Blimey, whose is that car in the car park? Whaddya mean, it's a nicked Porsche? Our reviewer
looks into a late arrival from US Gold and ends up having to explain a few expensive write-offs.
Fortunately, his review isn't one of them. Rev it up for us, Mister Reviewer.
Surprise! Bet you weren't expecting this one. The thing is, it arrived a bit too late to be
mentioned on the cover, but we squeezed it in anyway. Once again your super soaraway CF gets you
the exclusives on all the best new games.
You must all have heard of Out Run and if you haven't, all I'll say on the matter is that it
was a mega-successful coin-op that converted into an average home computer conversion and went
on to sell heaps. This time around, those US Gold folk have merely taken the Out Run name and
produced an original game exclusively for the home gaming market.
This seems to have worked better for them, 'cos I can tell you now, this is a bit of a stonker.
You play a top secret agant who has been stupid enough to let some rotters run off with a
briefcase full of secrets (which is more realistic that it sounds - Ed). Still, he quickly
makes up for his gross stupidity by using a bit of initiative. He nicks a motorbike and sets
off in pursuit of the thieves.
However, fate decides to belch in his face once more. Now the authorities think
he's nicked the secrets and are chasing after him, as well as the thieves' cohorts who are
also in pursuit. Worse still, while he was hot-wiring the bike he broke one of his fingernails...
The first section sees you playing the hero as the speeds from London to Dover. Being the first
level, it's also the easiest, the bike sticks to the road like glue and there is plenty of bonus
boost juice to pick up along the way.
As you speed along there are a number of hazards to watch out for. Bends in the road aren't
hazardous when you're alone, but get caught on the outside when an adversary appears and he'll try
to ram you off the tarmac. Real problems occur when hills appear on the road.
Unless you centre the joystick before you go over them you tend to perform an all mighty jump
which sends you hurtling right or left into the scenery. On early levels you can get back on
the road and complete the course, if you're lucky. But as you'd expect, later in the game the
time limits get much tighter and one crash will put you out of the running for sure.
Your enemies appear at random and try to run you off the road. There are two ways of getting
out of this situation. You can either ram them back - after about six hits they give up and go
home - or you can use your boost button to out run them. You're better off trying to ram them
though as you need the precious boost to out rin the police.
Yes you hear me - the police. When you hear a siren, it's only a metter of seconds before
the squad car eases up alongside you. The easiest way to ditch the beggars is to hit boost.
You then accelerate and the peelers fly out of view at a speed approaching that of light.
If you don't use boost, they tend to hang around like a fly round mouldy vegetables and it's
only a matter of time before you're arrested. Take note.
So are the odds all stacked against you? Not quite. As well as extra boosts, you can pick up
boxes of ammo; they're completely useless on this level but you need them for later on.
One more thing to mention is the time limit. This starts off very low but, fortunately, each
section is divided into segments. If you finish a segment within the time limit, the timer
immediately gets replenished a bit so that you can at least attempt the next segment.
In level two you've stolen a jetski and have to nip across the channel to France. This time
other jetskiers try to turn you into flotsam as you cross the channel. If that isn't enough
to complain about, helicopters drop depth charges onto you.
In this section you don't have boost but you can shoot down the helicopters (told you that ammo
would come in useful).
In level three you're back on dry land and you're kleptomania shows no signs of clearing up.
This time it's a Porsche you've 'acquired'. This level, a jaunt through France, and the next
level, a screech round Barcelona, are very similar to level on in content. The major differences
are the time limit is tighter and the car doesn't handle as well as the bike.
In level five your sticky little digits have got hold of a speedboat to take you acrss the Mediterranean
to Italy. We're nearing the end now. Once you've got your land legs back you purioin a Ferrari F40 and drive
to Switzerland over the Alps to Germany, tap the thieves on the shoulder and utter the words,
'I say old chaps, I do believe you have someting that belongs to me.'
They look sad, say, 'Okay, guv'nor. It's a fair cop,' and hand over the briefcase.
The graphics in Out Run Europa are stunning, from the scrolling road to details like the
looming white cliffs of Dover taking up much of the left hand side of the screen. The action
itself is also fast and frantic. The controls leave you free to concentrate on your driving,
and you need to. There's nothing complex about the gameplay, it's just slick.