(General guidelines for getting started with Daytona USA
* Familiarize yourself with the cockpit. Good driving position is very
helpful in this game, so be sure to set the seat comfortably. You want
to be able to reach the gas pedal, brake pedal, and the shifter (if
you're using the manual transmission) easily. If you're unsure of
where to set the seat, one method is to sit back in the seat with your
shoulders against the seatback. If you then fully extend your arm, you
should be able to lay your wrist on top of the steering wheel. Unlike
Ridge Racer by Namco, Daytona features a 'low to the ground seating'
design that places your feet at almost the same level as the seat.
This allows you to operate the pedals easily without straining your
legs. Also, unlike Ridge Racer, the manual transmission in Daytona is
clutchless. Shifting is done simply by moving the shifter from gear to
gear. Finally, the pedals on Daytona are *not* 'on/off'. They use
potentiometers to determine how far down the pedal's been pushed (this
was also the case with Hard Drivin' and Race Drivin' by Atari Games),
and just slamming the pedals to the floor is not the way to get good
NOTE: If the pedals feel unresponsive or far too sensitive, talk to your
operator. The potentiometers can be maladjusted or broken. If you
can't accelerate at all even with the pedal to the floor or your gas
pedal acts like it's been slammed to the floor when you press it
extremely lightly, it's time to see your operator's tech people.
Expensive games should be maintained well. You are PAYING for it.
* During your first few games, try out the V.R.-buttons and choose your
favorite viewpoint (the V.R.-buttons are found, along with the Start
button, to the right of the steering wheel on the large-screen version
and to the left of the wheel on the twin-screen machine). Playing with
different viewpoints all the time makes learning much harder so play
around with them for a few games and choose the one that you like
best. In the following descriptions:
* describes the location of the 'camera' used for the viewpoint.
+ describes plusses to each viewpoint.
- describes minuses.
The following notes are just IMHO, so no flames or jihad type
reactions to them, please!
1 - Inside the car.
* Camera is located on the front edge of the hood of the car.
The camera is on the same level as the driver's eyes, so this is
what the driver would see if he were sitting on the bumper of
the car. :)
+ Sensation of speed is greatest with this view to due to
viewpoint's closeness to the roadway. This view also gives a
panoramic view of the road and passing scenery which adds to the
sensation of speed.
- Car is not visible in this viewpoint, so there are no reference
points for judging how close you are to other cars. Also, it is
impossible to determine how much damage the car has taken. The
scenery can be somewhat distracting if a driver's concentration
is broken. Also, spinouts in this view can be troublesome for the
2 - Above car's roof.
* Camera is located in the roof of the car directly above the
driver (roof itself is erased for visibility).
+ Hood of the car is visible in this view giving you some
indication of how much damage you've done to the car. Also, the
presence of both the hood and a portion of the dashboard make
this viewpoint more natural-looking. The hood gives you a visual
reference point when you're sliding the car around corners and
when you're trying to pass other cars without coming into
contact with them.
- Spins can be somewhat disorienting in this view also. It isn't
possible to determine how much damage you've done to the wheels
and suspension since the wheels are not visible from this
viewpoint (though damage to the body often occurs at the same
time as damage to the wheels, such as during a crash, it is
possible to damage the wheels and the car's handling without
touching the body work).
3 - Above the car narrow.
* Camera hangs in the air a few feet above and behind the rear
bumper. It always faces in the direction the car is MOVING. This
is not necessarily the same direction the car is FACING.
+ Easier to dodge other cars using this view as all nearby cars
(including those very close behind) can be seen. Also, the wheels
are visible during turns letting you see how much damage they
have taken from crashes into the wall. Damage to body panels at
the rear of the car is also easily seen. Smoke from the tires (an
indication that you're spinning your wheels) is visible only from
this view and Viewpoint 4. Since the camera always faces in the
direction of movement, spins aren't as troublesome in this view
and Viewpoint 4.
- Because camera doesn't face in the same direction as the car, you
can't just 'feel' how the car is sliding. It is also somewhat
frustrating to be able to see that you're heading for a wall when
you don't have enough time to do anything about it. :) Also, you
can't easily judge how close you are to a car directly in front
4 - Above the car wide.
