Gaming Under The Radar – Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing
As a means of reviewing old-ish and not well known games, the purpose of this post (and others to come) is to share with you those games that slip under the proverbial radar – for all the Call of Duties, Forza and Fifa’s there are many other quality titles that are overlooked for a variety of reasons, so hopefully this will give you an insight into those titles.
We’ll start with Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, a game that was released in late February 2010. It’s a kart racer similar to the likes of Mario Kart and Crash Team Racing featuring various characters from many Sega franchises, with an array of weaponry and tracks to use and explore.
In terms of gameplay, this aspect of Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing is top notch. The vehicles (mainly motorcycles or cars) handle excellent on the tracks, and the items you can pick up are easy to use but lack in originality and variety. There are several missile-based weapons, a speed enhancer, a couple of items to disorientate fellow racers and a few others available, but none are particularly worth using as the damage inflicted is usually minimal. The only power-up worth getting is if you’re trailing the pack in a race, if you’re lucky you’ll receive an ‘All-Star’ item and essentially charge through the field into a respectable position. This is a cool feature and very useful for young children who might struggle with the game. The tracks themselves however are very varied, with plenty of exciting courses to race around time and time again. There are quite a few available at the start of the game with many more to buy with accumulated ‘Sega Miles,’ which are earned based on your performances throughout any race, mission (more on that later) and time trials.
Score – 8/10
Graphically the game is also superb, with vibrant settings and an almost immaculate attention to detail. The racers, vehicles and tracks all look fantastic, there isn’t a whole lot that could be improved. Sure, it’s no Gran Turismo, but for a cartoon kart racer this is about as good as it gets.
Score – 10/10
Sound & Music
Moving on to sound and graphics, this is somewhat of a letdown to me. The sounds effects are decent enough and the race commentator is entertaining enough, but I can’t help but feel Sega missed the boat when it came to the music tracks accompanying the action. They have a whole wealth of quality and nostalgic tracks at their disposal and used very little of it, it’s a real shame. You can purchase additional music tracks with the aforementioned Sega Miles, but unfortunately there’s not a whole lot of point.
Score – 6/10
Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing gives you excellent value for money overall. There’s an extensive Grand Prix mode and innovative missions to undertake – anything from grabbing 100 coins in 60 seconds to a ‘last-place-drops-out’ race where whoever is in last position during a race after a 30 second period is eliminated. There are 64 of these to complete in which you’re graded from F up to AAA, and getting the maximum grades across all missions will certainly take some doing. The standard multiplayer modes are present as well, but unfortunately this aspect of the game could and should have been better. I’ve yet to play the online side of multiplayer so I can’t comment on that, but local multiplayer is lacking certain features I’ve come to expect in this sort of game. There’s no co-op grand Prix for starters and the standard arcade race doesn’t give a true leaderboard based on whatever position you finished; rather whichever player finished above the others earns a point and this continues until you get bored. It’s all a bit of a shame as the multiplayer mode could have offered so much more, but overall Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing is a worth purchase and one of the better so-called Mario Kart clones available. You can get it for about £12 as well, so for fans of Sonic, kart racers or those who have young children or siblings this is an ideal game for all the family.
Score – 8/10