OutRun 2 - Xbox

Arh, the memories. If you’re aged between 25-35 the likelihood is that at some point you’ve wasted plenty of time in the past playing OutRun. Launched in 1986 the game at the time was a leap forward in video games.

The idea, as you probably well remember, was to drive your flashy red car along the open highway with your gorgeous blonde headed girlfriend by your side. The highway was wide, the traffic heavy, but the scenery whizzed by and the cheese ball music played on.

Well 18 years on and not much has changed, you’ve still got that flashy red car - well eight of them now - the music is still as cheese ball and the highways as large as ever and even in this Politically Correct world the blonde is still by your side (much to the annoyance of the wife).

The game is therefore broken down into three areas - the original arcade, a challenge Outrun mode and Xbox Live so you can race against other players. The arcade is identical in gameplay to the original game. You, charged with a fast car have a limited time to get to the next checkpoint, avoid crashing, avoid the cars and you’ll be fine. The trouble is, your car goes quite fast and the sense of speed as the luscious scenery racing past is amazing. How well you think you’re driving is determined by the course that you take, however the frustration at not making the checkpoint by a couple of seconds is what makes you keep on coming back for more. Come back you will, as in true arcade style the arcade version is void of game saves.

The challenge area is there to give the game some meat, of the 101 missions available challenges range from the simply to the amazing. Everything is here from simply hitting markers in the road to Crazy Taxi variants to completing maths puzzles as you venture around the tracks. Missions are graded on an A to E rating and if you really steamroll the course then you can get an AAA scoring. For the most part the missions act as an in-depth tutorial and actually help improve your skills for the arcade or Xbox Live areas.

For the multiplayer fan, the Xbox Live area boasts eight-player action as well as the chance to challenge other players in a virtual score board. Judging by scores and times already posted, you’ll have to be bloody good to even get a look it, but still it might be worth a go.

Verdict

Great graphics, great gameplay and great depth what’s not to like. Yes the lack of a save can make the game frustrating when in arcade mode, but then so can any game when you’re no good at it. Outrun 2 is Sega at its best - pure no-nonsense gaming. Whether you remember the original or not this is great fun and therefore worthy of a AAA score.