* Camera is located further behind and MUCH higher than 3rd
viewpoint. Like Viewpoint 3, it also faces only in the direction
the car is moving.
+ Good for scenery watching. :) Also good for keeping track of
nearby traffic without looking away to the 'TRAFFIC' display. The
wider view from this viewpoint gives you more warning if
someone's coming up behind you. This view gives you a better look
at what line you're following around a turn, making the tracks
somewhat easier to learn. Also see plusses for Viewpoint 3
regarding damage to the car and tire smoke.
- Makes car very distant. This detracts from the feeling of 'you
are there' that you get using Viewpoints 1 and 2. Passing scenery
takes up a LARGE portion of the screen (scenery doesn't take up
as much screen space in Viewpoint 1 because of oncoming road).
Also see minuses for Viewpoint 3.
So go ahead and experiment. Everyone will have their preferred
viewpoint; and, unlike Virtua Racing, Daytona doesn't keep track of
what viewpoint you used to set your times. :)
* Learn to use the information that Sega provides for you on-screen.
Just as a good 'scan' is important in real driving, it is also
important here that you be able to take in what you need to know at a
glance. The things to keep checking, in order of decreasing
(1) your view of things ahead of you
(2) your speed displayed on the top center of the screen
(3) the location of nearby cars on a 'TRAFFIC' display off to the
right side of the screen
(4) the gear that you're in displayed directly beneath the speed
(only shown when using manual transmission)
(5) your location on the track displayed on the map in the lower
right corner of the screen
(6) the lap that you're on displayed in the top left corner of the
Everything else is pretty much extra information that you may want to
take in from time to time.
* You should also use the sound to your advantage. The sound of tires
squealing should be your main sign that your tires are fighting for
traction. Tire smoke also indicates this, but it isn't as reliable an
* Learn to use the manual transmission. It's rather easy to use
(especially since there is no clutch), and there are some key
advantages to using the manual transmission (higher top speed and
better control of the car while sliding). Beware, however, for broken
shifters. The shifter seems to get the most abuse, and therefore
breaks down more often than any other part on the game.
* There are several options built into the game. You can select what
background music is played during the race, the range of the TRAFFIC
radar display, and the size of the map. These are controlled using the
Background music selection:
This is done during the 'GENTLEMEN START YOUR ENGINES' intro
screen. Holding down one of the VR buttons will override the
computer's choice of BGM. The songs are:
VR1 King of Speed (Beginner track)
VR2 Let's Go Away (Advanced track)
VR3 Sky High (Expert track)
VR4 Pounding Pavement (bonus music)
TRAFFIC display range adjustment:
At any time during the race, you can adjust the range of the
TRAFFIC display by holding down the Start button as you hit the VR
VR2 Short range
VR3 Normal range
VR4 Long range
Map display size adjustment:
At any time during the race, you can change the size of the map
displayed on the right side of the screen by holding down the Start
and VR1 buttons as you hit the other VR buttons:
VR2 Large map
VR3 Normal map
VR4 Small map
General driving tips
* Learn to start properly.
Beginner track: This track is the easiest to start on because you
start at full speed. All you have to do is make sure you have the gas
pedal floored and that the shifter is in 4th gear if you're using the
manual transmission (with the automatic transmission the shifter
doesn't do anything, so you can leave it in whatever position you
like). You also should remember that you don't have control of the car
until the announcer yells "GO!!!" as you're crossing the starting
line, so turning the steering wheel all the way to the left before the
start is not a good thing to do.
Advanced and Expert tracks: These races begin with a standing start
that determines by how much you fall behind the other cars. Try to
balance between wheelspin and slow acceleration. Just slamming the gas
to the floor results only in burnt rubber and no real acceleration
until you get to 35-40 mph (55-65 km/h), but the worst mistake you can
make is to watch only the tachometer (gauge across the top of the
screen with gray, yellow, and red zones that goes from 0 to 10) when
accelerating. If you slam the gas pedal to the floor, because of
wheelspin, the tachometer will peak at around 20 mph (30 km/h); and if
you start switching up gears from there you end up with 4th gear with
a speed of about 50 mph (80 km/h). Not good. Watch the speedometer
instead. 70 mph (110 km/h) is the point to use 2nd gear, and around
110 mph (180 km/h) is the place to go to 3rd gear. 4th gear comes into
play around 155-160 mph (250-260 km/h).
