OutRun (SMS)

OutRun Box Art

OutRun

System: SMS

Release Date: October 1987

Developer: Sega

Publisher: Sega

Genre: Racing

OutRun is a very important arcade port in Sega’s history. I know it was developed by Sega’s AM2 team, which was responsible for some important games, including one of my favorites of my young life. This is a solo racer where your enemy is the clock, just like Hang-On.

On the road again.

You’ve got a few controls. Accelerate with the 2 Button, Brake with the 1 Button. Steer left and right with the d-pad. Shift up and down with the d-pad. Instead of being on a motorcycle, you’re driving a Ferrari Testarossa, errr… a facsimile of one… You’ve got five stages to go through to get to the end. The novelty is a branching path at the end of each stage. Best I can tell, there are fifteen different stages you can play. I had trouble getting past any of the third stages, though, so… there’s that.

Lost right before beating the third stage.

Before you start, you have three choices of music Passing Breeze is the default, select Splash Wave to the right, and Magical Sound Shower to the left. Which one is the best? Well, they’re all fine, so choose your favorite on different playthroughs. The sides of the road have a bunch of barriers throughout the level, so try not to hit them, or you’ll flip all around and somehow be perfectly fine to drive. Unfortunately, the hills aren’t very smooth, and can be jarring, as AI vehicles will appear and hinder your progress.

Choosing my tunes before the race.

The up and down shift wasn’t as much of an easy hard turn as it was in Hang-On, which kind of irritated me. If you’re going to make me manually shift between two gears, make the lower gear worthwhile for some reason. I didn’t feel like it was. When the time runs out, you immediately get a game over, which is a bummer. Do I like this more than Hang-On? I don’t know…

Graphics: 2.5

The graphics of the car are really well done. I also wish the hills and such were more smooth, in fact, that’s my biggest complaint. Everything moves like a stop motion video.

Sound: 1.5

Music and sound effects are just below average. They aren’t bad, but they aren’t good.

Gameplay: 1.5

It’s good for having branching paths. It’s less good for control of the car.

Difficulty: 1.5

Getting to a flawless playthrough to get to the end is going to take a minute, unless you’re amazing at racing games. I’m not so hot at these, so the last stage will be a mystery to me.

Fun Factor: 1.5

There’s a bit of fun to be had here. I am looking forward to future installments that are a little more advanced.

Overall Grade: 1.7

OutRun earns a C-. It’s a little bit better than Hang-On, but not by much.

OutRun Video Review on YouTube

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