Wednesday, April 15, 2009

50 Great Arcade Games #7 - Outrun 2: Special Tours

Outrun 2: SP is everything Outrun 2 is and more. The most obvious changes/additions are that the game is slightly easier(hitting a wall is less likely to kill your game) and you can slipstream to gain additional speed. Couple that with an entirely new set of tracks to drive on and you essentially have the definitive version of O2.

I shouldn't really have to go over what makes O2 great because it's all very easy to figure out. You get a team together known for great mechanics and solid game design(in this case AM2). You build upon the foundations/ideas set by past racing games(And with Sega you've got some of the best). Most of all however you put together a game that's accessible to anyone. 

Outrun 2 SP offers a multitude of cars and tracks that vary in difficulty. The more skillful players will choose faster cars with tougher handling, and race on the most difficult tracks to show off. Gamers interested in just having a smooth ride and enjoying the wonderful sights and sounds can go the other way. It's certainly a refreshing change of pace when compared to the Initial Drifting Wangan Tokyo midnight grind-a-thons where you have to spend more than your car payment to get a decent ride.


I guess I should go further into what this game is all about. You're in a Ferrari with your girlfriend and you have to impress her by driving well. Aside from dodging traffic and smoothly drifting through turns you'll also have to contend with other Ferraris on the road(referred to as Rivals). Passing rivals is a bit more difficult than any other car but they're worth far more points. So in fact going fast is required not just to get a good time but also to get a score, plus it keeps you from running out of time. While the lower difficulty might make the game too easy for some the greater scoring possibilities allow for some true masters of the game to really show off. I for one kind of prefer this direction.

In the end though it's not a terribly deep game in that there's some complicated processes you have to know in order to get some really amazing times and scores. Even the heart attack mode which throws in little minigames during each track are simple to understand and complete since they rely on the same basics that are involved in finishing a race. 

I should also point out that Outrun Online is available on Xbox Live Arcade. It's a decent enough port though it only includes the Special Tours set of tracks and no Challenge mode(which consisted of a lot of minigames with tons of unlockables). If you want the complete edition you'll have to hunt down a copy Outrun 2: ST for the original Xbox or Playstation 2. Warning though the PS2 edition has framerate issues and the Xbox version has some annoying bugs when ran on a 360.

Some people prefer vanilla Outrun 2 as well(which is Xbox only). I'm not exactly sure why that it is because all it offers is a slightly higher difficulty and the removal of slipstreaming(and only one set of tracks as opposed to the two in Special Tours. Although Outrun 2 does have the Scud Race/Daytona USA 2 tracks so I guess that gives it a point for curiousity's sake.

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