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Matters of Import: Sega 3D Classics Races Ahead With 3D OutRun

Posted by Kerry Brunskill

Is it a Magical Sound Shower or just a Passing Breeze?

Sega’s 3D Classics range just keeps on going — in Japan, at least — with this latest offering being OutRun, one of the biggest hits of them all. Like Super Hang-On and Space Harrier before it, OutRun used Sega’s impressive Super Scaler arcade tech to wow arcade gamers and deliver some truly unforgettable experiences.

The game was of course incredibly popular, spawning ports of wildly differing quality on everything from the ZX Spectrum to the dubious 3D remake on Playstation 2, which brings us to M2’s problem – what could they possibly add to an iconic game like OutRun that would make it worth buying for people who've already been playing it for nearly three decades?

The answer to that question is 3D OutRun’s “Special” mode — this version’s default experience — that features a carefully selected set of extras to lightly enhance the original rather than add any drastic changes like new routes or gameplay modes.

The most subtle of these — but arguably the most welcome — is the improved frame rate that allows everything to scroll by twice as smoothly as it does in the arcade original. Of course being the arcade powerhouse that it was, the original wasn't exactly jerky in the first place, but it’s a thoughtful addition that improves upon the original experience.

In contrast the most obvious change has got to be the two new music tracks available exclusively in Special mode that sit alongside the traditional three arcade pieces. Remarkably both Manabu Namiki’s “Cruising Line” as well as Jane Evelyn Nisperos’ (AKA: Chibi-Tech) “Camino a Mi Amor” fit Yu Suzuki’s driving experience like a leather racing glove, as if they'd always been there and we’d simply never noticed before.

It wouldn't be a 3D Classic without some interesting unlockables, and although OutRun’s aren't as drastic as 3D Fantasy Zone’s Upa-Upa mode, they are in keeping with the game’s vision of being a thrilling ride through European-ish countryside. There are five in total; the first four all affect how the car handles and the final reward is the chance to play the original arcade mode, free of Special’s extra bells and whistles and even recreating a timer bug found in the original game. The optional handling “cheats” improve cornering, reduce the effect of hitting traffic or scenery and increase the car’s top speed, while the final one stops the car slowing down when driving off road.

These can all be turned on in any combination the player chooses before the game starts and as every variant has its own car colour and leaderboard, players can try them out without ruining their high scores in the standard car.

The other options and features have become typical for the 3D Classics range, although it’s always worth pointing out that M2’s “standard features” are still far superior to anything offered by anyone else. Both the domestic (Japan) and international versions of the game are included, as well as difficulty and timer options, the ability to turn on authentic cabinet sounds and four different simulated moving arcade cabinets – complete with posters and other Sega arcade games in the background. The suite of tweaks available even extend to altering how loud the engine sound is in game, and whether the speed is displayed in mph or kph.

Controls are given the same attention too, with the otherwise unused lower screen acting as optional steering and acceleration (slide the stylus up/down for speed, left/right for steering) – it does work, but it doesn't feel very practical or satisfying. This is only a minor fly in the ointment though as both the slide pad and the D-pad are supported, and as always M2 allows players to map any button on the 3DS however they like.

It’s worth pointing out that this port is not entirely accurate – Sega don’t have the Ferrari license any more and as such the car is yet another redesign to avoid threat of lawsuits, but it’s not really anything new for this game and the new car fits in so perfectly you’d have to go hunting for arcade screenshots to really appreciate the difference. There’s at least one altered billboard too, but again it’s done in the same style as the originals and it honestly doesn't feel out of place.

But the most important question of all is this – is OutRun still fun to play? Thankfully, the answer is an emphatic yes. The pleasure of drifting around corners at 170+ mph is as enthralling as it ever was, and thanks to the vast array of options and tweaks available this can be OutRun served exactly how you like it; want to just see some nice places and not worry about anything else? You can. Want to learn every corner and set some incredible lap times on the tightest time limits? You can do that too. And thanks to individual high score tables for all these possible variants you can flit between OutRun "tough-as-nails-race" and OutRun "leisurely-drive-through-some-inspired-landscapes" as you see fit.

3D OutRun is yet another excellent 3D Classic and proof that these ports are being handled with real love and care. It would have been easy for M2 to throw in every possible extra it can think of, but instead it has shown the restraint and awareness to use a light touch that adds to the original without damaging what made it so alluring in the first place.

