Outlander
Box Shot
Outlander
Platform: Genesis
Publisher: Mindscape
Designer: Mindscape
Genre: Driving/Action
Players: 1
Published Date 1992
Reviewed by: Bill O'Toole

If anyone has seen the movie The Road Warrior (the 2nd movie in the Mad Max trilogy), you may notice that this game is very similar to many of the scenes played out in the movie. Deranged gang members on motorcycles armed with crossbows, gyrocopter captains that drop molotov cocktails, gas that is defended with the ownerís life..did Mindscape rip the Mad Max series off? Actually, fans of the series may be interested to know that Mindscape developed this game with the hope of getting a license from Warner Bros. to actually make this a game starring Mad Max (experts on obscure video games probably already know that Mindscape had released the NES game Mad Max back in 1990). However, the deal between Mindscape and WB fell through at the last minute, so Mindscape decided to release their untitled game (without the name "Mad Max" in the title or the game) under the name Outlander. Although the game never gained any real success, I believe that this may be one of the best Genesis games ever to be released.

Since this technically isnít a Mad Max game, I wonít go into a several paragraph long explanation on him (if you didnít figure it out yet, Iím a huge fan of the movies), but since I didnít get instructions with the game and there is no manifestation of the plot in the actual game, I have no idea what the actual plot is to this game. In The Road Warrior, Maxís goal was to survive while helping out a peaceful tribe. Since there isnít any tribe in this game, the whole point is to survive while progressing through the desert wasteland. Sure, the plotís shoddy at best, but this game doesnít need a good plot to be great fun.

The game starts out with you behind the wheel of a beat up car while gang members on motorcycles shoot at you with crossbows and guns. Thankfully, the front of your car is armed with machine guns and youíre armed with a shotgun. Whenever a motorcycle or car comes up along side of you, a little window pops up on either side of the screen showing your shotgun. This is one of the best (and outright coolest) features in the game; it enables to you to pick off enemies while youíre still driving. Eventually, youíll find more weapons and accessories for your car (surface-to-air missiles, nitros, super-chargers, and even a toy that hangs from your rear view mirror) while traveling through various towns.

Every once in a while, your turn signal will start to go off and if you pull over, the game turns into a side-scroller as you explore a seemingly deserted town. Here you get to find such necessities like gas, food, water, and new weapons while fighting off fat bald guys in wifebeaters, women armed with shotguns, and crazy military nuts armed with poisonous darts. The towns that you visit are all on your little map, and there is a password feature so you can progress at any pace you want to. Also, if you ever have the unfortunate experience of running out of fuel, you get to fight for gas on the streets while fighting the previously mentioned foes plus the motorcycle gang members.

The graphics and sound are nothing to write home about, but they get the job done. The music is actually pretty annoying, so I just turn it off at the options screen and just play with the sound effects on. The play control is good while youíre in the car (except when your nitros are on- then it gets kind of hard to steer because youíre going too fast), but it gets kind of stiff in the side-scrolling levels. You might find yourself getting beat up quite a lot as you learn how to maneuver through the side-scrolling levels because of the somewhat awkward control, but youíll get used to it after awhile and itíll become second nature.

All of these shortcomings can be forgiven in the end, though. Outlander is just a complete blast to play. From the excellent driving parts to the not-as-good side-scrolling stages, youíll have a great time. Sure, itís just mindless action, but the game, overall, is executed very well for a company that isnít known for producing such good games (ever play Infiltrator or 720 for the NES?).

Iíd recommend this game to just about anyone, since itís a great action game, but Mad Max fans (the very few that still exist) in particular should hunt this one down. Itís somewhat rare from what Iíve heard, so Iíd try to get a copy as soon as possible. It might not be much to look at, but this game is a guaranteed good time.