The best handheld conversions of all time

Brilliant games that shouldn't have even been possible


Converted from:
Arcade, but specifically PS2 (2006)
Converted to: PSP (2006)

We're always banging on about OutRun. And we're sorry. So let's forget about any love for the game itself and just look at the facts.

OutRun 2 started off life as a state-of-the-art arcade game. Sumo Digital then did a stupendous job getting it to run so flawlessly on the original Xbox. Then came the 2006: Coast 2 Coast edition, which - despite featuring twice as many tracks to race on - made the jump from Xbox to PS2 intact. It wasn't quite as shiny or detailed, because the PS2 was struggling to keep up with the newer arcade technology and the superior Xbox hardware. But it ran it.

Logically, if PS2 was struggling a tad, surely PSP couldn't run it too? Graphics aside, look at the amount of contentSumohad to cram onto that UMD:

Yes, aside from the home version of the game, the entire arcade game itself is in there too, complete with its own modes, car list and unique presentation. The content is identical to the PS2 version to the extent that you can link the two via USB cable to transfer your game save between the two platforms.

Just look at the PS2 version and the PSP version together. It's that tiny wizard got in the UMD slot again, got to be.

From clear blue skies to cloudy hillsides, sun-baked castle walls to snow-covered mountains - nothing is lost. And we even got through that without saying how great OutRun is. Which it is - it's awesome! Oh dammit.

Super Stardust Portable


Converted from:
PS3 (2007)
Converted to: PSP (2008)

A word of advice - if you own a PS3, have access to PSN and haven't got Super Stardust HD, get it right now. And its expansion pack while you're at it - it's even on special offer RIGHT NOW. The Endless mode alone is worth the asking price and it's just a superb shooter, whether in single-player or two-player co-op.

There are moments when you simply won't believe what you're seeing, as the screen fills with hundreds of bullets, enemies and huge chunks of shiny gold. It is constantly beautiful, especially if you like sparkly things. Rumour has it that 32% ofdownloads have been linked to magpies. That's just under one third.


Above: Explosion of shiny makes us say 'ooh' like thoseToy Storyaliens

So if a PlayStation 3 is doing things you won't believe, there's no point expecting a PSP conversion to be exactly the same. It's probably going to be more like the Amiga original, right?


Above: PSP would be able to do this standing on its head. Drunk

No, somehow, it is the same. As in 'identical'. The same planets as PS3. The same weapons as PS3. The same enemies. Bosses. Collectables. Even the special effects are as-near-as-dammit, and although the gold melter's firey tongue is slightly thinner on PSP, a 'weapon overdrive'-powered Ice Melter is just as next-gen spectacular in a vulgar-display-of-power kind of way.

The only compromise is in the camera angle. You no longer see the entire planet you're defending - instead it's zoomed in so you only see part of it. And where the PS3 version lets you shoot bullets around the planet's surface, here anything that goes off the bottom of the screen emerges again at the top. That's all.


Above: The PSP version in full effect. Note the zoomed-in perspective

Of course, the PS3 version uses twin stick controls to excellent effect, which the PSP simply can't do. This means the controls have been rejigged. Where you would be moving with one stick and shooting with another, the PSP's face buttons are used for directional shooting. You can tap a button repeatedly for a spead of bullets (to emulate analogue control), or hold down all four to mimic the Gold Melter's spiral attack. Easy.

It all works magnificently. You even get used to switching weapons with down on the d-pad, moving your thumb from movement to weapon select to movement in a split-second. And the dash/smart bomb controls on the shoulder buttons are just as intuitive as before.

With a silky-smooth frame-rate, some of the most intense and action-packed moments in all of PSP's library and superb control, the name is right. This is a portable version of Super Stardust, nothing less. Even to the point where you have to buy the expansion (ahem).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The longest-serving GR+ staffer, I was here when all this was just fields. I'm currently Reviews Editor but still find time to speedrun Sonic levels and make daft Photoshop articles.
We recommend