Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (39505)
Written on  :  Nov 18, 2004
Platform  :  Amiga
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I'd steer clear of this version if I were you

The Good

When I still had my Commodore 64, one of the games that I used to own was OutRun. I kept playing this, with no idea how good that the coin-op version was like compared to the C64 version. At least it was better than the Amiga version in terms of the gameplay.

While many arcade racing games from the 80s were basically the same, where they all have the race-against-your-opponents-and-keep-being-first-to-win-the-race-to-become-grand-champion theme, OutRun was unique, having a different objective altogether. You see, you and your girlfriend are driving on a five-lane motorway in a red sports car and must make your way through six stages, while avoiding approaching vehicles. Not only that, but you can choose to take a different route through the stages and see where the route ends, and it is this that makes the game replayable. Finally, when the game is over, a course map reveals which route you have taken through the game.

Like the Atari ST and PC versions, the game is controlled by a simple menu that lets you listen to one of three tunes while you are driving and turn these off together with the sound effects. You can also select whether you want "some cars" or "many cars", which control method that you wish to use (mouse or joystick), and a few more options.

The music and sound inside the game is great, having much better sound than home computer/console versions. Out of all the three tunes, my favorite one was the "Splash Wave". These three tunes are found in the original coin-op. That is the one thing that I like more in this version - the music.

The Bad

The rest of the game, however, is quite a letdown. There were so many questions I had while playing the game. For example, why are there plants in the middle of the motorway? I was used to playing other versions of OutRun that I didn't know that there will be plants in the middle of the motorway in the Amiga version, that I ended up spinning out of control when I drove in the middle of the motorway because of them. Roads in just about every country you visit do not have plants lying in the middle of the road, unless someone deliberately put them there. Why isn't there more buildings on each side of the motorway? On level one, for instance, all you see is the diner and a couple of trees, and on level two, there's either bridges or long yellow grass.

Another problem is with the motorway itself. It is so flat that you just cannot see ahead of you without staring close to the screen. The curves are not so obvious until you ended up crashing into one of the obstacles on the side of the road. Speaking of crashing, you lose a lot of time while your crash and after you see the two people sitting on the road. (I probably say that at least seven seconds are wasted here.) This is not true when I played the C64 version. When I saw the course map after a game ends, I assumed that there will be a path fork somewhere on the motorway like the coin-op version, but I saw no such thing, so the course map is useless.

The biggest problem that I noticed would involve the two people sitting in the car. More often than not, they swap sides every time you take a curve. So, if the man is on the left side and you take a curve, the woman will swap to the same side. They probably didn't bother to get out of the car and change sides, because they wanted you not to waste more time. The people at U.S. Gold obviously did not check for bugs when they have completed the game, otherwise this would not have happen.

As I mentioned earlier, I enjoyed the music, but that is while you are playing the game. What I didn't like was the voice saying "U.S. Gold present from Sega", which was followed by orchestral music that was unnecessary, followed by the same voice speaking the game's title. And to make matters worse, the "Run" is formed into a bit of a rap tune. After that, it's back to normal.

I didn't like the menu system that the Amiga version used. The menu system is ugly, with white text on a black background. Menu systems like these should be reserved for applications, and not games. Sierra's old AGI games is an exception to this rule, as their game's menu system work. Did I just mention that you can change the tunes by selecting them from the menu? I prefer the car radio, where if you change the game's tunes by using the joystick, the hand on the radio will turn the knob left or right.

Finally, this game take a long time to load. I'd say that you have to wait at least five minutes, just to access the game's menu.

The Bottom Line

The Amiga version of OutRun is such a poor conversion, that the C64 version beats it hands down. This version has not got the unnecessary junk that the Amiga version has, including the awful orchestra music. Since the Amiga was a state-of-the-art machine the time when this game was released, you would think that the game was better than its counterparts, but sadly this is not the case here. The bottom line: If you are desperately trying to find a copy of OutRun to run on your machine and play, don't get the Atari ST version; it has the same bugs as the Amiga version. You might as well get a Genesis, along with the Genesis version. At least, the version remains close to the coin-op version.

Rating: No stars