OutRun is a street racing video game developed and published by Sega for the arcade on 1986-09-25, but then ported to many other platforms. This is the first game in the OutRun series. The game uses a behind-the-car pseudo 3-D display which simulates speed by rapidly scaling-up sprites as you drive past them. The arcade cabinet was released in four forms, a mini upright cabinet, a larger upright cabinet, a more expensive sit-down cabinet which moved and shook with the game, and a deluxe moving cabinet with stereo speakers in the head rest and a race car shape.
In the game, you race your red Ferrari along a wide highway and must reach checkpoints before time runs out. Before each checkpoint, you come to a fork in the road and must choose between the left or right path to continue your race. There are 25 sections of road in all, and each has a different set of backgrounds and driving hazards. There are also five different endings to see.
I first saw this game in an arcade somewhere in the late 1980s, but I'm not positive where, though it was once of the standup cabinets. I do remember being very impressed with it, despite the fact that most people who played it rarely got very far. Looking at it more objectively now, I'm still very impressed by its technical capabilities, but find the game to be rather dull in general.
Despite its flaws, I still love watching OutRun being played by a skilled driver, the rapidly moving background graphics and jazzy music leaves me with a zen feeling.
I do not own this game on any platform, nor have I beaten it.
Best Version: Arcade
— This section contains spoilers! —
- The in-game art is wonderful. They're drawn competently, and each area has its own theme and palette. The red Ferrari was an excellent vehicle choice.
- The game has really great music by Hiroshi Kawaguchi.
- Technically, the game is amazing for 1986. Not only can it handle large sprites and rapidly-scale them, but it can handle dozens on the screen at once.
- The arcade cabinet was very impressive. A proper steering wheel, gas and brake pedals, a shifter, and, if you're playing the sit-down cabinet, haptic feedback!
- The alternate routes, each with their own ending was a nice touch, and the sheer number of attractive side-line sprites is very impressive.
- If you take away all the flash and polish, the actual mechanics of the game are the same as racing games that preceded it by several years like Turbo or Pole Position. A bit more effort could have been put into making it more interesting.
- Because the car uses sprite mirroring, the Ferrari logo reverses when you steer to the left. This should have been corrected by drawing the logo as a separate sprite.
- The game is painfully hard. Even after practice, it is unlikely you'll get very far in the game.
The USA and EU Genesis box art is nearly identical, just with a different cropping. This uses the Japanese art, only with the Ferarri in-tact rather than being obscured with the arcade version. The logo text has the same shape as the Japanese box, but is a boring flat white. This is my favorite box.