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Out Run

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Released: 1990

Genre: Racing

Format reviewed: PC Eng/Turbografx-16

Publisher: NEC

Developer: Sega

Submitted by: David Wardle

Well, if there was ever a game that needed no introduction, it has to be this one. That is unless you have been stuck in Siberia for the past 25 years! Most people of the age know the game and have more than likely played this on their home systems, but many of them will not have played the delight that is the PC Engine conversion.

This, dear readers, has to be one of the finest console versions of the game, remaining absolutely true to its arcade counterpart. Apart from no ‘Checkpoint’ sound sample this really does have everything. The colors are nigh on identical to the original version and the programmers have done an amazing job of keeping the 3 original soundtracks in the game. Unlike the majority of ports to other systems, the graphics are actually as close as you are going to get to the original without physically purchasing an Outrun cabinet and placing it in your garage! Even the minor details are included such as the characters hair flapping in the breeze as you drive!

With all this fine detail, you may think the game is slow, but no Sir! This game totally flies, giving you the absolute sensation of the speed you are doing. You may even jolt when you crash.

One thing that takes some getting used to is the gear changes. You press up to change down and down to change up. This is fine and makes perfect sense, but the ergonomics of this on the D-Pad (which is also used for steering) can mean you accidentally go back into 1st gear while cornering. The best method to ensure you stay in top is to always keep pulling down on the pad while you corner.

With that slight teething problem aside, if you want to play Outrun and you own a PC Engine, then go and buy this. On the home systems, this really is as good as it gets.

Out Run

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Released: 1988

Genre: Racing

Format reviewed: ZX Spectrum

Publisher: US Gold

Developer: Probe

Submitted by: Crispian Driver

For anyone who has not played Out Run, it's an amazing Arcade Racer, where you race against a clock through a series of checkpoints, near the end of a checkpoint you get a choice to bear left or right. The aim of the game is to reach the end of the last level before the timer runs out. The background locations change after you pass through a stage checkpoint. It's pure Arcade racing heaven.

Ahhhh, i can remember it like it was yesterday. The excitement of going to my closest Arcade (which was either Clacton or Walton Pier) and seeing the arcade version of Outrun being played. The music, the Ferrari, the hills, the beach, the woman in the passenger seat and the arcade cab itself red and Ferrari like (to me anyway). There's no doubt about it Out Run is an incredible game, in the Arcade at least.

When i heard this was coming out on my beloved Spectrum i was over the moon, and i had such high hopes for it. The girl, the Ferrari, the beach, the hills all in my bedroom, fantastic!

Well no not really, Out Run did not come out as i had hoped, but to be fair the developers did a great job cramming what they did into the Speccy, it's just i'd put Out Run up high on a pedestal, it had too much to live up to. My bedroom was no Clacton or Walton Pier.

Out Run does have the girl, the Ferrari Testarossa and the beach. The 128k version has a very good attempt at the soundtrack. If you had the 48k version, the tape had the arcade music you could play through your cassette player to get that Arcade feel. You got the choice of the eight routes. The problem was to me, it didn't feel like Out Run, i found it rather slow, perhaps it was that certain feel of an Arcade it was missing as well as a lovely red cab and steering wheel. The graphics were detailed enough.

The colour use was where i had my playground arguements at school. Out Runs colour use is very monochrome, many Spectrum games are, but that beautiful colourful beach at the start of the arcade version is now a monochrome bland beach. The lorries are see through, you can see the roads horizon through them! My Commodore 64 owning friends loved laughing about that one. The beetle cars move all over the road almost getting in your way on purpose. The awe of the Arcade turns to frustration in the bedroom.

All in all, not what i'd hoped for, upon refection it's not a bad conversion at all, but it's by no means the best.