Last year SEGA revived one of its oldest franchises in Outrun II for the Xbox. Stemming from the arcade game, it suffered from lackluster sales as well as longevity and didn't really give gamers enough. In 2006, Outrun II is back for two new platforms - the PS2 and PSP. Whereas OutRun on the console really needs more meat to make it a worthwhile purchase, in a handheld format, where quick gameplay is required, it's almost perfect.
OutRun 2006 Coast to Coast maintains a lot of its predecessors game modes. You can choose from OutRun, Just Race, Coast 2 Coast and a few other options such as time attack. Of course the main mode remains the arcade inspired OutRun mode but SEGA has tried so desperately hard to add a single player component of decent length to the game and have somewhat succeeded.
The main mode is of course the OutRun mode where you have to clear checkpoints in set times. Turning left at intersections gives you an easy run, whereas right will give you the harder run. The beauty is you can alternate between the two options as you race through and with thirty two different stages on offer there are many combinations to be found. Coast 2 Coast also has OutRun 2 SP from the arcade which is a modified game that contains the remix of the arcade game released only in Japan.
Other modes include Coast 2 Coast where you have to impress either the Flagman or blonde female passenger by completing goals. This mode resembles more of a race with competitors vying for top spot with you. Your place determines your rank and whether you can progress. Interestingly, SEGA has decided to keep the time countdown in this mode which makes it hard to progress in the latter stages.
The final mode is the heartbreak mode where you have to do what the female passenger is telling you to gain hearts. This can range from not crashing, to sliding in specific areas etc. This mode is fairly the same as the older game and really isn't a huge selling point for Coast 2 Coast.
One of the biggest things about the two versions is that they can be interlinked via the USB cable of the PSP and PS2. So you can transfer your license from one to another with both games reflecting your progress. As well as this, the game features a few bonus features such as the original game, and an original version of the SP version of the game which are unlocked as you progress. Cars are also unlocked with OutRun miles now, so as long as you play it enough you will get the best cars.
The control system for the PSP is perfect. This game suits handheld gaming to a tee and really it is best for short spurts of gaming while on the go. You can switch off anytime without losing too much data and it doesn't take much concentration, so if people are annoying you or loud on the train etc, it won't affect your ability to play.
The game also impresses in the visuals department with the graphics on par with the PS2 and only slight bouts of slowdown encountered. The LCD screen brings across the vibrant locations perfectly and considering the speed of the game, the level of detail is quite amazing. SEGA has also managed to bring across the original soundtrack with fan favorites as well as some of the new SP songs which really are fun to drive to.
OutRun 2006 Coast 2 Coast PSP is a fantastic handheld game and really shows why some games belong on handheld more than consoles.If you're looking for a racing game on PSP that you can switch on and off at will, then OutRun 2006 Coast 2 Coast is it.