Friday, 4 December 2015

Outrun - Arcade (Yes, that one with the red car)

It's all about the car.

It's a simple idea, car racing through picturesque places and locations, wonderful sights, nice chilled theme tunes to listen to and if you find the right arcade, a big ol' impersonation of a sports car to sit inside and move around while you're trying to drive with a TV screen sat in front of you showing some pixelated tracks and cars. On top of that there's not much here really beyond this scope and aspect of the game.

Lots of choices, some levels harder than others.

Outrun, probably one of the more iconic arcade games of the mid-80s and awarded best arcade of the year by Golden Joystick Awards for 1986, beating out Bubble Bobble (Which I think should have won over this...) involves players driving a Ferrari Testerossa across the sprawling landscapes of Someplace while trying to hit the checkpoints that magically assign more time to the players and at each checkpoint, gives the player the option of going left or right, in search of new scenery and things to look at, as well as crash into.

I... saw this a lot...

That said, Outrun likely will hold a special place in a lot of people's hearts. The simple style of play in getting just to the next checkpoint (and if you run out of time, game over. No continues, no slowing down to try and inch over the finish line here) and racing back and forth through traffic while trying to avoid harder corners that will cause you to slide out and slam into various obstacles, which will cost you more time as you wait for the game to put your car back on track.

Use checkpoints to extend gameplay, or just quit.

The audio is likely the best part of the game, composed and sequenced wonderfully and adding to the overall feel and pace of the game in that while you're trying to gun the engine for all that you can, there's nothing really to compete against other than the arbitrary clock, it almost leaves you feeling that you can take your time playing this game. In truth you can't.

At least the scenery changes from route to route

The time limit for Outrun is tight, very tight against any and all errors if you want to be able to beat it. As such you'll get about 5 - 6 minutes of gameplay if your driving is perfect and a lot less if you crash, bump or generally take too long to get up to speed before switching the gearbox from low to high while driving. Outrun is rather unforgiving in that regard.

Scenic, but deadly trees.

As such, because it is so very unforgiving it becomes difficult to enjoy the game without having to dedicate a lot of time and energy into the situation in order to get much back from Outrun as it is. There's a fair amount to enjoy here and with multiple different endings depending upon the routes that you take and the journey there, there's a level of replay factor for people but getting access to that level in the first place is going to be more difficult for some than others and it becomes a sticking point for Outrun.