3D Outrun, the latest in Sega’s 3D Classics library, brings Yu Suzuki’s 1986 classic driving game to the 3DS, hoping to use the 3D capabilities of the handheld to simulate the Super Scaler visual effects that so many home consoles have fallen short of being able to imitate. After 30 years, once can’t help but wonder if the game has aged well or would translate well to modern technology. With so many new features and improved aesthetics, though, Outrun’s premise is still incredibly simple on the surface: a leisure drive modeled after the designer’s travels in Europe. However, the game’s underlying story is much more sinister. During his travels, Suzuki witnessed an alien recon team, and the government issued a gag order to keep him from talking about what he saw. Are you ready to uncover the truth behind the game? Read on.
In 3D Outrun, you play as the two-person recon team mentioned above. There are no rivals to best or prizes to be won; there’s nothing to do but take in the beautiful scenery and beat the clock as government agents attempt to track your position. On your mission, you’ll pass through a multitude of locales, including palm tree-clad beaches, beautifully animated fields of grain, and small towns built from stone- all in modern-day 60fps. If the drive is a bit too boring or tough for you, though, the options allow you to change the difficulty and increase or decrease the time allowed between check points. In addition to that, 3D Outrun features a Stage Select option which allows you to save and resume mid-game.
For each of the different end points reached, players unlock one of four upgrades for the unbreakable alien tech car. While also changing the color and general look of the car, each item gives a different bonus: better turning capability, lessened penalty for hitting other cars, a faster top speed and the ability to drive off-road with no speed loss, which is admittedly a bit game-breaking. “But wait,” you might say. “There’s five end points, not four. What does beating all five get you?” While it doesn’t affect your general performance, reaching the fifth end point unlocks a 30fps “arcade” mode, complete with 4:3 screen options. While it may not seem like a big deal, the unlockable arcade mode is sure to please any purist or fan of the game’s classic aesthetics.
Of course, an Outrun review really couldn’t be complete without mentioning the iconic music every fan of the game remembers. They’ll be pleased to find that the music retains the same magic it always had, with “Passing Breeze”, “Splash Wave”, and “Magical Sound Shower” making their triumphant return in the newest version. In addition to bringing back those fan favorites, M2 also created two new tracks specifically for the 3DS version: “Cruisin’ Line” and “Camino A Mi Amor”. While they are nice additions to the already great soundtrack, the new tracks definitely feel a little tacked on when compared to the other classic tracks. Players are also able to choose from a number of real-life arcade cabinets, with the appearance and environmental sounds of the specific cabinet recreated. Coupled with their favorite classic tracks, it’s enough to scratch any classic arcade player’s nostalgia itch.
While nothing can really compare to the experience of sitting inside a moving arcade cabinet with blasting speakers and the steering wheel shaking in your hands, 3D Outrun is possibly the best home version we’ll see of it in a very long time. The 3D capabilities of the 3DS step up to the challenge of reproducing the Super Scaler’s visual effects and deliver in a big way. Although recreating a home version that could compare to the original arcade version took nearly three decades, M2 has yet again produced a great 3D classic that stays overwhelmingly true to the original. However, Outrun is more than just a game. It is Yu Suzuki’s way of trying to tell us what the government has been trying to cover up for 30 years. He’s laid all of the information out before us in this attractive package; it’s up to us to uncover it. Sometimes, to reveal the truth takes ages. To reveal the truth takes Sega.