Sega's best-selling arcade racing game has just been converted to the Spectrum by US Gold - which claims it sold over 200,000 copies in its first two weeks, breaking all records and setting it to beat Gauntlet on total sales.
The objective in Out Run is to race a Ferrari Testarossa to one of eight destinations within the time limit.
The screen shows a 3-D view of the track from above and behind the player's Testarossa. The car has two gears and an accelerator, which come into effect as soon as the starting lights go green.
A digital speedometer and rev counter inform the player of the car's current performance as it negotiates dips and curves and dodges other traffic. Should the car run into the back of another vehicle it loses speed, but driving into a large roadside feature throws the car off the track and leaves the driver and his girlfriend sitting in a dazed stupor till their vehicle is placed back on the road.
The action is played against a constantly decreasing time limit. Failure to reach the next checkpoint within the limit ends the game. When a checkpoint is reached one of two routes is chosen, and the next part of the course loaded from tape, and extra time is added to the total so the player can progress.
When the fifth course is completed the game ends.
'This must have one of the worst multiloads in history! As soon as the checkpoint is reached the action instantly freezes and the next track loads, and as soon as it's in the action starts without warning. This wouldn't be too bad if you only had to spend a couple of seconds waiting, but sometimes the wait goes on for ages, and it's easy for your attention to wander, the action to restart and the car crash. The gameplay is very slow, and the graphics and sound are generally disappointing. Out Run isn't a great conversion.'
'Why are US Gold doing this to me? First California Games turns out to be a massive disappointment, and then Out Run - a classic machine - turns out to be another disappointment. Fair enough, the 128K version has an excellent tune which doesn't appear to slow the game down, but, I ask myself, is it possible to slow it down further than it already is? The traffic on the road is jerky and badly animated and the road itself isn't exactly the paragon of smoothness. US Gold have made the best job they could, but it just isn't enough - Out Run is a full-price, full-scale letdown.'
'At last Out Run has arrived on the Spectrum! But all those of you that are expecting this to be just like the arcade version had better leave the room right now, because you're going to be so disappointed. The graphics are as well drawn as is possible on the Spectrum, and sound on the 128K is absolutely fantastic! The only thing that lets the game down is the lack of colour (which is usual for this type of race game). On the 48K you also have to load each track separately which is a mite frustrating, but the problem is resolved on the 128 because once you have loaded the track it stays in the memory. Out Run is an essential purchase for all you budding arcade gamesters - miss it and you'll regret it for the rest of your life!'