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It may be over a decade old, but the OutRun series is as enthralling now as it was back when it took 20p pieces to get its wheels rolling in the arcades. Now Sony's PSP can experience the most enjoyable of joyrides, with OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast. We slide behind the wheel for a test drive.
Coast 2 Coast combines the best bits of the OutRun 2 and OutRun 2 SP arcade games, plus new cars, music and a whole new mission mode. And there's online play for up to six racers - both local ad-hoc and online. The PSP-unique Just Drive mode is a great way to get straight into a randomised race for effortless doses of OutRun action, too.
Of all the versions, PSP is most impressive. Each of the 30 courses has its own visual style, and they never look anything less than crisp, bold and gorgeously bright. Xbox and PS2 both look amazing, but it's the ever-flattering screen and portability that makes the instantly accessible Coast 2 Coast perfect for PSP.
Control doesn't adhere to Gran Turismo style realism, but you can't cruise through the game without flexing your skills. OutRun is all about powersliding; huge, glorious drifts around long, wide corners.
Encouraging your rear wheels to step out is essential to crack OutRun's challenges, and to keep your ride travelling sideways requires delicate control - it's far more involving than it sounds, and totally rewarding when you get it right.
Crucially, OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast isn't just about racing. You've got four different modes to master, and each one emphasises different ways of eating up the track. Time Attack mode demands efficiency and speed; OutRun mode sets you a goal - a race along a specific route through a number of different stages, where each of the open-ended tracks leads into the next.
But Heart Attack is a real contrast. For each stage, you've got to impress your female passenger by meeting her demands - which involve everything from overtaking cars or drifting through coloured lines on the track to smashing into your opponents. With every success you fill a silhouette of your girlfriend with hearts, in an attempt to please her enough to win her heart. Bless.
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