Friday, 24 May 2013

Speccy Capers: OutRun (Sega/Probe/US Gold - 1987)

Awesome titlescreen. If only they could have animated that ingame.

OutRun is one of those games that's a milestone of 80's arcade gaming. Sega's magnum opus, OutRun saw you drive a bloody fast Ferrari Testarossa across 16 varying tracks, that range from a beach, to English countryside to a desert. At the end of the current track, the road splits, letting you choose whether to go left (and make the game easy), or go right (and make the game harder).  Also on the track with you are other road users, that vary from Porsche's to little hatchbacks to full on juggernaut trucks. A crash with one of these will cost you valuable time, which is constantly ticking down. If you found the full deluxe sit-down cab, you were in for a treat. In the headrest of the seat were two speakers, which pumped out the awesome music and sound effects to help immerse you in the atmosphere of the game. And, if I remember correctly, it's also hydraulic as well!
The lovely Speccy version....

 The music is another of the games trademarks, none moreso than Magical Sound Shower. I don't think it's possible to find an OutRun machine and not choose it as your driving track. But, the other music is also sublime, but MSS was in my honest opinion the pinnacle. So, how did Probe manage to compact it from full on 16bit, 3D scaling road midi gorgeousness, to 128k, sprite-based AY chip goodness? I don't bloody know, but they did it.
...and the rather groovy Arcade original.

First up, the graphics are quite faithful representations of the original. All lovingly detailed, and whizz past at a great speed on Uncle Clive's humble little machine. It also has the scaling roads, although the game can only produce two colours on screen at a time, it's a relatively small price to pay to for the awesome graphics. The status at the top isn't cluttered, and you even get the split road at the end of the track you're on.

Even the music is here too, brilliantly recreated in AY chip lovelyness. You don't get the engine noise, unfortunately, but you get the sound the car makes when you skid off the road, so I suppose that makes up for it. The car controls well, considering your using a joystick and not a wheel. The only thing that's not recreated is the hydraulic cab, sadly.
And here's the rubbish Amiga version. *sigh* 

Still, I give this port a hearty thumbs up. Just don't play the fucking awful Amiga port. It looks and plays like it was coded by a child, and don't push the machine to it's potential.

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