Outrun 2006: Coast 2 Coast
Outrun most definitely is an arcade racer, focused on using drifting to powersliding around tight corners and curves. Tap the brakes and turn sharply to induce a slide, or for the manual tranny fans, gear down and back up quickly. As the car spins, it can take curves way sharper, but a price - no acceleration. This means that for shallower curves, sometimes not drifting at all is the fastest thing to do, providing for a little bit of strategy.
Corners aren't the only enemy. Other cars can be obstacles in themselves. The general traffic seems content to signal that they're about to pull in front of a speeding Ferrari. (Clearly, they're Geico customers.) Opponent drivers are just as bad, as they have a tendency to knee jerk-the wheel at the last minute, causing annoying accidents. Hitting cars will slow you down, as will flying off the road. Hit objects dead-on or at high speed and the car will flip over, also leaving one unhappy girlfriend.
New to this version is splitstreaming, which is really just a fancy way of saying drafting. Follow behind other cars to get an increase in speed and an increase in points.
Truth be told, the game still feels like an 80's arcade racer, which could be good or bad. The music and the physics harken back to the days of talking animatronic rats, while the graphics have today's shine. Like many games of yesterday's era, it was designed to pop in for a few minutes of good fun.
Coast to Coast includes the original Outrun 2 SP arcade game, as well as a host of new modes designed for the home version. In these other modes, points, known as Outrun miles, can be earned to buy additional cars, tracks, music and colors.
This is the original arcade game brought home. Pick a car, pick some music and tear the road up. Race against the clock and rival cars to get to the destination in the fastest time all the while earning the most points. Passing cars, slipstreaming, and drifting will add add to the points total. Passing opponent cars, labeled as rivals, will earn even more points. Slipstreaming a rival, then passing them cleanly (as tempting as it is, don't hit them), will earn even more (or as I like to say, "mondo") points. Also available are a heart attack mode where you respond to your girlfriend's requests and for those seeking a challenge, a 15-stage continuous race.
The home version adds several new modes to get some mileage out of the arcade game. Tracks from Outrun 2 SP and Outrun 2 are split into Flagman races that vary in difficulty. Most of these races are against 10-99 rivals and vary from two to 15 stages. Some stages are mirrored, others are reversed, anything to mix it up. Not all of these are races for the top position, though. Other stages involve trying to beat rivals in score by slipstreaming or drifting, while Knockout races kick the player in the last position out of the race.
In the single player game, cars are only available after they've been unlocked. As outrun miles are earned, a showroom can be visited where additional cars, music, and tracks can be purchases. In reality, it's just a way of stretching out the game, as almost all of it is available right off the bat in arcade mode. Unfortunately, some items require a PSP to unlock, which is a ridiculous gimmick in my book.
In addition to the Flagman races, there are a several girlfriends to choose from. True to life, the girls are always asking for something, whether it's to improve your driving skills (Drift more, Pass more cars,) or random and bizarre (Feed the girl, hit the ghosts, avoid meteors.) As you increase in skill, other girls become available with increasingly difficult (and bizarre) objectives. Very Japanese.
Heart Attack is the same in concept as the Girlfriends, except you'll play the same courses as in the arcade and you can no longer choose to play on just one goal.
Time attack seems mandatory in a racing game, and as expected, allows you to run the track without other cars in order to shoot for the best time.
The last section of the game is for running through several goals, trying to max out your points while arriving at each different destination. It's similar to arcade mode, except that you can earn outrun miles in the process and are limited to the cars and goals that have been purchased.
Coast 2 Coast combines Outrun 2 and Outrun 2 SP together, for a grand total of 30 stages. After playing through a stage, the path will branch to the left and to the right, allowing control of your destination. Driving left takes the easy path, usually with shallower curves and more straight lines. Turning right takes the harder route. This adds some replayability to the game, not having to see the exact same things in the exact same order every drive.
In between stages, shortly after choosing left or right, there may be some objects fly overhead. These range from ordinary things such as geese and hang gliders to less ordinary things, like the jets from AfterBurner or the dragon from Panzer Dragoon. Nice touch, Sega.
Like the original Outrun, music is selected before entering a race. Tracks include remixes of the original Outrun and ???Outrunners???? tunes, the original versions themselves, Euro mixes, prototype mixes, and a couple of others thrown in for good measure. In sum? Besides the sometimes-no-so-hot singing, it sounds like an 80's arcade.
All Ferrari all the time. Cars are rated based on handling, speed, and acceleration. New to the game is an Outrun class, which is basically a souped-up version of the standard cars. All feature enhanced speed an acceleration, but at a loss of handling. The cars are harder to control, especially in drifts, but the advantages to driving these beats are quicker times.
The flagman does a jig and shake if you let the car sit.