Hope tire smoke doesn't make you cough.
A driving game first to hit the arcades in 1986, OutRun basically amounts to a time-attack Speed Run
. You, a manly man in his Ferrari
, start at the start line
, and race against the clock
to a Check Point
at the end of the stage. You are accompanied by a token female passenger, who presumably was attracted solely by the horsepower. Along the way, you must avoid other motorists and assorted roadside obstacles, lest you crash in a variety of entertaining ways
. Just before that checkpoint, the road forks into two, and each fork will allow you to access a differently-themed area. Get through five stages, and you reach the finish line. Depending on the route you take (and the final stage you reach), and you'll get Multiple Endings
The game was successful enough to get itself ported to the Sega Genesis
(and pretty much everything else of the same generation as the Genesis), and spawned lots of sequels
. They all follow the same formula, though several of them add an opponent to race against in addition to the clock and standard traffic.
To date, the series goes as follows:
- OutRun (Arcade/Master System/Sega Genesis/Game Gear)
- 3D OutRun (Master System)
- Turbo OutRun (Arcade/Genesis)
- Battle OutRun (Master System) - A deviation from the standard formula which is more a ram 'em up than a racing game.
- OutRun Europa (Master System/Game Gear)
- OutRunners (Arcade/Genesis)
- OutRun 2019
- OutRun 2 (Arcade/Xbox)
- OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast (Xbox, PS2, PSP, Windows)
- OutRun Online Arcade (Xbox Live Arcade version of OutRun 2/2006)
This series contains examples of:
- All There in the Manual: The lady in the passenger seat gets her backstory explained in the OutRun 2006 song Life was a Bore.
- Artistic License – Physics: The totally absurd ability to powerslide from OutRun 2 onwards. It makes Ridge Racer and Need for Speed Underground look like totally Serious Business driving simulators.
- Brand X: The first game didn't have official licensing from Ferrari, despite using everything about the Testarossa's styling, up to and including the prancing horse logo on the back. The cars were fully licensed from OutRun 2 onwards.
- Cool Car: The first game had you drive a Ferrari Testarossa convertible. Later games had you drive any of a variety of cars - primarily Ferraris, and dodging out of the way of slower regular everyday cars like VW Beetles, etc.
- Death Is Cheap: Crashes are cheap. If you crash, the game resets you after a few seconds. Even if your car barrel-rolled several times and you were thrown out of it onto the asphalt and an obstacle car ran over your head.
- Drives Like Crazy: Kind of the whole point. Your passenger doesn't care unless you crash.
- Driving Stick: Massively simplified gearbox with two options: Low gear and High gear. As if this didn't make things easy enough, later games added an automatic function. Presumably, people complained at the lack thereof in the first installment. OutRun 2 onwards had 5 or 6 speed manual gearboxes, but with the same up/down functionality.
- OutRunners already had cars with 3 or more speed, but the way you shift pretty much amounts to pushing the up/down lever until you reach the gear you want.
- Multiple Endings: Depending on the route you pick. Results can range from the driver (or the passenger) being given a trophy to the car just falling to bits.
- OutRunners has one ending for each tag team you pick, independent of the route.
- OutRun 2 returns to form with new endings rendered in 3D. And, true to form, they can be hilarious (especially routes A and E).
- Nintendo Hard: Since most games' single-player modes don't have any opponent cars, your true opponent is the harsh time limit.
- One Driver Army: Even you are accompanied by a token female passenger.
- Race Against the Clock: The gameplay style. If time runs out, you lose. You win simply by making it to the end without running out of time.
- Recycled IN THE FUTURE!: OutRun 2019. Same premise, but you look as though you're driving the batmobile.
- Respawn on the Spot: Whenever your car crashes and rolls out of the road, it comes back fixed at the cost of a few seconds.
- Rubber-Band A.I. : In later games.
- Scenery Porn: Lots of varied scenery, which looked pretty spiffing for the 16-bit era.
- Scoring Points:
- Like many driving games, you continously gain points as you drive, and get a big bonus based on time left if you reach the goal.
- In OutRun 2, you gain points for passing traffic cars, and even more for passing rivals, but hitting a car will reduce the bonus you get from passing it.
- OutRun 2 also brings us Heart Attack mode, a special mode where your passenger gives you various missions (such as passing cars, passing through gates, and drifting along a path) and completing these missions rewards you with hearts and letter grades.
- In the OutRun's "B" ending, when the car reaches the finish line and the couple steps out, it instantly falls apart in the same manner as the car in The Blues Brothers.
- After every fourth stage in Turbo OutRun is completed, a remixed version of Fantasy Zone's shopping music plays as the player chooses a new part for their car.
- Unit Confusion: In OutRun 2019, the units are messed up. In the North American version, the HUD displays "mph" next to your speed, and in other versions it's "km/h" instead; par for the course. But the only version that gets the units correct is the European version, in which your car has a max speed of 692 km/h; the North American version shows 692 mph, and the Japanese version shows 341 km/h.
- Vanity License Plate: The box-art above shows 'OutRun' as the license plate. You'd think that number plate would catch the attention of the local police. OutRun 2 onwards followed a formula of MO (Modena, the Italian city where Ferrari is headquartered) followed by some letters and numbers referring to the car and/or its engine (MO 512 TR for the 5-liter, 12-cylinder powered Testarossa).
- What the Hell, Player?: Crashing often results in your passenger flipping out at you. In OutRun 2, this is accompanied by a scathing comment about your driving abilities.