OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast - game review
While some time ago realistic racers occupied a significant part of the market, now they seem to be in a decisive retreat. The reasons for this and no other state of affairs should primarily be sought in the changing tastes of modern players. They want games that are simple and fun at the same time. Currently, the racers that are released usually do not cause any major problems. At the same time, however, they are supposed to give a false sense of realism to the game. In particular, it can be seen on the example of the last games from the Need for Speed series , thanks to which I have often forgotten that taking sharp turns at a speed of 200 km / h would in fact be unreasonable and would probably end in some spectacular crash. Personally, however, I don't see anything wrong with that ... until the illusion of a realistic presentation completely fades away. I must admit that I initially approached the idea of transferring the next part of the series to personal computers quite enthusiastically. OutRun 2006 looked promising on the screenshots. I was also happy to test the most interesting models of one of my favorite ;-) brands. How does the final version of this game look like?
The first contact with the game is very positive. We are greeted by a pleasant musical setting (I will come back to this element of the game :-)) and a neatly implemented main menu. At this point it is even forgotten that OutRun 2006 is a classic conversion. So we are dealing with very limited possibilities of making modifications in the game options, or a relatively slow system of jumping to subsequent menu windows. I pay attention to such things quite often. This time, however, they did not seem too bothersome. I also liked the extremely extensive range of game modes.
OutRun 2006 offers three basic menus. The first two represent single player and multiplayer, respectively. The third mode is a faithful transfer of the previously mentioned previous part of the series (OutRun 2 in the Xbox version). Despite the fact that the two titles have many elements in common, it is a nice nod to those who are meeting the new installment of OutRun for the first time. When it comes to the basic modes, single player looks much more interesting. Here, too, we can choose between several forms of play. There are more or less extensive tournaments to be played, or competitions aimed at satisfying the expectations of a beautiful girl occupying the passenger seat. There is also a classic OutRun mode, in which we race only against time, overcoming subsequent control gates and, from time to time, choosing one of the two possible paths.
It is probably high time to start presenting the most important element of the game, i.e. the driving model prepared by the producers. Some of you may guess that I am not satisfied with the form of presentation of the game. After covering the first dozen or so corners, I started to develop a negative opinion about this game. And further? It was only worse after that. For now, however, I will focus on presenting matters directly related to the driving model. OutRun 2006 is definitely one of the weirdest races I have dealt with recently. Let's start with the fact that the issue of differences in the performance of individual machines can be practically forgotten. Practically every available vehicle accelerates to the limit of its capabilities within just a few seconds. Certainly there will be people who will not be bothered by moving at a constant speed of about 300 km / h. The only exceptions in this case are the bends encountered along the way. Here too, however, there are rarely situations where slows down below two hundred kilometers per hour.
While the unrealistic performance can somehow get over, cornering calls for vengeance to heaven. The producers of the reviewed game apparently had plans to come up with something completely new. However, I did not like the ideas they proposed. In general, the bends encountered along the way can be divided into two groups. Milder curves can be overcome in a much easier way. It is enough to press the cursor responsible for making a turn at the right moment, and with a bit of luck, the machine will flawlessly cover the given part of the route. Interestingly, the controlled car seems to be stuck to the road. There is no question of any loss of control over him. The second group consists of more severe relapses, for which you have to prepare differently. These turns should be overcome by properly throwing the rear of the car. However, I would like to worry those of you who counted on the presence of a button responsible for using the handbrake. Throwing a car is fabulously easy. It is enough to brake for a moment and then quickly press the appropriate cursor. Needless to say, slippage has nothing to do with realism. Interestingly, in the case of longer bows, they can often last even several seconds. I must admit that driving sideways was a lot of fun for me and there would be nothing wrong with it, if not for the fact that in many situations the game requires perfect use of this option. On the one hand, OutRun 2006 tries to be a very simple race, but on the other hand, it demands from us to obey the rules set by the producers. Incorrect entering the next turns is sometimes tantamount to collapsing the entire stage.
