OutRun (Genesis) review
"OutRun was brought home to the Genesis from its cool, comfortable arcade cabinet that featured a steering wheel, shifter, and pedals. When Sega failed to pack these items in with the cartridge (how hard can it be?), thus stripped of the novelty, the fun factor hit a signpost and rolled over. "
Passing Breeze is the famous OutRun song. Never mind that it's so memorable due to the sheer lack of tunes the game offers - people know it, and most seem to like it. And what's more, the name Passing Breeze seems to exemplify the OutRun experience as a whole: it's fast, light, refreshing at just the right moment, and easy. Yes, like Sunday morning.
OutRun was brought home to the Genesis from its cool, comfortable arcade cabinet that featured a steering wheel, shifter, and pedals. When Sega failed to pack these items in with the cartridge (how hard can it be?), thus stripped of the novelty, the fun factor hit a signpost and rolled over.
Among other things, this means the mechanics haven't changed. The behind-the-car viewpoint is still utilized to good effect in the Genesis OutRun. Your red Ferrari is easy to control, even in the turns. The goal of course, is to get from point A to point B in the allotted time. Naturally, the race is broken up into different legs, and you'll need to be fast enough to complete each leg before the time limit for that stretch of road expires. Make great time on the first leg, and have the extra time carry over into the time provided for the next, and so on.
You pray for straight-aways. All you need to do here is gear up (there are only two gears: low and high), and stay on the straight and narrow. The curves are where you get into trouble. The Ferrari is equipped with brakes, but it's best not to use them at all. Letting off the gas and easing into the turns is the key to beating the game. You see, braking will make you too slow to complete the course, and not slowing at all in the turns... well, unless you want to eat dirt with your blonde girlfriend on hand to bitch you out in the process, you'll take the turns cautiously.
If you're not sure if you're being careful enough in the turns, don't worry, you'll find out in a hurry. The car will lose traction and slide, tires screeching, to the outside of the curve, likely hitting whatever markers the scene has placed intermittently along the roadside (rocks or signposts, to name a few). Enter, the game's biggest spectacle: the car will flip... well, spectacularly, and dump you and your girl unceremoniously onto your backsides. Worse than her berating you is you losing precious time off the clock while your car is magically righted and centred on the track, at which point you'll rejoin the race, easing back into the proceedings in low gear.
At a little ways beyond three-quarters through each leg, you'll come to a fork in the road, and no, you can't go straight. Choose left or right and continue on towards the checkpoint that annexes the current area to the one following. If you look to your left, you'll notice that the graphics are colourful and crisp in their detailing of the various desert and city scenarios. Sadly, the same can't be said of the music. You choose one tune that will play for your whole trip. Choosing said tune on a screen that represents your character's hand switching stations on the car radio is a nice touch, but it would be nice if the option was given at every leg, or if the bloody radio received more than three stations, or if each station played more than one bloody song.
Still, OutRun is an enjoyable way to kill fifteen minutes with your own music going, your Ferrari darting through moderate traffic (things get considerably more congested on Hard mode). It's not great though - the novelty of the arcade unit isn't here to help it along, and as such, it's little more than a prettier, multiple path Hang On, a game that showcased surprisingly good execution on the Master System years before. But this is the Genesis, a much more capable piece of hardware, whose hardware muscles barely touched this game. You wouldn't miss much if you didn't either. Only a pleasant, passing breeze.
Staff review by Marc Golding (December 20, 2003)
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