Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing

  • Original Platform: 360 (with Banjo-Kazooie), PS3, PC
  • Version played: PC
  • Where to get: Steam, Xbox Store, PS3 Store

Going through Sonic & Sega All Stars Racing again brought back some fun memories. I didn’t enjoy Mario Kart Wii, so for me this was the kart racing game that picked up the slack. It’s since been improved upon by Sonic & Sega All Stars Racing Transformed, I still found the original a lot of fun to play.

Sonic & Sega All Stars Racing (which I will just call Sonic Racing from now) is quite clearly a Mario Kart clone, with items and powerslides. It does feel different, with more focus on long, sweeping drifts. It’s hard to explain why exactly, but it does feel more like you’re using cars as opposed to karts.

The items in Sonic Racing aren’t as exciting as in Mario Kart, but at the same time are a lot less frustrating. When you get hit, you slow down a little bit, but not to a standstill. You also have a brief invulnerability period, which means you won’t have moments where you are constantly pelted with weapons. Weapons do feel less tactical, as it’s a lot harder to use them defensively. If you’re lagging behind, you might get an All-Star, an extremely powerful move that lets you rain down destruction on your opponents, working differently for each character.

There are 24 tracks in the game, which come in sets of three of the same theme (three Super Monkey Ball tracks, for example). Sonic gets three sets of tracks: Seaside Hill, Casino Park and Final Fortress. It seems strange to me that all nine Sonic tracks are from Sonic Heroes. On top of that, the Casino Park tracks just feels like a casino level, focusing more on the casino part than on Sonic gimmicks.

If you’re playing on your own, there is also a mission mode, with 64 challenges. These can be driving through gates, winning races, collecting rings, bananas or chaos emeralds or even a couple of boss battles. They’re all good fun, and a few are tricky – although strangely the most difficult ones are the Big the Cat levels.

Sonic Racing is a very fun kart racing game. I’m not sure there’s much reason to play it instead of the sequel, but there is still enjoyment to get out of this.

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