Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing Review for Wii

On: WiiXbox 360PS3PCiPhoneDS
Who'd have thought Sonic would need a car?
Who'd have thought Sonic would need a car?

Who'd have thought Sonic would need a car?

It's true that Sonic and SEGA All-Stars Racing is incredibly similar in terms of game design to a certain other kart racing series. While Mario Kart rules the racing roost, with sales to back it up, SEGA's been making arcade-style racing games since the dawn of time (well, the 1980s). So, while there's no denying that this Sumo Digital developed kart racer has been "inspired" by Nintendo's mega franchise, it's got a tinge of OutRun about it too, and production values that far exceed anything we've seen from the Italian Plumber's karting antics. But yeah, it's still essentially Mario Kart with Sonic.

Sonic and SEGA All-Stars Racing is a SEGA fan love-in. Although not all available from the start, the game features 20 famous (although some more than others) SEGA characters and 24 tracks. While the characters are spread amongst many SEGA titles, the tracks are based in the worlds of Sonic the Hedgehog, House of the Dead, Super Monkey Ball, Jet Set Radio, Samba de Amigo and Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg – yes, the game that was released exclusively on the GameCube to little fanfare back in 2003. Billy Hatcher is an odd choice given the other licences SEGA and Sumo had to play with, but presumably they thought the fun world would appeal to a younger audience.

From the get-go you'll have eight racers to choose from, including the maraca shaking Amigo from Samba de Amigo, Aiai from Super Monkey Ball and five characters from the Sonic series (Sonic, Tails, Amy Rose, Dr. Eggman and Shadow the Hedgehog). Bizarrely, the eighth start character is the aforementioned Billy Hatcher, and not a more iconic character. Sadly none of the unlockable characters include any anthropomorphic cars from SEGA's brilliant racing games (no Daytona or SEGA Rally car here), but you do get characters from Virtua Fighter, Space Channel 5, House of the Dead, Shenmue and more.

Core to All-Stars racing is the Grand Prix, a series of six championships each consisting of four races. Finish in third place or higher after the four races and you'll unlock the next championship. Your performances also earn you SEGA dollars, which can be spent to unlock the extra content detailed above. In total the SEGA store has 12 racers, 16 courses and 32 music tracks to spend hard-earned cash on.

Can you recognise these two fighters?

Can you recognise these two fighters?

None of this would count for toffee if the actual racing wasn't up to scratch, but coming from Sumo (the studio behind the excellent home console versions of OutRun 2) there really wasn't anything to worry about. On the track, whether you're playing as a character who drives a car or rides a bike, the handling is very arcadey, with a big emphasis on powersliding – making it feel somewhere in-between Mario Kart and OutRun. Powerslide for a certain length of time and you'll earn a boost, propelling you forward when you release the drift button – the longer you hold the slide the bigger the boost you receive. As in Nintendo's Mario Kart Wii, simple one-button tricks performed in the air will also grant you a boost on landing.

More than a match for the excellent handling are the exceedingly well designed tracks. Aside from some irritating Monkey Ball courses, most of the 24 included on the disc are excellent, and get increasingly more difficult and complex as you work through the Grand Prix championships. Again, more of a mixture of SEGA titles wouldn't have gone amiss, with a high percentage coming from Sonic, but Sonic is the publisher's mascot after all. Newcomers to the genre should be able to compete fairly well when playing on Beginner difficulty, but advanced and expert settings will push more experienced gamers quite hard.

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14 Comments

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pblive's Avatar

pblive

Agree completely with the score, eldest and I had some great multiplayer races on the Wii game. Handling doesn't feel quite as fluid as MK but the tracks are great and the unlocking system is fun. I love the Tokyo Drift tracks from JSRF.
Posted 11:07 on 01 March 2010
Marink's Avatar

Marink

T'would be nice to collect the racers: Crash, Mario and Sega. So I shall pick this up at some point in my life...
Posted 10:36 on 01 March 2010
wannabefree's Avatar

wannabefree

this really is no competition for mario kart. why doesnt any dev understand MKs secret is its butter smooth 60fps and visual simplicity. i am judging the 360 version but i will try the ds demo soon since the way the ds renders means it doesn't drop frames when pushed only polygons: it might actually be playable.
Posted 01:39 on 28 February 2010
NintendoGamer's Avatar

NintendoGamer@ Ghost_Dog

I played the demo off the nintendo chanel on my ds lite(its on its last legs)its way,way,way better than mario kart ds(especialy the drifting,NO STUPID HOPPING BEFORE DRIFTING!)
Posted 21:58 on 27 February 2010
sonic_freak's Avatar

sonic_freak

I'm really enjoying the game, loads better than Mario Kart as its faster and the drifting aspect awesome.

If anyone's intersted, Sonic Wrecks is holding a competition to win some Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing goodies including concept art.
http://www.sonicwrecks.com/news/comp...h-sonic-wrecks
Posted 21:43 on 27 February 2010
Ghost_Dog's Avatar

Ghost_Dog

My kids love Mario Kart, so this might be a good PS3 family friendly game to get.

EDIT: Have now played the demo with my 5 (soon to be 6) year old daughter, who has declared it as 'better than Mario Kart'. This was from the person who the other day argued the case with me that Mario is better than Sonic. There's no better recommendation than that.
Posted 17:12 on 26 February 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

Was thinking about getting this because of my lack of a Nintendo Wii,
although I'll always have the amazing Mario Kart on the DSi.
Posted 16:05 on 26 February 2010
Karlius's Avatar

Karlius

If you were Paul Gadd you may buy this game for your prey. Is that what you're saying?
Posted 10:58 on 26 February 2010
IndoorHeroes's Avatar

IndoorHeroes

If I had a kid this is something I'd get to play with him/her. But I dont. Instead I'll buy something about mercilessly murdering children in a hellish saline solution of rain water and tears. Should be a good time.
Posted 10:45 on 26 February 2010
pblive's Avatar

pblive

Just got the Wii version in the post, looking forward to playing it.
Posted 10:19 on 26 February 2010
renegade's Avatar

renegade

I wonder if it affects the Pc version. Because some games regardless of your Pc are just made badly
Posted 09:58 on 26 February 2010
TomO's Avatar

TomO

The frame rate is more of a shame than a real problem, for me anyway. It's such a nice looking game that would have really looked great running at a silky smooth 60fps.
Posted 09:51 on 26 February 2010
Karlius's Avatar

Karlius@ SexyJams

Quote:
Originally Posted by The one and only Tom (Unless James pretends to be him for the day) Orry
Frame rate is erratic

This can irritate some more than others I guess.
Posted 09:46 on 26 February 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

Wow, this is a totally differnt opinion than my games tm magazine.
They thought the framerate and stuff were awful with no real unique takes on anything.
I have no idea whether to get it or not now!
I reckon I trust Tom more...
Posted 08:42 on 26 February 2010

Game Stats

Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing
8
Out of 10
Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing
  • Good fun
  • Tight handling
  • Great presentation
  • Frame rate is erratic
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 26/02/2010
Platforms: Wii , Xbox 360 , PS3 , PC , iPhone , DS
Developer: Sega
Publisher: Sega
Genre: Racing
No. Players: 1-8
Rating: PEGI 7+
Site Rank: 478 10
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