* You start from the tail of the starting grid, so the main thing is
overtaking and avoiding computer cars. In general, when you get to the
point where you can drive around any given track near perfectly
(perfection is impossible), computer cars become the main problem.
If you drive like a robot, it is possible to make the computer cars
react the same way for every race; but since no one drives like a
robot, the computer cars end up driving pretty randomly. A perfect
race can be ruined by a few bumps to the back of a computer car, and a
major accident right in front of you at 200+ mph (320+ km/h) can
REALLY ruin your day.
A note from 'Eug': A crash does not disqualify you from finishing the
race. So, don't give up on a race just because you've crashed (unless
you crashed VERY late in the race or were going for a record time).
I've managed to drive a race where I crashed once, spun twice (all
during the first lap of the Expert track), and still managed to finish
in 1st place.
* Use computer cars to your advantage by 'drafting' whenever possible,
and learn to pass them cleanly when you start to get close to them.
Drafting consists of driving directly behind the car in front of you
so that air turbulence coming from their car allows yours to go
faster. This is also called slipstreaming. This contradicts the
previous tip a bit, but it is necessary for getting the best possible
times. So when hanging close to a computer car, ALWAYS stay alert. 3-4
computer cars bumping each other in front of you or one computer car
pushing another towards Wall Contact(tm) should flash 'accident' alert
in your head pretty quickly, and GENERALLY if you see computer cars
pushing each other, don't get close. The advantage from drafting does
not cover the losses from hitting a flipping computer car.
* Avoid hitting walls, and stay off the grass. Braking a little more and
keeping your foot off the gas is usually better than even slight
contact to a wall, and it is MUCH better than mowing some lawn.
Driving on the grass GREATLY reduces your speed, costing you a lot of
time. It can also make it difficult to control your car. Wall contact
only drops your speed by 10-50 mph (15-80 km/h), unless you slide into
the wall tail-first or crash, but it affects your car's handling by
wearing down your tires. So be sure to avoid both as much as possible.
* Again, learn to use the manual transmission. Using the shifter isn't
very hard to do (it only requires a little more effort to learn), and
the rewards are significant. The only good use for automatic gears is
while you are learning a course. Using the automatic lets you
concentrate on finding out how fast you can go through certain curves,
but you will need to adjust those speeds upon switching to the manual
transmission. This game is hard even if you use the automatic, but
it's VERY HARD to finish in better than 8th place without the manual
A note from 'Jarnis': When our shifter was broken with 1st and 2nd
gear unavailable, I still got better times on the Advanced track with
manual shifting even if I had to lose time at the starting line by
using 3rd gear. I couldn't finish the race with the automatic
transmission at all (I always got game over on the last turn before
the goal). With the manual transmission, I couldn't get to the top
three that easily, but getting into the top six was no problem. And
all this without 1st or 2nd gear at all!
* Learn the proper 'line' to use going around turns. The line through a
turn is the path taken by the car as it goes around a corner.
Generally, racing requires that you start the turn wide, brake late,
and place the 'apex' of the turn a bit past midway through the turn.
If this is done properly, you will be able go faster through the turn
and accelerate sooner, leading to better times.
The normal method for taking a 'late apex' around a corner is to start
turning into a corner, and then slow to a certain speed and turn the
steering wheel some more. Sometimes you must also downshift to slide
out the rear end. You then push the gas pedal to the floor. If this is
done right, the car should swing its tail out a little bit and then
start to slide slowly towards the outside of the turn. This technique
will vary depending on the curve as you sometimes have to brake first
(when you have to lose a lot of speed to make the turn) before turning
the wheel, but for other turns you may end up turning the wheel and
beginning to brake at the same time.
There will be times when you will mess up slightly while taking a turn.
