Sega has finally confirmed (opens in new tab) a US and EU release date for 3D OutRun on 3DS' eShop, almost a year after it appeared on the Japanese version of the store. March 12 is the day you'll be able to blaze along Coconut Beach, 'doo-doo-doo'ing along to Magical Sound Shower and trying not to crash at that damn chicane before the first fork in the road.
However, this isn't strictly the exact same game that wowed arcade-goers in 1986. There are changes. Some for the better, but they're worth noting just so everyone knows what they're getting. For starters, most likely due to the expiration of Sega's Ferrari license (that sadly took OutRun Online Arcade off PSN and XBLA), the car sprite has been altered for this version. It now has a generic symbol where the old prancing horse used to be, plus some other minor bodywork differences. I appreciate Sega didn't have a Ferrari license in 1986 and just did it anyway, but times have changed. And so has the car.
However, what's also changed is the frame-rate. OutRun was the only game of that Super Scaler era that didn't run at 60fps in arcades, likely because the visual quality was of paramount importance to AM#2, forcing a dip to a still-repsectable 30fps. Conversion team M2 has managed to make the game run at 60fps in every area except the end sequences. So this is basically just like the 'Smooth' mode in the Sega Saturn conversion, only with the sense of speed intact.
Also new for this version are two extra music tracks, which run using the same MIDI samples as the classic cabinet, which means that famous three-tune selection of Splash Wave, Magical Sound Shower and Passing Breeze have got two new companions: Cruising Line and Camino a Mi Amor. Against all odds, they don't feel out of place at all.
OutRun rounds off a rather ace selection of '80s and '90s Sega classics on the eShop, which includes Afterburner 2, Space Harrier and Phantasy Zone. If you want to know more about OutRun, then check out our Sega Saturdays video here, discussing the beautiful journey in loving detail.