Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing

8.0 Overall Score

Written by on March 22, 2010 in

For many people, the 16-bit era was the golden age of video games and there were 2 factions in the console war, Nintendo and Sega.  Nintendo was led by their staple of characters such as Mario, Link, Samus, etc. while Sega introduced “The Blue Blur,” Sonic the Hedgehog to go along with Alex Kidd.  During this era, Nintendo dropped a little diddy called Super Mario Kart, the first of many successful racing games staring characters from the Mario universe.  3 console generations later, and with Sega out of the console game, Sega drops its answer to Mario Kart in the form of Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing.  Is this game a worthy competitor to Mario Kart?  Let’s take a spin around the track.

Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing (henceforth referred to as All-Stars), features 20 racers from a staple of Sega’s famous characters ranging from the Sonic series, Samba de Amigo, Billy Hatcher, the Bonanza Bros., House of the Dead (which is called Curien Mansion in this game, I’m assuming because this game is aimed towards a younger crowd and House of the Dead is a Mature rated series), Fantasy Zone, and many others.  There’s definitely a lot of fan service for Sega aficionados but some (like me) will be disappointed by a lack of characters like Toe Jam & Earl, Golden Axe, or Ristar but have Big the Cat from Sonic Adventure.  If you don’t know who Big the Cat is, don’t worry, you’re not missing anything.  It must be noted that while I played the PS3 version, the Wii version allows racers to use their Miis and the Xbox 360 version allows players to use their Avatars as well as play as Banjo & Kazooie.  There are 24 tracks to race on and you can race on those tracks listening to 1 of the 40 different music tracks available.

Gameplay follows the Mario Kart formula to a tee.  There are 8 racers in any given race.  There are items that can be used either offensively or defensively to gain the upper hand, with stronger items being given to the people lagging in the back.  Something borrowed from Mario Kart: Double Dash (Gamecube) are the character specific special weapons called “All-Star.”  When a character obtains their all-star item, they get a special attack/power such as Sonic becoming Super Sonic, Alex Kidd’s motorcycle becoming a helicopter, and Ulala from Space Channel 5 breaking out some sweet dance moves on top of her space cruiser.  Since the all-star ability is generally given to those trailing well behind, it’s a nostalgic way to get your character back into the race.

In all race types, players accumulate Sega Miles.  Sega Miles are the game’s form of currency.  The Miles are used to purchase new characters, race tracks, and music tracks.  The different race modes are Single Race, Grand Prix, and Mission mode as well as online and offline multiplayer modes.  Single race is what it sounds like.  It’s a single race.  Pick a character, pick a course, pick the music, race.  It’s that simple.  In grand prix mode, there are 6 cups, each with 4 races to complete.  Points are given at the end of races based on order of finish.  Whoever has the most points at the end of the 4th race wins the cup.  In mission mode, players are given instruction as to what they should accomplish in the race and the player must complete it with an A grade to move on.  Some of the mission types are beating one opponent to the finish line, destroying targets, try to stay alive in a “last place is eliminated” type race, and doing a certain amount of drifting going around the track.  There are 64 missions in all so those going after that accomplishment/achievement/trophy, will have their work cut out for them.  Online mode is pretty straightforward.  You can either host races or join someone else’s room to race.  Pick your character (once a character is selected, other people cannot select that character, as in, no 8 Sonics in a race) and after a short wait, you’re on the track.  Offline allows up to 4 racers compete together in the same room and incorporates old school split screen for multiplayer matches.

All-Stars racing has all the right boxes checked on the checklist for a decent kart racing game but it definitely falls short in some areas.  For all the history Sega has in the business, the game unfortunately reuses the same few properties for its courses and music.  For instance, there are 9 Sonic themed tracks and Billy Hatcher, Samba de Amigo, Curien Mansion, Super Monkey Ball, and Jet Set Radio all have 3 courses a piece.  Why no Alex Kidd track or Crazy Taxi track (B.D. Joe from Crazy Taxi is a racer) or Fantasy Zone track (Opa-Opa from Fantasy Zone is also a racer).  Because all the courses are from one of those 6 games, all the music comes from those same series (15 Sonic tracks and 5 each for the other games).  35% of the characters (7 total) are from the Sonic series as well.  The courses themselves are all designed very well but the music tracks, unfortunately, are all very forgettable.  None are as catchy as some of the better tracks from any Mario Kart game.

Sonic and Sega-All Stars Racing is a definitely a solid title.  On the Wii, the decision to pick this up may be difficult when there are other good kart racers out there (Mario Kart Wii, MySims Racing), but on the HD consoles where the kart racing genre isn’t as developed, this is an easy recommendation if you’re looking a fun racer to play with your friends.  This game may not be the sexiest car in the garage but it’ll definitely get you from A to B if all B equates to is a good time.

Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing is rated E and is on store shelves now. 

A copy of Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing was provided to The Married Gamers for purposes for our review and evaluation.

Married Gamers Rating: B

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Author: Quantrell Toval View all posts by

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