Middle Aged Gamer's Collection #5

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davyK's picture

#5 Outrun 2006 Coast to Coast (PS2)

I love a good driving game. The first one that really grabbed me was Pole Position in the arcade - particularly the sit down version. The immediacy of the control scheme with 2 pedals, 2 gears and a wheel meant anyone could sit down and play and for its time the sights and sounds were pretty immersive. Pole Position seemed to hang around in arcades for years and its more modern day counterparts such as Sega Rally and Daytona seem to have lasted even longer. You will still see Sega Rally in arcades and airports to this day despite its age - it seems I'm not the only one who loves a good driving game. The key word here though is arcade. I find arcade style racers far more enjoyable than so-called simulators such as Gran Turismo. I know that the likes of Gran Turismo are designed for the home in order to provide a deep and longer lasting gameplay experience but the seriousness and absence of that fun factor means I'll reach for an arcade style racer every time.

Another mighty member of the old arcade driving allumni is Sega's Outrun. The original was built around 2D sprite scaling technology that was used in other great old Sega arcade games such as Afterburner and Space Harrier - and it is probably only because of this old technology that you tend not to see many original Outrun cabinets today.

There is a great hook with Outrun that kept people coming back - a branching level system that allows the player to select one of two roads at the end of each level - each leading to a harder or easier track and completly different visuals. It means that there are several different endings to the game and many different ways of getting to the end. The game looked great but it sounds were legendary - you could select the soundtrack at the start of the game and those old classic tunes are burnt into the memory of gamers from that era. I always preferred "Magical Sound Shower".

Sega produced a sequel with more up-to-date true 3D graphics and the PS2 and XBox consoles got home versions with lots of extra modes to ensure the home game was good value. I think Sega learned from the Dreamcast that straight ports of arcade games, even when done really well, are not enough for the home market. Home games require a bit more content and this title delivers that but keeps the great pick up and play appeal of the arcade game.

The graphics are beautiful - each level has a unique feel and they feature stunning backgrounds that are a real treat to watch whizz by. The music is great too featuring the original tracks with the option of modern remixes. The extra modes provide lots to do - the most imaginative being the one where you are set special tasks during short stretches of the track that range from dribbling a beach ball to hitting targets in the shape of ghosts or avoiding UFO tractor beams and falling meteors - each task being ranked separately. You earn miles as you play which can be traded in for unlockable courses, cars and other extras in the shop. Its a wonderful, sparkling game that looks modern but retains the old school feel.

The graphics come at a price though - this is a one player only game unless you go online or get a LAN setup going. The PS2 version occasionally skips the odd frame when things get busy but it doesn't effect gameplay and the control remains wonderfully responsive and loose throughout. That brings up a great bit about the game control - powersliding. The control scheme is such that you can easily power slide for ridiculously long distances and the track design reflects that fact; indeed in some modes you are scored on how long you can hold a powerslide on selected sections of track.

There are lots of lovely little touches - for example on the roads that link you between levels in arcade mode you will get a fly-by depending on how quickly or slowly you completed the previous level. Here you can see hot air balloons, flocks of sea gulls, dragons and passenger jets, and even a jet fighter waggling its wings at you if you went quickly enough. The developers have poured their heart and soul into this game and are clearly fans of the original. The whole thing hangs together wonderfully and I can't recommend to you enough that you pick this game up if you get the chance.

The kids like this game - they usually only like racing games such as Mario Kart, Sega All Stars Racing etc. but this one gets their attention.

This is what modern gaming should be about - great use of the power of modern technology but keeping that sense of fun that the old arcade games had while adding extra content and some depth to provide lastability.


Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Joined: 12/31/1969
I played the Xbox version

I played the Xbox version back in the day and was not overly impressed. I need to try the recent conversion of the latter day arcade Afterburner (Overdrive I think?) to see if I like that one better.

Carlos Bragatto (not verified)
Man, you got it all WRONG.

Man, you got it all WRONG. Out Run Coast 2 Coast sucks, it's a crap game, and it's crappier on the Xbox, as it was ported/modeled on the PS2 version.

Want to see the real OutRun? Go get and play OutRun 2 on the original Xbox. It's an Xbox exclusive title. It's absolutely fantastic and blows the Coast 2 Coast out of the water.

Yes, no fanboyism, it's that better.


Mark Vergeer
Mark Vergeer's picture
Joined: 01/16/2006
Excellent Davy!

My compliments on this piece on Outrun2. I share the exact same sentiments on that racing game. I was literally blown away when I encountered the machine in an Amsterdam Arcade somewhere in the 80s.

I don't agree with the previous commenters on the PS2 vs the Xbox version. The Xbox version is much smoother and has clearer textures. I and quite a few others consider the Coast2Coast Xbox game one of the graphically most advanced Xbox games. The PS2 version looks a little fuzzy and suffers from frame-drops whereas the Xbox version does not. Still a must have for the PS2.

There isn't a system I don't have this game for, except the arcade machine. ;)

davyK's picture
Joined: 05/21/2006
REALLY surprised to hear

REALLY surprised to hear dissenters on this - I thought it was pretty well received.

Maybe Europe got a better deal on this one ? It certainly got the thumbs up from the likes of Edge and World of Stuart.


Mark Vergeer
Mark Vergeer's picture
Joined: 01/16/2006
Indeed excellent game

It is an excellent game and your response to my 2013 revisit of the game made me want to read your blog again.


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