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by Brian Gazza - originally posted April 30, 2006; last updated May 18, 2014

OutRunners (アウトランナーズ) - Arcade, Genesis (1993)

Japanese Mega Drive Cover

American Genesis Cover

After a whole slew of disappointing semi-sequels, AM2 got behind the wheel again and brought back the graphics, the music and their characteristic style. OutRunners was presented most often in its sitting cabinet form, usually linked to multiple machines for a maximum of eight players. There are eight cars you can choose from, each with different attributes and resembling real life cars like the red sprinter in the original OutRun. The drivers of the various cars are also different, making for additional unique ending variations.

While the previous games covered North America and Europe, OutRunners has stages that cover the entire world. The game route still has the same "pyramid" pattern it did back in the early days, but there are two completely different maps. There's now an east side and a west side map, and the very first fork in the road (right after you start the game) will let you choose which of these two layouts you want to play through. This technically means there are about 30 stages total, but a few levels are duplicated on each side.

The game plays pretty much the same as the original OutRun, as it loses the turbo button, weather effects and rivals of Turbo OutRun. The turning animation for the cars is more pronounced than before, but otherwise the game controls about the same. However, the game greatly benefits from Sega's Multi 32 board, which allows for even faster driving action and smooth-as-hell sprite scaling. For the first time, the road is actually textured, instead of the cycling grey/black of the earlier games. The backgrounds are incredible and have a lot more detail than any other game, as well as huge hills, which makes the tracks feel less flat. It always keeps up the pace, because even if you hit an obstacle and the drivers fall out, there's some comical animation as they somehow fly or jump back into the car without it stopping. It's accompanied by a laugh track and is quite silly.

The stages become increasingly more gorgeous as you drive over bridges, near waterfalls, through dense forests, and even underwater. Compared to the lame levels of Turbo OutRun, each stage has a distinct background, and you'll drive past many famous landmarks. Some of the vehicles even change depending on the stage, as you zoom by covered wagons in the Grand Canyon, blaze past (or through) cyclists in China, or weave between double decker tour buses in Hong Kong.

The beautiful sights of Asia

There's now an in-game radio station select. You can choose from the remixes of the four classic tunes ("Last Wave" included!), as well as several new songs. These aren't quite as good as the originals, but there's some decent stuff, like "Looking for the Rainbow". The voice effects are particularly notable as well, especially Jake Elwood (possibly a reference to The Blues Brothers?) as a radio announcer on the car select screen.

OutRunners is an absolutely brilliant game, and a fantastic update of a classic. But sadly, it never remotely reached the same level of popularity. Its only home port was on the Genesis, and it's rather badly done. The system couldn't handle the special effects of the original OutRun, let alone this powerful sequel. The arcade version featured a fairly impressive rendition of the Golden Gate bridge, but in the Genesis version it looks like any old bridge. Consequently, the game feels very scaled back, worse than the Genesis version of OutRun.

The game tries to include a multiplayer mode by dividing the screen into two halves, but it looks so bad it's just silly. Worse still is that you always have to play split-screen, even in singleplayer mode (like in the original Super Mario Kart), making the view extremely cramped.

This in itself introduces a number of illogical technical conundrums. If the CPU player advances to another level before the human player (or vice versa), the entire backdrop changes for both players, even if the other is in a totally different stage. This bizarre situation is presumably because the system couldn't handle two different sets of graphics on screen simultaneously.

In addition to the regular "Arcade Mode", there's also an "Original Mode", which lets you pick any of the levels and race against either another player or a computer controlled opponent. The Japanese version included a cheat code where you could play as the Virtua Formula, the car from Virtua Racing, but this was strangely missing from the American release. Sega didn't even bother to publish the game outside of Japan themselves, leaving the duties to Data East.

The Virtua Racing car in the Japanese version

Quick Info:

Developer:

Publisher:

Genre:

Themes:


OutRunners (Arcade)

OutRunners (Arcade)

OutRunners (Arcade)

OutRunners (Arcade)

OutRunners (Arcade)

OutRunners (Arcade)

OutRunners (Arcade)


Comparison Screenshots


OutRun 2 / Outrun 2006: Coast 2 Coast / Outrun 2 SP / Outrun Online Arcade - Arcade, Xbox, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Windows, PSP, Mobile (2003)

OutRun 2 Arcade Flyer

OutRun 2 American Xbox Cover

OutRun 2 European Xbox Cover

OutRun 2 SP Arcade Flyer

OutRun 2006 American PlayStation 2 Cover

Nearly 10 years after the release of OutRunners, Sega released OutRun 2, a marvel of a game. OutRun 2 looks and sounds so good, yet in spite of the vastly upgraded graphics it's unbelievable how close to its roots it feels. The Sega Chihiro board is the new platform, and it includes a 733MHz Intel Pentium III and nVidia graphics processor, approximately the same as the Xbox, which in turn makes for an excellent home conversion.

Sega offered three different cabinets for OutRun 2, the "Twin" cabinet being the most popular for linked racing. But the real surprise is that Ferrari finally licensing their brand to Sega, so in this version there are eight classic sports cars from the Italian manufacturer, which all look fantastic and drive like a dream.

The biggest addition is the new drift technique. While at a high speed, by turning the wheel and tapping the brake, you'll activate a drift, which allows you to take rough corners with ease. Mastering this ability is the key to getting the best times.