You must learn what to do in these instances. It is possible to
control a skid to some degree with the steering wheel. If you've
turned too hard and the car's nose is pointed at the inside of the
turn, opposite lock on the steering wheel will keep the car on the
track, but it is important that you regain control of the car. In this
situation you should take your foot off the gas pedal and wait for the
car to straighten out before you put your foot on the gas again. On
the other hand, if you feel you're going to 'kiss the wall' on the
outside of the turn, let go of the gas pedal and tap the brakes if
necessary (sometimes you might want to tap them several times) to drop
to a 'safer' speed. A small speed loss is nothing compared to the
results if you wrap your car around the trackside fence.
NOTE: Reckless braking also has a tendency to put you into walls so try
to avoid having to use the brakes in the middle of a turn. Do all of
your braking before the turn. If you DO have to brake while in the
middle of a turn, use short taps to the pedal. This will slow you down
and yet keep you from skidding too much.
* Memorize the tracks. You will drive much better once you've learned
lines through the turns and how to control your car through them.
Learning the Beginner track should be easy, but the other tracks
should also be memorized so that you can go smoothly from one part of
the track to the next. You will want to memorize what lane you want to
be in at certain points on the track, what speed you want to be at
when you reach that point, and the driving techniques you will use to
get the car around hairpins and other curves on the tracks.
A note from 'Jarnis': Fine-tuning your routine to the point where you
can finish the track requires some practice, but I learned the quirks
of the Advanced track in just 3 days.
If you're having too much trouble learning a track, try the Time-Lap
mode by holding the Start button when you push the gas pedal to choose
the transmission. This eliminates all the computer cars and places you
in Time-Lap mode. You can then drive each track without worrying about
traffic (you only need to worry about getting time extensions so you
can finish the race). This mode is easier to drive because it leaves
out all those annoying computer-driven cars, but it also takes away
the 'draft effect' that allows you to go REALLY fast. :)
A note from 'Eug': As you're driving in Time Lap mode, you'll notice
that when you pass checkpoints, two numbers will flash superimposed on
the map display. These times represent the record time for that
section of track, and your time for that section. You do not need to
do anything special to activate this Checkpoint Timer display
(contrary to what was posted on Usenet by myself and other people). :/
Taking note of these times is a good way to find out what parts of the
track you might need to improve on. This timer is not available on the
Beginner track. It is also inactive during backwards racing.
* Pit stops are useless unless the machine you play on is set to 'Grand
Prix' or 'Endurance' mode. During the course of a race, the handling
of the car will change due to contact with a wall and from accidents.
But the races are so short in 'Normal' mode, a pit stop is totally
unnecessary. A pit stop uses more time (you must do a standing start
that uses up a lot of time) than you gain from fixing up the car.
Basically you can use the pit stop to show off the machine's graphics
capability, but that's pretty much it. On the other hand, races in
'Grand Prix' and 'Endurance' modes are long enough that tire wear
plays an important part and pit stops become an important part of your
There's an Easter egg in the game involving the pit lane. You can pass
through the pits without stopping if you do it on your last lap. This
is pretty much useful only for trying to avoid traffic. Going through
pit area will not allow you to improve your times (unless you haven't
learned the 'crossover' on the Expert track).
* As explained above, your car's handling is affected by contact with
the wall and by accidents that send your car flipping through the air.
This is represented by wheels that bounce up and down (easily visible
during turns at low speeds from Modes 3 and 4). Also, damage to body
panels is also a good indication that your car is handling differently
than it did at the start of the race (use Modes 2, 3, and/or 4 to spot
damage to the body). Your goal should be to finish the race with a car
that has wheels spinning without wobble and a perfect body.
Things start looking good when, at the end of the game, your car
doesn't resemble an abstract piece of modern art with bent body panels
and misaligned wheels. Getting to the finish line on the Beginner
course (one of the 'dirtier' tracks because of all the car-to-car
contact) without too much damage to your car is a good sign that you
are learning something. :)
"Jarno 'Jarnis' Kokko (firstname.lastname@example.org)" | "Eugene 'Jack Ryan' Moon (email@example.com)"