Gaming used to satisfy much simpler desires. Sat comfortably behind the wheel Ferrari Testarossa, SEGA’s Out Run had once helped to redefine the experiences awaiting wide-eyed teens in arcades. Canopy carelessly thrown back, creator Yu Suzuki later clarified that they had sought to make a driving game that differentiated itself from the burgeoning racing genre.
It was more about slamming the accelerator down and enjoying the thrill of speeding your way across the open countryside. That there were 16 routes to choose from meant that no two journeys were largely ever the same, although in making sure that players felt challenged SEGA had you racing to reach designated checkpoints within the specified time limits – which is no mean feat in itself. This encouraged speed runs, although your progression soon sees cars and other obstacles taking to the road in threatening to veer you off track.
It was a resounding success for SEGA, interest spurred by the Deluxe and Standard arcade cabinets that added to the game’s realism by swaying in response to the player’s steering or spinning out for an abrupt and untimely crash. Out Run inevitably soon came to consoles – firstly on Master System – but it has now been welcomingly reborn as a pièce de résistance within SEGA’s 3D Classics range.
Japanese developer M2 has once again stepped in to craft a faithful conversion, 3D Out Run now running at a silky smooth 60 frames per second with a never-ending array of options that let you play exactly how you’d like. Whether that be adjusting the game’s difficulty to either heighten or ease the challenge, changing the time limit, speedometer reading and switching between Old and New versions of the game – the latter seeing bug fixes for its overseas release.
Some confusion over the controls was soon righted within the Input Settings menu, in switching accelerate away from the default Y button. Whereas 3D Out Run can be made all the more authentic by selecting between three Moving HUD’s to replicate the arcade experience – Deluxe, Standard and Upright. This may risk throwing newcomers off course, but will easily be appreciated by old hats that want to relive Out Run as SEGA originally intended as part of their “physical experience” games.
Selecting from three tracks on the radio (Magical Sound Shower, Passing Breeze and Splash Wave) to play as you drive was uncommon at the time, and SEGA has added in two more to vary this further. Whereas clearing a route will unlock Tune-Ups that will change the Testarossa’s behaviour and appearance. These are Cornering, Fender, Engine and Tires, letting you sail around corners, recover quickly from collisions, increase your top speed and even maintain it off-road. While not accessible in Arcade Mode, these are a welcome diversion.
It all works harmoniously, 3D Out Run becoming even more resplendent when viewed with the handheld’s stereoscopic 3D effect – successfully rejuvenating SEGA’s classic for an entirely new generation, while refreshing the experience for those who’ve taken a drive before.