OUT RUN REVIEW by Richard Karsmakers
"Robert! Are you coming?" Robert was deep in thought and he
startled from the sudden calling of his name.
"If you were coming!"
He looked outside. In the bright sunlight John, his best friend,
stood waiting. "Alright, I'll be comin'!", he replied and rushed
for the front door. He quickly grasped his money and put it in
his trouser's pocket. He walked out of the door and cried:
Robert has been in the same class at school with John since the
first year of College. They always made their homework together
and they both shared the same sport: Football.
It all had started on a bright summer's day - a day like this
one - in town. He walked with John when he saw an arcade hall
called "G.Amble & L.Ose Ltd." in Main Street. Several sounds
arose from the joint - the bleeping of Jackpots, the screams of
winners and...the sound of a car racing.
"Gosh, that would be nice for a change," suggested John, "don't
you think so?" - "No," was the firm reply of John, "my mum says
you can get addicted to that stuff."
John made a waving gesture. "Oh no, it's just plain fun and you
might win some money with it, too!" - "But..." Robert wanted to
interrupt, "my parents..." - "Heck! What do they know of having
fun! There were no arcade halls in their time, were there?
They're just being jealous!".
"Are you sure?" Robert asked, not quite convinced yet. "Of
course. Come on, I'll let you play once on my costs - then you
won't lose a thing!"
"Alright. But just for a minute."
They both entered the arcade hall, a disco beat came towards
them - bom bom bom. "What a shame they play such loud music
here," ventured Robert, "shouldn't we..." and he turned around to
go. John took him by his arm. "Come on, now! It's for free!"
Robert let himself be persuaded. After looking for a while,
Robert found an arcade machine that wasn't occupied. Music was
coming from several speakers, and a demonstration program
appeared very tempting. "Out Run", Robert read aloud. He went to
sit in a car-like shape. John inserted a coin in the machine.
"Must I use those pedals down there?" asked Robert. John nodded a
bit irritated and said: "Yes yes. Just do it. Go ahead!"
Robert pushed the pedal (to the metal) and started.
He didn't do too bad, and his score went up higher and higher.
"Your a natural talent, son," a creaking old voice suddenly said
behind them. Robert didn't hear it - he was too pre-occupied with
keeping the car within the boundaries of the road and breaking
every possible speed limit - but John looked over his shoulder
immediately. There was a small old man standing there, with a
head that was bold for the largest part and with bare, fat arms
covered with dragons, anchors and beautiful females. "Him?!",
John said, pointing at Robert, "ya mean him?" "Yes," replied the
old man slowly, "I see he already broke the hall record for this
machine. If he's ready he can collect his price at the counter."
While saying the latter, his thumb directed somewhere in a corner
of the hall which was shredded in a mist of cigarette smoke. John
was delighted. "Eh, Robert, did you hear that? You just tore down
the hall record!" - "Uh? What? Leave me alone! I'm doing very
well here! Buzz off!" Robert pushed John away and continued his
John watched. This wasn't the Robert he used to know, the Robert
with which he always made his homework, the Robert that gave
those swell passes with Football. "Well, sort it out yourself.
I'm going home."
John was just watching "Moonlighting" and was just about to lick
his lips when Cybill Shepherd's legs were closely brought into
the picture when the doorbell rang. His mother opened the door,
and a mere couple of seconds she called: "John! It's for you,
it's Robert!" John stood up and went to the hall. As soon as
Robert saw John, he cried: "Eh, John! I just won a hundred quid
in the video arcade!"
In spite of John's desperate attempts to get Robert interested
in Cybill Shepherd's legs, he couldn't make him talk of anything
else than that "Out Run" game machine.
That's how it started. Robert went to the arcade hall more
often, and John would come with him. Unfortunately for Robert, he
began to lose his money now - his luck seemed to have ran out.
All of his money disappeared in the pockets of the small old man,
and more than the hundred he had made earlier!
Anyway, John came to fetch Robert on this sunny day, about a
year later. They walked - much like a habit - to the video
arcade. Robert became a familiar face, and the grumpy old man
even brought him something to drink several times - yes, one had
better keep such a kid in his hall!
Robert changed all his pocket money into pound coins at the
counter and they all disappeared in several arcade machines.
Hardly after a quarter of an hour he had ran out of money.
"Shit!" (sorry girls, but that's what poor Rober said). Robert
kicked the machine. "Nothing!". He left the arcade hall, quite
angrily. "And now I haven't got a dime to spend, either!"
explained Robert. "Yep," answered John, "things like that do
happen when you go to the arcade hall that often...."
