Data East (Sega Mega Drive)
|Arcade system||Sega System 32 Multi|
|Display||Raster resolution 320 x 224 (Horizontal) Palette Colors 32768|
OutRunners is a racing video game developed by Sega and AM1 in 1992 and released in all Japan, Europe and North America in 1993. It constitutes the third release in the arcade OutRun series and was ported to the Mega Drive by Data East in 1994.
OutRunners is the fourth game in the Out Run series, following Battle Out Run and Turbo Outrun. After Turbo Outrun's departure from Out Run's laid-back, charming atmosphere, fans wanted a game that captured the spirit of the original. OutRunners succeeded in doing this; it brought back the ability to take different paths through forks in the road, returned to a lighthearted atmosphere, and distanced itself well from the "serious" Turbo Outrun. The game featured head-to-head support, and with enough cabinets, up to eight players could challenge each other. It was also the only game in the Out Run series to feature various selectable cars and multiple endings until OutRun 2. OutRunners was the most successful game released for Sega's System Multi 32 hardware, and one of the last successful 2D games released by Sega. OutRunners was also known for having some of the best looking graphics seen at the time, thanks to creative sprite design and a very skillful use of parallax scrolling, similar to that found in Power Drift, released years earlier. The game holds up very well today, and plays very similarly to a modern polygon based 3D racer, something not common in a racing game that utilises 2D graphics.
Some routes are accessible on more than one route combination like in the original Out Run. After the initial starting stage, the player has the option of either turning east or west. West leads through San Francisco, through the Easter Islands, into Asia and either into Africa or Europe. East goes through the Grand Canyon, South America or Niagara Falls, across the Atlantic Ocean, into Europe and either into Asia or Australia.
An anthropomorphic broad bean character is featured on billboards and the start of the game called "Broad Bean," a parody of Bibendum (the Michelin man), presumably the mascot of the fictional company sponsoring the race, Sam Spree. In the Mega Drive version, both Sonic and Tails may fly by in a pair of Tornados and sprinkle the Sega logo onto the screen. Sonic can also be seen on various billboards in the first stage.
Course starting from San Francisco
|Pacific Ocean Crossway Bridge||Mediterranean Sea|
|San Francisco||Japan||Atlantic Ocean Underwater Tunnel|
Course starting from the Grand Canyon
|Grand Canyon||Atlantic Ocean Underwater Tunnel||Japan|
|South America||Mediterranean Sea|
All of the selectable cars in OutRunners are fictional convertibles, but bear resemblance to real automobiles. Notably, the Speed Buster closely resembles the Ferrari Testarossa featured in the original OutRun. Each car has its own set of a driver and passenger character, and have their own unique ending vignette if the player makes it to a goal. Each character set also has their own way of acting when their car crashes (Flying through the air, bouncing like balls, running after the car, etc.), but unlike their OutRun counterparts, they always land right back in the car and keep going without stopping. Each car has its own number of gears for Manual transmission ranging from two to six.
|Easy Handling||Blue||Porsche 914||5-Speed||Home course is Kenya, passenger resemble Oprah Winfrey and driver resemble Billy Ocean|
|Smooth Operator||Silver||Honda NSX-T||2-Speed||Home course is Japan, the driver and passenger resemble two flash photographers|
|Bad Boy||Black||Shelby Cobra||2-Speed||Home course is South America, passenger and driver resemble Thelma & Louise|
|The Road Monster||Pink||Cadillac Eldorado||3-Speed||Home course is Australia, driver is an Elvis impersonator|
|Quick Reactor||Orange||Fiat 500||4-Speed||Home course is Russia, passenger and driver resembles two strong men lifting a car|
|Wild Chaser||Green||Meyers Manx||3-Speed||Home course is Hawaii, passenger resemble Margaret Thatcher and the driver resemble a homemade bodybuilder|
|Mad Power||Yellow||Lamborghini Diablo VT Roadster||6-Speed||Home course is Spain, driver resemble Doris Day and passenger resemble Michael Jackson|
|Speed Buster||Red||Ferrari Testarossa Spider||2-Speed||Home course is San Francisco and resembles original car from OutRun, passenger and driver resemble two blondes with purple suits|
|Virtua Formula||Red, white and blue||cameo appearance of car from Virtua Racing||6-Speed||Home course is unknown, driver resemble based on Virtua Racing, but there's no passenger, Secret car exclusive to Mega Drive port but not in the arcade version of the game|
OutRunners featured all four of the songs from the original OutRun, as well as various new tracks.
The game was the first known to feature a voiced in-game DJ (Jake Elwood, perhaps a reference to the 1980 movie The Blues Brothers), and allow the switching of songs and radio stations while playing the game; an idea that would later catch on in the Grand Theft Auto and Burnout series of games. Often not credited for creating this idea, it is quickly becoming ubiquitous in modern games.
- Magical Sound Shower (Speed Buster default music)
- Passing Breeze
- Splash Wave (Mad Power default music)
- Picture the Rivers (Smooth Operator default music)
- Blow Your Cool (Bad Boy default music)
- Looking for the Rainbow (Quick Reactor default music)
- Speed King (Easy Handling default music)
- Adventure (Wild Chaser default music)
- Sonic Control (The Road Monster default music)
- Last Wave
- Meaning of the Light (route map music)
- Mega Driver (car selection music, perhaps a pun on the name "Sega Mega Drive")
- Jingle Bells (hidden music) used in the final stage of the Northern Europe course in the westbound route
- Dream Flying (music after reaching final checkpoint)
Also, when listening to the "Mega Radio Station" each stage has its own exclusive music relative to the area. Jake also says things like, "Good luck to all of you.", "Here's a good song.", "Car number # is in the lead. C'mon car number #. You're better than that.", and "I'm sorry, you didn't make it."
A port of the game was released for the Mega Drive/Genesis by Data East. It featured a forced split-screen in single player modes, where one screen focused on the player and the other on the AI - a gripe many buyers had with the game. Of course, this is because they had to convert a new 32-bit game onto an aging 16-bit console. Though the graphics were merely an adaptation of the arcade version, all other features of this version were kept intact, such as the original arcade soundtrack featuring four songs from the original Outrun. Andy Dyer wrote in Mega that it was "the most embarrassing driving game to appear on the Mega Drive."
A spin-off to OutRunners became Cool Riders released in the arcade in 1995 with bikes instead of cars features west, south and east bounds that does not match the quality.