Saturday, 21 June 2014

Retro Review of the Week: Outrun

Out Run - marquee

Out RunRelease: 1986
Publisher: Sega
Developer: AM2
Designer: Yu Suzuki
Music By: Hiroshi Kawaguchi
Type: Racing
Platform : Arcade

The year is 1986 and aged only nine I walk excitedly into the arcades in Western-Super Mare. It is an experience I seldom got to experience, with the sea side over an hour away. So armed with my twenty and fifty pences I did a reconnaissance mission seeing if the arcade owners had any new games on display.

Now one company I always looked out for was Sega, their games always looked so much better than the competition with games such as Space Harrier and Hang On wowing us gamers back in the day, with the vibrant graphics and colours and impressive "Super Scaler" graphics and sit down cabinets that actually moved mimicking the on screen action.  In short, in the mid 80's it was the ultimate gaming experience a gamer could have.  Of course back then as a kid I had no idea all my favourite arcade games were all developed by the same man, Yu Suzuki, I just knew that if it said Sega on the cabinet it was going to worth the asking price.

This year though I didn't have to look far, for a new Sega game stood pride of place in the arcade - a shiny sit down red car shaped cabinet that moved with the action. A gaggle of gamers already stood gaping around the machine all waiting patiently to play this new experience.

Finally my turn came and I put in the astronomical 50p asking price into the machine sitting in the comfortable cabinet and staring wide eyed as my senses was enveloped by the music and beautiful graphic stood before me.  I knew from that first moment I was in love and had found the perfect game.  It is a view over 25 years later that hasn't changed for me, with Outrun, for me at least being the best game of all time.

For gamers today and those younger than me  (how I envy you), it is difficult to convey how Sega were massively ahead of all other arcade makers of the time.

So on to the game itself.  Well the game has you race in a shiny red Ferrari Testerossa with a blonde beautiful girl at your side.  You start at a Riviera beach, with sun drenched palm trees, beach  huts and luxury yauchts floating in the nearby sea, weaving through all the traffic.  All this was set against a tune of three, that you choose at the start, each with a wonderful latin fuelled summer drenched tune, that perfectly captured  the sense of racing along the sun drenched paradise of Europe.  A Cannonball style race across different countries making your way through the five stage to win the race.

The game is set in stages with you racing against the clock that adds more time should you reach the end of each stage.  This brings me to a wonderful innovation of Outrun, for when reaching the end of a stage the road would reach a fork in the road and you had to make a decision whether to go left or right.  Going left would be an easier path, but as each stage was completely different, and offered a new country to explore it gave the game much replayability as by making different choices of the direction you took you would have a massively different experience.


The other impressive feature of Outrun was the seamless nature the stages followed on from one another, never letting up for a second, but seamlessly blending from one stage to another.

Make your way through five stages and make it to the finish line and you win and are treated to a different animation, depending on the stage you completed the game on.  Finish on the easiest path (choosing all left routes) would have you thrown in the air by the crowd, only for them to drop you as your sexy blonde girlfriend looks on not impressed... Other finishes await you, but I won't tell you them all as finding out all the different endings is part of the fun of the game.

In summary Outrun is a wonderful racer, that needs to be played by everyone, especially in a deluxe sit down cabinet. It's not jut a racing game, as Yu Suzuki himself explains it best in an interview he did for Now Gamer: “OutRun’s concept was not about frantically racing to just barely take first place. It’s about giving a ride to a beautiful woman, who sits at your side, and driving around in a luxurious car with just one hand on the steering wheel, taking first place in the race by a wide margin – and with time to spare.”

Ten out of Ten

Review by the Drisk

Extra Resources: 

For a  detailed making of video I did on Outrun then please watch...
The Drisk - Outrun

Other Great sites on Outrun

 Out Run



  1. Great post Drisk! I love Outrun, but it really needs to be played in the arcade. How does it feel to play with your driving wheel setup at home?

    1. Really good actually, especially as the steering wheel is force feed back. Still not the same as the moving deluxe cabinet though,,, I would love to find a deluxe cabinet again to play.