The Ill Communication

OutRun 2

Developer: Sega AM2, Sumo Digital
Publisher: Sega, Microsoft Game Studios
U.S. Release: October 25, 2004

Box Quote: "Experience the fun of arcade racing."

Nearly twenty years since the original game was released in arcades in Japan, Yu Suzuki and team Sega AM2 felt it was time to give to the world a sequel to one of the great arcade racing games. Now even though it's called OutRun 2, there were many games that were sandwiched between the 1986 original and its true sequel released in 2003.

With the game built on Sega Chihiro (one of Sega’s arcade system boards) the game was easily ported to the original Xbox because Chihiro was based on the architecture of the original Xbox!  Thus giving the home edition a nice port of the arcade game.  The only difference would be some short load times because the arcades would have a lot more memory than the Xbox would have.

Sticking true to what would make a great sequel, AM2 hit all of the major points that make this a game worthy of placing the number “2” at the end of its name: tight controls, fantastic graphics, excellent racing courses, Ferraris, speed, and of course...the music.

Like the original, the game takes place all throughout Europe; with the courses laid out in the branching triangle format.  You’ll begin the race in what they call Palm Beach, but is a representation of Monaco.  And depending on the directions you take, you’ll finish at one of five different locations.  Once you finished the race at one location, you’ll easily get the itch of wanting to get to all five finish lines to see the different ending movies for each location.  All are cute and are a nice reward for getting through a somewhat challenging game.

A difference in gameplay compared to the original -- where the strategy was knowing when to shift between the higher and lower gear -- the sequel focuses heavily on drifting around bends.  I’m not sure if there was any inspiration from the Initial D arcade games that were being released around the time OutRun 2 was being developed (both were developed by Sega), but it was a good choice to focus on because the fad at the time was fast import cars and drifting with films such as The Fast and the Furious.

But import cars is what this game doesn’t have.  No sir, it includes a collection of sport cars from Ferrari.  From old school models like the Dino 246 GTS to the modern (well, at the time the game came out) Enzo Ferrari, you’ll eventually earn about a dozen cars in total though a number of challenge modes.

The most challenging of these modes is one called OutRun Mission.  Holy cow is this mode rough!  With approximately 80 missions, this will keep you busy for a while.  I know, because it took me forever to clear all the stages.  Some missions require such pin point accuracy of acceleration and handling with the right car to have you barely squeak by with a rank good enough for a pass.  When you complete a batch of them you unlock new cars, reverse tracks, the original arcade game(!), a kind of trading card that show neat Ferrari merchandise, and music.

My goodness, the music!  When it comes to composing tracks for games, Sega does it right!  With a combination of three classics like Passing Breeze and Musical Sound Shower, and a number of remixes for each of them, all of the music is absolutely fantastic.  Some include vocals by TJ Davis, who also did vocals for the soundtrack to the game Sonic R (which was the best thing that came from that game).

The OutRun series is one of Yu Suzuki’s greatest franchises.  Though there were a number games with the OutRun name that were released throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s, OutRun 2 is the one that that does the best job of creating a sequel that takes advantage of modern technology and new gameplay techniques.

Image credits: Sega

Posted on: September 25, 2014