Included are three singleplayer modes. "OutRun Mode" is the standard arcade mode, as you race through five out of 15 possible stages. "Heart Attack Mode" lets you show off your driving skills by performing different tricks and tasks, while "Time Attack Mode" is self explanatory. There's also a linked "Multiplayer Mode" for linked cabinets like in OutRunners.

Breathtaking stages, a silky smooth 3D engine, and the stars of the game: the shiny, expensive Ferraris. Each of the real-world locations looks stunning, as you drive past the Eiffel Tower at night, speed along the pyramids of Egypt, blaze through the flower gardens of Holland, and along the classic beach front just like the original title. It's also the only game to make a run-down industrial complex look gorgeous. The five different goofy endings make an appearance too, depending on which course you take, just like old times. There are three different girls to sit next to you, depending on which mode you're playing.

The game (here OutRun Online Arcade) looks simply stunning.

In the audio department, the three classic OutRun tunes return, again remixed, plus four new songs - "Risky Ride", "Shiny World", "Night Flight" and "Life Was a Bore" - that are actually pretty good. The cool radio announcer and roaring of the crowd from OutRunners is now gone. Sega added plenty of fan service too: the horizon shrinks and grows back when you change levels, and the voice that yells out "Checkpoint!" is the same as in the original game.

Sega put United Kingdom-based company Sumo Digital in charge of porting the game to the Xbox, and they did a spectacular job. They also added plenty of hidden cars and stages, most notably some from other Sega racing games like Daytona USA 2 and SCUD Race. There's an expansive mission mode that puts you through various parts of each level and has you attempting to fulfill certain goals like in the Heart Attack mode. Plus plenty of additional new tunes, notably some nice remixes courtesy of Richard Jacques (known for his work on Sonic 3D Blast and Jet Grind Radio), online head-to-head for up to eight players through Xbox Live, and finally, the 1986 original arcade gem to unlock.

In 2004, Sega released a new version called OutRun 2 SP. However, calling it a mere "upgrade" isn't doing the game any justice. This new entry includes 15 totally new stages, tweaked physics, and more tunes, which is way more than your average upgrade. In the new levels you'll drive across the Golden Gate bridge, through gigantic sequoia trees, past an Arctic oil refinery, see the Moai heads of Easter Island, zoom through a Las Vegas-style city, and under a starry night sky next to a space shuttle launch.

New to this edition is the use of the "slipstream" technique during racing, in which you position yourself right behind an opponent's car to reduce wind resistance and go above your top speed. Another added feature is the increased ease of play, as players receive less speed reduction when they crash their car. This makes the experience extremely easy for regulars, but friendlier to newcomers. The cameos between stages have returned too, including the jet from After Burner and the dragon from Panzer Dragoon.

Two special-edition cabinets saw a limited release under the denomination of "deluxe" (DX) and "super deluxe" (SDX), the first one supporting four players and the second up to eight. Strangely, the exclusive cooperative mode the SDX cabinet was created for, allows up to four teams of two players each to alternate control of the car throughout a race. These special cabinets house bigger screens with resolutions of 800 x 480 (using Sega's Lindbergh hardware instead of the former Chihiro), plus an electronic billboard indicating real-time ranking of players, CCD cameras pointed at the players' faces, and a "public announcement" system for an attendant or race official.

Outrun 2 SP 4-player Deluxe cabinet

The North American and European console versions of OutRun 2 SP are called OutRun 2006: Coast to Coast, and were released for Windows PCs, PlayStation 2, Xbox and PSP. Not only do these releases feature tracks from both games (for a total of 30), but they include a mission mode that manages to outclass the original: you now earn points when you play, which lets you buy different tracks, cars, songs and other bonuses. Unlockable music includes the whole soundtrack from both the OutRun and Turbo OutRun arcade games, as well as more arranged tracks. The Xbox version has support for custom soundtracks. The PC version, which can run at higher resolutions, is the best of these, while the Xbox version is considered the best console port. The PS2 release is still an outstanding port, even if you need to connect to the PSP version to unlock certain stuff. The PSP iteration is no slouch either, but it runs at a lower frame rate. Unfortunately OutRun 2006 is missing a few features from the original release, like the Daytona USA 2 and SCUD Race tracks.

A version of OutRun 2 SP also appeared on XBLA and PSN as OutRun Online Arcade. This new port ditches all the extras of the former console versions, so it only has the 15 tracks from OutRun 2 SP, and is missing the challenge modes and extra music remixes. However, since Sega's license with Ferrari expired, it is no longer available for purchase.

A mobile version of OutRun 2 was also released. Known as OutRun Mobile, it uses some graphical assets of the original arcade game, like the radio, but otherwise is entirely in 3D. As one might gather, since this predated capable gaming phones like the iPhone, it's incredibly ugly, choppy, and not at all faithful to the original.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Publisher:

Designer:

  • Daichi Katagiri

Genre:

Themes:


OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast (Windows)

OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast (Windows)

OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast (Windows)

OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast (Windows)

OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast (Windows)

OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast (Windows)

OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast (Windows)

OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast (Windows)


Additional Screenshots


Related Articles


<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Page 1:
OutRun
Turbo OutRun

Page 2:
OutRun 3D
Battle OutRun
OutRun Europa
OutRun 2019

Page 3:
OutRunners
OutRun 2

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