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Platforms: PSP, PS2, Xbox, PC - PSP Version Reviewed
Back in the days of my admittedly misspent youth, there was nothing quite like climbing aboard the fully hydraulic OutRun machine in the Oxford Street amusement arcade in London’s West End. Anyone who remembers the arcade in question will know that OutRun was the crowd puller – positioned right by the entrance, almost on the pavement, OutRun was the game that made passers by stop dead in their tracks and start searching their pockets for pound coins.
I loved playing OutRun – not only because it was a great game, but because I was very good at it, and as soon as those passers by realised I was going to finish the game, the crowd around the machine would grow and grow. How could I not love the nods of acknowledgement from other players, the requests for hints and tips from rookies and the general admiration from bystanders who didn’t even play video games, but could appreciate the achievement.
I dread to think how much money my friend Jon and I piled into OutRun machines, probably enough to buy one in the end, but it definitely seemed worth it at the time. Being able to finish OutRun via every possible route seemed very important back then. I guess the chance to drive a Ferrari Testarossa Spyder (even though Ferrari didn’t actually make one) at high speed cross country had an undeniable appeal.
Unfortunately the funny thing about nostalgia is that it comes with a pair of very rose tinted glasses. All too often those movies, TV shows and even video games that we remember so lovingly from our youth don’t stand up to the test of time, leaving us to wonder why we thought they were so great in the first place. But every once in a while you’ll find that when you revisit the past, not only is it as good as you remember, but it’s actually better. Thankfully, OutRun is one of those rare instances, and that’s a good thing because Sega hasn’t changed much from the original formula with OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast.
Firing up OutRun 2006 on my PSP instantly sent me back in time to my arcade machine playing days – hit the start button, select Magical Sound Shower on the radio (I never listened to anything else), wait for that classic Sega “Get Ready” and hit the gas! Ok, so you can’t quite hold the revs in the upper green limit before nailing the accelerator like you could with the arcade machine, but that aside it’s déjà vu all the way. Then just wait for the first time you hear the word “Checkpoint” as you cross to the next stage – it’s enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, if you were an OutRun player that is.
The great thing about the OutRun arcade game was its simplicity, and although there’s a lot more depth to this updated version, it feels as simple and easily accessible as the original. Like most racing games, there’s a single player career mode where you have to achieve goals in order to progress, but you can happily ignore that and just play the classic “OutRun Mode” to get a fix of nostalgia.