Developer: Sims Co.
Release date: 1993
Platform: SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive
Available on: Unavailable
OutRun 2019 is a SEGA Genesis game loosely based on the OutRun series released by Sims Co, way back in 1993. Set in a futuristic and technologically advanced 2019, the game boasts the familiar gameplay of racing on long tracks with forks leading into different routes against a strict time limit.
The strange setting and Blade Runner-like depiction of the previous year is the selling point for OutRun 2019. Instead of racing in sleek sports cars on beachside roads, you race in what is essentially a Batmobile with a rocket thruster, going across roads that the manual describes as in terrible shape. Your car can go up to 682km/h, and although the speed by itself is frightening, your car appears to move slower than what the speedometer says. You will meet no shortage of glass bridges without guardrails going over water, or abysses that you can fall into or other hazards that will wipe out your car.
Gameplay-wise, OutRun 2019 isn’t a complex game, though it is more forgiving than other OutRun games. You must make it to the end of a route before the timer runs out and begin the next route. On the options screen, you can set the difficulty which will affect how much time you get. You can play with an automatic or manual car with either low or high gear shift. Your car’s rocket thruster will activate if you maintain top speed for a set period of time (indicated by the power bar turning completely white), allowing you to hit 682km/h. Hitting the brakes allows you to stop the boost and gain better control on sharper turns.
OutRun 2019 is split into four stages, and if you run out of time before you complete one, you can try it again without limits. You can try stages again even after you complete them for better time records. That said, each stage is harder than the last, the traffic will be painful, and you will fall off the unprotected bridges if you go too fast, so exercise caution. I liked the routes with a low road and a bridge above it because I could land and continue driving on the lower road after falling off the bridge!
OutRun 2019 is graphically superb for a 3D racer on the Genesis. You can see what is ahead of you with great clarity and plan accordingly. Not only is each route distinct from the last, but the road changes color mid-route whenever appropriate, creating a more believable track. Tunnels are visually confined, emphasizing the contrast between them and open roads. Billboards and other small things are impressively detailed, but either there is no time to look at them, or you have already lost the race.
The music is just as great as the graphics, with each stage having its own catchy tunes. Plus, if you press the A, B and C buttons at once when trying again, you can access a secret screen allowing you to select the music you want to play! You can also listen to them from the options screen.
OutRun 2019 is an interesting, futuristic take on the traditional race against the clock style that the series is known for. Your mileage may vary because of its weird direction, but I believe it’s a solid racing title for the SEGA Genesis that you shouldn’t miss out on.