Outrun on the Commodore 64

Well. Come. Back.

Nothing makes this man go moist as much as hearing some decent retro-gaming music played out of a tri-channelled sound chip called SID. Wotcha!

"Splash Wave" and "Magical Sound Shower" are arguably (is anything not "arguably" nowadays?) two of the most well-known video game slices of aural delight out there and indeed, so is "Passing Breeze" which was scurrilously omitted from the C64 conversion. Sam is forever aggrieved.

We all likely recall seeing for the first time that huge arcade cabinet grounded on the barking mad arcade carpet and thinking - they've got an actual Ferrari in here!?!?!? I also remember never playing it, because it was 50p a go and not 10p a go (like Roadblasters or Bubble Bobble was), but I sure spent a good few minutes stood there standing, watching some other kid failing miserably at this glorious-looking SEGA racer.

Enter, for me at least, US Gold, our trusty Americana Publishers and the Outrun EU/UK conversion for the lovely Breadbin. Now, listen, straight up – it’s not great, okay? Alright? Let’s just get that out there – it ain’t no Turbocharge. It’s no Power Drift. Heck-a-Mundo, it’s not even Buggy Boy – but it is Outrun.

The rub? Well, until only a few years ago I did not have an inkling that there were, similar to the “Aliens” game, both an American and a European release. Both being handled by the same coding team. Bonkers McGraw, if I ever heard it. The real rub, was that there are some significant differences between the two different versions that ought to be pointed out. The video linked below does so with much gusto, verve and glee. KEY CHANGE!

Background graphics are altered, the actual Ferrari is different, other road users drive varying vehicles, your girlfriend’s HAIR is a different colour, the clouds are from other planets and the colour bar lines for “speed immersion” are also totally different. It’s a bonkers thing. But why? Why the devil in your dashboard did they do this – answers on an exhaust pipe, please!

I can only surmise that the UK/EU version was completed first and then the US version, with its "enhancements" was done afterwards. Vice Versa? Who knows..?!??!

For me, the only real reason for playing either version, is to take a SID-step back through memory lane with the music, the actual gameplay is borderline annoyance factor four. The graphics are right up there in your face, functional enough, but nothing anywhere nearing nice. Of course, we all know what followed Outrun and we’ll come to the Turbo version in another post, I am sure, but for the original arcade conversion, it was all a bit pants really. Which is a shame, as we know how good C64 arcade conversions can be in the hands of the right people.

All that being said, even if you don’t race – you can still faff about with the dashboard radio and listen to two of the best soundtrack tunes in gaming history.

Zzap64 Issue 32: 68%
Download: Outrun UK, Outrun USA
YouTube: LogrusUK