OutRun

aka: 3D Out Run, Out Run, Sega Ages: OutRun
Moby ID: 16
Arcade Specs
Buy on Genesis
$64.00 used on eBay
Buy on SEGA Saturn
$97.22 used on eBay
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Conversion (official) Included in See Also

Description official descriptions

OutRun is a racing game that allows the player to race across varied terrain in a readily available Ferrari, complete with a female passenger, over a series of short tracks.

Gameplay is viewed from just above and behind the car. The roads are full of sharp bends and hazards, contact with which can cause the car to roll and lose the player's time. On each section of track there is a fork in the road, allowing the player to choose which direction he or she wishes to go. The player has to to complete five track sections in total, out of the fifteen in the game.

Spellings

  • SEGA AGES アウトラン - Japanese Nintendo Switch spelling
  • アウトラン - Japanese spelling

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Credits (Arcade version)

8 People

Best Outrunners
US Product Manager

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 74% (based on 62 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 195 ratings with 9 reviews)

All the criticisms you've heard are true

The Good
To slightly correct the other ST review, although the OutRun arcade machine uses the same processor as the Amiga and ST, it also features some additional custom hardware, most notably a routine to automatically scale sprites without requiring processor intervention, which allowed the game to run significantly faster, and made these home versions a little harder to get right.

This version's a lot harder than the Amiga one, which I completed on my first go.

The Bad
There's still no excuse for this lousy effort though. It moves excruciatingly slowly, making the car much harder to steer, and robbing proceedings of the kind of frantic excitement the arcade game provided. The car often disappears from the screen, and the way driver and passenger sometimes appearing to swap seats is a bizarre and ludicrous bug.

The tracks aren't close enough to the real ones (which is something that should be possible - the Spectrum version is much closer to the arcade game, albeit in monochrome and even less fast), and are hampered by the pot-plants in the middle. The menu system using pull-down menus and mouse-style movement is badly thought-out and awkward. The attempted hip-hop touches of the 'remixed' title music are excruciating - think Vanilla Ice's attempt at borrowing from Under Pressure.

The Bottom Line
The ST, C64 and Spectrum versions of OutRun were all rushed out to meet Christmas 1987, and like all too many of the conversions US Gold released at the time, they weren't up to scratch. Compared to other arcade conversions of the time like Buggy Boy and Super Hang On, this is technically inept, unexciting and infuriating. If you want to play it now, MAME is the best way, no doubt about it.

Atari ST · by Martin Smith (81661) · 2006

In my book, it's among the top 5 racing games.

The Good
Music would probably be the first thing. Passing Breeze is one of the most moving pieces of music I have ever heard in a console video game. The other songs are very good, but I don't think it gets much better than passing breeze. Also, I find the graphics technology to be incredible, considering it wasn't even Mode7-type "3D" (Mode7 is what the SNES used for lots of "3D" stuff, although it was just scaled 2D) Outrun used an confusingly incredible technology called Bi-Linear Parallax scrolling, which is certainly convincing enough, I mean, it really looks 3D. The control is very nice, too, as far as pre-16-bit system racing games go. Also, I love the way it has so many different ways you can go, there's probably at least 20 different routes altogether...Also, playing this game just gives me one of the most incredible feelings of nostalgia that I've ever experienced playing a video game, which probably is influencing my praise of this game more than it would for others...

The Bad
See, I played this as a kid, and I could never get very far for some reason, I just kept running out of time. I finally found some on-line documentation, and I figured out that...YOU USE UP AND DOWN TO SHIFT GEARS! I can be so stupid sometimes. (although, maybe it wasn't just me who couldn't figure that out) Anyway, that was probably the only thing I didn't like about it, this being the fact it didn't have any in-game documentation. Also, AI of "enemy" cars seemed to lack a lot.

The Bottom Line
An incredible technical and musical masterpiece for the SMS. (Sega Master System) Maybe I'm giving it more credit than it deserves, but I really love this game.

SEGA Master System · by J. David Taylor (27) · 2003

Yet another game that was rushed out in time for christmas

The Good
Colourful loading screen, good in game graphics(in places).

The Bad
Hardly any sound to speak off. No real sense of speed - you actually think your driving backwards when accelerating. Everything seems to jump in steps towards you as you struggle to keep on the road. After all the hype and excitement this christmas gift was a total disappointment. I recall the odd screenshot in amstrad mags in the build up the christmas showing a pretty attractive looking game. The actual game itself looked very different and left me returning to a grand prix budget game that actually did the job unlike outrun..

