OutRun (Genesis) review
"Back in the mid-eighties, just as console gaming was being offered to the world. You could bet your life that any arcade you went in had an Outrun machine, whichever one of its few incarnations it may have been. From the standing cabinet with a steering wheel and pedals, to the full blown sit-down Ferrari red monster that looked like the car you drove in the game – you could be sure it was there. "
Back in the mid-eighties, just as console gaming was being offered to the world. You could bet your life that any arcade you went in had an Outrun machine, whichever one of its few incarnations it may have been. From the standing cabinet with a steering wheel and pedals, to the full blown sit-down Ferrari red monster that looked like the car you drove in the game – you could be sure it was there.
The success of the game itself was possibly due to the lack of anything like it, more than what the game had to offer. But it ate the kids’ twenty pence’s, so it was only obvious each and every popular platform of the time would see some sort of incarnation. The genesis – merely a few scribbles on paper at the time – had to wait half a decade before the inevitable happened.
Nothing has been sacrificed from the arcade making for a fine port indeed, although maybe a few additions would have been nice. The action is straight sectioned timed racing, with the only the clock to beat. The lack in variety here is made up by the way the course works though. As you progress through each stage, the road opens up so you can choose between two directions. This in effect, gives you fifteen stages to play, with several combinations of routes to be toured, although you only need race through five each time.
The actual driving experience is just as straight forward too. Although racing a Ferrari Testarossa, you are only blessed with two gears – low or high – an accelerator and a brake. Apart from holding this accelerator down and pointing the car into the corners, you may often need to gear down or brake a little. This does seem to overly slow the car, resulting in a steady increase in speed again, but this process seems to be necessary to stop your car ploughing into the roadside obstacles.
Inevitably, you’ll sooner or later hit something, flipping your car over and throwing you and your model-like girlfriend from the car. An advertisement for us all to wear seat belts! In real life, we don’t magically teleport back into the middle of the road, sans a few seconds of time.
When you aren’t sitting besides your crashed car, you are sure to run into a car or two. Sticking the difficulty level on easy, or super easy, you’ll see the kind of traffic you’d only dream of in real life. Maybe the odd juggernaut will cut you up on a particularly bad bend sending you into the advertising board just to side of the tarmac, but on the whole, there won’t be much about. Up the anti a little and you’ll get the average congestion of London city center to contend with, making the already narrow roads virtually un-drivable.
If you do get time to take in the views along the way, there is some nice scenery to be had. Each stage has its own theme reflected in the off road visuals, from the opening leg of the tour, set beside the sea, through deserts, canyons and vineyards to name a few. It is almost as if you are moving between countries, simply by running through a checkpoint. It is this part of the game that brings you back for another run, trying out different routes until you have covered each stage.
These views would be nothing without some tunes to listen to though. Your radio gives you the choice of three, Splash Wave, Magical Sound Shower and Passing Breeze and Step on Beat. Older gamers who remember the arcade game will undoubtedly reminisce when the chilled beat s of Magical Sound Shower get going, although sadly, the others don’t seem to be quite as memorable. Though the choice is limited, your run is short and you don’t seem to tire of them too much.
Its strange how following the road as it twitches this way and that has somehow lost its appeal over the years. Maybe we have been spoilt by title such as Gran Tourismo, with its mass of cars and wealth of options – I don’t know – it just seems these days we deserve more. It’s a pure arcade conversion, offering nothing more than the original arcade experience. What is certain though, is that with Outrun, you can just pick it up at any time, sit back and enjoy one of the simplest ways of racing fun on the Genesis.
Community review by djy8c (April 07, 2004)
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