Dateline : 12th November 2011


The law of diminishing returns applies as RetroBear sees how far a concept can be watered down to the point where it becomes a tarnished memory of a one classic game….


Want some fast and furious action ? Move on because there is nothing to see here

I am sure we all remember the original OutRun game in the arcade. You could hardly miss it especially the big sit down version which looked awesome. The feeling of driving through the USA in a huge red big Ferrari is an endearing image and cemented the game in the annals of video gaming history. Yes it wasn’t all that new a concept – time trial racing – but done with such panache it was hard to ignore.


Then it all went horribly wrong. The home conversions handled by US Gold of all people – a software house with a notorious reputation of screwing up arcade conversions on a level matched only by Activision – ranged from the awful to the downright insulting, with most versions at least missing some parts of the original game.


Too much use of the turbo buton renders it useless, not that it matters much because boredom will set in long before that happens


The Amstrad version arrived nearly 12 months later than the rest and had no sound, the C64 version was pale and lifeless  and whilst the 16 bit versions were OK they were nothing special. Arguably the best conversion appeared many years later on the Dreamcast.


With these abominations, so began the bastardisation of OutRun. There was OutRun 3D on the Master System which was pointless unless you had the near £40 3D glasses to go with it. Battle OutRun was OutRun only in name and bore no significance to the original., having more in common with Chase HQ. Then there was OutRun Europa which swapped the scenery for more European locations. Don’t call us, we’ll call you was the verdict of gamers everywhere. It can be argued that until we got to the rather splendid Outrun : Coast to Coast on the PS2 and XBOX, that the spirit of OutRun was found again


Take Turbo OutRun on the Mega Drive. The simple idea being that your Ferrari is now armed with a handy turbo boost enabling you to get to checkpoints quicker. Again it is a simple time attack game and for that it is OK, but it’s not OutRun. You don’t need a turbo boost and you never did with the original. The Mega Drive version is a pretty ropey affair with average graphics, some pretty poor road effects and awful in game music which considering some of the musical masterpieces on this console – Revenge of Shinobi, Streets of Rage – is unforgivable.


Plenty of stages but the whole thing is so badly executed it is doubtful you'd care


One hopes now that OutRun can be laid to rest and that we only remember the original game and the excellent PS2 and XBOX games. Otherwise Turbo OutRun is nothing more than a car game with a flash car and a turbo boost to stop you from reaching for the off switch.


VERDICT : Left in the pits and retiring early once it gets going, Turbo OutRun truly sucks exhausts fumes to a suicidal level


NOTES : Copies available on Amazon start under £2.00 whilst on eBay you’ll have to pay around £5.00.


UP NEXT : One for grapple fans – Super Wrestlemania on the SNES.