OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast

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For the most part, I don’t consider myself a racing game fan. There are many exceptions to this rule – kart racing games, Ridge Racer, arcade racers, and of course, the OutRun series. So, when I hear that SEGA’s classic has been released on the PSP, I know that I have to pick it up. And while it isn’t the full arcade experience (and who’d honestly expect it to be?), it is still a great addition to any racing aficionado’s PSP collection and a very good entry to the series itself.

The backstory is simple and familiar. Basically, you’re going a drive with your girlfriend on various routes, ranging from the classic beach setting to outer space and a frozen wasteland. Along the way, you’ll also encounter your ever-reappearing rival. At all times, your girlfriend is cheering (see “complaining” and “making demands”) you on throughout your drive. Can you make it to the end of the road?

The basic point of this game is to get as far as you possibly can along various pathways available. It’s not so much a racing game as it is a driving game; you can’t come in first or in last and there are no rankings in terms of other cars (except in Time Attack mode, of course). You can pass random cars on the road, but rather than increasing your rank, it ups your score (and bonus points for passing your rival!). Also, there are multiple paths to take, though they all start on the familiar beach road. Depending on the directions you take at the forks in the road at the end of each stretch, you end up in a different area, which range from a casino territory to outer space. Wacky, huh?

There are a number of game modes which keep Coast 2 Coast from becoming stale. First off, there’s the classic OutRun mode, which involves the aforementioned driving without racing. Next is the Heart Attack mode, which rewards you for performing tasks that your girlfriend assigns, such as passing cars or drifting. Next up is the Coast 2 Coast Mode, which challenges you to either race rivals or performing tasks for your girlfriend (much like Heart Attack mode). and finally, there is Time Attack mode, which allows you to race “ghost cars”. You can also race up to 5 friends in Multiplayer mode, either wirelessly or online.

The graphics in this game aren’t as good as I was hoping for, especially after the great job Namco did with Ridge Racer for the PSP. The cars and the actual environments look pretty decent, but I really hate the look of your avatar and his girlfriend. They have this odd, creepy “doll-like” quality to them; like prototypes from The Sims. However, as most of the action in the game forces you to focus solely on the car and the road, this isn’t as distracting as one would say. All the same, this game could have looked much better.

The shining quality in this game is its soundtrack, just as it was in its predecessors. All of the classic tunes (Magical Sound Shower, Splash Wave, Passing Breeze) return in several versions (including their original 1986 versions!), as well as many other songs from the other games in the series. They all sound great and add to the tone of the game, with the original trio of songs especially accenting the starting beach environment. The sound effects are pretty good too, aside from hearing your girlfriend’s complaining, which gets really annoying.

In terms of replay, it mostly comes in the forms of various unlockables and extras, not to mention the varied gameplay found in the main mode. First off, this game is actually two games in one – namely, OutRun 2006 includes its arcade originator, OutRun 2 SP. There are a decent amount of unlockables, including music, cars, paintjobs, routes, and goals which add to the customizability of the game. These can be purchased through collecting OutRun miles, which are collected during gameplay in the standard mode of play.

In closing, if you are looking for a little variety in your racing games for your PSP or are a fan of the series, I suggest that you pick this one up. Otherwise, just keep waiting for Gran Turismo 4 Mobile.

-Originally Posted by Wolfdogg

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