Saturday, April 23, 2016

Quick Look - Outrun PC Versions

One of DSI/USI's more competent porting jobs from the late 1980s, Outrun received a decent port to the PC.  It was released three times in English-speaking markets.  All versions properly support CGA, EGA, VGA and Tandy and a Joystick.  I have sample screenshots of the 16-color graphics as displayed on EGA, VGA or Tandy, the 4 color graphics of CGA or Tandy and the monochrome Hercules graphics.  I also have attached speech and sound effect sample recordings that played on startup.

First U.S. Release

PC Speaker music or PC sound effects only. Cannot play music and sound effects at the same time. Controls for the game (all versions) are as follows :

Spacebar - Shift
Cursor Keys - Speed Up/Down, Turn Left/Right
Ctrl-X - Quit
Ctrl-P - Pause
Ctrl-K - Select Keyboard input
Ctrl-J - Select Joystick input (leads to calibration screen)
Ctrl-Q - Quiet mode, turns off music and sound effects
Ctrl-[ - Restart

International Release

Adds Tandy 3-Voice Music and Sound Effects & Tandy DAC Sound Effects.  Cannot play Tandy 3-Voice Music and Tandy Sound Effects at the same time.   The Hercules support is broken out of the box and this version uses the male "Sega Computer Software Presents . . . Outrun" voice :

Hercules support is easily fixable :

Startup graphics adapter option uses "colour" whereas the other versions use "color", indicating this version was intended for outside the United States.  "Outside the United States" could include Canada where the British spelling of "colour" is common and Tandy computers had reasonable popularity.  They had very little overseas.

Tandy Music will play with Tandy DAC Sound Effects unless you select Sound Effects Only.  This is always how the program will work in an Tandy 1000 TL/SL or later Tandy 1000.  Here is a sample with Tandy 3-Voice Music and Tandy DAC Sound Effects playing at the same time :

Tandy Music will play at the same time as Tandy Sound Effects and PC Speaker Sound Effects.  Currently, you cannot hear the Tandy 3-Voice Sound Effects in DOSBox because it always emulates a Tandy DAC. So here it is from my Tandy 1000 SX :

Until 1:28, it is just sound effects, after that it is music and sound effects.  One substantial advantage of playing the game on a Tandy TX or SX  with the 286 Express Card accelerator is that you can use a joystick with sound effects at a playable speed.  You cannot on a real system with a Tandy DAC.

Here is a recording of pure PC Speaker sound effects for a comparison :

Second U.S. Release

Same as International Release except Hercules was fixed and uses female "Sega Computer Software Presents . . . Outrun" voice :

This version allows you to select "Tandy 1000 series (16 colors)", suggesting that this was the second U.S. domestic release.  It has later file stamps compared to the International Release.  Here are screenshots of the Hercules graphics mode :

A demonstration of the easter egg that can be found in the U.S. versions by pressing Tab after you select your graphics option (left screenshot):


  1. In at least one of these PC versions of Outrun, right after selecting a graphics mode to play the game in, press Tab to get a slightly altered credits screen: it shows that the Old Kid is really *SPOILER*Amory Wong*SPOILER*. I asked him why his name isn’t always shown on the credits screen and he said he couldn’t remember and it was probably not his decision.

    Here's an interview with the Old Kid:
    He says he got that nickname while developing NBA Live '96, but I think he's a few years off.

  2. I can get Amory Wong's name to show up on either U.S. Release but not the International Release using Tab. It seems to kill the graphics on the International Release.

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  4. Sometimes the game pauses when you release the Tab-key; pressing Tab again will show Amory Wong's name in the International Release.

  5. I'm unable to run this game on my Tandy 1000 HX w/640k ram. I tried both 16 and 4 color modes. Does anyone know what's the minimum processor for this game?

  6. A Tandy 1000 HX w/640k of RAM should be just fine. Maybe your version is broken.