Pimpin Reviews: Sonic & Sega All Stars Racing
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Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing
Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, Nintendo DS, Microsoft Windows, Mobile
Genre: Racing game
Modes: Single Player/Multiplayer
Developer: Sumo Digital (Published by Sega)
It may be hard to believe, but at a certain point in history, Sonic and his crew actually posed a real threat to The Mario Kingdom. This nostalgic period of gaming culture saw our furry blue friend challenging the fat Italian plumber for the position as the face of videogaming. Today, fewer gamers recognize his once-iconic face, and even fewer seem to still care. With Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, Sega continues its proud tradition of lagging miles behind their adversary. While the game does nothing drastically different from Mario Kart, though, it shouldn't be ignored. The game provides a fun, fast, and silly kart racer for all platforms.
A Brand Kart racer is nowhere without some big name stars to flaunt, and thankfully, Sega has put most of its iconic universe on display. Sonic and his bunch of furry friends show up, namely with Tails, Knuckles, Shadow, Amy, and even the bewildering choice of Big The Cat. Other Sega favorites also show up, like AiAi from Super Monkey Ball, Ryo from Shenmue, and even now obscure characters like Billy Hatcher. The list is large and varied, and it's notable to report that the 360 version includes non-Sega character Banjo-Kazooie and even has the option to play as your own Avatar, as the Wii does with the Mii. It's slightly lamentable that no such feature is sported on the Play Station 3.
Why the fuck DOES Sonic need a car?
Sega also rose paints the players nostalgia vision by having each character ride on his or her very own unique game-related kart. The karts are surprisingly faithful to their character origins, such as D.B Joe's "crazy taxi". And you can unlock new and even more obscure favorites with Sega Miles, points awarded for each race that vary on your position and completion time. Sadly, the opportunity to pimp out your ride is missed, but DLC offers some new characters as well as Avatar gear for 360 players.
Speaking of faithful to their respective games, the course design is also phenomenal. Vibrant colors are contrasted by an obvious race path, while the jaw dropping scenery comes from various games including Sonic Heroes, Super Monkey Ball, Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg, Samba de Amigo, and even The House of the Dead. Some paths like the now infamous Monkey Ball courses are way too intricate, with convoluted pathways and enigmatic turns, but the overall course selection is brilliant and surprisingly refreshing.
So feista after the race?
The game also features a bunch of nasty weapons and power ups to propel the wielder to first place. The various items are somewhat diverse, with boring things like Red heat seeking rockets and green boxing gloves that bounce off walls (sound familiar?), along with unique and innovative items like a Star that flips the victims screen upside down for a short time, or a Rainbow drop the flushes the opponents screen with barley see through colors. Each character also has their very own origin-related "All Star Move", a scarcely dropped powerful move that can quickly put the player near first place, though it only appears for struggling racers. For example a struggling Sonic may receive his All Star Move, transforming him into the gold Super-Sonic for a short period of time.
The game's controls are, unsurprisingly, easy to latch on to. On the 360, players use the Right Trigger to go forward, the A button to use buttons, and you'll hardly ever need to reverse. The key to winning, however, is the mastering of drifting. On any given turn or curve in the game, players can hold the assigned key to drift their kart. Holding the drift for a short amount of time will give you a short but useful boost when you get out of it. Using this feature is essential because winning without it is next to impossible, due to the questionable difficulty curve. The player is certain to get smoked by his opponents for the first couple of races, and later on players will run into the occasional cheap maneuver, like the AI landing on you after a jump, crippling you for a short time, or being hounded by very good weapons.
Online Multiplayer, sadly, isn't all that worthwhile. There are many race and battlemodes, but no online specific maps to play them on. Other than simply racing, online options are clunky and uncomfortable in execution. Single player modes include the token single races, time trials, and Cups, but also a bunch of missions that have specific win conditions. The game offers plenty of gametime, and frankly, is very addicting. I quickly found myself humming along with the soundtrack which features tracks found in some of the developer's most iconic titles, most of them being Sonic themed.
Simply, Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing's greatest feat is that it's available on every system. Mario Kart Wii, despite obviously being an exclusive to the platform, is also in my opinion the weakest of the series to date. For once, Sonic can hold his head up high, for he has defeated Mario on his own frontier. If you're in the market for a lighthearted Kart racer with a lot of Spunk, you need not look further.
Disclosures: This game was obtained via [Rental] and reviewed on the [Xbox 360]. Approximately [8 hours] of play was devoted to single-player modes completed 1 time, and [1 hours] dedicated to the online component.
HIGH: WOW, I can't believe I'm enjoying this
LOW: Tails you cheap @#%%!$
WTF: Big The Cat? Really?
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