More of a casual spin with your girlfriend than racing for keeps.

User Rating: 7 | OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast PC
Gameplay 7
Graphics 7
Sounds 8
Value 8
Tilt 7

The good
* Colourful graphics
* Nice locations
* The musical scores

The Bad
* Repetitive game play
* The AI can take sharp corners like Beckam does to the soccer ball

Upon the release of the original Outrun way back in the late 80s brought the racing genre a new meaning. I remember reading an article and the lead developer stated that Outrun is not just a racing game but a driving experience. Reflecting upon this I’ll agree that it’s a kind of game that blokes with L plate licenses can score points with chicks as they show off their talents whilst pumping in oodles of coins in the never-ending hungry outrun machines. The reality though is that anyone can practically jump into the driver’s seat and slam the accelerator; this and spotted throughout colourful graphics brought this successful franchise into its 8th version.

The newest version of Outrun has introduced 15 new Ferraris and 15 new tracks. On top of this Outrun 2006 added on the ole faithful Outrun2 SP courses for added game play. The overall controls are essentially the same however this time the added challenge of earning ‘Outrun Points’ (similar to winning cash) enables players to buy additional cars, added paintjobs, purchase musical scores and additional tracks.

Being an arcade ‘racing experience’, the controls are very easy to learn yet hard to master. It’s quite simply the forward, reverse (break), left and right with the choice of auto or manual transmission. The Ferraris themselves are categorised under Novice, Intermediate and Professional as Novice Ferraris tend to be easier on handling yet slower on pace whilst the Professionals vice versa. The game also encourages (and highly advisable) drifting as there will be challenges that require only drifting to win. This brings in additional enjoyment to that otherwise accelerate, decelerate game play. And naturally drifting will score points to your chickadee babe as she punches her fist in the air during that adrenaline rush (if life can be that easy).

The bane of all PC games though is the concept of AI. Outrun 2006 unfortunately is no different. The AI are pretty faultless as it can be very off putting as they whirl quite easily throughout those difficult bends. This is more evident when playing the tracks in reverse as the majority of tracks tends to wind quite a lot near the end hence the AI will have quite a head start and extremely hard to catch up. On the bright side, you can choose any Ferraris that you own and race any tracks hence that even though the stage may regarded as ‘novice’ you can grab a ‘professional’ rank Ferrari and race it thus you’ll get that acceleration/speed advantage (but not handling but who cares when you have acceleration).

The graphical engine hasn’t really improved since the release of Outrun2 SP back in 2003. You still have those wonderful scenarios of driving through palm swaying beaches to misty mountain ranges to the heat of the jungle (spot the lovely rainbow) to Easter Island’s Moai statues to state a few. This and those wonderful palettes of colours can really enhance game play. The driving experience is very smooth as the screen renders quite effectively as there are no real frame rates drop (besides the map Canyon as you will experience slight jittering).

There are tonnes of things to do in Outrun 2006. Considering the total amount of race tracks equates to thirty (sixty including reverse), Ferraris to unlock, colours to choose (who really want a red one when you can choose green), music and of course gaining another girlfriend (three in total) can create the illusion of high replay ability. The tracks themselves can be easily knocked off in less than four minutes per stage but considering the myriad of game play (e.g. heart attack mode – achieving objectives provided by your girlfriend like dodge alien ships or dribble the ball for example; Outrun mode where you and your girlfriend race against the clock to complete the stages; race ghosts Ferraris or simply challenge your friend via LAN/Internet) can produce some considerable hours of driving enjoyment. I have invested over 20 hours yet only achieved 60% of what the game offers. However later on it’s starts to be more of a chore than trying to finish the game as the game play tends to repeat itself with slight changes in the driving experience.

Outrun is famed for its musical scores and Outrun 2006 is no exception. The scores themselves is worth spending your ‘Outrun points’ first as they seems to be professionally recorded. The scores themselves is worth listening to as a stand-alone CD as I did many times (even as I type this review). However the sound effects of the game are quite weak. Don’t expect the bellow of the 800 horsepower engine or the squeal of the wheels whilst drifting. However it’s really all about the musical scores than sound effects right?

Outrun 2006 is a great example of how technology improves game play throughout the years. Racing games back in the 80s are nothing more than nuisances as cars back then turns on 45 degree angles with the screen constantly refreshes to create that ‘driving’ feel. Outrun 2006 certainly is a refreshing look of the arcade racing genre however regardless of the pretty colours and those beautiful comments made by your girlfriend, overall it feels that the game play tends to be repetitive instead of providing unique challenges. To those who like that nostalgic feel Outrun 2006 certainly is the game to play as you can marvel what modern technology can produce. Other then that it will be more like a casual spin with your girlfriend than racing for keeps (which is all not that bad).