Have you ever loved a book and then been disgusted when it's turned into a really bad movie? That's exactly the feeling you'll get when you play this version of San Francisco Rush. You'll be left to wonder what kind of world we live in where such an amazing arcade game could be turned into such a piece of trash. Folks, this game is about as bad as games get.
In case you haven't had a chance to play the arcade version (or the decent N64 port), San Francisco Rush is a racing game set on the treacherous streets of the City by the Bay. You compete against the clock and against other racers through a series of great courses. The arcade game immersed you so fully that you could actually smell the Rice-A-Roni in the air, but the PlayStation version fails to deliver any of this excitement.
For starters, the graphics are miserable. The other cars look like bricks; walls and other objects flicker in and out of existence as you drive by them; and a bizarre, useless radar fills up a big chunk of the left screen. The game suffers from serious pop-up problems: The landscape ahead appears suddenly as a white blot and then choppily fills in as it approaches. The constant fill-in on the horizon is very distracting, and it makes focusing on the race difficult.
The control won't win any awards either. You can pick one of eight cars, but the steering is sluggish and unresponsive no matter which car you choose. Imagine driving an 18-wheeler on an iced-over lake, and you've got the idea. The game's sound is completely uninspired, with music that sounds like it was rejected by the makers of Cruisin' USA for the Nintendo 64.
San Francisco Rush tries to offer up a lot of options, some of which aren't available in the arcade game. There are four tracks to choose from (it's missing all the ones from The Rock arcade upgrade, which are present in the N64 version, though it has one entirely new course), and you can choose day, night, or snow effects for each course. In the grand prix mode, you also get to race on each track in the reverse direction. There are several different racing modes, both one- and two-player. The "explosive" mode forces you to maintain a speed of at least 60mph or your car will explode (hmmm, that might make a good movie). Unfortunately, none of these options can make up for the lousy graphics, sound, and control.
We all know that the PlayStation can handle racing games exceptionally well; just look at Need for Speed III as a shining example of the system's capabilities. It's a real shame that Midway blew the opportunity to bring the joy of this wondrous arcade game home to PlayStation owners.