Out Run
Copyright/Publisher: US Gold, Developed By: Amazing Products,
Programmed By: Martin Webb, Graphics: Dennis Webb, Music By:
Jason C. Brooke, Release Year: 1987, Genre: Racing Sports, No.Of Players: 1

Sega's best-selling arcade racing game has just been converted to the Commodore 64 by US Gold.

Before the racing beings, one of five different race courses is loaded from the cassette. Each one is split into five sections, representing a possible course that could be taken on the original arcade machine.

When the course is loaded, the player selects one of two in-game soundtracks, or chooses the 'sound effects only' option. With the formalities over, the race begins.

The screen shows a 3D view of the track from above and behind the player's Ferrari Testarossa. The car has two gears and an accelerator, which come into effect as soon as the starting lights go green.

A digital speedometer and rev-counter inform the player of the car's current performance as it negotiates dips and curves and dodges other traffic. Should the car run into the back of another vehicle it loses speed, but driving into a large roadside feature throws the car off the track and leaves the driver and his girlfriend sitting in a dazed stupor until their vehicle is placed back on the road.

The action is played against a constantly decreasing time limit. Failure to reach the next checkpoint within the limit ends the game, while successfully reaching the gaol results in extra time being added for the next section of road.

When the fifth course is completed the driver is given a kiss by his girlfriend, and the game ends.

D.G.
This must be one of the hardest games to convert properly, as the programmers have to compensate for the lack of hydraulics with some other extra-exciting features.

US Gold haven't really achieved this, and although they've come up with a competent racing game, it's not really the stuff of enormously important conversions.

Although very fast, the graphics are a touch on the blocky side, and the alternating shades that form the road surface actually detract from the feeling of movement, rather then enhance it.

The music is quite kind on the ear, and gives a fair rendition of the lively arcade original that enhances the action. If you're after a good car racing game I'd say Buggy Boy is the one to go for, as it looks and plays far, far better.

Julian Rignall
At first, Out Run looks good. It's very fast and has quite a few of the original arcade game's features. However, things begin to annoy the more it's played. The car doesn't handle very well, and seems to be linked to how busy the computer is - the more going on, the more sluggish it is to respond to the joystick.

The big disappointment is that there are only five courses to tackle - and no intersections. Personally, I thought one of the best features of the arcade machine was the freedom in picking a route. With this los, Out Run becomes just another race game.

Another big problem - and it is a very big problem - is that the game is far, far too easy. It took me four goes to finish the game, and once all the races have been completed a couple of times, the appeal disappears.

Out Run isn't a disaster, but only offers a few hour's entertainment - which isn't enough for a tenner.

P.S.
I was expecting quite a lot from Out Run, which, on reflection, was rather foolish. From a distance it seems to be all there. The graphics move at a tremendous speed and the programmed music is quite representive of the arcade soundtracks, but sitting with a puny joystick instead of a wobbling steering wheel and a red button as the gear shift just doesn't simulate the realism of it's coin-op parent.

Apart from increasing the level of difficulty, there aren't really many improvements the programmers could have made. It was a brave effort, I suppose - but just isn't enough.


INTRO SCREEN

PRESENTATION 82%
Reasonable multiload system, and the packaging includes an audio tape of the arcade soundtrack.
GRAPHICS 79%
Fast 3D, but the backdrops and sprites very between very poor and good.
SOUND 72%
Two competent renditions of the arcade soundtrack, but dire sound effects.
HOOKABILITY 72%
The action is very straightforward, but the poor control method is instantly annoying.
LASTABILITY 41%
Completing all the courses isn't at all difficult, and the appeal is lost thereafter.
OVERALL 68%
A brave attempt, but Out Run simply lacks the original's playability and flair.


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