Turbo Out Run (US Gold) Review | Amstrad Action - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Action

Turbo Out Run
By U. S. Gold
Amstrad CPC464/664/6128

Published in Amstrad Action #52

Turbo Out Run

Get your motor running and head out on the highway, lookin' for adventure and whatever comes your way. And what a motor it is - a three litre V8 twin-turbo beast, encased in glowing Italian racing red. The world's fastest car is here once again, this time in for an ultra-fast Turbo Out Run across the US of A.

As Andy Warhol once said, "One day everyone will play Out Run for 15 minutes". He was right - the machines in their various guises have been one of the biggest arcade hits since Pac Man. The first home micro conversion, however, left a few little things out. Like gameplay and speed. It was acclaimed as the only driving sim in the world that could be played by post! Following this debacle, Turbo had a lot to live down.

Your Ferrari waits at the start. There's the arcade music tweeting away in the background and the New York scene all around. At the bottom of your screen sit two dials, one for speed and one for revs. Above are the two most important gauges of all - time and overheat. Time limits are tight, so care has to be taken to ensure a finish, if not victory. An overheat meter is needed as such a tightly-engineered power unit soon starts cooking.

The clock ticks down. Hit the fire button for turbo boost, and you're off. The pick-up from a standing start is impressive and soon your pootling along at top whack. The cars in front don't really matter, just give them a quick nudge with your £600,000 baby and they'll get the message that you're serious.

There are only two opponents, the clock and a mysterious grey Porsche 959. Beating the clock's a must if you want to continue, while with the Porsche it's a question of pride. If he gets to the end of the stage before you then the 'Chick' (I heard that! - Broadley) jumps out of your car and goes to ride with him until you win the another stage.

That's the storyline. You blast through America, heading for California via Miami. Each section has a different backdrop and different characteristics. Pittsburgh, for instance, is snowed under, and this has an often terminal effect on cars taking hairpin bends at 200mph. Of course, you can always use one of the three pit stops to fine-tune your motor for the conditions ahead.

The turbo comes into its own on the later sections. Blasts of power are needed to run road blocks and smash boulders that have fallen in your path. Of course, if the turbo's overused then it'll overheat and be out of commission for a few seconds, leaving you straggling as each impact slows you down.

The graphics are good - not stunning, but clear. The car itself is superb, but some of the ancillary car sprites and side buildings appear with an alarming suddenness. The road is true to its arcade parent, not smooth but visible, as it would look at 200 mph plus, one assumes.

The car responds a tad sluggishly to directional adjustments, an effect that's increased on poor surfaces to represent loss of traction. These car characteristics take a while to get to grips with but allow you to develop a 'feel' for driving. Nudging other cars out of the way helps catch the Porsche and bimbo's eye, but here everything becomes confused with the car behaving differently after every knock.

The lack of any sound effects makes the game strangely remote, too. The arcade accuracy of the tune is undeniable, but screaming tyres should accompany sudden, arm-wrenching corners, and not a pleasant little jingle. Turbo generally leaves you feeling quite distant. With all the attention having been lavished upon the quality of the conversion the magic ingredient of addictiveness has been lost. Even the tight time limits don't really make you want to race.

Turbo is a thorough and convincing conversion of a classic arcade game that is now beginning to show its age. The results of this are clear even in the conversion of the updated Turbo Out Run. Everything works but there's nothing there to send your pulse racing. In a world of car games, the original pacesetter and its offspring now look a little long in the tooth.

A quality conversion is no longer enough these days, and a game needs something special to make its mark. Turbo's strength is supposed to be the car on which it's based, but over the last year there have been a plethora of F40 (Crazy Cars II, Twin Turbo V8) based games, and the world's most exotic hardware may not now be enough...

First Day Target Score

Visit Chicago.

Second Opinion

Not the disaster its predecessor was. Nevertheless, recent racing games leave it stalled on the line.

Green Screen View

Some stages get harder.

The Verdict

Graphics 74%
P. Great car.
N. Vague collisions.

Sonics 50%
P. 100% for the tune...
N. ...but no effects.

Grab Factor 38%
P. It never gets exciting.

Staying Power 64%
P. Loads of roads.
N. But will you want to race them?

Overall 64%
P. Competent but dull.

Trenton Webb

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