It may be last year's thing for some, but Out Run still has to be one of the most eagerly awaited 16 bit releases yet. The arcade game is a classic, and really remains in a class of its own despite the advent of 3D grand prix games like Continental Circus, two player link-ups (Final Lap) and 'chase' games.
First impressions are promising. Conversion house Probe (you'll know it's them, the Ferrari has owner Fergus McGovern's initials on the numberplate) have lavished some icing on the cake in the form of some impressive sampled sound on the introduction, taken directly from the screeching wheels of a Ferrari augmented by some very over-the-
The playing screen looks like the ST, but there are changes and distinct improvements to the background graphics. The sea for example of the first level is represented much better (though there are still no windsurfers) and the speed is definitely quicker.
There are twenty possible routes and five different destinations for you and your gal to cruise through, taking you past desert, through farmland, intercity highways and winding canyons. Unlike the coin-op the road doesn't fork. Instead you chose one side of the road when you reach a line of flower pots! This takes you onto one of the two possible routes for the next stage.
The graphics vary from the impressive to the barely adequate, whilst sound is pretty good throughout (much of it having been sampled from the coin-op). The real acid test is the gameplay. Probe have certainly got to grips with the speed. It goes fast enough to hurt my eyes, but I have to say I have my reservations about its smoothness and implementation.
Somehow Out Run still disappoints, but part of that is that expectations are so high. The Amiga version is undoubtedly the best and that will be enough for some.