Outrun is a classic arcade game that I first played back in the 90’s. It was different than all others because it was solely a one-player game and was more about driving than racing! I had a chance to pick up the Genesis port recently and wanted to give it a shot again, as I remembered it fondly for how awesome the music and gameplay was!
In terms of design, it plays in the 3rd person perspective and has the player taking control of a red convertible. Instead of racing against other drivers, you are racing against yourself and the timer to make it to the next check point – the better you are, the further you get to drive!
Players start in the beach level and guide the car through a variety of twists and turns all the while dodging traffic. One button is used to accelerate, one is used to go into high gear, and the last button is used to break! I really liked the inclusion of the upper gear because when you gear up, you go a lot faster but are more likely to smash into signs or other cars which will ultimately slow you down (and end in a hilarious graphic of you, your girlfriend, and the car getting launched into the air). There is a real strategy in knowing when to gear up and when to stay in the lower gear (or when to break) so that you are able to get through stage and make it to the next check point.
Another interesting aspect of the game is the level progression – while you start in a beach themed area, at the end of each stage there is a fork in the road which allows players to select where to go next! There are tons of different driving areas ranging from forested areas, to desserts, to even mountains! In all, there are 15 courses – and to experience them all you will need to replay the game a lot because the beach area is always the starting area! I loved this aspect of the game because it added tremendously to the replayability and trying to see all the different locations.
In terms of difficulty, this game is hard but fair! The controls are excellent and responsive, but when I initially started playing I could barely get past the first checkpoint! After numerous tries and understanding the importance of gearing up and down, I was finally able to get to get to the third checkpoint. In total, there are five checkpoints that must be passed to compete the game.
In terms of graphics, this game doesn’t look as good as the original arcade game – but that okay! For the Genesis, it looks fantastic with each area looking very unique and with lots of different colours used. The way the levels scroll by so quickly also gives the game a real sense of speed! The main convertible and other road vehicles also look great which is complimented by the fantastic animation (and the car flip that will NEVER get old)!
In terms of music, this is one of the main areas that really shines! The music in this game is FANTASTIC! Before each drive attempt, the player gets to select which song they want to drive to – my favourite is Splash Wave (listen below in the video). The music really sets the atmosphere of the game and makes it more about going for a fun joy ride than racing like many other racing games.
Overall, this might be my favourite one-player driving game! The awesome music and excellent arcade controls make it a joy to play. While it is challenging, it can be learned relatively quickly. I love how a full game can be completed in around five minutes so its easy to pick up and play for a short gaming sessions. With all this taken into consideration, I give this game a 8/10 and recommend it to anyone who enjoys arcade or racing games!
Final Score: 8/10