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Rush 2 – N64

Rush 2 – N64

Rush 2 - Extreme Racing USA (E) (M6)Platform: Nintendo 64 (N64)

Developer: Atari

Publisher: Midway Games

Release Date (NA): November 1998

Genre: Racing

Nerd Rating: 7.75 out of 10

After seeing San Francisco Rush (SFR) succeed in both the arcade and on the Nintendo 64, Midway Games wasted no time and jumped on the chance to cash in on this great opportunity with a truly great game. Rush 2 Extreme Racing USA is a Nintendo 64 exclusive (although there may have been plans for releases on other platforms, Nintendo saw the only version) released in late 1998, only ONE YEAR after it’s predecessor. With classic tracks, new tracks, stunt tracks, new cars, and all of the classic high-octane explosive racing, Rush 2 takes the fun to all new highs (and just in time for a 1998 Christmas! Thanks Midway!).

Rush 2 - Extreme Racing USA (U)

Rush 2 is the first and only game in the Rush series that features a cross-country racing trip. Actually, only one other Rush game lets the players race anywhere other than San Francisco and that is LA Rush for the PlayStation 2. Just like in San Francisco Rush, there are multiple game modes to choose from: One Race, Circuit, and Practice. Although this game was never released for the arcade, it follows an almost identical structure to SFR. Rush 2 has very strong arcade racing mechanics and follows the same structure: You start in the back and you go bumper-to-bumper through 6 cities (7 tracks because there is New York Uptown and New York Downtown) trading paint as you round sharp turns (searching for any shortcut possible) as controlling your vehicle at 150 MPH can rush 2 airbe extremely difficult. Each race car has different attributes and you can pick which one suits you best. The trucks / vans have great control and decent acceleration, but little to no speed. Drifting is also a key component to success, as it helps tremendously in getting around hard turns.

In circuit mode, there are 28 races from start to finish. This would seem excessive if it weren’t for the passcodes. The fact that they give you a passcode is enough to make you want to play the game more than just once. The tracks are loaded with beautiful scenery that seems true to its location. New York is loaded with skyscrapers, Hawaii is loaded with palm trees, Las Vegas is loaded with bright lights and a Nevada mountain background, and Alcatraz looks like Alcatraz (and  is the finally completed version from SFR).  The locations are wonderful, but there doesn’t appear to be a boost in graphics at all. I mean, I guess when you only spend 1 year rush 2 stunt 2making the game, and include most of the same cars, same game engine/mechanics, and only a few more race tracks, I guess you don’t have time to try and improve upon the graphics……………………….

While circuit mode is really fun for a 1-player game, so is the one-race mode with the stunt tracks. The stunt tracks are more than just filler. They’re the sort of game addition that adds to the replay value! You can say to yourself “Hey, I’m gonna take a break from racing again and just have some mindless fun hitting ramps, half-pipes, blocks, and other weird object. Hey Grant, most flips in the air + rolls on the ground without exploding gets to drink the beers from your fridge! Wuddya say?!” If you remember me raving about the awesome layout in TRACK 4 in San Francisco Rush that allows for some great flips and stunts, then you’ll know how I feel about it. I could play those stunt tracks all day long. The stunt tracks ALONE are worth the $10 for the game!

Some people are into straight-forward racing simulators. Like those who enjoy the Gran Turismo series. I could never get into that series, or the Forza series. It’s too serious. Don’t I want my games to be fun? That’s why games like San Francisco Rush and Rush 2 arerush 2 stunt 4 such fun games for all ages. It’s a chance to get away and live in a fantasy. Rush 2 provides that fantasy mode all day long but on a controlled level. The control scheme of the cars is definitely difficult sometimes, but practice and experience provide the racer with some well-tuned steering. It won’t take long before you find yourself drifting 90 degree turns in a full-size pink hippie van!

One of THE BEST things about Rush 2 could also be viewed as one of the most frustrating things: The length of the tracks. Each race takes anywhere from 7 to 9 minutes. To me, it’s great! Because it keeps the races interesting and allows for the opportunity to catch up whenever you get too far behind! But averaging 8 minutes per race, it would take someone almost 4 hours to race through the entire circuit. Having a game that takes 4 hours to beat falls somewhere between average and good, but unlike the Need for Speed games that came later in the series, there is no serious modifications to your vehicles other than color. With that being said, having to race through only a handful of tracks 28 times can start to feel monotonous. Like I mentioned earlier, if it wasn’t for the stunt track, you’d find yourself snoring right through the Caribbean themed “What’s your name?” song at the end of each race!

rush 2 pipeOverall, there’s not too many negative things to say about Rush 2! The game still feels really good and the joystick controls the cars exceptionally well. For a game that’s 15 years old (and in case you haven’t noticed, we’ve seen rapid increases in video game technology over the last 15 years), Rush 2 is still quite a good game. The only downfalls are the tired graphics, simple A.I. in the opponent race cars, and some contact issues (which are nowhere near as poor as SFR). Rush 2 makes San Francisco Rush look lame, and for that, Atari and Midway should be proud. The good outweighs the bad in Rush 2 by a considerable margin. Some of the highlights of the game include the stunt tracks (with a beautiful starry night ceiling), long races (depends on who you are), and great car controls. Drifting definitely makes a stronger impact in successful racing than in San Francisco Rush.

If you love racing games, and you love flipping cars and watching them explode, and if you have a Nintendo 64, then for Pete’s sake… what are you waiting for? Go get this game! It ranges from $5 to $15 or $20 (depending on condition and where you get it from). I got mine for $8 (September 2013) at Ed McKay’s Used Book Store in North Raleigh. But Amazon also has plenty for decent prices too.

Nerd Rating: 7.75 out of 10

Reviewed by NerdBerry


Written by Nerdberry


What’s up yall? David “Nerdberry” here! I am the founder of Nerd Bacon and the current co-owner (and CEO) along with partner David “theWatchman!” I hail from North Carolina, hence my love for all things pork! Oh, you’re not familiar with NC? Well I’m not 100% sure, but I am pretty confident that NC and VA lead the nation in pork production. I could be wrong, but even if I am, I still love bacon!

Come enjoy some bacon and games with us yall.


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