Burning rubber, one turn at a time.
RELEASE DATE: 1989 – (EU), 02/1991 – (BR)
Ever wonder what the driver in OutRun does for a living? Battle OutRun provides the answer. Using his own cherry Testarossa, the driver races through the country destroying mobster vehicles. He travels to all the big cities – Las Vegas, New York, Los Angeles, the rest – to take down the head honchos of every crime syndicate across the nation. But he can’t just race to the mobster’s hideout and expect to find them there. They’re on the run, just like him. Race past the hired muscle, rear-end the mobster’s cars into oblivion, and put them away in prison. Just like Don Johnson used to do before he got swallowed up in Miami’s vice.
None more golden.
Less a sequel, more a side mission, Battle OutRun strips the fun-in-the-sun from the original game, while adding a couple objectives beyond “get your car to the finish line.” You drive as fast as possible (mind the time limit), avoid yellow taxis (the main mobster’s hired goons all drive taxis, apparently), upgrade your ride when allowed, and take down the mobster when you reach them. Once you’ve found the mobster, their life bar appears. Hit them from the back or the side a bunch of times to make their car come to a halt. Your car remains perfectly intact and damage-free because who wants to look at a mangled sports car? That’s just depressing.
“Little” Ronnie Howard just isn’t as good as he used to be.
The Testarossa is indeed impervious to all damage. Running into taxis, oil slicks, speed signs, and other clutter will slow you down, though; don’t just drive into everything like a hotshot. The one exception are the ramps, which allow you to jump over taxis. And you’ll want to jump over them. The closer you get to them, the more they’ll try to prevent you from passing. If you hit their bumper, your car comes to a complete halt. Unlike their boss, the taxis can’t be destroyed, so there’s never any feeling of satisfaction when you hit/pass them. They’re aggressive buttholes and some of the most rage-inducing “characters” I’ve faced in a game in quite some time.
Cloudy with a chance of justice.
Midway through the level, a shop truck appears in front of you. Drive into it and you’ll be able to purchase upgrades. “Body” strengthens your car and reduces the time lost from bumping into taxis. “Engine” makes your car go faster. “Tires” improve the car’s ability to take curves, and “Chassis” help you get more air on jumps. Nitros are also available to purchase and store for use on the road. There’s three upgrades per category, with each upgrade costing more money. You start off stage 1 with a small amount of cash, but additional cash is earned by bringing perps to justice. With the exception of the “Chassis,” you’ll need to upgrade as much as you can in order to deal with the higher level gangsters.’
Wonder what it’s like to drive a car on top of banana pudding…
Your Testarossa’s top is up, your girlfriend is strangely absent, there’s no attempt at super scaling as there was in the original OutRun, and the graphics don’t take advantage of the Master System’s hardware. Clearly, Battle OutRun doesn’t bear any resemblance to the original. Need more proof? The level designs are boring, the music is lackluster, the lighthearted atmosphere is missing, and the Testarossa sprite is smaller. The game also plays like a carbon copy of Chase H.Q. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s cheap of Sega to copy another game’s concept and apply it to their franchise. Besides, ramming into cars isn’t what made the original OutRun such a memorable title. Battle OutRun isn’t a particularly bad game, but it does feel like a quickly developed cash grab released to capitalize on the OutRun franchise’s then-popularity. For fans of the series, Battle OutRun stands as a curious footnote. For the rest of us, there’s Chase H.Q..