|System: X360, PS3, Wii, PC, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Sumo Digital||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SEGGA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Q1 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
October 21, 2009 - Although Mario Kart is certainly the leading franchise in the automotive sub-genre of kart racing, plenty of challengers have been cropping up lately to challenge Mario's dominance. Titles like MySims Racing, Cocoto Kart Racer, and NASCAR Kart Racing have all had their own strengths, but they have failed to achieve the widespread appeal of Mario Kart and its recognizable characters. However, another kart racer is in the works, and this one might just have the roster to challenge Mario's dominance.
Sonic and SEGA All-Stars Racing is a new kart racer for all three big consoles and the DS that will incorporate memorable characters and locations from SEGA's rich history. Although the game is still a long way off, there have been several characters confirmed for the game, including Sonic, Shadow, Tails, Knuckles, Dr. Eggman, Amy Rose, and Big the Cat from the Sonic universe. Additionally, SEGA All-Stars Racing will also feature characters from Jet Set Radio, Super Monkey Ball, Samba de Amigo, Shenmue, Alex Kidd, and Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg. The lineup for the game's racers is certain to be epic, especially if whispers that console-specific cameos (like Ratchet and Clank for the PS3 version and Rare characters for the Xbox 360 version) come to fruition.
If the roster alone isn't enough to convince you that Sonic and SEGA All-Stars Racing isn't a game to watch, then maybe the gameplay will. The game takes more than a few hints from Mario Kart, with each character sporting their own, character-specific vehicle with special power-ups. So, for instance, the character AiAi from the Super Monkey Ball series has a banana-mobile that can fire monkey balls at other racers. Conversely, Sonic drives his own speedy kart that is capable of transforming him in to Super Sonic to provide a temporary speed boost.
In addition to each car's specific power boost, there will also be special boosts that players can pick up off the track. These pick-ups include staples like homing missiles and speed boosts as well as shields and land mines. Between the car abilities and the pick-up weapons, the track should be a veritable warzone of weaponry and mayhem, which should bode well for those who crave an exciting kart race.
Although there are plenty of boosts to help you speed past the competition, Sonic and SEGA All-Stars Racing will also feature a heavy focus on the actual driving mechanics. Instead of just accelerating through to the finish, players will need to use advanced driving techniques, like drifting, and will also need to perform mid-air tricks in order to gain speed boosts that will put them in first place.
Of course, what is a kart racing game without multiplayer capabilities. Although specifics like voice chat support or console-specific features are not available at this time, SEGA has confirmed that this title will support up to four players at a time via split-screen, and up to eight players online for the console versions. I would suppose that the DS version will have some sort of multiplayer as well, but whether that is online or local remains to be seen.
The visual style of the game will closely mirror that of the worlds that are represented in the game, and so far we've seen very bright track renditions of Seaside Castle and Casino Park from the Sonic the Hedgehog world as well as Blizzard Castle from Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg. A track resembling a Monkey Ball level has also been shown. Although we haven't seen much beyond these initial tracks, I'm sure SEGA has some more great themed tracks to show us, and I would be very surprised if a futuristic track from Jet Set Radio or a music-themed track from Samba de Amigo didn't make it into the mix.
A release date for Sonic and SEGA All-Stars Racing has yet to be nailed down, but it seems that the game is on-track for a release sometime in 2010. With plenty of recognizable characters and locations from the SEGA universe making appearances, this looks like it will be a must for nostalgic SEGA fans. The kart racing mechanics also look very promising and could catapult this title past SEGA fanservice. So if you are tired of Mario and his kart racing crew, make sure to keep a look out for this one when it releases sometime next year!
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor