aka: 3D Out Run, Out Run, Sega Ages: OutRun
Moby ID: 16

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Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 74% (based on 62 ratings)

Player Reviews

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

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

A faithful conversion of the popular arcade racing game.

The Good
The arcade game is well known: You race a Ferarri against time to reach one of five possible finishes at the end of a race. There are plenty of scenery changes and a choice of music to keep it entertaining. The PC conversion is faithful to the gameplay, with acceleration and cornering comparible to the performance of the original arcade game.

The Bad
The main things that made the original 1986 arcade game so fun to play were the sights and sounds--a choice of music, colorful scenery, etc. The PC version does as best as it can, but unless you have a Tandy, the experience is lacking. Also, the arcade version had a variable-steering driving wheel, whereas the PC version uses hard-right, hard-left turning, even with a joystick.

The Bottom Line
If you liked the arcade version, you'll like the PC version.

DOS · by Trixter (8962) · 1999

A Catastrophe

The Good
Outrun is a very special game to me for it marked the beginning of high speed racing games, but for the Atari ST version like the Amiga version, since they are identical I don't have anything positive to say about this most appalling piece of programming in the history of software.

The Bad
This is just not outrun, all the fond memories u may have had playing the father of racing games in the arcades will be shattered and lost for ever if u ever play this version. First of all you are greeted with an impressive title screen, makes u think wow this is going to be good, apart from the amiga version where it plays the most appalling rendition of bolted together samples of the orchestra of doom which has nothing to do with outrun anyway, after the title screen you are presented with the game, WITH PULL DOWN MENUS, I have never played a racing game with pull down menus, it really makes the game look cheap and nasty, then you have the main graphics, at first glance I really thought this was the commodore 64 version for the graphics are as blocky as hell, the frame rate is just useless, you jump at like 10 feet at a time, with probably an average of about 5 frames per second, then you have the passengers swapping seats, yes swapping seats, when u turn the car the man and the woman swap sides, the sound is comparable to a zx spectrum 48k with no thought of taking advantage of the sound capabilities. This type of shoddy workmanship just proves it was just another rushed crappy conversion to grab a quick buck on a new format yet again. It is such a shame, the ST and especially the amiga version could have been so much better, considering the Amiga actually used the same 68000 processor that the ORIGINAL arcade had as well, there was no excuse for this mess.

The Bottom Line
Look elsewhere, avoid like the plague.

Atari ST · by Stephen N (11) · 2004

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

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

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

Amiga · by Katakis | カタキス (43092) · 2004

Better than the Arcade Coin Op!!!

The Good
I have a unique take on Out Run for the Sega Master System, as I am one of the few people that actually OWNS the original arcade coin up machine that has a steering wheel (bought it on ebay for $250!!!)

I am not lying to anybody, I enjoyed the Sega Master System's version more than the arcade version! Even though the arcade is always the gold standard, I actually PREFERRED the brighter colors and more realistic driving feel of the SMS over the arcade!

There are an additional two factors that make the SMS superior to the arcade:

1) The OutRun coin op I bought has a serious steering wheel alignment problem! Thus the car lists to the right, making even the first level nearly impossible to win. With the simple SMS keypad (my favorite keypad of all time due to its simplicity and reliability), there are no such problems.

2) No fan noise. The Out Run coin up has a very loud fan that keeps the inner components cool. Yet this translates to very loud and aggravating fan noise, despite the quality of the game. The SMS has no such noise, but the programmers really nailed the right level of road noise!

I'll be fixing my Out Run coin up at some point (new CRT, reduce the fan motor noise, fix the steering wheel), likely for more than I paid for the machine itself! Still, I miss my SMS version because my brother has the console and I don't. Even after getting my cabinet repaired, I'd play my SMS Out Run at least as much if I could get my hands on it.

The Bad
I liked EVERYTHING about this game. Flawless

The Bottom Line

SEGA Master System · by Kevin Huang (8) · 2012

Help! I'm in racing game hell.

The Good
What can I say? Certainly not much. The loading screen and the main menu tune are close enough to the original. The graphics, slow-ish scroll notwithstanding, have their appeal too.

The Bad
Almost everything. I will admit beforehand that being such a legendary arcade game the conversion would have been nothing short of excellent not to disappoint anyone.

What we are left with is a subpar racing game with one of the worst scrolls I've ever seen. Between that, the lack of speed sensation and the mediocre sounds (except screeching tires and crashes, you won't hear anything unless you got the edition with the infamous arcade music tape) it feels like you are playing the original underwater.

The Bottom Line
A truly horrid rendition of one of the best arcade games ever produced. The rest of the home computer versions got mixed reviews, but, personally, I have little doubt that the Amstrad CPC version is the worst of them all.

Amstrad CPC · by Neville (3554) · 2008

Another opportunity missed

The Good
It's amazing how much the pc version gets slated in a lot of reviews, compared to some appalling attempts. I have played literally every version known to man so I thought I would write a review. First off nice title screen making use of the 16 colour vga, all the tracks seem to remain faithful to the arcade, i.e. the dips and bends. The frame rate is ok-ish, even for a 286 this game wasn’t really pushing the boundaries, on today’s system it runs very fast if not too fast. All in all not that bad of a conversion.

The Bad
The main problem with this game is size, the main car is absolutely tiny in comparison to the other cars, and it makes u feel like Alison in wonderland. Also the game is so easy to complete, because the car is so small the road is huge and u don't need to break once. The sound (or lack of) is bad, just simple 1 note music from the pc speaker even though the actual sound samples are on the disk. As I said, the main thing is size, just look at the title screen, proof it could of been a lot better, but then as per usual with a lot of outrun conversions they were always rushed.

The Bottom Line
If you want Outrun then buy the arcade machine or get a decent emulator to play the real thing, outrun is a game that can't be converted, it’s an ARCADE game and always will be. The best conversions in my opinion are as follows -

The 8 Bit Consoles - Turbo Graphics PC Engine The 16 Bit Consoles - Sega Megadrive The 32 Bit Consoles - Sega Saturn

DOS · by Stephen N (11) · 2004

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Big John WV, Tim Janssen, ryanbus84, Bozzly, Tomas Pettersson, Victor Vance, FatherJack, chirinea, Riemann80, Alsy, Jo ST, Dietmar Uschkoreit, RetroArchives.fr, SoMuchChaotix, Kayburt, lights out party, Scaryfun, ☺☺☺☺☺, A.J. Maciejewski, Hello X), RhYnoECfnW, Patrick Bregger, S Olafsson, Gianluca Santilio, Dario Lanzetti, Ritchardo, DarkJ 75, Terok Nor, Kris Genthe, Wizo.