Rush is a series of racing game video games developed by American based company Atari Games and published by Atari Games and Midway Games for the Home Consoles. The series debuted worldwide in 1996. Initially, the series was exclusive to the fifth generation consoles and was brought back later in the sixth-generation video game consoles by 2006. The games consist mainly of racing with various cars on various tracks, and to some extent, including stunts in races. Since L.A. Rush the series has adopted its street racing atmosphere.
The evolution of Rush is a gradual process in which each installment builds slightly upon the last. There are essentially two different phases in this evolution--the San Francisco phase and the L.A. phase.
San Francisco Phase
San Francisco Rush: Extreme Racing
The original San Francisco Rush was released in 1996 in the arcades and included 3 tracks and 8 cars.
San Francisco Rush: Extreme Racing (Home Version)
The original arcade version was followed by the home version for the Nintendo 64 in 1997. This included 3 additional cars (bringing the total to 11) and four additional tracks (bringing the total to 7; 1 of these tracks was hidden). The game also included new shortcuts that were not in the arcade's original three tracks. Within the game's 6th track is a hidden stunt track. Several months after the game's release, there were rumors about a bonus "Alcatraz Track" hidden within the game. Via a special code, or through such hardware like Gameshark, an unfinished version of the Alcatraz track could be unlocked within the game. The developers of the game later revealed, via interviews with IGN, that the track was originally to be included in the final release, but was cancelled by the publisher.[ Instead, the developers decided to hide the track within the game, rather than completely delete it. ][ The version plays like a ]beta, with many textures unfinished on the track. The finalized version of the track was eventually released in Rush 2 for the Nintendo 64.
San Francisco Rush The Rock: Alcatraz Edition
Also released in 1997, San Francisco Rush The Rock: Alcatraz Edition included the 4 new tracks from the home version and added additional shortcuts to them all. 1 car from the home version of San Francisco Rush was not included. However, the game introduced several new cars which were also included in the next Rush game.
Rush 2: Extreme Racing USA
Rush 2 was released in 1998 on the Nintendo 64. Although this game only has one track that is featured in it that's in San Francisco (Alcatraz), this still belongs in the same category as the others. This is the first game in the series that doesn't include the core 3 tracks from the original San Francisco Rush, and the first, and only, that includes multiple cities to race in. It is also the first Rush game to have a proper stunt track (rather than the hidden stunt track in the Nintendo 64 version of San Francisco Rush). Like the last home game, new cars are unlocked by collecting keys but now Mountain Dew cans are also featured. Rush 2 includes every car that was used in its predecessors and includes several more (both hidden and default) that are new to Rush.
San Francisco Rush 2049
Rush returns to San Francisco when San Francisco Rush 2049 was released in arcades in 1999. It features 3 all-new tracks as well as a returning track, Alcatraz, re-invented for the future. Unlike Rush 2, Rush 2049 does not carry over cars from the previous game. Except for two returning cars, all cars in this game are new. Also new is Rush 2049 uses coins, which replace keys when unlocking new cars. Two rarer versions of Rush 2049 exist: SF Rush 2049 TE and SF Rush 2049 SE, which stand for "Tournament Edition" and "Special Edition", respectively. These games featured 2 additional tracks and a number of additional cars, as well as bug fixes (mostly to eliminate certain dubious racing practices). The SE version was produced by Betson Enterprises and released in 2003.
San Francisco Rush 2049 (Home Version)
The home version of San Francisco Rush 2049 was released in 2000 for the Dreamcast and Nintendo 64 with major changes. The Alcatraz track from the arcade is scrapped in favor of the return of the stunt track concept from Rush 2 (4 tracks this time) and 2 other brand new modes of play: "battle" and "obstacle". The game includes 3 new race tracks and features 8 battle arenas and 1 obstacle course. Also new this time is the addition of wings in the home version, which players can use to stabilize their cars during airtime or to pull off amazing tricks in the stunt mode. Also as a hidden bonus, on track 2 there is a small stunt room hidden within a loop. Though it is mainly just directional boost pads with two or three coins hidden inside. it was a possible homage to the hidden stunt track from the first game.
On August 25th, 2004, Midway Games announced the arrival of a long-awaited new Rush game, L.A. Rush which is so different from its predecessors that it is no longer an evolution of a previous game; it is a whole new start. First of all, this game is wide-open; no longer does the game include "tracks" but now racers are free to roam the city of L.A. Secondly, the game has a story (which no previous Rush game had) centering on urban street racing culture made famous by the videogame Midnight Club: Street Racing, by the movie The Fast and the Furious, and other copycat video games and movies. In another series first the game now uses licensed cars, rather than knock-offs.
- San Francisco Rush: Extreme Racing (Arcade - 1996)
- San Francisco Rush: Extreme Racing (Nintendo 64 - 1997)
- San Francisco Rush The Rock: Alcatraz Edition (Arcade - 1997)
- San Francisco Rush: WaveNet (Online Arcade - 1998)
- San Francisco Rush: Extreme Racing (PlayStation - 1998)
- Rush 2: Extreme Racing USA (Nintendo 64 - 1998)
- San Francisco Rush 2049 (Arcade - 1999)
- San Francisco Rush 2049 (Dreamcast and Nintendo 64 - 2000)
- San Francisco Rush 2049 (Game Boy Color - 2000)
- San Francisco Rush 2049 (PC emulation - 2007)
- L.A. Rush (PlayStation 2, Xbox, PC - 2005)
- Rush (PlayStation Portable - 2006)
The Midway Arcade Treasures 3 compilation released for the GameCube, PS2, and Xbox in 2005 contains ports of San Francisco Rush The Rock: Alcatraz Edition and the Dreamcast version of San Francisco Rush 2049. The 2006 PC-only Midway Arcade Treasures Deluxe Edition compilation also includes those ports.
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- Ed Logg found a dilemma when developing the Nintendo 64 version of San Francisco Rush: Extreme Racing. He wanted to include a seventh track, based on the famed island of Alcatraz. However, the publisher would not allow it because the track was the main selling point of the upcoming arcade game San Francisco Rush The Rock: Alcatraz Edition, which was soon to be released. So, instead of scrapping it, he buried the track deep in the game so that it could only be unlocked via a complicated cheat code. It was a risky move, but it worked - six months after San Francisco Rush The Rock: Alcatraz Edition was released Ed Logg finally revealed the cheat code to the public.
- In the time between the release of San Francisco Rush 2049 and L.A. Rush, a semi-sequel to San Francisco Rush 2049 was attempted. The game was to be called Hot Rod Rebels, but unfortunately the project was canceled.