Out Run Europa

Publisher: U. S. Gold
Machine: Commodore 64/128

Published in Zzap #77

Out Run Europa

At last, the OutRun series gets serious. There's still plenty of fast vehicles to race, but you've no time to chase pretty girls this time. Ultra-important blueprints have been stolen and all the villains, policemen and secret agents in Europe are after you. Only the best agent in the world could beat this rap. Phil King finally gets on his bike to discover if he has the right stuff.

Ever had that sinking feeling, you know when you've just lost all your homework or kicked a ball through the new patio windows? Well, Simeon Kutz may be a supercool top secret agent but even he feels a bit wobbly when he returns to his parking space only to find a great big empty space. His super-expensive Ferrari F40 been stolen, but far worse than that in the boot there were top secret military blueprints!

The mysterious thieves are already well on their well to Dover by now. Simeon can't afford to wait for a bus, he needs fast transport... fast. Ah, just the thing: a swanky motorbike. With zero hesitation, Simeon nicks the bike and zooms off in pursuit of the thieves. Somehow me must not only recover the briefcase but get it to Berlin in time for a secret rendezvous.

OutRun Europa

In the first of seven racing stages, Simeon hurls the bike around tight bends and through tunnels, weaving through, the traffic. Some cars try to ram him off the road - if the bike hits the grass, it will spin on its side, wasting valuable time. In every multi-loaded stage Simeon must reach three checkpoints within the increasingly short amount of time allocated or forfeit one of three continue-plays.

"Woo-ooo woo-ooo woo-ooo...": looking over his shoulder, Simeon sees a police car, trying hard to keep up. Great, he thinks, some help at last. But as the panda car pulls alongside, it suddenly swerves and smashes into the side of the bike. The police aren't after the thieves but Simeon instead! After all, he is riding a stolen bike. If the police manage to get in front and stop Simeon, he will be swiftly arrested - costing a continue-play.

Spotting a special boost button next to the bike's throttle, Simeon presses it. Whoosh! The bike zooms off, shrinking the police car to a tiny dot in the side mirror. Boost point is limited but can be replenished by running over yellow boost packs handily left in the road.

OutRun Europa

Before long, Simeon reaches the port of Dover... but alas, too late. The thieves have already boarded a ferry to Calais. Surely all is lost, but wait... out of the corner of his eye, Simeon spots a jetski bike in the water. Oh well, he might as well 'borrow' it!

Twisting the throttle to maximum, Simeon thanks the day he took up watersports as a hobby. He needs all his skills to dodge rocks, barrels and even the occasional lighthouse. This is made more difficult by the enemy boats which try to ram him into hazards, sending him toppling forwards over the jetski.

Once more Simeon hears the wail of a siren as a police boat pulls alongside. But what's the strange whirring noise? Simeon glances up to see a helicopter hovering in the cloud-filled sky. Sensing danger, he swerves the jetski sideways danger, he swerves the jetski sideways just in time to avoid a bomb dropped from the chopper.

OutRun Europa

He needs help and he finds it in the form of yet another special button on the jetski. Ah, more boost, he thinks. As he presses it, Simeon braces himself for a sudden spurt of speed, but instead a missile shoots out of the front and winds upwards towards the helicopter. Bang! The cockpit is engulfed in flames and the chopper whirrs uncontrollably out of sight. The jetski's ammo soon runs out, but there's more to be collected in the water.

Simeon can now see Calais on the horizon. Time is of the essence so there's no letting up on the throttle as the jetski slides onto the beach. More transport is needed to pursue the thieves. Well, what do you know? Simeon finds an abandoned Porsche 911 - with the keys in the ignition!

It's back onto the road in a race to Paris. At least there's no police to worry about, thinks Simeon, until he hears that familiar wail in the distance - yep, Interpol have been alerted! The Porsche is fast, even faster with turbo-boost activated, but Citroen 2CVs hold Simeon up, and by the time he gets to Paris the thieves have already fled in the direction of Spain. There's not even time for another change of vehicle as Simeon puts his foot down in another car chase to Barcelona.

