OutRun 2 (Arcade) review
"I went into the arcade just because that is what I do. If I see an arcade, no matter where, I am compelled to enter. The draw is too strong. The sounds, the colours, the feel, the smell ; it's too much for me to resist. Often times I am dissapointed. Perhaps I might find an old forgotten game that no longer works. Perhaps I find nothing but dancing games. Perhaps I only find one-arm bandits. I admit that I was expecting not to see anything more than standard arcade fare this time. "
I went into the arcade just because that is what I do. If I see an arcade, no matter where, I am compelled to enter. The draw is too strong. The sounds, the colours, the feel, the smell ; it's too much for me to resist. Often times I am dissapointed. Perhaps I might find an old forgotten game that no longer works. Perhaps I find nothing but dancing games. Perhaps I only find one-arm bandits. I admit that I was expecting not to see anything more than standard arcade fare this time.
This particular arcade was nice, though. Plenty of up-to-date machines, and most of them actually working. Not the norm for a seaside town, where generally the arcades exist purely to fleece as many families out of as much cash as possible. This one was different. This one was clean. This one had up-to-date games. This one, in a word, cared. And so I looked around at the gun games, and bemani games, and the driving games.....
And then I saw it! Or rather, I HEARD it! Something seemed somehow familiar about the tune behind me, and I turned to face it. And instantly, I knew I was in for a good day.
Seeing this machine was a feeling I find hard to convey in mere words. I was being re-acquainted with an old flame for the first time in years. Only, she looked so much better than she did last time I saw her. Which is saying something, because she looked sublime even then. Our love affair was originally based on that physical attraction, and time together improved things. I honestly have no idea why we seperated, just that sometimes these things happen in life. Over the years, I found myself thinking of her every so often, always fondly.
And so, when I saw her again, I felt joy. I had heard she was going to be back on the scene, and I felt mixed emotions. Sometimes, nostalgia belongs in the past after all. No such fear here, though. She is looking incredible, and she is just as much fun as she used to be. Our time together was never less than a delight, and any trepidation I had about being hard to pick back up where we left off was soon washed away by the sheer speed with which I settled back into the familar old ways.
Here was a true case of 'love at second sight'. She first teased me by reminding me of the old days, and then seduced me by revealing the new tricks up her sleeve.
I have waited a long time for this game, and I am not dissapointed in the slightest. It is rare indeed that a game as hyped and previewed as this one was ever lives up to it. However, Outrun 2 is EXACTLY as good as you hoped it was going to be. From the moment you lay eyes on it, you know you are in for a ride. And when the wheel rotates itself back to dead-centre as press start, you suddenly realise that AM2 love you, and are about to treat you to something very special indeed.
My choices were Outrun mode, Heart Attack, and Time Attack. I chose the classic, because I didn't like the sound of Heart Attack. Something new might be a distraction, after all. From the choice of 4 cars (F50, Dino, Testarossa, and Enzo) I went with the F50. I was even able to choose what music I wanted playing, and I just left it on the first one. And then, my jaw dropped, as the camera zoomed in on my Ferarri at the starting line. I was off and running!
She handled like a dream, the scenery moved past so smoothly, and everything felt like driving a Ferarri at retarded speeds should feel. The music was simply sweet, and the sounds of the engine and tire-screams were spot-on. In fact, they were music to my ears. The game is so polished that you can see your very soul reflected in it. If you are finding it too easy, then simply take the right exit at the stage end. If it is too hard, go left. There is precisely no reason to dislike this game aesthetically speaking. It is, quite simply, the Outrun game you always wanted.
So, that being done, I went onto Heart Attack mode. Now, this is where I can see myself pumping plenty of cash into this machine. In Heart Attack mode, you are given objectives in each stage. Well, 2 objectives in each of 2 sections per stage, to be precise. First, you need to pass enough cars, and second you need to drift. Do well enough, and you impress your girlfriend. When this happens, her heart meter starts to fill. Fill it before time runs out, and you get to go on to the next stage. This opens up a whole new level of Outrun playing, since now the focus has shifted from what was always the most chilled racing game out there, and pushed it towards even more hardcore territory. Essentially, the game's life is increased, and people who disliked the laid-back approach to racing can actually step up and throw their Ferarri around like some speed-crazed maniac with the best of them. I quickly tried this again with the Enzo. I can't recall ever laughing so loudly at the original game. Heart Attack mode is definitely a fun addition.
And the final cherry on this cake is the system link. Now, the machine I saw was next to one other machine, and so I could race the guy next to me. This is always more fun than just beating on some random AI, after all. This proves just as true here, and even more so in Heart Attack. Anyone can race, but racing with style gives you much more bragging rights.
I am prepared to admit that this review may be slightly biased. After all, not every game is a sequel to such a well-loved classic. And, not every game is a sequel to a game that literally dominated my arcade days for such a long time. However, I can not find a single flaw with this game. If I had to pick one, it would possibly be that the game itself was over too soon. But, I also realise that I spent a LOT of time on Outrun back in the day, and this has certainly contributed.
I was already awaiting the forthcoming XBox version. Now, I am literally chomping at the bit for it. This game not only made my day, it made my entire month.
Exactly as I hoped it would.
Community review by cheekylee (August 02, 2004)
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