- OutRun (1990 on Dedicated handheld)
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 in. The player has to to complete five track sections in total, out of the fifteen in the game.
- SEGA AGES アウトラン - Japanese Nintendo Switch spelling
- アウトラン - Japanese spelling
Credits (Arcade version)
Average score: 75% (based on 58 ratings)
Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 192 ratings with 9 reviews)
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 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
Amiga · by Katakis | カタキス (43051) · 2004
Colourful loading screen, good in game graphics(in places).
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
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.
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 (81428) · 2006
|Outrun on Amstrad GX4000||Robert Francis||Jul 17th, 2011|
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
- Retro Gamer
- October 2004 (Issue #9) – #44 Best Game Of All Time (Readers' Vote)
Related Sites +
- MobyGames ID: 16
- Wikipedia (en)
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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.
Game added March 1st, 1999. Last modified September 7th, 2023.