Forgot password?  |  Register  |    
User Name:     Password:    

Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Preview

Fans of Nintendo's Mario Kart series will be interested in Sega's latest experiment, a crossover cart racing game in the vein of Sega SuperStars Tennis.

Clearly, Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing borrows much from Mario Kart, and that definitely appears to be a good thing. There's over 20 racers, with the actual number varying depending on which platform the copy of the game is for. All variations contain Sonic, Amigo, Ulala, Amy, Knuckles, Tails, and about fifteen more characters, but the Xbox 360 and Wii versions contain a few extras: Banjo & Kazooie, as well as Avatars for Microsoft, while Mii's join the mix for Nintendo's home platform.

Similar to some Prior Mario Kart titles, the choice of racer can have a major impact on how the vehicle performs. Some racers, like Sonic, can drift and corner easily, while others, like Eggman, struggle through tight turns, but have high enough top speeds and quick enough acceleration that hitting a wall here and there will not have a large impact on the overall race. Each character brings a custom vehicle into the mix, from Sonic's car, to Eggman's Monster-Truck-like egg vehicle, to Ryo Hazuki's Motorcycle. PS3 and Wii owners have the choice of steering characters via motion control, as well.

Racers also bring their own special attacks, similar to Mario Kart: Double Dash, which are often overwhelmingly powerful, and a major factor in the standings of any race. As expected, Sonic utilizes Chaos Emeralds to transform into Super Sonic with his special, where he actually stops utilizing his car and runs at a higher top speed for a brief time. Amigo's special forces any racers he targets to get behind him and form a conga line. Nearly each racer has a unique special attack, but it appears as though Shadow shares the same special as Sonic. Beyond special attacks, characters can pick up random items from capsule boxes that are an homage to monitors used in Sonic Adventure. Items range from a Boxing Glove, which can be shot and bounced off walls to hit competing racers, to cone-shaped mines that detonate either after being run over or, after a certain amount of time, hitting anyone in their vicinity.

Several, if not all, stages feature large jumps, and players can control their racers to have them perform tricks in the air, much like Mario Kart Wii. Many racers can perform tricks as an homage to their original titles, for example, Banjo and Kazooie can do a "high jump" out of their car, an homage to the high jump move in the various Banjo-Kazooie titles. All characters seem to be capable of doing flips and spins, as well. In addition, characters are very animated, often taunting other racers, or giving a "thumbs-up" whenever they successfully utilize an item. All vehicles seem to be open, so racers aren't exactly restricted to their vehicles when they perform tricks or taunts, which is certainly an interesting visual twist to the high-speed kart racing genre.

Additionally, Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing boasts about twenty tracks, taken from several of their varying Intellectual Properties. Players should expect to see courses influenced by Sonic, naturally, but there's also tracks based on Sambo de Amigo, Billy Hatcher, and House of the Dead. Each track contains signature themes alluding to the game which it is from, like checkerboard pathways in the Super Monkey Ball-based stage, and numerous zombies and monsters in the House of the Dead track.

Aside from the standard Grand Prix and Versus modes, all console versions Sonic and Sega All-Star Racing boast four-player split-screen racing and eight-player online modes. Also, there are "Mission" modes to add length to the single-player offerings, where players complete character-based tasks, such as piloting Eggman through one lap of a stage, and running into and collecting Chaos Emeralds. These missions appear to be fairly similar to the license missions in Mario Kart DS, or even the Silver Coin Challenge found in Diddy Kong Racing.

It should be noted that the DS version of the title seems to be a little less expansive in its features, with races consisting of six characters, rather than eight, and no exclusive characters. The multiplayer and online capabilities of the DS version have not been confirmed yet, either.

All-in-all, Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing seems to be a strong addition to the kart-racing genre. It doesn't bring much new or revolutionary to the genre, but the number and individuality of the racers and tracks should be refreshing for gamers who have exhausted their experiences with past racing titles. Sega also promises plenty of downloadable characters and stages after release, which likely means new experiences for some time after many gamers have completeed the game.

Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing will be released for the Wii, Xbox 360, PS3, and DS on February 23. The release of the PC version of the game is currently yet to be announced.



Our Take

Nick DiMola Director

02/21/2010 at 10:38 PM

This has definitely piqued my interest in the game. It was decent enough at E3, but didn't really grab me. Since then, it seems as if Sega has really gone out of their way to make a solid racing title.

Due to my Banjo-Kazooie love, I'll probably grab the 360 version when I do get the game, but I doubt that I'll be running out to buy it on release.

Our Take

Jason Ross Senior Editor

02/21/2010 at 10:56 PM

However, I do plan to review the game, most likely the Wii version, as soon as I get my hands on it, so keep your eyes open!


02/22/2010 at 08:39 PM

There's a mistake in the article. You said that the House of the Dead series isn't represented by a character. There is, in fact, a House of the Dead racer, two zombie characters (a giant zombie and his zombie girlfriend). The reason they aren't familiar is because they come from a Japan only House of the Dead game.

Just wanted to point that out.

Jason Ross Senior Editor

02/22/2010 at 10:30 PM

Thanks, I'll make the correction. I had seen the two characters, but nothing I had found had linked them to anything House of the Dead. I blame Sega for not sending us a fact-sheet of any kind =P

Log in to your PixlBit account in the bar above or join the site to leave a comment.