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A driving game first to hit the arcades in 1986, OutRun basically amounts to a time-attack Speed Run. You, a manly man in his Ferrari, start at the start line, and Race Against the Clock to a Check Point at the end of the stage. You are accompanied by a token female passenger, who presumably was attracted solely by the horsepower. Along the way, you must avoid other motorists and assorted roadside obstacles, lest you crash in a variety of entertaining ways. Just before that checkpoint, the road forks into two, and each fork will allow you to access a differently-themed area. Get through five stages, and you reach the finish line. Depending on the route you take (and the final stage you reach), and you'll get Multiple Endings.
The game was successful enough to get itself ported to the Sega Genesis (and pretty much everything else of the same generation as the Genesis), and spawned lots of sequels. The most recent incarnations can be found on the Xbox and Xbox 360, and in one case, you can unlock the original game as a hidden easter-egg. They all follow the same formula, though several of them add an opponent to race against in addition to the clock and standard traffic.
To date, the series goes as follows:
- OutRun (Arcade/Master System/Sega Genesis/Game Gear)
- 3D OutRun (Master System)
- Turbo OutRun (Arcade/Genesis)
- Battle OutRun (Master System) - A deviation from the standard formula which is more a ram 'em up than a racing game.
- OutRun Europa (Master System/Game Gear)
- OutRunners (Arcade/Genesis)
- OutRun 2019
- OutRun 2 (Arcade/Xbox)
- OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast (Xbox, Play Station 2, PSP, Windows)
- OutRun Online Arcade (Xbox Live Arcade version of OutRun 2/2006)
This series contains examples of:
- All There in the Manual: The lady in the passenger seat gets her backstory explained in the OutRun 2006 song Life was a Bore.
- Brand X: The first game didn't have official licensing from Ferrari, despite using everything about the Testarossa's styling, up to and including the prancing horse logo on the back. The cars were fully licensed from OutRun 2 onwards.
- Cool Car: The first game had you drive a Ferrari Testarossa convertible. Later games had you drive any of a variety of cars - primarily Ferraris, and dodging out of the way of slower regular everyday cars like VW Beetles, etc.
- Death Is Cheap: Crashes are cheap. If the player crashes, the game resets them after a few seconds. Even if the car barrel-rolled several times and the charas were thrown out of it onto the asphalt and an obstacle car ran over their heads. But one must keep in mind that a couple of crashes is all one needs to lose the game.
- Drives Like Crazy: Kind of the whole point. The passenger doesn't care unless the player crashes.
- Driving Stick: Massively simplified gearbox with two options: Low gear and High gear. As if this didn't make things easy enough, later games added an automatic function. Presumably, people complained at the lack thereof in the first installment. OutRun 2 onwards had 5 or 6 speed manual gearboxes, but with the same up/down functionality.
- OutRunners already had cars with 3 or more speed, but the way the players shift pretty much amounts to pushing the up/down lever until reaching the desired gear.
- Elvis Impersonator: The driver of OutRunners' Road Monster (a pink 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz) is one of these. In both endings he gets off the car and begins singing right there, while the passenger (a lady with a blonde beehive hairdo, apparently his manager) takes notes: in the good one he ends up buried under his fans' flower bouquets, and in the bad one the spectators accidentally and hilariously trample him.
- Fragile Speedster: Sometimes.
- Multiple Endings: Depending on the route you pick. Results can range from the driver (or the passenger) being given a trophy to the car just falling to bits.
- OutRunners has one ending for each tag team you pick, independent of the route. I.e., the ladies from the Bad Boy black car are on the run from the police: if they win they escape spectacularly, and if they lose to other players they're caught.
- OutRun 2 returns to form with new endings rendered in 3D. And, true to form, they can be hilarious (especially routes A and E).
- Nintendo Hard: Since most games' single-player modes don't have any opponent cars, the true opponent is the harsh time limit.
- No Export for You: OutRun Online Arcade was also released for the PlayStation 3, but never made it to North America due to licensing issues- apparently, Microsoft's agreement with Ferrari in North America gives them some leverage for exclusivity on the Xbox 360, which may explain how the Ferrari DLC for Need for Speed Shift was Xbox 360 exclusive.
- Race Against the Clock
- Recycled IN THE FUTURE!: OutRun 2019. Same premise, but you look as though you're driving the batmobile.
- Rubber Band AI: In later games.
- Scenery Porn: Lots of varied scenery, which looked pretty spiffing for the 16-bit era.
- Scoring Points: Unusually for a driving game. You continously gain points as you drive, and get a big bonus based on time left if you reach the goal. In OutRun 2, you gain points for passing traffic cars, and even more for passing rivals, but hitting a car will reduce the bonus you get from passing it.
- The Many Deaths of You: If the players crash hard enough to come to a stop, the results can be spectacular. Both driver and passenger might be thrown from the car and fly through the air (often in hilariously spectacular manners), or the passenger might simply admonish the driver before the car is reset on the track.
- Vanity License Plate: The box-art above shows 'OutRun' as the license plate. You'd think that number plate would catch the attention of the local police. OutRun 2 onwards followed a formula of MO (Modena, the Italian city where Ferrari is headquartered) followed by some letters and numbers referring to the car and/or its engine (MO 512 TR for the 5-liter, 12-cylinder powered Testarossa).
- You Fail Physics Forever: The totally absurd ability to powerslide from OutRun 2 onwards. It makes Ridge Racer and Need for Speed Underground look like totally Serious Business driving simulators.