Nuclear Outrun Game

Nuclear Outrun – Vehicle-centric, laws-of-physics-adhering, gun-shooting, certain-death-outrunning mayhem (with additional zombies)

Post-Apocalyptic Syndrome (AKA Death)

Where would the world of entertainment be without the classic post-apocalyptic scenario? The Terminator films would be nothing more than an exercise in pointless robot time travel, Twelve Monkeys would probably just be about 12 actual monkeys and I don’t even want to imagine a world without AMC’s The Walking Dead; that’s just too much to bear and would be the equivalent of an apocalypse of entertainment after which all that would remain would be sub sub-standard comedies like Two and a Half Men and the dismal Mike and Molly. Having projected enough of my own fears into the previous sentences, how about the once-rational fear of nuclear holocaust? Pre-1991, the world was on edge, with communism making the US so twitchy that a Terminator 2-like scenario was just a Bay of Pigs away. Nuclear Outrun takes the scenario of mutually assured destruction and adds a pinch of shooting, a splash of driving sprinkled on a sweet, sweet base of physics, all of which culminate in an attempt to outrun a nuclear missile that is rapidly approaching in the background. This sort of tension could make a grown man weep; it may very well already have. I’ll get the tissues.

General Gist

So what does outrunning a (hopefully) fictional nuclear missile involve? Well, firstly, you need a vehicle which can be upgraded to make spikes protrude from the tyres and to make it perfectly adapted for a tumultuous ride across uneven terrain as zombie-like mutants, clumsily-placed crates (seriously, who leaves these things lying around?), birds, and smaller, non-nuclear missiles try to scupper your attempts at staying alive for another five or so seconds. You’ll also need a ridiculously elaborate and delightfully diverse set of unlockable firearms that you can use to tear up the objects, obstacles, and enemies in your way when spiked tyres simply won’t cut it. On top of all this, you’re going to need the ability to upgrade various aspects of your run such as your vehicle, combat and general upgrades to give you something to strive towards in quite literally the few minutes you have left to live. It’s all doom and gloom, but it’s probably the most entertaining doom and gloom you’ll ever experience.


The game is essentially composed of a long piece of terrain along which you must ride your vehicle as far as possible before the nuclear missile behind you touches down and makes everyone’s day  that much worse. The combination of controlling the car (you have the option of automatic or manual) and popping caps in the asses of various mutant creatures is something to behold: the car is controlled with the WASD directional keys, but it’s not a simple case of back and forth because you have to control the weight of the car as it goes over uneven ground. Even more challenging is the fact that you have to also concentrate on aiming and shooting with the mouse at the same time. You can even change the size of the wheels in order to suit your own personal preferences.

Guns = Happiness (The American way)

Ok, so it all sounds entertaining enough, but what about all those there guns I hear you mutter incoherently? Don’t worry, Nuclear Outrun allows you to gradually unlock an arsenal of weapons that would make John Rambo himself feel right at home. From pistols, shotguns and submachine-guns to more experimental offerings like rocket launchers, squid launchers, and a blade boomerang. The entire collection of weapons is extensive and provides all the more reason to persist with your eventful outrunning of nuclear blasts.

Fun Worth Dying For

This game is something a little bit special: it’s got zombies, guns, an all-terrain vehicle with spikes, and the pressure of the time ticking away towards skin-melting destruction. The graphics and animation are well-designed to convey the absurdity of the situation while the slowly-moving silhouette background  and scorched look of the terrain make it feel like you are moving extremely quickly and that every second counts. I won’t have a bad word said about this game, and the sequel is just lucky to have this as its forerunner.