The Bottom Line
A rushed port seemingly based upon the spectrum version but this is no excuse for the poor programming employed. Why release a racer that has no sense of speed? Perhaps the software house involved just rushed out what they could with a smile knowing it would sell out quickly.

Amstrad CPC · by makky (4) · 2011

[ View all 9 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
Outrun on Amstrad GX4000 Robert Francis Jul 17, 2011

Trivia

Car

The classic red racer you use in the game is quite obviously a convertible Ferrari Testarossa (right down to the "Cavallino Rampante" logo featured in the back of the car), however SEGA had not licensed the likeness of Ferrari products and got into a series of legal issues with Ferrari. The eventually settled but it wouldn't be until OutRun 2 that the car would become an "official" Ferrari.

Copyright infringement

There was a patent case over the DOS port by Unlimited Software, the porting division of Distinctive Software. Accolade, for whom Distinctive had written The Duel: Test Drive II sought a preliminary injunction against Distinctive Software. It did not deal with the general look of the game, but rather the underlying source code.

Distinctive used some of the underlying "computer code" from The Duel for the OutRun DOS port, which Accolade challenged as an infringement of their copyright. Distinctive argued that these were standard libraries and routines, re-used in different games only for the sake of not having to reprogram them. Also, they claimed Accolade never contemplated the transfer of copyright in the library codes and, even if it did, the codes were not subject to copyright protection in the first place.

Ultimately, Accolade lost the case because the licensing agreement only referred to the concept and design of the game, but not the underlying codes.

The full case can be read through a link in the related links section.

Extras

A special edition of Outrun on cassette for Commodore 64 was bundled with a cassette containing the music from the original arcade game. The intention being to be listened to while playing the game!

Game Art Beyond

In 2018, Out Run was selected as one of the biggest classics on the Commodore 64 by the creators of the C64 graphics collection Game Art Beyond. Out Run was honoured with a high resolution title picture (based on the Amiga title screen artwork) in a special C64 graphics format called NUFLI, along with a new C64 SID interpretation of the famous Splash Wave theme. After listening to it completely, a short version of Passing Breeze can also be heard - this tune was missing in the original C64 conversion.

Tandy

The PC version has undocumented support for the Tandy TL/RL/SL series; there are a few digitized sound samples that can be heard if the joystick is not chosen to play the game (since the TL/RL/SL couldn't play digitized sound and access the joystick at the same time, due to a rediculous design flaw).

MSX versions

Two versions of the game exist for MSX computers. The first one is for MSX1 computers, was developed by US Gold and is nearly identical to the other 8 bit versions of the game. It was likely released in both tape and disk formats. The second one was developed by Pony Canyon for MSX2 computers and had improved graphics and speed. It was likely released in Japan and in cartridge format only, although pirated disk versions do exist.

Technology

Second game Sega made in the 80's that used "Super Scaler" technology.

Differences between The Japanese and Over Seas versions

There are some differences between The Japanese and Over Seas versions of the game in terms of arrangement of courses. The famous Rock Tunnel stage is an entirely different in the Over Seas version as well as it appears much sooner in the game. Only Mega Drive edition of "Outrun" includes both options to play different versions.

Commodore 64 version

In C64 version "Passing Breeze" tune is replaced with "Radio Off" option.

Awards

  • Retro Gamer
    • October 2004 (Issue #9) – #44 Best Game Of All Time (Readers' Vote)

Information also contributed by Garcia, Robbb, Sciere and Zovni

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  • MobyGames ID: 16
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Trixter.

Nintendo 3DS added by Michael Cassidy. SEGA Master System added by Tibes80. Nintendo Switch added by Rik Hideto. J2ME added by chirinea. Arcade added by FatherJack. Amstrad CPC added by Zovni. Amiga added by Martin Smith. ZX Spectrum added by Terok Nor. Game Gear added by Macintrash. Atari ST, Commodore 64 added by Servo. SEGA Saturn added by Игги Друге. MSX added by koffiepad. TurboGrafx-16 added by Katakis | カタキス. Genesis added by Syed GJ.

Additional contributors: Jeanne, chirinea, Sciere, Kabushi, Martin Smith, Freeman, Neville, Patrick Bregger, mailmanppa, Rik Hideto, Malte Mundt, Harmony♡.

Game added March 1, 1999. Last modified February 13, 2024.