Out Run

“Mom, can I have another quarter?”

Review Date: May 5, 2021

Release Date: August 9, 1991 (Yes, I know the arcade version was out five years earlier.)

Platform: Genesis

Publisher: Sega

Genre: Racing

Anecdotes: Every Saturday from 1984 to 1996, minus summertime, was spent at the bowling alley. The early years featured 12 lanes, a miniature golf course, and a large arcade. In 1991, they remodeled the lanes and added 12 lanes, which took over the arcade and golf areas. The golf area was removed entirely while the arcade was shoved into a new, tiny, dark room and the games were quite lame. Later on, they even cut that tiny room in half to make room for a pro shop. Before 1991, though, that arcade had some great quarter munchers in there. The best game in there was Castlevania, but someone always seemed to be there, so I got to play the second best game, Out Run. This racing game captured me. This was a lot of fun. The music was excellent, the scenery was good, but the multiple paths really brought the replay value.

Description: A man drives a car while a woman sits in the passenger seat. He will have to reach one of five goals at the end of the course. He will start on Coconut Beach, but at the end of each of the first four stages, the road splits and he can decide which path to take. It’s remarkably similar to Rad Racer, but I don’t know which game was first.

Positives: There are three big things I enjoy about this game.

  1. The music. The arcade version had three outstanding tunes. All of them, including my personal favorite, Passing Breeze, are in this version, plus a fourth song has been added in. It is also possible to turn the music off.
  2. The scenery. It’s just amazing. Each stage has its own unique look and feel, but drivers continue straight through as the scenery changes right in front of them. There is no break; all five areas are done in a single run.
  3. The split paths. There are more split points here than in Castlevania III, and there are five possible endings. This adds replay value to the game, but unlike Castlevania III, which only requires three plays to see everything and it all leads to same place, this game requires five and each one can end in a unique area.
Here’s a path split. I just choose one randomly. However, this was my first play on the Genesis, and I didn’t notice I stayed in low gear, so the split didn’t matter.

Negatives: By far, the biggest negative in the game is what happens when time runs out. It’s a hard time limit in this game, meaning to car instantly stops when time hits zero. There is no slow roll or gradual slowdown; it’s just game over.


I’d like to say this song blows, but it’s really good.
An actual female voice says “Checkpoint!” and I get more time for stage 2.
OK, if I were her, I don’t think I’d be getting back into the car with that guy.
Wow. If there were a real road like this somewhere in the Midwest, I’d be on it.
A pair of lefts sends drivers to the desert.
And a pair of rights puts drivers here.
I think Sega changed around the stage locations a bit. The stage I was heading to I distinctly remember being one left from the start.
OK, I got a hold of a stage select code and saw two of the endings. This was my favorite one. The trophy presenter walks right past the driver and gives it to her instead.

Final Opinion: It might be the nostalgia talking, but this is the best racing game I’ve seen. I could play this for hours.

Grade: A

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