I bought an inexpensive new copy of the Japanese Daytona USA Circuit Edition recently. I've played a lot of versions of Daytona USA over the years - the coin-op original, the Saturn launch Daytona USA (which I lost and no longer own), the North American Daytona USA Championship Circuit Edition (CCE) on Saturn, and the Dreamcast Daytona USA. I guess I'm a real sucker for Daytona USA.
Searching online for differences between the original CCE and the later import CE, I found some claims that the handling was improved on the import CE edition. On first play , I really couldn't tell a difference. So I decided to play the 2 versions back to back for a week and see what I could glean. Here are the results.
Well, there is definitely a difference in feel between CCE and CE. In fact, it is a little bit annoying to switch between versions because of the different feel! I would say that the CE version is easier to control your car around curves and in power slides, and I prefer the CE version's handling. The difference feels like tweaked control, not rewritten control, so frankly its difficult for me to describe it, or to recommend one version over the other. In both CCE and CE, even with analog steering I still have to 'tap and release' the analog NiGHTS stick to steer,because the steering is pretty sensitive. I can't get my thumb to finely control the analog wand and move a micrometer's worth of distance; so I find my self doing soft analog thrusts left/right and quickly letting go, else I'd oversteer. I don't have a Saturn driving wheel so can't compare.
In my fun test sessions of CE, I mostly drove the Hornet. I held X, or Y, or Z a few times (as the game loads) to see the dusk/night/morning color changes. This is a valueless "extra" in my opinion; I prefer the normal original colors. I bumped up the difficulty to HARD and played the Grand Prix 20 laps on Three Sevens - I came in 2nd place and it was a fantastic race! But the same is true of the American CCE version.
So, what it all boils down to is that the CE version has slightly different control - I'm not sure if either is 'superior'. CE has alternate colors by pressing X or Y or Z (which, well, who really cares - I guess night is fun for a change). CE also has slightly quicker menu loads. And CE has slightly better draw distance, slightly less noticeable pop-up of polygons in the distance. Both versions aren't bad at all in this regard though. Remember , even the coin-op version had some draw-in in the distance.
The single best thing which CE does have over CCE, and why I play only the CE version now, is the music! Doo-doo, doo-doo,doo-doo, doo-doo, doooo-doooooo. Daytonnnnnnah! CE has the original Daytona USA songs! I enjoy them much more than the remix versions. The NA CCE Daytona USA doesn't have the original songs - how strange! First thing I did was set King of Speed (original) to the Three Seven Speedway. Same goes for the tracks for Dinosaur Canyon (Let's Go Away) and the Seaside Galaxy (Blue, Blue Skies).
I also noted that the two versions share the same save file; changes to music selections in one will carry forward to the other one, but since there are fewer songs in CCE, the song that carries forward is not the one I wanted. So I'd have to fix it each time I swapped CD's.
Both versions are pretty good versions of Daytona, very playable (I've been playing the Saturn Daytonas for 20 years and still find it fun). Next I want to hook up the Dreamcast and play DC Daytona USA again, to compare while the Saturn games are still fresh in my memory.
What do you think of the different versions of Daytona USA?