It seems video game revivals are all the rage of late. Mega Man 9 has gone back to it's roots. Super Street Fighter 2 got a HD update and Bionic Commando got an entire re-skin. All of these seem to be from Capcom and with Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 out pretty soon it seems they are dominating the revival market. However not for much longer. Sega has decided to give its arcade racing classic, Outrun, a little reboot in the form of Outrun Online Arcade.
Outrun has, and always will be, a whole kettle of fish from your traditional racing games. Here it isn't about beating your opponents, but getting the best times. Outrun is essentially the Time Trial mode of every racing game ever, in its own separate game. This means you can focus more on learning the courses to shave seconds off your time, then trying to get ahead of your opponent before the next lap is over. Games like this, nowadays, seem extremely rare. One such example that comes to mind is The Club, which, although sometimes poorly executed, really made that sense of improving with each play through rewarding. The same can be found here, although the difficulty curve can sometimes be too steep for some people.
To be able to pull this well, however, you need good controls. Easy controls to get to grips with are vital to help you improve your game. If you have about 4 buttons to press at once, whilst moving the thumbstick, patting yourself on the head and rubbing your stomach becomes very difficult to actually finish one game, never mind improve upon it. Luckily, Outrun has always been notorious for its great controls, making the experience that much more fluid. Hitting the gas peddle in a Ferrari and drifting around a hairpin bend is extremely satisfying, whether you're using manual or automatic transmission. The courses help to make this sense of "awesome" that much more clear with straight roads followed by twisting mountain roads and hairpin bends, allowing you to really put the pedal to the metal.
Most of the modes from the arcade version of Outrun are included. The obvious OutRun mode is here, which is the basic time attack mode for which Outrun is famous for. There is also the Heart Attack mode, where you have to please your girlfriend (not like that; that's for afterwards) by fulfilling the criteria she sets, such as drive through a certain area without hitting anything, or drifting through a certain area. There is a lot here for the die-hard Outrun fan, and on top of that there is online too.
And here comes the problem, I never actually got a game online going. I would sit in the lobby for about 5 minutes, but then I would get disconnected and the same would happen many times afterwards. Whether or not it was my machine, I'm not sure, but I was thoroughly annoyed when I couldn't get it to work.
Outrun is a pretty good looking game. Not exactly high-end graphics, but it does remind me of some of the better Dreamcast games, which seems to be a thing within Sega games. That doesn't sound all too great, but I have to say I still am impressed with Dreamcast graphics for an older console. The transitions between zones, a big part of Outrun, are seemless which is pretty impressive.
Outrun is most definitely a blast from the past. Hardcore fans of the series or even fans of improving scores or times will love this addition to the series. It may be a bit daunting to newbies to the series, but with a little perseverance it can become a great game. The poorly done online, from my side anyway, is a big flaw and really lets the game down from the great remake it could've been.
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|Aired: 2 Dec 2013|