Outrun Online Arcade Review

Outrun Online Arcade

Players: 1-6
Released: April 2009
Reviewed April 2009 by Keith Murray

The symphonic riot of a Ferrari going through the gears. A girl at your side, brilliant blue skies above as Passing Breeze plays on the in-car stereo. Snaking through traffic, throwing the car sideways before straightening up, nailing a particular section perfectly. That sums up the glory of Outrun, which now races its way onto the XBLA in the form of Outrun Online Arcade.

Just in case there’s still someone out there who doesn’t know, Outrun is an arcade racer. There are no camber settings to worry about. No down force. Just the player and a succession of Ferraris to toy with. The aim is to hit each checkpoint before the timer runs down, choosing which direction to go, left or right ( the former being easier, the latter more challenging). All the while “outrunning” other opponents scattered throughout the various tracks.

Everything about Outrun is coated with an almost blinding sheen, which is reflected in the locations the player races around. The 15 stages are culled straight from the OutRun2 SP coin-op; from the blissful West Coast influenced Bay Area to the notoriously tricky Milky Way, each is of a high standard and will please fans and newcomers alike with their variety. Firm favourites will be found and the more tricky courses will be cursed to the high heavens until conquered.

Anyone can dive into Outrun`s glossy make believe world and enjoy it, but there’s a real depth to the driving mechanic that will make gamers return time after time. Drifting is required to gain the most from the game, instigated by both dabbing the brake and lifting on and off the accelerator quickly, or for more advanced players a quick gear change can also push the cars tail out. Flicking an F40 or 360 Spider around a tight series of complex bends, tipping the analogue stick to steer further in is a glorious feeling when timed to perfection. It’s this satisfaction which lies at the heart of the enduring appeal of Outrun.

Of the modes that are included (Outrun, Time Attack, Heart Attack and Continuous run), the online Multiplayer is probably the only lowlight of this release. It’s not uncommon to wait forever to get a game, and then find strange bugs which cause the scenery to glitch out of existence or worse. Hopefully this issue will be patched soon.

Thankfully the offline sections, particularly Heart Attack are great additions. Here the player must perform a set of moves as instructed by thier girlfriend stationed in the passenger seat. Upon successful completing each task a score is awarded, with AAA being the most desired outcome. Juggling the demands of the course as well as dodging traffic and trying to meet the requirements is tricky, but doable. Like everything about Outrun the desire to improve on previous scores is strong.

While there are one or two issues with this release, the core game is as superb as it ever was, making Outrun Online Arcade a worthy purchase.