Picture in your mind, and indeed heart, a rising sun, a start line with crowds hungry for entertainment and you… You sat in a blood-red Ferrari convertible waiting for the lights to turn green and unleash the full fury of the V12 at your disposal.
Sounds good yes? Well buckle up and prepare for a classic thrill and ride of your life because dreams do come true.
Sega, back in 1987, released Outrun into the arcades. The cab was a unique piece of art, in the guise of a scaled down Ferrari for the player to sit in and immerse themselves into the whole experience behind a steering wheel and pedals with a gear stick for those high-speed straights.
Before setting off for the start, the stereo must be tuned in to a favourite soundtrack, these things are always important.
After that its straight for the grid!
Wait for it… Wait… All the red lights are set. Its green!! Go, Go, GO!!!
Pedal to the metal as smoke bellows from the lit up rear tyres, pushing you forward into a burst of acceleration.
Driving through lush scenarios, such as palm trees and natural tunnels through the mountains, the road meanders in front, revealing a multitude of traffic on the horizon getting closer and closer as you weave through puddles and slower moving vehicles.
Trucks, Porsches, Beetles, you name it, it’s there, whizzing by at ridiculous speed. A good thing the freeways have many lanes… For the moment, the moment when decisions have to be made to head left or right at forks in the road, following the branching course ahead, which incidentally is quite a clever little addition to the racers of that time as this makes the choices personal to the driver and indeed every game becomes different to the last, if so chosen.
If succesful and further stages are reached after the illusive checkpoints are passed and viewed from the rear mirror, the clock ebbs away again to the next stage and other parts of glorious backdrops. Desert roads, narrow winding causeways on high amongst mountains, the list is endless and so is the beauty of the scenery. Don’t ever take your eyes off the road however, as the race doesn’t stop and those others taking part wait for no man, or indeed woman.
Brake for the corners, change down for overtaking, the whole experience is authentic and perfectly balanced to make the whole game a pleasure to drive!
Outrun definitely deserves a place in the hall of arcade classics and should be visited and driven at every available opportunity. A challenge then, a sheer joy now.
Review by Rob Joy.