Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
High-speed car wars on the interstate!
(Image caption) On the second section, the road to Los Angeles. Your enemy is up ahead in what looks like an old, open-top James Herriot-style motor.
(Image caption) With Chicago on the horizon, your F40 hits a jump (those are the things marked 'jump') at 239 km/h and goes flying through the air!
(Image caption) Blasting through the night toward 'Vegas. You've just clipped the crooks' purple car and the sparks are flying!
Prospective purchasers of the big whizzy stick will be glad to hear that it is fully compatible with Battle Out Run, and makes a fitting add-on to this zoomer game. It may not be as sensitive as a joystick, but it's fun to play with and fine in use. Careful not to keep pushing forward, though, otherwise you use all your nitro up!
Looks like you've finally gone up in the world: no more thrashing around in your battered old Ferrari Testarossa. You've saved your pennies (about 15 million of 'em!) and bought a shiny new Ferrari F40 - over 400 horsepower of sheer meanness!
But just when you thought you could pop out for a quick blister along the freeway, your girlfriend (the blonde one) gets kidnapped by a criminal syndicate. Horrors!
Led by an evil overlord (who's picked on you just ’cos you're better looking than he is, and have got an F40), the syndicate members have been ordered to transport your gal across America using a range of high-powered vehicles. Initially miffed by the stealing of your A beloved (the girl, not your car) this does actually gives you a good reason to go blasting right across the US!
Climbing into your speed machine, you first decide where to start your mission. You can choose to begin the chase in any of eight cities across America, although things get hotter the further east you go! Reasoning that you may as well take things easy to start with (and that you're in San Francisco anyway) you may as well start from San Francisco. Good thinking...
A picture of your opponent flicks into view, showing his ugly convict mush and the amount of reward money that you'll get when you catch him. After selecting a radio channel to listen to on your Segamatic digital in-car stereo pijj entertainment system (not in too much of a hurry are you?) the garage door slides up, you drive out into a bright SF afternoon, and the chase is on!
Putting pedal firmly to the metal (well, flesh to fire button) sees the F40 hurl along the highway, zooming past the other traffic. These guys (who have all got orange VWs or yellow... er... something elses) look like they've been on a binge at Slim's All-Night Boozerama, since they're swerving all over the road, cutting you up and generally getting in your way. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that you're not supposed to rear-end them: if you do, the sparks fly and you lose speed or stop altogether. So don't.
The Ferrari F40 sports a 32-valve, four cam twin-turbo intercooled V8 engine, boasting 478 horsepower, with a top speed over 195 mph, making it the most potent production car in the world. Fancy one? To you John, a mere $260,000 (or in Brit dosh, £157,575 or thereabouts). Send your cheques (made out to 'CASH' to speed things up) to: The Editor, S magazine, Bath. Ta very much.
On the final stretch to New York, there's oil all over the road. Whenever you hit a patch, the F40 spins uncontrollably and makes a silly burbling noise!
There are also obstacles on the road, such as oil slicks, striped barriers which you can knock out of the way, and jump ramps!
After a while, some grease-monkey chum of yours turns up in a truck, which you can run into the back of. Inside, there's a full workshop where the F40’s body, tyre, engine and chassis can be improved with uprated components, while Dukes of Hazzard-style nitro injection can be fitted. Once you've made your selection (and run out of money) the chase continues.
After several miles of high speed manoeuvring (and a bit of demolition derbying) a life-meter appears at the top of the screen and the music changes to a more panicky beat, signifying that the enemy is within striking range!
Here's a map, so you can tell what sort of state you're in!
As the car comes in to view (you can easily spot it - it isn't yellow), your aim is to run that bum off the road before the timer hits zero. You do this by repeatedly colliding with his car. Each time you smash into his motor, its life meter (?) loses another segment, and once it has disappeared completely both cars slide to a halt and the bad guy has a good moan.
Of course, if you don't capture the guy before the timer runs out then you have to try again, either using the continue option (not much use, since you don't usually have enough money left to buy nitro), or from the start of the mission.
Once you have detained the first criminal, it's off on the trail of the next guy, and so on until you finally meet the head honcho in a race to New York, and the freedom of your girlie. Aaaah...
As if you hadn't figured it out already, Battle Out Run is a not-terribly-subtle cross between Turbo Out Run and Chase HQ. So if you're keen on either coin-op, it stands a chance that you'll get a fair slice of the same arcade action here.
(Image caption) Once inside the truck, you can select all manner of goodies to uprate your Ferrari's performance. It's best to start off with a new engine and tyres.
In comparison to Out Run, this Battle version isn't so hot on the old visuals, since there are no hills or dips, and no really big objects whizzing past on the roadside. However, what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in quality, with supa-smooth parallax scrolling on the distant cityscape and cloud-filled sky, plus smooth(ish) frame update on the opposing car sprites and roadway obstacles. The road itself moves very realistically, and it doesn’t take long before you're totally wrapped up in the proceedings, swaying from side to side as you weave through the cars or scrape past another tight corner!
It's also very, very fast! It seems fairly rapid on the first course, but once you've upgraded your engine and tyres and injected some nitro -man, does this game move! The jumps, which seem a bit naff at first, suddenly start sending the F40 about a hundred feet through the air (well, what d'you expect when you’re going at 350 km/h?) and as you improve the handling you really start to zip through the other cars with inches to spare - teeth-gritting stuff or what!?
You shouldn’t have too much of a problem with the first four sections, but by the fifth things really start to get nasty, with a vicious twisting track, loads of cars on the road and an enemy who does not want to get caught. At least the game is a toughie - no finishing this first day!
Battle Out Run only suffers from being a bit too 'samey' all the way through. The same old cars get in your way and the same old obstacles crop up. True the scenery changes, but who watches the scenery? However, the experience is just so good you won't care. If you're a speed demon with a thirst for adrenalin, then this is the game you've been waiting for!
▲ Movement of the road is dead smooth, and puke-kingly realistic
▲ Background and clouds slide past very smoothly
▲ Frame update on the cars, jumps and signs is fairly smooth
▼ Similarity of cars and courses doesn’t make the chase a terribly scenic one
▼ The F40 wobbles around, especially in a spin
▼ Pity there aren't some different cars and trucks to avoid
▲ Four great 'chase theme' soundtracks to choose from
▲ Opposing cars sound realistic with proper neee-oooow sound!
▲ Panic-inducing tyre screech!
▼ Throw the F40 into a spin, and the car warbles!
▲ Correct selection of extra equipment is vital to the chase
▲ Eight long courses to beat, but they're all fairly similar
▼ Even high-speed driving action is still pretty simple stuff
▲ Zipalong gameplay is just one mega-thrilling experience
▼ Continue option is almost useless later on, since you need nitro but can't afford it second time round
▼ You can try any course - but you'll have to start from SF and work your way through!
If you want high-speed thrills and spills, which make your nerves stand on end and your teeth sweat, then look no further!