We love Out Run and we love Chase HQ, so logically we should love the illegitimate child of the two. However, it’s not quite the sum of its parts.
To begin with, Battle Out Run seems like it takes most of its inspiration from its legitimate predecessor. After all, you start off by picking some music and driving off down a sunny beach, which is the Out Run experience all over. However, things quickly take a different turn – your objective is to ram a criminal off the road, as in Taito’s arcade hit. Traffic seems to be much more aggressive in blocking you, and you actually get to visit an upgrade truck half-way through each stage to spend some cash on tricking out your car. After that it’s a full-on chase to the bad guy, with the occasional ramp allowing you to leap over traffic.
There’s nothing particularly bad about Battle Out Run, although you’ll find that the enemy racers have an irritating amount of health. However, it’s quite a repetitive game, with little to differentiate each level from the next – beyond the background, it won’t matter much whether you’re driving in New York or San Francisco. You’ll see the same cars, and stage design never changes much.
It’s a shame that it never quite lives up to its potential, because having more games like Chase HQ out there certainly wouldn’t be a bad thing. However, if there’s one thing we’ve learned over the years, it’s that Out Run is best served sticking to its original template.