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The game features an arcade-style physics engine. Race tracks are based around a futuristic representation of San Francisco. Cars have the ability to extend wings from their lateral aspects, allowing for mid-air adjustments. This feature is a product of the science fiction setting and as such is not seen in other entries in the Rush series. As with previous titles in the franchise, Rush 2049 features a stunt mode in which the player scores points for complex mid-air maneuvers and successful landings. There are six race tracks, four stunt arenas, eight battle arenas and one unlockable obstacle course named 'The Gauntlet'. Different Automobiles and Automobile components are unlockable throughout the progression of the game, but cheat codes can allow for the instant achievement of these components. The single player race mode places emphasis on outlandish and death-defying shortcuts, creating a risk and reward structure to the gameplay. The game's soundtrack mostly comprises Big Beat, Break Beat and Drum N' Bass.

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