Outrun 2006: Coast to Coast PSP @ 5 April 2006 04:05 PM

Title: Outrun 2006: Coast to Coast

Format: PSP

Developer: Sumo Digital

Publisher: Sega

Region: PAL

Players: 1-6

Rating: 3+

Outrun was a smash arcade hit on its release in 1986, and its success spawned a few sequels such as Turbo Outrun, Outrunners and despite being good, they were not as widely received as the original. In 2004 came Outrun 2 SP (Special Tours) which expanded the game with an extra 15 stages. This is what has been brought to the PSP: the original Outrun 2 in 3D and the extra SP stages bringing 30 stages to the handheld and a plethora of unlockable extras.

The basics of Outrun are easy - race from one side of the map to the other, choosing along the way by forks in the road at the end of each stage whether to take the left or the right. Taking every left results in Route A, the easiest, and taking every right results in Route E, the hardest. The choice is up to you which route to take, but on the way make sure you impress your girl!

The mission side of 2006 is different to 2 that was released on Xbox and PS2, as in this one the emphasis is on racing rivals to get the highest rank possible on the stage, a AAA. These courses are spread across 4 different difficulties in which you have to achieve an average grade of A to impress 'Flagman' before you are allowed access to the harder difficulties. The other set of missions are set to impress your girlfriend and they follow the same goal - achieve an average grade of A to progress. However, the tasks set in these stages are more similar to those in OutRun2, with your girlfriend setting challenges for a set of the stage such as 'Don't Crash', 'Pass the Convoy', 'Hit the Cars', 'Drift' and others. New ones for 2006 include 'Avoid the Meteors', 'Dribble the Beach Ball' and the brilliant 'Avoid Abduction', as UFO's hover above the course with their red beams primed to sweep you off the road. If you don't want the pressure of having to do these in a mission format, then these are all available in the Heart Attack mode.

What makes this game even better however is the team that ported this did an amazing job. There is no slowdown present in the game, and although it may not run at 60fps, the rate it does run at does not hamper the game in the slightest. All the visuals are present and correct, and 300km/h really does feel that fast. All the music is here too, with the 1986 originals, the OutRun2 soundtrack, and then the Euro Remixes of the 2 tracks. All these are available through unlocking which is achieved by a new feature, OutRun miles.

The miles system works by giving you miles for completing stages. Not only this though, driving especially well will result in extra miles and achieving higher grades in the missions also result in bumper mileage. What is good about this though, is that you don't have to complete the stage to receive them. If you drive well but miss the last checkpoint, you will still be rewarded for what did you achieve. This helps immensely with trying to unlock everything and takes away what could have been a frustrating task.

So its rewarding, has all the original music and looks beautiful. Well there's more. See this can be connected to the PS2 through USB where individual profiles can be loaded onto the PS2 and vice versa. Even better though is the PSP Wireless mode which can accomodate up to six players to participate in races.

Crashes, especially side impacts have been reduced to make it easier for first timers but there is still the threat of a head on collision which effectively means game over. There is very little wrong with this arcade port, as everything has been addressed even down to the individual mission stages I forgot to mention - if you are aiming for AAA and didn't get it, take the left fork to retry it without any additional loading. Makes the game seamless.

Outrun 2006: Coast to Coast is a joy to play with an abundance of stages, missions and unlockables while sounding great and looking brilliant also.


Gameplay: 9.3
Graphics: 9.2
Audio: 9.4
Lifespan: 9.3
Total: 9.2

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