|System: X360, PS3, Wii, PC, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Sumo Digital||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SEGA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb. 23, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Your ability to use weapons will also make up a large part in what place you wind up finishing a race. Much like in Mario Kart, power-up bubbles (not question mark boxes) litter every race track and will award you with a random item to use. These range anywhere from concussive horns that blast any nearby rivals to heat-seeking rockets that will chase down whoever is directly in front of you. For the most part, all of these are just SEGA versions of the weapons you'd find in Mario Kart, with the exception that there is no cheap blue shell to be had. In its stead is each character's All-Star move, which you're more likely to find the worse you're doing in a race. These timed items rarely come up, but when they do they can certainly help you catch up with the pack. Some of the more memorable All-Star moves include Billy Hatcher's vehicle turning into a giant egg, which he then uses to roll over rivals, and Akira/Jacky's move, which has Akira jump out of the car to give it a powerful shoulder check, sending the vehicle into a super turbo boost.
Since the races are actually quite fun, it's good to see that there are a ton of modes in which to enjoy them. You'll have the option in single-player to take on Time Trials, Single Races, Grand Prix, and Missions. The sixty plus missions are actually rather good, throwing various objectives at you that not only introduce you to the game's many characters and courses, but also go a long way to teaching you how to better play the game. Tasks such as shooting down targets while racing, collecting coins that just so happen to be placed on the good driving lines on courses, and drifting challenges, to name a few, are good ways to polish up your skills while also still managing to be fun. However, once you've mastered the single-player experience, you'll also be able to enjoy a decent multiplayer offering in split-screen as well as online flavors. Unfortunately, the split-screen modes such as King of the Hill and Capture the Chao aren't available for online play. Instead, the only thing you can play online are straight up races, which isn't all that bad considering that this is easily the best part of the game.
In the end, SSASR is a great alternative for those who've already clocked a ton of time racing through the Mushroom Kingdom or those who simply don't have that option. With its tight controls, slick HD visuals, well designed courses, gamut of both obscure and popular characters, and enjoyable modes, SSASR is simply a wonderful racing experience. It's been a long dry spell for the Sonic fans craving a console game involving the character that didn't disappoint, but thankfully, that wait has finally come to an end.
CCC Staff Contributor