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Posted by Vger, Apr.15, 2010, under Articles, Comments (0)

Sonic and SEGA Allstars Racing is the game a lot of Sonic fans have been waiting a long time for, over the years we’ve had Sonic Drift, Sonic Drift 2, Sonic R, Sonic Riders and Sonic Riders Zero Gravity. All of which have varied in quality from tolerable to terrible. Never has there been a game that did for Sonic what Mario Kart did for Mario, that is until now.

First off yes this game takes a similar route to the Mario Kart franchise, and yes I am sick and bloody tired of people pointing this out and then dismissing it, if you can’t be bothered to take the time to actually look at it from a neutral you really don’t deserve to be in games journalism. Okay crazy rant over oh and as a side note I do not hate Mario Kart, in fact I love the Mario Kart games… except for Mario Kart Wii that sucked.

Gameplay:
Controls are quick and easy to pick up with an option to do a tutorial when you first start up the game, a nice easy way to lead people into things. Drifting provides that little bit of a challenge which proves rewarding, (those of you that have played Outrun for xbox live though will find the drifting system pretty easy) random items like rockets, punching gloves etc keep the game fair most of the time. However I found that in a lot of online games there is one person who manages to pull ahead of the pack at the start of the race leaving the rest of the pack to fight it out keeping each other from really competing with the person out in front, this can end up with one person finishing half a lap in front at times and kind of unbalances things and frustrate everyone else. The tracks are interesting and varied with three based on a articular style, while to a certain extent this does feel like a short cut taken to keep production time down each track is beautifully detailed. Score: 8

Visuals:
Sumo have really put a lot of effort in here, creating detailed and vibrant levels with plenty to see, holding true to the original game levels and dripping with nostalgia. This is especially true if you look at the little things for example Crabmeat in the Seaside Hill levels or the zombies in Curien Mansion. I’ve found myself at times getting lost in the scenery and screwing up on track because of it so there is a downside but to be honest I don’t care. Score: 9

Sound:
Pretty much all the tracks in game are pulled from the games that the characters and tracks are based on so there is nothing new here music wise, but I will say that Sumo made some great choices, some of the tracks I haven’t heard for a long time once again a nostalgia trip. Bentley Joneses So Much More is a great addition as the end and the menu music has is very well put together. In game the engine sounds and power up sound effects all add urgency of being in the race, I still panic a little whenever I hear the sound of an approaching rocket! The over the top announcer voice is also a nice touch, giving race updates and sprouting random phrases relevant to the race, which can be a little hit and miss in accuracy at times but overall I enjoy having him there if only because it takes me back to the days of watching Whacky races. Oh and for those of you who don’t like the announcer he can be gagged in the options menu. Score: 8

Multiplayer:
Plenty of thought has been put into things here, with offline up to 4 player split screen game modes of Race, battle, capture the Chao, King of the Hill and knockout. Then there’s online 8 player races so there’s is plenty to keep you and your friends on and offline coming back to the game. It’s worth noting that it’s very rare to find a game that does split screen today with the proliferation of online services most developers choose to ignore it, so it’s nice to see it here, and despite early preview code having drastic reductions in graphical quality when playing split screen the final version runs smoothly with no noticeable graphical compromises. Online multiplayer in contrast is rather limited as you only have the single race option, and the Allstar moves are disabled which is annoying when your lagging way behind. Playing against 7 friends is great fun although it would be good to see a tournament or even a battle mode. Score: 7

Replay:
I managed to 1000 point this in about three days, so you can be forgiven for thinking that this game doesn’t have much longevity. The thing is you would be wrong! I really enjoyed playing and completing the game, and I still find myself picking it up again and again just for a quick race on my own or with friends. Score: 9

Conclusion:
It’s not often a great kart racing game comes along that isn’t Mario Kart (the last being Crash Team Racing over a decade ago), and Sonic and SEGA Allstars racing really does shine through as a great game, a lot of effort has been put into making this game what it is and it shows. It’s also a great trip down memory lane for any SEGA fan bringing back some characters you never thought you would see again although a bit more variety in the tracks would have been nice. For anyone who’s looking for a fun racing game to play on the 360 go get this now! Overall: 8

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