The problems of the reviewed race do not end there. There are still many strange / poorly / cheaply realized elements that I could tell you about. However, I think that I would do better to focus only on the issues I choose. Of course, traffic plays an important role while driving. Here, too, we are dealing with many strange things. As an example, I will give you that civilian vehicles travel at an average speed of about 200-230 km / h. This also applies to buses and huge trucks. The use of such a solution was of course to facilitate the evasion of the encountered vehicles. However, I think that it should be solved in some other way, especially as collisions with civilian cars do not entail any negative consequences. Most often it is so that the car we control only slows down slightly, and after a while it moves again at maximum speed. The railings and the shoulders are much more treacherous in this case. They should be avoided at all costs. For too long a ride off the designated track may destroy the chances of winning.
Let us return for a moment to the races themselves. I must admit that OutRun 2006 looks very impressive in this particular field. Producers prepared a whole lot of different types of races. Interestingly, in classic duels, we do not start with other players in the same place. As in many arcade racers, we catch up and overtake each car individually. It didn't bother me at all. There were also knockouts in the game, in which the last player is eliminated from time to time, or duels that require maintaining an advantage over a given rival. The challenges related to the aforementioned representatives of the fair sex are even more interesting. The girls sitting on the passenger seat have all sorts of whims, which we will have to cope with while playing such missions. The initial challenges are still quite standard. We must, for example, perform effective slides, move at a set speed or safely avoid the encountered civilian vehicles. Over time, however, very unusual missions begin to appear. Some of the tasks may require avoiding flying saucers (!), Remembering the number of vehicles passed along the way (!!), or hitting a huge beach ball (!!!). Our progress is rewarded with one of several possible ratings. Despite the fact that these tasks can be very bizarre at times, completing them paradoxically can be a lot of fun.
Only a dozen or so Ferrari models were included in the reviewed race. However, one cannot complain about this element of the game too much. The vehicles are very nicely made, and in addition, they come in two different versions, differing not only in appearance, but also in performance. The OR (OutRun) versions are characterized by very high parameters. It is often the case that the OR vehicle appears as a convertible or in a tuned version. We have at our disposal mainly classic models of the Italian manufacturer, such as Testarossa, 250GTO or 365 GTS / 4. Some may not like the fact that the new cars are actually only chosen between the exclusive Enzo Ferrari and the very popular F430. Moreover, it should be added that in the initial phase of the game we can only test a few of the slowest models. The next cars need to be unlocked.
The same applies to other bonuses - new routes, music tracks or body colors. I liked the routes prepared by the producers. Of course, you can attach to the fact that during one race, the times of the day, landscapes and weather conditions change dynamically. However, it is related to the above-described unusual style of presentation of the entire product. The most important thing is that the competition is played in many different places. We have huge canyons, seaside resorts, dense jungle, and even a huge metropolis. The routes themselves, however, do not have much influence on the driving style. We are dealing with asphalt sections all the time. The style of cornering does not change either.
On consoles (mainly PS2 and Xbox), OutRun 2006 looked very good. PeCet players, however, have higher requirements when it comes to graphics quality. However, many of the shortcomings or limitations of the reviewed game were cleverly covered up. This is due to, among other things, the gameplay's dynamics and the feeling of moving at high speed. It's not done perfectly, as moving at three hundred kilometers per hour should give you a bit more adrenaline. Generally, however, you can't get too much of this game element. The car models, as already mentioned, look very nice. It is a pity that the civilian vehicles passed by on the way were not refined, which in most cases turned out to be terrible. Not everyone will like the hearts, bubbles and other similar objects that are typical of Japanese games popping up on the screen. ;-) I promised to come back to the issue of the sound layer quality. Lovers of the first part published in 1986 should be overjoyed. It was possible to choose between a classic soundtrack and remixes of well-known songs. The sounds of the engines of individual machines were also good.
OutRun 2006 will appeal only to those players who miss the typical "salon" racing games, or love console titles, but cannot afford them for various reasons (mainly financial). I think that the average PC player will not be interested in this title. I didn't like this game either, although I must admit that I had a lot of fun with some of the challenges. Fans of arcade experiences will do better by buying the latest installment of The Need for Speed series, or one of many other such races.
Jacek "Stranger" Noise