Monday, October 04, 2004

The beautiful journey, phase 2

First of all, apologies for the lack of an update on Friday. I usually add a post during my lunch break, but this time I went into town to buy the latest issue of Edge and a copy of Outrun 2. It's a shame that Sega's remake of their 1986 classic is likely to be overlooked due to all the hype surrounding Burnout 3 as they're both excellent games well worth your time. The Arcade mode is an almost flawless port of the machine that was doing the rounds last year, and the Mission mode is full of quirky (and sometimes frustrating challenges) to keep you busy for some time to come.

Each level of challenges completed unlocked something - be it a new route, a car, more music or other secret items. I found that while the arcade mode is a five minute blast from one end to the other, the choice of routes and the five different difficulty settings will keep you coming back. On Saturday, I kept promising myself "one more go", and was there all afternoon.

Admittedly, there's a certain amount in nostalgia involved in Outrun 2 and if you missed the original game back in 1986 you may well wonder what the fuss is about. For retroheads however the game is unmissable. Everything, from the stages, the branching routes, the music, the ferrari, the girl in the passenger seat, is back with modern day polish.

I do have to stress that the multiplayer is a bit of a let down. I don't have Xbox Live, and I imagine that part of the game is great, but the system link mode is completely impractical (you need one Xbox and one copy of the game per player, for up to 8 players), and the Party Mission mode is unlikely to satisfy you and your mates in the same way as the Crash mode of Burnout 3 can. The one player mode however is sublime, and once you get the fine art of the power slide down, you will be tearing through the countryside with a big grin on your face, with Magical Sound Shower blaring out of your speakers.

Normal service will be resumed tomorrow for another entry in the Hidden Gems series, and then on Wednesday I plan to start a new semi regular series on the new issues of various gaming magazines and what they contain, starting with the issue of Edge I just bought.

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