San Francisco Rush: Extreme Racing

San Francisco Rush: Extreme Racing is a video game developed by Atari Games and published by Midway Games. This game was first released in arcades in 1996 and was ported to Nintendo 64 in 1997 and the PlayStation in 1998. San Francisco Rush: Extreme Racing is the first game in the Rush series.

San Francisco Rush: Extreme Racing
Developer(s)Atari Games (arcade)
Midway Games (N64)
Climax Development (PlayStation)
Publisher(s)Atari Games (arcade)
Midway Games (consoles)
Producer(s)John Ray
Designer(s)Spencer Lindsay (arcade)
Ed Logg (N64)
Platform(s)Arcade, Nintendo 64, PlayStation, Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube (Included in Midway Arcade Treasures 3 as Rush The Rock)
December 24, 1996 (Rush)[citation needed]
October 1997 (Rush The Rock)
Nintendo 64
  • NA: November 8, 1997
  • EU: December 1997
  • NA: February 28, 1998
  • EU: April 2, 1998
Arcade systemAtari Flagstaff
Horizontal Orientation


San Francisco Rush was built around the 3Dfx Voodoo Graphics dual chips.[1] The 3Dfx hardware was cheaper to develop for than proprietary systems, and Atari used the savings to sell the game at a lower price to arcade operators.[2] It was unveiled at the 1996 AMOA show.[3] After originally looking at maps of San Francisco, knowing that the cars would be going 150-160 mph, they realized that they would instead have to craft an alternate version of the city that was more 'fun'.[4]

The new tracks included in The Rock: Alcatraz Edition were actually designed for the Nintendo 64 version of the game, with the sole exception of the Alcatraz track.[5]


San Francisco Rush: Extreme RacingEdit

Released in 1996, the original San Francisco Rush: Extreme Racing features three tracks that take place in San Francisco, California and eight playable vehicles. San Francisco Rush: Extreme Racing is the first game to use Atari Games' Flagstaff engine.

San Francisco Rush: The RockEdit

Released in 1997, San Francisco Rush: The Rock was a ROM update for the original game, allowing arcade owners to extend the life of the original cabinet.[5] The update brought four tracks, including the Alcatraz track, and four new cars.

The arcade cabinet is seen in one clip in the music video for Len's "Steal My Sunshine" (1999).

San Francisco Rush: The Rock: Wave NetEdit

Released in 1998, the third and final installment of San Francisco Rush: Extreme Racing is an updated version of The Rock with support for online multiplayer.


Nintendo 64Edit

Rush was ported to the Nintendo 64 in 1997. This conversion contains six tracks, with two of them containing secret stunt courses, plus one hidden track from both San Francisco Rush: Extreme Racing and San Francisco Rush The Rock: Alcatraz Edition. The regular tracks can be run in either reverse or mirrored modes and feature added collectible hidden keys throughout the track that can be used to unlock hidden vehicles. Most of the original cars appeared in this conversion, but some from San Francisco Rush The Rock: Alcatraz Edition are not present. This conversion contains a Practice Mode and a Death Race mode where all cars that crash during a race remain on the track in a wreck,[6] thereby ending the game if the player crashes. The Nintendo 64 port of Rush also includes a Circuit Mode and a save system for Fast Times, circuit progress, and hidden keys that the player can find on secret spots to unlock new cars.

San Francisco Rush The Rock: Alcatraz Edition was presumed to be ported to the Nintendo 64 for release in 1998, but advertisements included in the box of the Nintendo 64 version stating the game was "Coming Fall 1998 for Nintendo 64" were later reported to be in error. The advert was actually intended solely for the arcade version, which includes all of the tracks that were already in the Nintendo 64 version.[7]

Game Boy ColorEdit

Rush was planned to be ported to the Game Boy Color, but the project was cancelled.[citation needed]

Sony PlayStationEdit

Rush was ported to Sony PlayStation in 1998. This conversion contains three tracks, plus an exclusive bonus track. None of the original music from the arcade versions is present, and the announcer voice has been modified, but some of his voiceover is included in the game. Some of the modes from the Nintendo 64 port are included. The Death Race mode was renamed Extreme Race, and circuit mode was included but with fewer tracks. There are two exclusive modes: GP Mode and Explosive Mode. The PlayStation version has all eight original cars but none of the San Francisco Rush The Rock: Alcatraz Edition cars. The gameplay is also different from the arcade version, as the gravity is higher than the arcade version, reducing the jump airtime, and the steering sensitivity was also modified.


