Being the first installment in Midway and Nintendo's Cruisn' series, Cruisn' USA was first introduced in 1994 as an arcade title. The main concept behind the game is to race across the country using one of seven available cars by successfully completing a series of one-directional tracks that bear landmarks or vague similarities found in particular locations within the United States, such as the Golden Gate Bridge and the White House. With each stage you complete, your progress is shown on a map of your route, which includes stops along U.S. Route 101, Interstate 40, Interstate 25, Interstate 90, Interstate 80, and Interstate 70. However, while Interstate 25 is portrayed as part of the route a player will partake according to the progress map, the highway is actually not depicted in any of the stages.
In 1995, Nintendo announced the development of the game for the upcoming Nintendo 64 (back when it was referred to as the Ultra 64) with intentions of having the game act and play exactly the same as the arcade version and to be available for the Nintendo 64's launch later that year, however the console launch would eventually be delayed until fall 1996. The home port, developed by Williams, ultimately missed the console's launch. When it was released in late 1996, the console version of the game was considerably downgraded, particularly with the visuals and the games audio. This can be pinned on the fact that the game didn't run on Ultra 64 hardware, but instead on the Midway V Unit hardware. The V Unit would also power the sequel, Cruis'n World, as well as Off Road Challenge and War Gods.
Furthermore, various adjustments due to censorship and copyright issues within the console release include a more covered trophy girl, billboard advertisement removals (such as a Corn Pops billboard in the Golden Gate Park stage), and a new Bill Clinton-less scene upon completing the Cruise the USA mode.
There were a few additions to the home port. Split-screen multiplayer was added, and when the Cruse the USA mode was completed with a car on a certain difficulty, a bonus car was added with a different color and a higher top speed.
Wii Virtual Console
Cruis'n USA became the first third-party developed Nintendo 64 game released on Nintendo's Wii Virtual Console service on March 28, 2008 in Europe and on March 31, 2008 in North America. The Virtual Console version is essentially exactly the same as the Nintendo 64 version with exception to the removal of the Hollywood sign within the Beverly Hills stage.
’63 Muscle Car
- Based on the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette C2 Sting Ray
- Based on a pastache of 1930's hot rods, mainly the '32 Ford.
- Bears similarities to the Jaguar XK220
- Based on the Ferrari Testarossa
- Based on the Jeep Wrangler
- Hidden car, hold the view buttons (C-buttons for the Nintendo 64) over the '63 Muscle Car to use it
- Bears similarities to a Carpenter conventional school bus
- Hidden car, hold the view buttons (C-buttons for the Nintendo 64) over the La Bamba to use it
- Based on the fourth generation Chevrolet Caprice
- Hidden car, hold the view buttons (C-buttons for the Nintendo 64) over the Devastator IV to use it
Golden Gate Park
- Level: Easy
- Landmarks: Golden Gate Bridge
- Level: Expert
- Landmarks: Park Presidio Blvd.
- Level: Expert
- Landmarks: Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore
- Level: Medium
- Landmarks: Gateway Arch
- Landmarks: The White House