Sega/AM2
Microsoft
Racing
1-4 (1-8)
10.25.04

OutRun2


I remember back in the 1980s when I would go to the arcade to play a game called OutRun. That was when 25 cents got you 3 minutes of fun, kids. I remember the graphics being the best ever. When it finally came out for the Sega Master System (and Genesis), every damn kid had a copy at home. The game was simple and easy to play. Now comes OutRun2, and for my first time I get to play the sequel on Xbox.

Before I start this review, let me just say that Sega knows how to make a great racing game. This game is OutRun is every sense. There's always at least 3-4 lanes of open road to race on, and the music reminds me of the original OutRun.

Gameplay

There are three different modes to play in: "OutRun Mode" is the mode everyone is familiar with from the original OutRun. "Heart Attack Mode" is amazing, Old Sport; thrill your girl to collect "hearts" with your death-defying driving. "Time Attack Mode" lets you select a particular route to travel. It's basically the same as "OutRun Mode" only without giving you the choice to change courses as you go.

At the end of each stage, just before the next checkpoint, you can choose from two different roads. This allows you to choose an EASY track or a HARD track. You cannot slack off on the throttle if you want to get far in OutRun. There is no time for flipping your car or shifting like a baby. You have to keep your Ferrari at 180mph at all times in order to progress.

One of the many options in this game is to play the original OutRun! You've been a beautiful audience so far, so here's the code: "NINETEEN86". Type it in ALL CAPS.

All controls are intuitive and easy to pick up on EXCEPT for "drifting". The controls for drifting are a real pain in the ass. Trying to drift to collect "hearts" is probably the hardest thing to do in OutRun 2! It's easier hitting tiny little cones doing 180mph than it is to drift. I prefer driving automatic cars, but was easily driving manual transmission without a problem.

The different locations fade in and out just like in the original. Drive over a cobblestone street and the controller shakes accordingly. Hit a sand spot near the beach and prepare to suffer the wrath of your girlfriend. There is notably a lack of sufficient 2-player mode, unless you count system link, which I don't. Call me crazy, but I'm a sucker for playing against another person in split-screen mode. There is an alternating mulit-player party mode, but nothing too exciting. Sure, there is XBOX Live capability, but regular 2-player mode is just as valid to include.

Graphics

This game is beautiful. The graphics for OutRun2 make it almost impossible to associate it with the original. Whereas the original was very primitive, OutRun 2 has lush imaginative scenery and does not suffer from the "repetitive hypnosis" of the original.

All the cars are highly detailed Ferraris of varying models. The cars you start with are the Dino 246GTS, 365 GTS 4 Daytona, F50, 360 Spider. Many other Ferraris are unlockable as you progress in the game. The detail of the interior of the car can be funny at times. If you're doing well, your girl raises her fists and lets out sexy screams. If you screw up, she hits you repeatedly. Just like an actual girlfriend! The backgrounds are extremely detailed and the draw-in rate is virtually non-existent. All graphics are crisp and display wonderfully.

Sound

The soundtrack is not the best. I was searching for some heavy metal or interesting techno to drive to, but found none. The sound effects themselves are fine but, come on, where is the GOOD music? Sheesh.

There should have been an entire of library of music to choose from. After all, when I am driving in my car, I have a hell of a lot more music to listen to than 7 awful Japanese dance songs. Sega not only dropped the ball here, they deflated it, put it in a gallon of milk and let it sit in 90 degree heat for 3 weeks. Plus, you can't even use a Custom Soundtrack. What I'm saying is: THE MUSIC STINKS!

Replay Value

Outrun IS, if anything, a totally replayable game. This is the type of game you keep in your collection and play from time-to-time. It won't be your absolutely favorite game, but it will be consistently entertaining. I guess that's better than buying it, deciding it's a piece of crap, and throwing it at your neighbor's ugly bulldog.

Bottom Line:

Sega didn't exactly reinvent the wheel with this driving game, but they didn't have to. The name OutRun is enough to attract a wide audience of fans. What they should have done was put a little more effort into pushing the legacy of this game to the forefront. They cut corners with awful music, yet put an unbelievable amount of time into the look and playability of the game. Boggles the mind.

Related Links:

Official OutRun2 Website
OutRun2 info at Xbox.com

-Chris Sztybel




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