San Francisco Rush The Rock: Alcatraz Edition was released on PC exclusively with the Quantum3D Raven video card,[8][9] and was designed to run only on that specific card. It can, however, run on more modern video cards through the use of modified .exes and a glide wrapper for glide support. It is a near-perfect conversion of the arcade game, although it suffers from several collision detection issues and other bugs.

Other portsEdit

San Francisco Rush The Rock: Alcatraz Edition was ported to Midway Arcade Treasures 3 for the GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox and a similar version is also included in Midway Arcade Treasures Deluxe Edition for the PC. The arcade treasures version is a recreation of the original game, with a new physics engine[citation needed] and sound changes: The game's audio was replaced entirely with a new announcer voice, uses remixed or altered music tracks, and has completely different sound effects. This version received heavy criticism by fans for the alterations made to the audio along with the new physics engine[citation needed] that was reported to be buggy and therefore would mess up the gravity[citation needed] in the game. The PC version had a critical bug where the car would go over 200 mph and then blow up if gas was held on without braking.


San Francisco Rush was a major hit in arcades, and was cited as a comeback title restoring Atari Games' fortunes as an arcade game developer.[2]

Next Generation reviewed the arcade version of the game, rating it four stars out of five, and stated that "what's coolest about this game are the shortcuts: into sewers, off broken-down freeways, onto skyscraper rooftops, and other unexpected places. Camouflaged in the urban settings of San Francisco, these shortcuts can cut players far ahead of opponents, or if they blow it and crash, a shortcut can set them back to the end of the pack. Either way, it adds a thrill of discovery not usually found in driving games and makes the risk well worth it."[10]

Brazilian magazine SuperGamePower gave the PlayStation version 3.8 out of 5.[11] French magazine Player One gave the PlayStation version 70%, praising the better steering when it comes to sharp turns, but criticized the graphics.[12] Spanish magazine PlanetStation gave the PlayStation port 3​12 out of 5 orbs, praising the jumps, speed, music, and multiple game modes, but criticized the graphics that are inconsistent with the framerate, and the minimal distinction between the playable cars.[13]

Next Generation reviewed the Nintendo 64 version of the game, rating it five stars out of five, and stated that "All told, SF Rush is just short of brilliant. It's a fun, challenging game that keeps you playing over and over again."[14]


The San Francisco Rush series was followed by three sequels. The first was Rush 2: Extreme Racing USA, released in 1998 exclusively on Nintendo 64. The second was the futuristic San Francisco Rush 2049 which was released in 1999 for the arcade and ported to the Dreamcast and Nintendo 64 in 2000. The third and final one was L.A. Rush released in 2005.


  1. ^ "NG Alphas: San Francisco Rsuh". Next Generation. No. 26. Imagine Media. February 1997. p. 88.
  2. ^ a b "NG Alphas: Atari Comes Alive". Next Generation. No. 35. Imagine Media. November 1997. p. 78.
  3. ^ "San Francisco Rush Extreme". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 89. Ziff Davis. December 1996. p. 144.
  4. ^ EPNdotTV (2016-01-25), Tomb Raider Visit to Core - S1:E4 - Electric Playground, retrieved 2018-08-22
  5. ^ a b "NG Alphas: San Francisco Rush: The Rock, Alcatraz Edition". Next Generation. No. 35. Imagine Media. November 1997. p. 78.
  6. ^ "San Francisco Rush: Leapin' Lamborghinis!". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 100. Ziff Davis. November 1997. p. 36.
  7. ^ "Rush: The Rock Not Coming to N64 - IGN". Retrieved 2014-03-03.
  8. ^ "Raven & Ventana". The Dodge Garage 3dfx Collection.
  9. ^ "Quantum 3D Raven". TweakStone's Banshee Asylum.
  10. ^ "Finals". Next Generation. No. 28. Imagine Media. April 1997. p. 134.
  11. ^ "ESPORTE TOTAL". SuperGamePower (in Portuguese). June 1998. p. 44.
  12. ^ Chon (July–August 1998). "Vite Vu". Player One (in French). p. 138.
  13. ^ "SAN FRANCISCO RUSH: No es lo mismo volar a San Francisco que volar en San Francisco". PlanetStation (in Spanish). December 1998. p. 25.
  14. ^ "Finals". Next Generation. No. 36. Imagine Media. December 1997. p. 161.

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