Portable Review

OutRun

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Ah, OutRun, one of SEGA’s classic arcade games, which ended up ported to various systems in various forms, until the release of its sequel, OutRun 2. This is one of the ports, brought to the Game Gear. Like most Game Gear ports, OutRun offers all of the fun of the original, but with decreased graphic and sound quality. Probably the first good driving game on Sega’s power-draining portable. Compared to today’s minimum standard for racing games, it’s a bit simple, but it gets the job done.

There really isn’t much of a backstory. The OutRun series has always been about our unnamed protagonist driving around various locales with his girlfriend in tow. Nothing to really divulge plot-wise, but that’s alright. After all, most racing games don’t have much of a story, am I right? Yes I am, so don’t question it.

The first mode of the game is titled “1 Player Game”. This mode is classic OutRun; it’s more like a time trial than a racing game as you make it to the end of various courses. At the end of each course, your timer is refilled somewhat, and you get to choose your next course simply by turning in one direction or the other when you see a fork in the road. The locales vary from a sunny beach to a city in the evening to even ancient ruins. Of course, to call this game a simple time trial would be an insult. You need to look out for passing cars, which act as obstacles and off-the-road obstacles, which vary from cactuses to billboards, even pillars from ruins long gone. You have to complete a course in a certain amount of time, and as time goes on, more obstacles will come towards you, either causing you to spin out, or in some cases flip over. Both of these slow you down somewhat, so you should avoid them as much as possible.

The other two modes on the other hand, are pretty much the same thing – “Versus Computer” and “Versus Human”. These modes allow you to choose a course (from any course found in “1 Player Mode”) against either a computer-controlled opponent or a human-controlled one (with a little help from two Game Gears, two copies of OutRun and a Gear-to-Gear Link Cable). While the off-road obstacles are still there, all of the cars that you can run into are not, which definitely changes the gameplay mechanics.

The graphics and sound are pretty simple, but they do their job well. The graphics are noticeably downgraded from the original version, and in order to produce the illusion of movement, there is an alternating pattern of stretches of road that are light and dark, which switch places constantly at a varying rate (dependant on the “speed” that you are traveling at), which makes it look like the car is moving forward. The landscapes of the many courses are well-designed, especially considering the age of the game. The sound is primitive, but good. Humming noises are used to emulate the sounds of your car driving and the soundtrack consists of downgraded versions of such classic OutRun tracks as “Passing Breeze” and “Splash Wave”.

Admittedly, this game doesn’t have much replay going for it. I mean, going through the numerous paths found in “1 Player Mode” is interesting and racing against an opponent on the numerous courses is fun, but it doesn’t have much lasting value. On the other hand, this is a great pick-up-and-play game, so though it won’t keep you engaged for very long, you might find yourself coming back to it later.

-Originally Posted by Wolfdogg

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