The Home Leisure Direct Sega Driving Championship


We're big fans of driving games here at Home Leisure Direct, and having recently taken delivery of two new racing game machines, everyone in the office is trying to answer two questions: which is the better racing arcade game, and who is the best racer in the office?

The two new machines we’ve got are OutRun 2 and Sega Rally 2, and as you can see from the photos, they’re both absolutely beautiful.





Sega’s OutRun 2 came out in 2003 in arcades, and was later ported to the Xbox. Though it was called OutRun 2, it was actually the fourth main Out Run game after the original, Turbo OutRun and OutRunners, and that’s not counting such confusingly named games as Battle Out Run, Out Run Europa and OutRun 2019. Yes, I have checked, and the spacing between “Out” and “Run” varies from title to title, just to annoy the pedants out there.

OutRun 2 is faithfully similar to the original 1986 game, having you race across five out of fifteen stages against the clock, with an emphasis on being cool rather than a perfect racing driver. OutRun 2 added drifting, just to make the driving that little bit less realistic, but otherwise the idea remains the same: get to the checkpoint before time runs out. There’s no point messing with perfection.

Having had 17 years to tinker with the formula, Sega managed to create the ultimate Out Run game, with updated graphics, remixed versions of the fantastic music and an even more massive and eye-catching cabinet than the original. Most importantly, it’s a joy to play, with cars sliding around corners perfectly and the slick graphics giving a great sensation of speed.



Sega Rally 2 is also made by Sega (if you hadn’t worked that out, there’s really no hope for you), and came out a little earlier than OutRun 2, in 1998. There had only been a four year gap between it and its predecessor, Sega Rally Championship, so it was no great surprise when it was announced as a sequel. Like OutRun 2 it also managed to improve in all aspects over the original, with more tracks, more cars, better graphics and another huge cabinet.

The driving in Sega Rally is obviously more realistic than in Out Run, but then that’s true of pretty much every driving game aside from Mario Kart. Out Run isn’t about realism. Sega Rally 2 has you skidding around on dirt, snow, sand and mud, which means spending a good proportion of your time going sideways in a controlled slide. Manual and automatic gears are both available but the four-speed gearbox (as opposed to OutRun 2’s “up” and “down” gear stick) really helps add to the immersion.

Sega Rally 2 is less arcade-y and more realistic than Out Run, and this makes it a harder game. It won’t present a massive challenge to the seasoned driving game veterans out there, but it certainly gave me a run for my money.



Having run a straw poll on which game is the office favourite (the result was slightly in OutRun’s favour), we decided that a group of us should take a little time off on a Monday afternoon and have a quick tournament to see who’s the best once and for all. This result is of course meaningless, however, since I didn’t win (or even come close), and while I’m not bitter, I do hate everyone in the company and will be handing in my notice shortly.

We ran three initial heats, with Abi and Ted facing off, Andy versus myself, and Roger and Dave L making up the final pairing. Roger won his heat in a closely-contested race, while Ted defeated Abi handily. By her own admission, Abi is more of a pinball fan anyway. Finally, I shamed myself by crashing into a few too many cars and being defeated by Andy. I have no excuses.



Roger and Ted faced off for the second round, mostly turning right for the more tricky courses yet still completing the game, with Roger taking the victory at the end. Andy was given a bye to the final round, and prepared to face his ultimate nemesis.




Taking every right turn for the most challenging route, Roger and Andy battled for first place most of the race. Roger was definitely ahead more often than Andy, but it remained a closely fought competition right down to the wire. While they made it to the final stage, and came within sight of the finish line, Roger was in first place when the time ran out and thus claims ultimate victory as well as Home Leisure Direct bragging rights. No trophy could possibly compare to such a prize.




So, which is the better game? That largely depends what you’re looking for, since OutRun 2 is more stylish and arcade-y, and Sega Rally 2 is a slightly more realistic depiction of rally racing, but in terms of sheer fun, OutRun 2 just about takes the pole position. With its wide choice of licensed Ferrari cars, absurd drifting, great sense of speed and (of course) the iconic music, it’s one of the best racing games ever to appear in an arcade. Of course, we no longer have to make a choice here in the office, as we have both machines available to us whenever we want! Both are of course for sale to the general public, but until someone buys them we’ll be playing whenever we get a chance.

As for the question of who’s the best racer in the office? That honour belongs rightly to Roger, though I’ll be sure to beat him next time. If you fancy your chances on either Sega Rally 2 or OutRun 2, drop in to our showroom any time you like and challenge one of the staff to a game or two, but be warned: we’ve all been practicing!

Which of these two arcade classics do you prefer? And what's your best score on OutRun 2's Heart Attack Mode? Let me know! You can get in touch with me through the comments below, via Facebook, Twitter, Google +, or email [email protected].

Written By: Dave Morgan

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