It’s really very simple. You drive fast; it looks pretty; a lovely blonde urges you on. Yep, Outrun is really very, very simple. Outrun was born in a time when games were dumb as hell. It was a good time rammed with simple thrills and instantly accessible excitement. In the 80s nobody was especially concerned with physics, simulated car handling, real-world tracks, or halfway-decent clothing. All that mattered was going fast in a flashy car. Keeping things simple, Sega gave you a Ferrari, a girl, and miles of branching road. Take the left path and things stayed easy; take the right and they got hard.
Outrun 2 - in spite of Outrun games numbering significantly higher than two – was everything 80s brought up to date. Modern visuals, fabulous widescreen, remixed music, and the same loon-o-handling and branching tracks. It was a slice of simple fun for simple gamers, with infinite opportunity to shave milliseconds off your best times and scores. The Coast 2 Coast expansion came later, and added a new course with another fifteen routes, and a big bag of minigames. Outrun Online Arcade is this, minus a great deal, and that’s a problem.
Presumably to scrape within the 350Mb download limit, Outrun Online Arcade has dropped all fifteen original courses, along with several cars. The girl in the passenger seat is still a needy, clingy thrill-junkie fruitcake but where Outrun 2 gave you a choice between girls, Arcade sticks you with the blonde. Even the front-end’s menus are stark and spartan, short on the earlier games’ slick presentation.
Outrun was always a deliberately simple and clean racer. It didn’t need anything other than the HD makeover to make it one of the system’s better racers, but it’s lost half the content that shipped with Coast 2 Coast – which is sure to arrive later at extra cost. Outrun 2 is a great game, but don’t buy it thinking you’re done with spending.
Apr 15, 2009