Outrunning the competition.
Sitting in a Ferrari with a girl by my side, dodging in and out of traffic while choosing which direction to take next, thanks to Sega's Outrun this was one of the highlights of my arcade experience during those heady days in the late 80s.
Through the magic of video game ports, the experience continued on many formats and even on handheld with the excellent Outrun Coast 2 Coast on PSP, but never on iOS. Thankfully, there are developers like NEWTYPE K.K who also loved Sega's racer and produced the excellent Final Freeway for the iPhone. It wasn't perfect, though. The control system didn't quite feel finished and there was still something missing. Final Freeway 2R solves this issue, and then some.
The game is an unashamed homage to Outrun, from the red car which looks exactly like a Ferrari to the girl with the blonde hair and that crash animation. The task? To drive as fast and far as you can within a time limit, reaching your final destination with time to spare. In you way; a ton of traffic and a few rivals who are out to make it that much harder for you, plus that timer, ever counting down the seconds until your failure and the big Game Over sign.
The graphics tread the line between retro sprite-based and a more modern approach and it works perfectly. While the cars are beautifully detailed for their size and there are some great touches in the scenery, the horizon tilt really steals the show. There's an option in the menu to turn this off, but why you'd want to do such a thing with this wonderful special effect, I don't know.
Music, too, is a throwback to the digital guitar grinding tunes of the arcades, with some almost-familiar riffs that will have fans smiling from ear to ear. The addition of the odd laugh or grumble from your rival is another neat touch that only adds to the overall game.
While the original's control system almost let the game down, Final Freeway 2R gets it right, in fact it proves to be a perfect mix, whether you go for the tilt system or the virtual joystick. Tilt is impressively accurate and takes a second or two before you've mastered weaving in and out of traffic. You'll need it, too, with some split second decisions as lorries and cars jostle on a busy three lane road.
Longevity may be a problem considering how quickly a race can be completed, but with many different paths to take and a great mix of Game Center scoreboards and achievements there is plenty of re-play value included.
While Outrun has yet to appear on iOS, Final Freeway 2R is more than enough compensation for the lack of Sega's racer. The Game Center high scores compliment the arcade nature of the game and fans will love the many nod and winks to the original arcade games.
- Sound: 8
- Graphics: 9
- Gameplay: 9
- Longevity: 9
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