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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

San Francisco RUSH: Extreme Racing

John Marine | 2:57 PM | | |
San Francisco is beautiful. It is a lovely city with a handful of lovely locales- the Transamerica Pyramid. Coit Tower. Lombard Street. Golden Gate Bridge. The San Francisco Fine Arts Museum. And of course... the Golden Gate Bridge. As beautiful as San Francisco is, burning rubber is even more beautiful- at least according to Atari (maker) and Midway (publisher) and their 1996 game, San Francisco RUSH. This began one of the more popular racing game franchises in gaming history. This game series provides a RUSH for a number of reasons. Isn't it quite fitting this game provides a rush of adrenaline for a state and a city whose popularity blossomed because of the California Gold Rush? Regardless, you're getting a rush of a lot of things- including one very fun and very insane racing game.

This blog post is my post regarding the first title of the RUSH franchise. It includes both "San Francisco Rush" and "San Francisco Rush: Rush the Rock." Some of the material posted here was taken from the Wikipedia page on San Francisco RUSH: Extreme Racing.

About the Label: "Atari"

Racing games made by or published by Atari Games will be featured under the Atari label.

--- San Francisco RUSH: Extreme Racing ---

Get to know "San Francisco RUSH: Extreme Racing":

San Francisco RUSH
^ from: - This is the box for the Nintendo 64 version of "San Francisco RUSH: Extreme Racing."

San Francisco RUSH challenges gamers to take on individual stages around San Francisco. The original title- "San Francisco RUSH: Extreme Racing" debuted in 1996. What made the RUSH series so famous is its stunt-style driving and its low gravity. Anyone who knows about San Francisco knows just how hilly it is. When you fly off of roads and go airborne, you'll spend a good amount of time in the air before coming down back to the road. You can roll over your car in this game as part of this game series' stunt driving style. Your car also explodes should you end up upside down or crash into something really hard. You can respawn your car at any time either after a crash or if you feel you've been away from the main course for far too long.

This game was available in arcades, for the Nintendo 64, and for the PlayStation 1. I strongly do NOT recommend the PS1 version because it is atrocious. It did nothing to completely capture the fun of the original arcade "San Francisco RUSH."


None of the cars are licensed. However, you can surely make out which ones many of the cars resemble. You can press the view buttons to access a different array of cars. Each car is categorized by their level of difficulty to drive. This difficulty is depending upon the speed and control characteristics of each machine. The easier cars offer the best control but lack speed. Conversely, the most difficult machines offer the highest speeds with the least amount of control. The classes are as follows: Beginner, Advanced, Expert, and Extreme. You can change the color of each car to your liking from the available colors.


Each track showcases different parts of San Francisco. Various landmarks of San Francisco are showcased in each of the venues. Try your hand at the various courses and the unique tracks that make up San Francisco Rush. Each track has shortcuts and various other off-track areas for you to explore. In the home versions of "San Francisco RUSH," visit some of these locations to find keys to unlock more content.

Here is a preview of each of the courses:

• Track 1: Golden Gate (Beginner) - You start off going down Golden Gate Bridge into the city. The course itself is a high-speed course with simple corners.

• Track 2: Embarcadero (Advanced) - This is a course that utilizes most of northeastern San Francisco. You go through parts of downtown San Francisco and wind up on some highways. You even end up around the harborside of San Francisco and around Fisherman's Wharf.

• Track 3: Market (Extreme) - The third track is the longest and most difficult track in the game. This is a romp through downtown San Francisco and includes going through Chinatown and landmarks like Coit Tower.

These tracks are featured as part of the "San Francisco RUSH: Rush the Rock" version of the game:

• Track 4: The Rock ("RUSH the Rock" version only) The Rock (Advanced) - Alcatraz Island is yours to explore. Its challenge is extreme with its array of banked corners, loops, jumps, and more. Alcatraz is dangerous as it is- just imagine trying to survive this extreme challenge!

• Track 4: Downtown (Advanced) - You race around the Marina area of San Francisco and parts of downtown. The Transamerica Pyramid is visible as part of this course. Many jumps and tall buildings make up this course. There are also places with some epic jumps that make up this course.

• Track 5: Heights (Extreme) - This track takes on multiple routes and features many elevation changes.

• Track 6: Sunset (Extreme) - If you are not careful, you could end up hitting some of the buses driving on the roads in this venue. This track is more like about country roads than going through the heart of San Francisco.

Each track could be raced forward, forward-mirrored, reversed, or reverse-mirrored. Fog and wind are also factors in your racing. Fog can be a serious deterrent in trying to see ahead. Wind will alter your flight after jumps.


Each race features eight cars to a track, including yours. You can ram into cars from the sides or from the back. Every track has multiple shortcuts. Take these shortcuts to get around the tracks faster. With these shortcuts, however, you need to be careful making those jumps that are littered across the track and in shortcuts. Hard contact with a wall, hard contact into another car, or having your car on its side or upside down results in your car exploding. Having your car drowned into deep water will result in your car being respawned back on the track. Press the Abort button to automatically respawn your car either heading into an impending crash or some other disaster. Clear the Checkpoint gates to get more time to complete the race. If you run out of time, your car will coast to a stop. You may get lucky and narrowly pass through a Checkpoint to have just a little extra time on the clock. Don't give up!

And that's all you need to know about playing this game.

--- San Francisco RUSH: Final Thoughts ---

"San Francisco RUSH: Extreme Racing" was the start of a franchise that was all about insane stunt racing. Going around the beautiful city of San Francisco in this style of anything-goes racing just brings nothing but fond memories to me. This game offered extreme style racing that was fun and enjoyable. I especially enjoy racing The Rock. Whoever thought using Alcatraz Island would provide such an insane race course? Of course, this game and this series exemplifies what seems to be missing in a lot of today's racing games- total creativity and lighthearted goodness. Racing game culture has changed over time, but the RUSH games (excluding the later L.A. Rush of the mid-2000s) provide nothing but sweet memories for racing gamers alike. I would recommend you play "San Francisco RUSH: Rush the Rock" if you find an arcade room that has it.

One last note... when I read Wikipedia's page on "San Francisco RUSH: Extreme Racing," there was apparently a version of the game called "San Francisco RUSH: RUSH The Rock: Wave Net," which allows for online play of the RUSH series. That was brand new to me.

Video Preview.

You read the post; now see the game. Enjoy (video is the arcade version):

^ "San Francisco Rush (Arcade) - Beginner Track"

Get your RUSH on! :)

If you have a Nintendo 64 or a PlayStation 1, you can play "San Francisco RUSH" on Amazon by using these two items. I prefer the N64 version. Your business would be appreciated if you did enjoy this blog post and want to support me here:

Want to try to score the arcade version of San Francisco RUSH or get parts for any units? Good luck to you on eBay:

San Francisco RUSH (arcade) on eBay

Thanks to all of you for supporting my work any way you can.

What do you think about "San Francisco RUSH: Extreme Racing?" Stay subscribed and stay tuned to "John's Race Space" for more racing game chatter from yours truly. Until next time and next post... thank you for reading!

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