Home > Demo Impressions, Gaming, Playstation 3, Wii, Xbox 360 > “Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing” Demo Impressions

“Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing” Demo Impressions

Oh, Sonic – always a step behind his eternal rival, Mario. When Nintendo’s lovable mascot made the jump from 2D to 3D, Sega’s blue hedgehog wasn’t quite ready. When Mario starred in an RPG, Sonic took years to catch up. When Mario and co. started playing sports, only then did Sega start to create their own sports game surrounding their mascot. And now, once again, Sonic has entered a gaming sub-genre that Mario pioneered years before – the kart racer. What is surprising, however, is how good Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing really is.

Don’t get me wrong, though. This is not an original game by any means. The wacky antics and smorgasbord of random characters it features have been characteristic of every kart racing game to have come before it. I even found that many of the items that can be used as weapons against other racers correspond to items in Mario Kart. For example, the missiles in Sonic & Sega All-Stars work in much the same way as the shells in the Mario Kart‘s, and the Sonic shoes in this game give you a speed boost much like the mushrooms in the latter title.

The modes available mirror Mario Kart as well. While only a single race was playable in the demo, I saw circuit challenges, a mission mode, time trials, and various battle modes in the multiplayer section (though admittedly there are more of these battle modes than in any Mario Kart game). What this means is that while people who have gotten their kart racing fix on this generation of consoles with Mario Kart Wii won’t see many new ideas put into play here, people who still crave that style of game or who missed that particular title will find a lot to enjoy here. Specifically, I can see kids with either a PS3 or 360 but not a Wii getting into this game the most since there really isn’t already a game quite like this on either of those two systems. Of course there is a Wii edition of the game as well, but unsurprisingly the other two previously mentioned systems hold the definitive version.

The main reason for that is the graphics. The tracks, based on Sega games, look fantastic on the 360 demo that I played. Each one is themed after a particular game from the Sega backlog; most being Sonic-related, but others based on Super Monkey Ball, House of the Dead, and Samba De Amigo, to name a few. The characters are pulled from games such as these as well, sometimes to odd effect. I can’t be the only one who thinks it’s weird to see a very cartoony Tails racing along next to a more realistic-looking Ryo Hazuki (from Shenmue), right?

Impressive as the environments are however, the graphic quality of the game takes a hit from the choppy frame rate. After playing for a few minutes you get used to it, but when I first started the demo, the lackluster frame rate really stood out to me. Even so, there’s so much going on at once that the overall craziness of the game doesn’t feel diminished. Items are flying everywhere, speed lines appear at the borders of the screen before you even realized you got a speed boost, and the tracks often send you through ridiculous jumps or loops. I imagine playing this for a prolonged length of time could leave you with a mild case of ADD for a few hours afterward.

Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing will probably appeal to kids too young to remember the Dreamcast era where most of the tracks and characters are pulled from, but I doubt they’ll mind much. As far as kart racers go, this a very solid title. As far as Sonic games go, this is surprisingly great. If zany, multiplayer-oriented racing appeals to you, it doesn’t look like you’ll go wrong with the full version of this game.

By Josh60502

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