I’m a bit of a racing game nut, one of my earliest memories of playing a game was visiting a department store as a kid on the annual trip with my Aunt to visit Santa and seeing and playing a Super Nintendo demo pod with F-Zero running. Prior to that I had one of those Tomy chase the lights toys with the steering wheel and gear stick, I think I wore that out. There were also our family holidays to Jersey, where the hotel had a cocktail cabinet of Rally-X, and Mablethorpe, where there was all sorts of goodies to play but I definitely remember sitting in an OutRun cab and pretending to play it whilst begging my Dad for some change to play it properly.
So its with that particular memory in mind that I’m drawn to OutRun 2, I’ve played it in the arcades, on the original XBox and OutRun Online Arcade on XBox 360 (plus various versions of the first game over the years) and now I’ve happened upon finding a copy of OutRun 2006 Coast 2 Coast in a local charity shop for the absolute bargain of £2! I spent the following day digging around for my PSP and had to order a new charge cable as my daughter had lost my old one when she borrowed it to play Persona 3 Portable. But now, with the lovely weather we’ve been having, I’ve sunk some real time into SEGA’s handheld racer and what a conversion it is!
Very few types of games consistently send me to that happy zen like place like a SEGA blue skies racer: OutRun, Daytona, SEGA Rally, even Crazy Taxi, no one other than SEGA has been as good at this sort of game for so long. One of gamings greatest pleasures is also one of its simplest, initiating a long slide round a corner in an expensive sports car whilst soft rock blares out of the speakers. Magical Sound Shower, Splash Wave etc.
None of that would matter though if the OutRun 2006 didnt control well or work well on the PSP, thankfully it does, mostly. Theres absolutely nothing wrong with the controls, its as intuitive as you’d expect from an arcade racer and getting your car sideways through traffic is as simple as letting off the accelerator, tapping the brake, turning and getting back on the power, then just tapping the direction you want to travel in to avoid hitting any cars that come you way. Thankfully, this isn’t Burnout and OutRun 2006’s roads are the worlds longest one way system.
Performance wise theres a minor niggle of a less than perfect frame rate, but if your PSP is modded (which is incredibly easy to do now days) then you can “overclock” it and eke out that tiny bit more performance which allows OutRun 2006 to truly shine.