Review: 3D Out Run (Nintendo 3DS)


Out Run / Outrun (アウトラン) is a very important game in the history of SEGA, released back in 1986 on arcades and later ported to various consoles. Out Run was a massive success for SEGA, selling over 20,000 cabinets worldwide in its year of release. Almost 30 years later, we get a brand new port on 3DS with 3D Out Run. Is this port worth your time? Well, let’s talk about that…

The Legacy


If you have never played Out Run (shame on you) it would be classified as a ‘driving game’, at least thats what creator Yu Suzuki calls it. The game has you taking the reigns of a Ferrari Testarossa as you drive cross country with your only opponent being the ticking clock; you are accompanied by your beautiful girlfriend as you traverse through beaches, deserts and other eye dropping scenery. The game tries to recreate the experiences of traveling and having a lot of branching paths really gives it this unique effect.

OutRunOne of the biggest selling points for the game (outside of its cabinet) was the amazing soundtrack by Hiroshi Kawaguchi, at this point the soundtrack has become a classic. Due to the limitations at the time, the original arcade game only featured four tracks upon release and each chosen track was truly amazing. Nothing puts a smile on my face like listening to ‘Passing Breeze‘ as I race for the best time and then getting to the name entry screen to listen to ‘Last Wave’, which seems to invoke a strange feeling of nostalgia. Its strange considering I didn’t get into Out Run games until the franchise was over a decade old. I guess it just goes to show you how timeless the soundtrack really is.

Out Run was a follow-up to AM2’s Hang-On and just like the game it used the Super Scaler engine to allow objects to get bigger as the player moved the vehicle forward, but this game really took it to the next level. Unlike the previous games by the company, this one had 15 places the user could drive through all having their own unique look. From beautiful sunsets, to bright blue skies and everything in-between.

Whats New


3D Out Run preserves the beautiful art assets that made us all fall in love with the original arcade game and expands on it. Unlike M2’s last release, 3D Fantasy Zone: Opa-Opa Bros, this game supports wide screen which takes up most of the 3DS screen and looks flawless. But much like other ports the game has an array of options for the display from the original 4:3  aspect ratio to even replicate the arcade cabinet. The arcade replication is actually a bit interesting, take for example if you try to emulate the deluxe cabinet the screen will turn sort of how the arcade cabinet turned in real life. All this attention to detail is one of the big reasons why 3D Out Run is a fantastic release.

16700334866_de7c696b98_oWhile I’ve stated before that I not a huge fan of playing in 3D mode on the 3DS, this game takes really good advantage of it by really adding depth, it especially looks awesome when you pass a lot of scaling objects at high speed. While I still prefer playing in 2D, the 3D in this game is really well done and a great extra feature. The game also stayed true to the arcade game’s sound, which you can read about in greater detail on SEGA’s translated interviews with the team. But what does it mean for the player? It means accurate sound, from car sound effects to the low-fi sounding announcer, it all sounds like you are playing the actual arcade cabinet and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The game comes with all 4 tracks composed by Hiroshi Kawaguchi and includes two new tracks exclusively for this game’s release which are titled Cruising Line and Camino a mi Amor. These new tracks are fantastic additions to the already amazing (but short) soundtrack of the original arcade game.

Unlockable Upgrades
Unlockable Upgrades

The start menu gives you the track layout, allowing you to toggle and see what each place is like before going there and also displays your best times (if you have passed through that direction), allowing users to easily see their progress. There are five unlockables in this game and the only way to get them is to complete each of the five paths. The first four unlockables are actually car upgrades that not only change the color of your car but also adds some tuning like driving off the road without slowing down or higher top speeds. Since the game runs at a silky smooth 60fps (opposed to the arcade game that ran at 30fps), the last unlockable is ‘arcade mode’ which features 30fps and 4:3 aspect ratio.

I think other setting options, like giving you more time or even lower the difficulty that removes traffic adds something new to the game. Don’t get me wrong, I love perfecting my driving skills and working on beating the clock while I dodge traffic. But sometimes you just want to drive without worrying about the annoying traffic, you just want to drive, enjoy the incredible art design and fantastic soundtrack. Its a much more relaxing experience.  Its nice that this game gives the user the option of experiencing the game this way.



This is the best official home port of Out Run to date, beating out the Sega Saturn. This game not only features silky smooth 60fps, it also has widescreen support and new musical tracks. The new unlockables not only change the way your car looks but also how you play the game. Having the ability to remove traffic and increase time gives you a new, more relaxing way of playing and enjoying the game. Personally, I can’t recommend this version of the game enough, it goes beyond and above the call for a handheld arcade port. Not to mention its only costs $5.99. Yep, its a steal.