Robert didn't say a thing and seemed lost in thought. He looked
around and then he suddenly saw a fat wallet sticking out of
someone's back pocket. His face brightened. "Eh?!" he thought,
"this is a neat little chance..." He started walking a bit faster
and got his hands out of his own pockets. He grabbed for the
There's only ONE chance not to end up in the gutter, like poor
old Robert here. Since you read this, it means that you must have
an Atari ST. And that means that you have an excellent arcade
hall imitation machine just at your fingertips at this VERY
moment! So there is hope for you after all, hope for you that you
won't start breaking into other people's back pockets, and that
your money will not end up in the pockets of a sleezy old man
with a badly shaven beard and tattoos all over his fat, short
arms: For U.S. Gold has now launched the Atari ST version of the
ultimate arcade game, "Out Run". Now, you will be able to play
this game in the immediate vicinity of your computer room. But
what as to the quality of the conversion? And what about the
graphics? And what about the music? Hold on to your seats, and
you'll know in a minute...
All reviews I have read about this game were unanimously
positive; the game rated an average of about 8.5, which is quite
high when you realise that most reviewers do need quite a
miraculously damn good program to give it even a 9. But haven't
they all overdone it a bit? Is "Out Run" so incredibly good?
The game comes supplied with one disk and a cassette - don't
worry, you don't have to fit the audio cassette in your printer
port but you can quite comfortably insert it in your cassette
deck and start listening to some original "Out Run" arcade hall
version music. There's a short manual, too, but that's really not
Loading tends to take a very long time with "Out Run". Not only
does it take an awful long time to load the game, but it also
takes some time to load each individual level during the game. It
must be admitted that it doesn't beat "Test Drive" regarding
this, but it's still a bit too long. Robert would surely have
gone to a local pizza parlour instead of waiting to start
playing when he'd have to wait that long. The music during
loading (there are some 65 files on the disk) is quite good too -
made by David Whittaker. In the main game, the music can be
turned off (if you want to listen to the audio tape) or on. Of
course, it has been very difficult for Mr. Whittaker to reproduce
the real arcade hall sounds, but he has done his best and the
similarity is sometimes quite evident in spite of the fact that
he seems to have done some improvisation, too. The picture that
appears on the screen while loading is not of particularly high
quality, but'll do nicely.
Once loading has finished (well, it didn't take THAT long), a
pull-down menu appears on the screen - much in the same fashion
as the one that appears with Activision's "Enduro Racer". You can
select one or two players, mouse or joystick, music on or off,
you can view the hiscores....things like that.
Now what about the most important aspect of the game: How it is
played? After having set the parameters you wish (music on/off,
mouse/joystick control), you can press the firebutton to start
the race. There's low and high gear (quite something different
from the actual thing - didn't a Ferrari Testarossa have a six-
piece gear box?) which allows you to quite realistically drive
the car. Joystick control (I never used the mouse) is smooth, but
one must always watch out not to fly out of any curves when
entering these with too high speeds.
The graphics in the game are of good quality, although the
scenery is built up in a rather rude fashion - water, desert
sand, corn fields or other surroundings are filled onto the
screen with a very low accuracy. The road scrolls neatly by,
however, and the simulation of high speeds is excellently done.
The only problem is when the car crashes and bolts in the air:
Where are its drivers? They seem to have left suddenly, only to
be found back beside the car when it again reached the ground.
Even when taking into account that we're talking about 'a mere
Atari ST' here, I still think "Out Run" is not near to the
quality of the arcade version. Graphics are good but shocky, and
this cannot be seen at the arcade version. For ST standards, the
music is quite good and is at least nice to hear. But I'm not so
enthusiastic about "Out Run" as all the other reviewers have
been. "Out Run" was programmed using standards that were set by
the end of last year - in which period the game was also said to
be ready. It took too long to wait for this game, and the long
waiting wasn't entirely justified. Although I personally consider
"Out Run" to be a game that's well above average, I still prefer
Elite's "Buggy Boy". It's just not as good as all those
reviewers say. Period.
Name: Out Run
Company: U.S. Gold
Value for Money: 7.5
Overall rating: 7.5
Price: 69.50 Dutch guilders
Remark: Could've been better!!
Many thanks go to Mr. Harry van Horen from Homesoft, Haarlem,
Holland, for sending the review copy. Please refer to the "Did
you know that...." column for their new address!