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User Comments (36)

MAB

#1

MAB said:

The 3DEES could use some more SEGA awesomeness in the west ;)

Fandabidozi

#2

Fandabidozi said:

A friend is buying me a 3DS while he's in Japan. I'll be downloading this in two weeks time I hope!

absuplendous

#6

absuplendous said:

I'm glad to hear that the game handles every bit as much as we'd hoped. Thanks for including the other new track, too (I'm surprised they're not on Youtube yet); it's a good tune, though I think Cruising Line's the better of the two.

No mention of the stereoscopic presentation? I doubt I'll play it in 3D much anyway, but I am curious as to whether or not it amplifies the graphical effects of the game.

AdanVC

#9

AdanVC said:

An awesome super top quality game wich of course we would not see in Europe/America in a damn while. Sigh :(

DadOfFour1972

#11

DadOfFour1972 said:

Can't wait - please come to the EU. I still play the PSN version on my PS3 every now and again. Please hurry up :)

3dcaleb

#13

3dcaleb said:

every time u guys write an article about this you always throw in one or two lines about fantasy zone, and it drives me crazy because i want to see it in 3d so bad. it was one of my favorite games as a kid and i cant wait to be able to play it at any time on my 3ds. any idea when we will be getting it over here in NA? @Damo

Windy

#16

Windy said:

Would have been cool to have them add in a 2 player online race against a Blue car. I know that's asking a little too much but it would be cool. Regardless I've been waiting for this one and will pick it up I love these sega 3d classics. an online leaderboard would be sweet too.

Windy

#17

Windy said:

@bofis no announcement yet but there might be Riots across north america if this doesn't come out.....OK so I exaggerated a little bit.

SparkOfSpirit

#19

SparkOfSpirit said:

It'll be a while before this is announced for NA. The last line up was out a year or so in Japan before it came out here.

That said, THANK YOU for finally making OutRun into a 3D classic, Sega!

audiobrainiac

#20

audiobrainiac said:

Oh i'm getting this (and probably every one they release like this, have them all so far.) Wish they'd start doing ones like Daytona USA and/or Sega Super GT.

Windy

#22

Windy said:

@KnightRider666 haha I would join you. in fact sega of America is right up near San Francisco we could get a group and March on that place! I have a nice story for you about sega of America. They invited anyone who wanted to come to their facility there for a Phantasy Star Zero Local WiFi event years ago the first week the game came out. Well it just happened I was in the San Francisco area at the time. What a riot! They put on a very cool event with comp food and lots of local WiFi gaming with Phantasy Star Zero. It was the coolest Video game party I had ever attended that was for sure. They were also giving away some free sega toys which I didn't grab but the gaming was outstanding. You know in regards to online gaming it seems headed in reverse seriously Phantasy Star Zero had some of the best features ever for an online game and still does compared to a lot of what we are seeing online today. some of these devs should take a look at what sega did with PSZ and start doing it right. Sega is for sure still a major player in gaming.

shaneoh

#23

shaneoh said:

Played the arcade version, machine gave a hell of a kick when you crashed, should port to Wii U and use the rumble for when you crash

Agent721

#24

Agent721 said:

Hmmm...now I want to play the remake that came out a few years back on PSN/XBL.

joey302

#25

joey302 said:

Please please bring to the USA?? One of my all time favorites!! Day one purchase!! Also sega please bring your endless line of classics to wii u!! Lord knows the eshop can use the boost in quality classics!!! Thx

viviantee

#32

viviantee said:

this game isn't the best Sonic Game, but It is still one of the best games for Saturn, PC, or Genesis. The Graphics are great, The gameplay is good, sound is AWESOME, and the storyline is more original than any other Sonic game there is!
I'd say get this game if you are a hardcore Sonic fan, (like me) or just want to find a good Saturn game. This is totally recommended. 9game.com Best Android Game In Your life

Fandabidozi

#36

Fandabidozi said:

Been playing this consistently for the past few days. The unlocks are great and it's genius that lap times with these have their own leaderboard. The Japanese tracks just double the bliss. Only ways I can think of that would improve on this would be the Ferrari license (obviously), multiplayer and online leaderboards, ghost races. Of course some of these are a ways a way from the core experience anyway. Outrun's always been one of my top games of all time, I think Outrun 3D may replace it!

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