Outrun 2006: Coast to Coast
Burnout and Ridge Racer, those are the two big titles which for the moment rule the genre of arcade racing, but if it depends on Sega Outrun will conquer a place too. Can this renewed classic live up to expectations and take it up agains those new established values?
The first thing that strikes me, is that the PS2 version a complete port is of the PSP version. On the handheld there is a ‘Just Drive’ mode which is absent on PS2 and that’s the biggest –I dare say the ‘only’– difference. Mind you, both versions are needed to unlock some cars and tracks, unless cheats are used. This is a rather filthy cash-in tactic of Sega but that’s another discussion.
Racing and drifting, that’s what it’s all about in Outrun. While going through different stages you increase your Outrun miles and score. Your greatest enemy is time, not your opponents. After every stage, you only get a limited ammount of time extra, so in the last rounds it all revolves around reaching the finishline in time. This is the strongest point of Outrun, although you’ll quickly master the game and certainly won’t have any problems with the easy routes, you do have to tune your driving a little to successfully finish the harder stages. By driving in the slipstream of other cars a lot of time can be won, but it actually revolves around drifting right in the right bends. Drifting in Outrun decreases your car’s speed only a little, so even in the most dangerous turns you a speed of 273 km/h can be maintained. If you know when to drift and when not to, the game will be easy to win. This game offers some profundity and can -certainly on PSP- compete with the other arcade racing games.
The latter doesn’t count for the technical side, the graphics are moderate and very often slowdown occurs when there’s too much traffic. Your screen will freeze often too for five seconds. This counts for both the PSP and the PS2 version, so I suppose this is the programmer’s fault instead of the hardware. The sound does seems good, the cars sound nice, but the soundtrack is nicier which means a lot, because I really don’t like synthesizer sounds.
It all looks old-school and that’s the power of Outrun. The game perfectly knows how to evoke nostalgia. Thanks to a great deal of unlockable stuff this game will keep you busy for a while. If you donn’t mind the occasional freezes and slowdowns, you’ll certainly have hours of fun, but only on the handheld. Thanks to the small screen the PSP version looks better and because of the great many better racing games on PS2 Outrun wouldn’t be a good choice for this console.