Out Run (Arcade) Review

By Athanasios 09.09.2021

Review for Out Run on Arcade

Unlike now, where, if you can dream it, you can make it, there was a time were technical limitations would often force a developer to greatly lower expectations, with one example being games that just "had" to have three-dimensional visuals, like for example racing titles. In the '80s this mostly had to follow the pseudo-3D route, which severely limited the fun factor, as it was pretty easy to see through the illusion. Out Run, the 1986 SEGA arcade hit was pretty much the same deal; a simple game, that didn't really push things forward, as it used the same old techniques… and yet, it managed to offer something that was vastly more entertaining than what came before.

Inspired in part by the The Cannonball Run, Out Run is meant to offer an experience that's less about the thrill of outracing a number of competitors, and more about feeling cool, sexy, and powerful; you are driving your Ferrari Testarossa, with a Californian blond sitting right next to you, and while an extremely catchy, feel-good, and very '80s rock/latin/lounge OST (courtesy of Hiroshi Kawaguchi) is bopping along. Typical of arcade games, this is quite tough, but you'll more likely to play this with a big grin on your face, than becoming frustrated after the 10th or so crush on a boulder.

The team behind this took really good care of its visual aspect, and it shows. The various areas you'll travel through range from Miami-like beaches and Nevada-looking deserts, to north European highways, the Mediterranean countryside, and then some. There's a nice variety of cars and trucks, trees and all sorts of props, and the changing colours of the sky make you feel the heat of the sun, or the cool evening wind, as if you are truly there. Immersion is the key word here. Even better? Unlike most "ancient," archaic racers, this succeeds in making players sense the high speeds the vehicle is moving on.

Screenshot for Out Run on Arcade

While Out Run is beautiful, and has a great - although small - soundtrack, the most impressive thing about it is how it handles the pseudo-3D illusion. The road curves, dips, and crests, with obstacles, as well as the horizon moving accordingly, and with the various sprites (like cars) changing size with a sprite-scaling technique (that was also used by SEGA's Hang-On) in a way that doesn't feel as artificial as they used to in similar video games of the past. In the end, however, as useful as the audio-visuals of a video game are, the most important aspect is how it plays, and it's this where this truly shines.

The object is pretty simple: it's the typical arcade racer formula, where one needs to reach the finish line against a timer, with you receiving more sand for your hourglass by going through the various checkpoints that are scattered around. Innovative? Not really. Well crafted? Oh, yeah! The controls are simply fantastic, and while the game doesn't involve any additional mechanics, the whole course is structured in a tree-like manner, so it's possible to choose alternative routes to follow, with more twisty roads, more cars driving right next to you, and so on, raising the replay value quite a lot.

As mentioned before, Out Run is tough. The time limit is such, that every small bump, or necessary slowdown may cost a game, something that manages to raise those adrenaline levels despite the simple premise and very old-school visuals… and that's about it really. Out Run is just very, very, very entertaining. Need more incentive to play? There are five different - tiny - endings to discover, and they are all hilarious - especially the one where a sexy racing queen appears out of nowhere, making the protagonist's body to get filled with bruises.

Screenshot for Out Run on Arcade

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Even after three-and-something decades Out Run remains one of the most enjoyable arcade racers ever. Sure, it keeps things extremely simple, and if not a fun of old-school games, it's unlikely that people will prefer it over their brand new, triple-A purchase pick, but it's hard to deny its charm, fun factor, and influence on the genre.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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