race time. I'm not crazy about the control, either. Forget using the brakes. You'll need to kick the car into reverse to handle most turns.

The streets of San Francisco have never been more dangerous! Racing up the hills and round the twisting comers of the city on the bay is entertaining, although the control method could stand a lot of improvement. However, it's the hidden depth of SF Rush (you can explore for miles off the track to find hidden keys that unlock secrets) that keeps it interesting.

Sprawling racer that lets players roam freely instead of being confined to the track. Lots of hidden secrets to uncover.

Gravity-defying leaps, rattling top speeds, mid-air. multi-car pile-ups, tonnes of explosions and loads of secret bits. Great fun.

At face value, San Francisco Rush can turn even the best driver into San Francisco Mush. But that wasn't enough for Midway s Nintendo 64 programmers--they hid all hinds of shortcuts and secrets amidst the game s six trachs. Read on and let your drivers education begin...

Be the Keymasten

There are 45 keys scattered around San Francisco Rush's six main tracks. Collecting all of them will give you access to two secret cars--a taxi and a hot rod. To grab them, all you need is patience, skill, and this guide! For SF Rush cheats and codes, please see "SWATPro" in this issue.

Save! Save!! Save!!!

You must collect keys using a created player on your memory card. Once you collect a key, it's saved to your memory pack. It won't appear again in Practice mode or in a race. All you have to do to collect a key is tag it.

Cheaters Win!

Use the Auto Abort Disable, Infinite Time, and Resurrect in Place codes to make the going a little easier. You might also want to remove the drones from the race for minimum interference.

Scout First

You can scope out the tracks in Practice mode, but you can't collect the keys unless you're in a real race.

Sometimes, a key will be much more obvious or easier to collect if you drive the track in Backwards mode.

Key Locations

Keys can be collected in any order. They're listed here roughly in order of appearance.

Keep the maps close at hand. Sometimes you'll need them to identify landmarks and checkpoints.

Got It!

If you've successfully grabbed a key, you'll hear a slide whistle sound.

Many times, collecting a key will cause you to wreck your car. Unless otherwise instructed, use the beginner sedan or the hippie bus. They'll take the most damage of any vehicles, and a lot of times, hunting hurts.

Early indications point to a quality racing game trom Midway (so unlike the dismal Cruis'n USA). In San Francisco Rush, you drive on authentic city streets, and race past some of the greatest landmarks in the world (like the Golden Gate Bridge). A nonstop, thrill-a-minute roller-coaster ride, along with your choice of eight gorgeous cars, multiple shortcuts, and one beautiful city should lead to an unparalleled rush of fun. If this game plays anything like the arcade version, it should cross the finish line in first place.

San Francisco Rush is like The Streets of San Francisco come to life-wild arcade-style racing loaded with huge jumps and other high-octane thrills.

Features & Gameplay

A robust port of the hit arcade game, SF Rush plays like a Hollywood car-chase scene, sending you careening off crazy jumps and spinning into outrageous collisions. You can even land on your opponent's roof! Adding to the mayhem, the game's jammed with cool secrets like a jump onto a rooftop race course or a detour down San Francisco's famous curvy Lombard Street.

As for features, SF Rush sails onto the N64 with the eight tracks and eight cars of the arcade version. Two players will be able to bash fenders in Single Race, Circuit, and Practice modes, and the analog stick will handle steering duties. If everything comes together as Midway completes this half-finished version, SF Rush should shape up into one outstandingly fun ride.


Visually, this SF Rush doesn't quite stack up to the spiffy arcade version--Midway resorted to using fog to hide pop-up, and some effects, such as the rays of light in the first track's tunnel, aren't as awe-inspiring. But living up to arcade standards is a tall order, and for the N64, SF Rush is already one sweet-looking racer. The eye-catching tracks are loaded with recognizable landmarks like the Em-barcadero and Chinatown, and the snazzy cars gradually accumulate mucho damage as you battle your way to the finish.

You sped through San Francisco and you rushed the Rock...but can you take the whole country to the extreme? Midway dares you to try in Rush America!

Hot Wheels

High-flying racing returns to the Nintendo 64 with Rush America, the sequel to last year's hit, San Francisco Rush. Rush America packs 12 tracks, including Las Vegas, lower Manhattan, Seattle, Honolulu, Los Angeles, and the original's secret raceway, Alcatraz. Plus, there are two circuit speedways and two stunt tracks for players who crave different kinds of challenges.

You'll also find twice as many cars--16 in all--with new rides like a pickup truck, a rally racer, a '60s Camaro-like muscle car, a square-nosed roadster with a flame paint job, a sporty Honda-style hatchback, a fin-tailed '50s cruiser, a sweet, aerodynamic coupe, and a sports utility vehicle. Of course, the original eight cars are also idling in the garage; after all, it wouldn't be Rush without the hippie bus.

Shortcutsn' Loose

As you might expect, Rush America will feature plenty of wild and dangerous shortcuts--on the Honolulu track alone, you'll find an alternate beach route, a leap over a huge pit of lava and spikes, a placid pathway through a cornfield, and a death-defying stone-skip across two aircraft carriers.

Rush America has the same basic engine as its predecessor, but Midway promises a few new features, like a body shop where you can fix your damaged vehicle. Rush 2 has a lot to live up to, but judging by the videotape we saw, the game's off to a strong start.

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