But by the time he gets there, the thieves have put his Ferrari F40 on a ship to Italy. Yet again, Simeon must take to the water, this time in an ultra-fast speedboat. Unfortunately, the Mediterranean holds more hazards than just polluted water. All sorts of nasty things float by, including oil slicks, logs and mines. Thankfully, there's also ammo crates, containing more missiles to shoot down the constantly attacking helicopters while avoiding more enemy boats.

When he reaches the port of Genoa, for once Simeon is left without transfer to continue the chase. So he arranges to meet his colleague Paulo who kindly lends him another F40 - but sensibly accompanies him on the drive. There's yet more police to outrun and notorious Italian drivers to overtake.

This time, Simeon finally catches up with the thieves - who turn out to be terrorists - at the Austrian border. The blueprint is recovered by time is running out - night has already fallen. Leaving Paulo to guard the terrorists, Simeon heads north for his German rendezvous. The police are still in pursuit and there are countless VW Beetles to hold Simeon up in the long tunnels that cut through the Alps. But somehow he must reach Berlin before sunrise.

It's all exciting stuff, with a refined version of Probe's classic Turbo OutRun road routine providing an exhilaratingly fast pace. I especially like the road tunnels with the car (as in Turbo Charge) appearing darker as it goes through them.

The water stages add extra variety, playing very differently with the inclusion of firepower. And I love the clever effect of the clouds reflected in the water, while the way your destination appears on the horizon is a masterfully dramatic touch.

Even early levels are tough, with the time limits proving very tight, but perseverance is rewarded by tremendous graphic variety with each country looking very different. It sounds strange, but you always feel as if you're actually travelling somewhere. The interlevel intros, and actually the levels themselves, all contribute to a feeling of one long outrun journey - rather than disconnected levels, with desert being replaced by snow in the moment you cross a line as in Turbo OutRun.

Oozing playability, variety and presentational polish, Europa is one trip you really must go on.


Program & Graphics: Neil Coxhead with assistance from Grant Harrison, Mark Kelly and Steve Crow Sound: Maniacs Of Noise


After outrunning Chris Butler's Power Drift last year with Turbo OutRun, Probe return to the fray with Europa, one of the most varied and slick racing games ever.

The opening sequence doesn't compare with Turbo's mindblowing intro, but thereafter it's in a different class with each level opening with its own little bit of storyline accompanied with excellent pics.

I especially like neat touches such as the pics shuffering after they've been slammed into place, and thoughtfully they're not a separate load. C2Ns invariably slow the pace of any racing game, but Europa's levels go on for quite a while.

In fact, when you're duelling with a police boat, with a chopper raining missiles about, you rather wish the levels were shorter!

More surprising is the sheer variety within the loads, in a single level there's beautifully done tunnels, scaffolding bridging the road (with shadow flicking on/off over the vehicles) and huge white cliffs rushing past.

Speed is very impressive - there are no hills like the rollercoaster trips in Turbo Charge and the best graphics here don't match the best of that game, but there's still plenty of stuff to admire. The ominous overcast weather of level seven is really stylish.

Gameplay is equally strong, the police cars really do come after you and later on there's missile-firing helicopters to shoot down. The combat isn't quite as good as Turbo Charge, and for much of this very tough game-making perfectly timed zigzags to get past other vehicles is the key, but Europa is a tough and dazzing race-game.

Under torture I'd admit to preferring the arcade-blasting action of Turbo Charge, but Europa is a different sort of game and both are so good you shouldn't miss either!


Presentation 94%
Superb interlevel pics and storyline, three continue-plays.

Graphics 94%
Ultra-fast 3D with huge roadside objects and long tunnels. Tremendous variety throughout the levels. Main sprites, perhaps inevitably, a little disappointing.

Sound 90%
Good Maniacs of Noise tunes for each level.

Hookability 95%
Good Maniacs Of Noise tunes for each level.

Lastability 93%
Exceptionally tough, with later levels demanding near-perfect driving. A good challenge.

Overall 94%
A great way to see Europe!