Sega's 1986 arcade hit Out Run is now available for Switch so grab the keys to your Testarossa Spider and get ready to race.
Out Run isn't only an iconic racer, it's also one of the most notable arcade games of the mid '80s. I even included it in my top 10 games of 1986 list and for good reason. For the unfamiliar, Out Run isn't a racing game in the sense where you're facing off against opponents. Instead, it merely tasks you with reaching the end within a time limit. One of its coolest features is that it has branching paths including 15 different themed courses and 5 end points so every time you play, it's a slightly different experience. The core gameplay involves accelerating, braking, and shifting between a Hi and Low gear. As you drive, you must avoid other vehicles and obstacles or else you may crash which eats up a good chunk of time as you stop to readjust yourself. It's a very simple formula but it's still great fun.
The sights and sounds of Out Run are definitely retro for better and worse. On the plus side, the music is fantastic and this Sega Ages version features newly arranged tunes from past games in the franchise. The audio effects are equally high quality with satisfying engine noises and tire screeching as well as the odd vocalization to tell you that you've reached a checkpoint, etc.
On the other hand, the graphics certainly look dated which may appeal to long-time fans of the game but I fit that description and I found the visuals to be quite irritating to deal with from time to time. For instance, it's often hard to see the road ahead when you're going up or down hill. So, if you have to turn then you might crash because it's difficult to distinguish the curvature of the road during these moments. I also found it weird that your vehicle seems to flicker when it tilts up or down which is a little jarring.
Sega Ages: Out Run contains many additions so it isn't just a basic port of the arcade version. First of all, it includes motion controls which is neat but I definitely prefer using a controller. There are replays and leaderboards, too, but good luck getting anywhere near the top at this point! A few years ago, 3D Out Run released for 3DS which contained new tracks that you can play here, too. Plus, you can toggle between Old and New game versions which changes between the original Japanese release and the updated international version. There are also a few display settings with various effects and wallpapers, some of which emulate specific arcade cabinets. Finally, you can unlock the original arcade version sans enhancements and a few secret Tune-Up Parts which act like cheats that make gameplay easier.
List of unlockables in Sega Ages: Out Run
You'll unlock an additional feature every time you reach a new exit in Sega Ages: Out Run and here is the entire list:
- Steering Wheel - makes turning around corners easier
- Bumpers - lessens recovery time whenever you crash
- Engine - your top speed will increase
- Tires - different terrain no longer slows you down
- Arcade Mode - features downgraded 30 frames per second performance and strips out new features
Although Sega Ages: Out Run is the best way to experience the 1986 classic, it certainly isn't as enjoyable when you take the nostalgia factor out of the equation. As a result, modern gamers probably won't find much to appreciate as the simple gameplay and repetitive nature of replaying over and over again can make for quite a limiting experience. Therefore, if you aren't familiar with Out Run and don't have a soft spot for retro arcade games then you won't find anything worth enjoying for more than a few minutes here.
Out Run fans will appreciate this Sega Ages release of the arcade classic but newcomers may be perplexed as to how such a simple and repetitive game is so highly regarded. Either way, there's no denying that this is a great package with many cool new features.
- + Awesome racing gameplay that holds up beautifully with fun branching paths
- + Great music and effects
- + Includes additional new features
- - Modern gamers likely won't appreciate its simple and repetitive gameplay
- - Visuals haven't held up well and can make gameplay ambiguous and frustrating