OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast - Retro Reflections - TBT

OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast by developer Sumo Digital and publisher Sega AM2—PSP Throwback Thursday review written by Hamza. 2006.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes.

Designed as a racer but advertised and marketed as a driving experience, the original OutRun won the hearts of contemporary gamers and became a perennial classic over time – even acquiring the status of an unofficial synecdoche for racing games. Flash-forward a few good years, some major technical and graphical advancement later, and you get OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast– one of the most beautiful racing/driving games ever made… and still hold up to this day.

Everything about the game is care-free and relaxing... that is until you get into the later stages of the races. The sound of the rushing sea that greets you in the menu system is too blissful for words. The Hawaiian-reminiscent atmosphere that permeates the game provokes a sonorous feeling, an absolutely unheard of thing in a racing game. The truly resplendent production of the game halted me from frustrating myself silly every time I lost a race or failed to reach the specified target. Speaking of which, one of the missions is called Heart Attack Mode, in which you have to keep your girlfriend happy by adhering to her bizarre demands that often border on Symphorophilia.

If you're wanting an example to convince you, well one of the many things she asks you to do is ram into as many vehicles as possible. The more vehicles you comically collide into, the more happy she becomes. Next she will ask you to drift. With that done, she will then ask you to dribble a gigantic beach ball with your car until the end comes in sight... or hit as many ghosts as possible... or keep overtaking a long line of convoy!

This is exactly why I sometimes love games that relish in their silliness. Typing of the Dead - another Sega masterpiece - is not only borderline absurd; but almost a masterpiece in what it aims to be, and a serious contender in my book for the most entertaining video game ever made. Coast 2 Coast takes the improbability of an arcade racer and gives it a charm all of its own.

Most racing games, especially the modern ones, let you control and finetune several technical and cosmetic aspects of your vehicle. That much is standard. But hardly any racer lets you pick your own passenger, choose which track to burn rubber on mid-race, and which one music to listen to in the background. OK fine, maybe the latter is a standard feature in many racing games, but none of them contain the insanely irresistible, perfect-for-long-drives Magical Sound Shower.

It's surprising how I made it this far into the review without even mentioning Ferrari anywhere. The OutRun series have always stood out from the rest due to their licensed, and sublime, use of Ferraris as the player's only mode of transport. The original OutRun did for Ferrari Testarossa what Goldfinger did for the Aston Martin DB5. Just as how 007 made the DB5 synonymous with espionage and gadgetry, OutRun created an icon out of the Testarossa, and the poster car for all that is exotic, scenic, and gorgeous. I swear I could look at a Testarossa in real life and just watch the world of Coast 2 Coast whizz by in the car's windows. Other vehicles that are included in the game, but not limited to; the aggressive Enzo, the vintage Dino 260 GTS, the stylish 250 GTO, and the perennial world-wide favourite, the F50.

In conclusion, Coast 2 Coast is a very attractive racing game and a splendid title on the handheld. While it certainly has its shortcomings, namely the questionable collision detection and occasional flicker and lag, the overall product is a thing of undeniable beauty.

Score: 9 / 10

Note: Screenshots from all platforms that were available at the time can be found here at Moby Games.



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