OutRun Online Arcade

August 18, 2009 by Jeff Barker  
Filed under Playstation 3, Reviews, Xbox Live Arcade

Overview

Title: Outrun Online Arcade
Release Date: 15/04/2009 (XBLA), 16/04/2009 (PSN)Developer/Publisher: SUMO Digital / Sega-Europe Ltd
Genre: DrivingPlatform[s]: Xbox Live Arcade, Playstation Network (Note: I am reviewing the XBLA version)

If you’re old enough to remember the original OutRun coin-op from the early 80’s, then chances are the memories are fond ones. Zipping around the brightly coloured landscapes in your Ferrari Testarossa, blonde bimbo at your side and Magical Sound Shower on the stereo…those halcyon days of gaming when Nintendo was the top dog (or plumber) and Sony were still making CD Players. Younger gamers and OutRun aficionado’s may remember the OutRun 2 coin-op, released in 2003 and ported over to the Xbox in October 2004 – brighter, beefier and mooted as a better game, and although the title of this XBLA update might suggest it’s a rehash of the original, look closely and you will find more than a hint of the sequel about Sega’s latest (cracking) addition to it’s Live Arcade resume.

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Gameplay

Following closely in the footsteps of OutRun 2, OOA offers up several modes of play, and a rather spiffing multiplayer option as well. Alongside the normal Outrun mode (beat 5 stages in the quickest time possible) you get Time Attack modes (self explanatory), Heart Attack mode (complete tasks set by your girlfriend within the time limit) and the thoroughly compelling (and utterly frustrating!)15 Track Continuous course mode. The idea is simple, choose a car, choose a mode and get from point A to B in the quickest time possible – using drift (hard to master but an essential part of the game) and slipstreaming to earn extra points and add a bit of boost behind your bonnet. The cars are all fully licensed Ferrari beasts, ranging from the F50 to the Dino 246 GTS – and despite the odd top speed, they all handle more or less the same…meaning vehicle choice really just boils down to aesthetics and personal preferences. This really adds to the Arcade vibe, giving you the option to dip and dip out of the game using different motors as and when, without having to learn simulation-like nuances of the cars on offer. Tuned versions of each vehicle are on offer in the online multiplayer modes, but translated into gaming terms it just means their top speed is increased and they’re slightly twitchier to handle. Multiplayer is a joy as well, either enjoying a quick cruise round 5 stages with your buds or across all 15 is nothing less than awesome – although with no ranked matches or leaderboards on offer the only incentive is to beat your (and your friends) times to reach the top of the pack…just like in the Coin-Op days!!

Graphics

The first thing that strikes you about OutRun Online Arcade is just how shiny everything is – from the menu screens to the car themselves, the graphics just ooze the wonderful HD sheen we’ve come to expect from our beloved console. The stages themselves are lush, plentiful and exciting, and the feel of speed is quite authentic, albeit in a cartoony arcade fashion. Your on-screen girlfriend waves her hands in the air (like she just don’t care) if you do well, and – despite a pretty crap looking flip out if you manage to hit something with great enough force – collisions feel suitably painful. Birds and hot air balloons soar overheard in the transition between stages, and it really feels like no expense has been spared in bringing the graphics up to date in the best way possible. Each stage is different, and range from Las Vegas style Casino towns to Jungles, Mountain tops and a breathtaking Cape Canaveral after-dark stage.

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Audio

Not only have the graphics been revamped, but the musical score has been given a complete rerub as well – all your favourite tracks from the original game have been polished up and remixed (while still sounding as retro as you remember them), giving proceedings an air of total OutRun authenticity. Incidental sound effects (vehicle noises etc) all sound as they should, and your girlfriend’s excited whoops and comments add to the feel of hacking that Testarossa around.

Overall Score & Replayability

OutRun Online Arcade could be your new best friend; once you’ve learnt the fine art of when and where to drift. It’s a game you can dip into for a quick single player blast or a monster multiplayer session between you and your friends and it has some real long-term replay value, providing arcade-y style trips down racing memory lane are your bag.