When was the last time you drove a Ferrari? If you’re a child of the 80s it was probably in some seedy arcade when Sega released the seminal driving game OutRun. With the swelling popularity of Me-Decade kitsch — from Lacoste shirts to Miami Vice reruns on the tube — Sega has awoken the OutRun platform and released, OutRun II, a souped-up version of the original for the Xbox. For under $20, racing fans and retro gamers will have a tough time passing this title up.
The basic theme is unchanged: You’re in the driver’s seat of the ultimate male fantasy, tearing up the road in a Ferrari with a hot blonde riding shotgun. The arcade port has a quick learning curve for play control. Drifting corners will take some skill, but you’ll know you’re on the right track when your platinum paramour "raises the roof" with excitement. While crashes have few repercussions on the performance of the vehicle, you will be deducted precious seconds, which are invaluable during the trek.
The most obvious flaw in the game is the music. Though players have seven music tracks to pick from, they’re all a lame mix of anime-style pop and cheesy techno. OutRun II also lacks an array of customization. Gamers may be able to change the body colors, but are stuck with only one auto manufacturer and the same passenger. Sometimes blondes just aren’t more fun.
Visually though, the game is stunning, with updated graphics that favor a cartoonish edge rather than going complete SIM. In challenge mode, players unlock music, courses and an array of salacious Ferrari makes — from the classic Testerossa to the recent Enzo. In the Xbox live feature gamers can challenge up to seven pals for bragging rights because, face it, you’ll never get behind the wheel of a real Ferrari. Chances are the blonde is probably out of reach, too.
Best Feature: Stunning cartoonish graphics
Worst Feature: Cheesy techno
Weirdest Feature: Makes you feel a little bit too much like Don Johnson