This is not your beautiful OutRun…
RELEASE DATE: 1989 – (EU)
Just when you thought your head was safe from bulky, constrictive peripherals, along comes OutRun 3-D to remind you that, yes, Sega’s 3-D glasses are as uncomfortable as you remember. Lest we forget, OutRun had already been ported to the Master System in 1987. The conversion, while unable to replicate the arcade’s Super Scaler splendor, worked just fine within the console’s limitations. OutRun 3-D does not work fine. OutRun 3-D barely works at all. Sure, it resembles the original, but along with some course layout changes and a couple new musical tracks, the graphics, sense of speed, and overall play experience have been downgraded from Ferrari Testarossa to Geo Metro.
Kinda feels honey mustard out today, you know?
The principle of OutRun – to drive a sports car top-down through exotic locales with a buxom blonde at your side – has not changed, but the atmosphere has. Whereas the original OutRun‘s vistas were colorful and bright, OutRun 3-D‘s environments are muted, dull, and scratchy, like someone took sand paper and rubbed it all over the source code. This certainly has something to do with the 3-D, which only half works on a good day. Rather than roads popping off the screen right before your tired eyes, you’ll see flickery textures and jittery turns, like the game can’t decide if it wants to display the action or not. Playing in 2D – a blessed option, this time around – is better, if only to spare your eyes. 2D does not, however, help the poor graphics from resembling waste on your Testarossa’s tires.
Wow, it’s like I can see through the very fabric of time and space!
Praises be to Sega’s savior, the Third-Dimension and his Wonder Glasses, that the 3-D renders the driving as slow and careful as a Sunday jaunt to church. Your Testarossa’s speedometer might read 285 km/hr, but your gut will cry 20 mph school zone. Taking sharp turns now only requires a single brake application before you can “hit the gas” again. While the slow speed actually makes the game easier (this is likely why Sega included difficulty options), if you run into a tree or a car, your crash will be so slow and stylized that you’ll likely miss your check point.
There were no survivors…
As in the original game, there are five different course routes you can take, along with five endings that occur as you reach the end of the route. All of your favorite courses are here – Coconut Beach, Devil’s Canyon, Cloudy Mountain, etc. – but the layouts change slightly, depending on the difficulty you choose. The remixed courses feel shorter and less harrowing than the original OutRun‘s, but that could be a misperception caused by the 3-D choppiness. Also, while the three new musical tracks fit in with the traditional OutRun sound, you don’t have to play the game to listen to ’em. Just access the sound test in the menu screen by pressing ‘Start.’
The River of Slime from “Ghostbusters II” becomes a reality.
Thanks to the 3-D technology that the Master System could never handle, OutRun 3-D shifts a competent driving title to a game that you wouldn’t give your least favorite gaming journalist. But hey! At least it’s not Space Harrier 3D.