  • Runs better than arcade
  • Fantastic art design
  • Amazing soundtrack with 2 new great songs
  • A ton of extra settings


  • No online leaderboards

A“This is the best official home port of Out Run to date!”


10 responses to “Review: 3D Out Run (Nintendo 3DS)

  1. Foxysen says:

    Sounds pretty nice.
    Though, a little correction: there never was 32x version mentioned in conclusion.

  2. Shigs says:

    Couldn’t stop playing on my breaks at work. SO good.

  3. Manny32 says:

    OutRun on Saturn is still more arcade perfect in terms of accuracy.

    You’ll notice the car in the original arcade version is a Ferrari Testarossa.
    The cars in this version however are made-up lala-land cars that don’t exist IRL :v

    • George says:

      As I don’t really care for cars and I think paying Ferrari money to be in a game like this that actually makes people check out their cars is stupid (and SEGA agrees since they dropped the license). As for the change, its so minimal that no one cares.

  4. Manny32 says:

    Saturn version also features 60fps + 4 remade music tracks in Japanese version, as well as overseas and Japanese course map layout and option to replace the console version menus and hud with the original arcade versions via cheat code. (‘ 3 ‘ )

    • Freelance says:

      The 3DS version of this game also has both the overseas and Japanese course map layout, just to let you know.

  5. Manny32 says:

    Sega never paid Ferrari to use their cars in the original OutRun, they just used them without asking :v And ferrari turned a blind eye.

    But I think to many hardcore Outrun Fans they will be dissapointed by the car’s design.

    Official permissions came from F355 Challenge and onwards :3

    Yu Suzuki loved ferraris so I think it’s a pretty big part of the integral culture that he made many Ferrari based driving games. If they ever re-release OutRun 2 I hope it is as it is supposed to be, not some re-version.

  6. Every oldschool arcade gamer have been waiting for this release. With the Sega Saturn having the honor of having the best home console port, the 3DS has now the best version on the handheld.

    So, what makes this port so special? Here are a few points, ranking from graphics to sound, and not to forget: Playabillity.

    – Framerate has been improved upon. The arcade game ran 30 frames per second, the 3DS version 60, making for a extremely smooth oldschool arcade racer.

    – 2 new songs that where played by the hardware of the game. So the sounds are from the 80’s hardware, but the compositions are composed also with that feel of the 80’s in mind. They fit the game very well.

    – Unlockable extras. They are: 4 tuning parts. With one that improves steering, speed, less speed penalty when you collide with traffic and road furniture, higher top speed, and no speed loss when driving off the road. Also a Arcade mode is unlockable, where the game runs 30 frames per second, with it’s own highscore table.

    – 3D effect looks cool, especially in tunnels and between those high rock wall this gives the speedy feel of the game a positive boost.

    – All buttons can be re assigned. I prefer A to be Acceleration, B for Brake, and R for gear swap. You can also go for a different way of gear use: Hold down the button for low gear, and release for high gear. This is most usefull for the gamers who knows how to do that gear shift trick to keep speed if you get off the road without using that unlockable option. Also you can stear the car with the thumb stick or the D pad, witch you don’t need to select, both of them work stright away.

    – Lots of dificulty settings. Just like with the Sega Saturn version, you can give yourself more or less time, and choose to have a lot of traffic, or even a empty road! So for every play level, there’s a skill level, everyone can at least finish the race, no matter how good or bad you where in the past.

    So all those positive points, and i did not even came to the best part. I think they did a brilliant job on the controlls. With the D pad i am a little more comfortable than the thumbs stick because before this release, i played Out Run a lot on the GameBoy Advance on Sega Arcade Gallery. So i was used to the sensetivity from a D pad, but in this new version, the D pad even feels more smooth than on that older version.

    There is only one thing that i feel is a shame, and that is that because this is not a big release, they did not go for the Ferrari licence, so the car is a red fictional car. At first, i thought this would remove that oldschool feel i have with the game, but play for a few minutes, and you don’t even notice this anymore, mostly because they still did a great job of animating the movement, crash sequence, and somehow it still looks a bit like a Ferrari car, be it without the iconic stripes on the door/side pannel.

    So there you have it, and all this for just a small fee. This is not just a game that has been emulated, it has been re programmed, and done superbly! All fans rejoice, Out Run is back!

  7. Secret Admirer says:

    Not that I consider it a big deal or anything, but I think it’s worth pointing out not being able to play as the original Testarrossa Sprite is a pretty obvious negative, considering how iconic a symbol in video games it is.

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