Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing
Sonic & SEGA All Stars Racing Updated Hands On Preview - Super Sonic Kart or Supersonic Fart?
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To be perfectly honest, we’re very surprised that this game didn’t happen sooner. Ever since its debut on the SNES, Mario Kart has retained the crown of kart racing king through several iterations across every Nintendo console since and the only real company that would be able to rival them in terms of cast would be SEGA with their rich history of iconic franchises... and possibly Capcom.

For years developers have attempted to wheel out their own characters in a vain attempt to capitalise on the runaway success the Italian plumber and his mates have had with their inimitable brand of cartoon racing... everyone except SEGA that is. And so SEGA - presumably feeling that the time is finally right for their own entry into the kart racing genre - has enlisted the help of the ever-reliable SEGA fans at Sumo Digital to do what they did so well on SEGA Superstars Tennis. Their task? Round up a cast of stalwart SEGA characters and then shove them into a brightly coloured, uber-happy, shiny kart racing game.

During a visit to SEGA’s UK offices in London, we got to spend some considerable time with the near-finished game and can confidently report that Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing isn’t the cutesy kart crash you might be expecting. Far from it in fact. Sumo has put their superlative (albeit slightly tweaked) Outrun handling model to good use in the game, placing the same emphasis on seat-of-the-pants powersliding around corners and fast, frenetic arcade action above all else.

Despite being limited to a paltry four tracks and a truncated selection of racers to choose from, there was still plenty to enjoy in the demo and enough to enable us to get a feel for how the racing works. The answer rather predictably, is that it works exactly like Mario Kart, only without the clever use of its cherished characters’ iconography.

Where Mario Kart made good use of Nintendo’s rich universe of characters, featuring Koopa Troopa shells, stars, Bullet Bills and a whole lot more besides in its set of colourful weapons, Sumo has seemingly forgot to lavish the same treatment upon Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing. We expected to see rings, item monitors, perhaps a few exuberant animals jumping around – anything recognisably SEGA that harked back to its character’s roots in some way.

Instead, we found ourselves launching green boxing gloves, vision-obscuring rainbows and cartoon bombs – items we’ve never seen in past SEGA titles. At least the speed boost comes in the shape of a red sneaker and the shield is lifted straight out of the Sonic games, but we still can’t help but feel that a little more imaginative use of the numerous SEGA IPs could further enrich the experience. Still, special All-Star abilities go some way towards making up for the lack of imagination in the basic weapon set, with Shenmue’s Ryo enjoying a cool forklift truck power for instance.

The four circuits we sampled were Billy Hatcher’s Blizzard Castle stage and three circuits based upon Sonic’s Green Hill (known here as Seaside Hill) and Casino Night stages. The latter boasted twisting loops through a neon-drenched track that sees you loop the loop, be flipped upside down before hurtling along branching routes over craps tables and around corners hemmed in by those iconic red and yellow star springs from every Sonic game ever. Alternate routes spice up the competition a bit while one weapon causes the screen to invert, reversing the controls and causing massive confusion. No two races were ever the same, which we hope will be true after extended play with mates in multiplayer.

With the full game slated for February 10th, we look forward to trying out the remaining characters that were unfortunately absent from the code we were shown. Alex Kidd, Beat (from Jet Set Radio), Knuckles, Big the Cat and Banjo and Kazooie were sadly nowhere to be seen, but we did have the chance to throw Ryo, Ai-Ai, Amigo and the rest of the game’s generous roster around the bold and eye-catching courses. Incidentally, Sonic would always end up in the bottom three while Shadow would often triumph. Go figure.

Tracks based upon other SEGA properties such as House of the Dead, Super Monkey Ball, Jet Set Radio and Samba De Amigo are also promised, but were unavailable for us to check out during our demo. Here’s hoping that Sumo see fit to include more stuff from the rest of SEGA’s huge back catalogue such as Shinobi, Streets of Rage or Golden Axe (Gilius Thunderhead – the dwarf from Golden Axe – was considered as a playable character at one time), as it would be a shame to pass up such a great opportunity to exploit a rich and illustrious history of videogame icons.

For now, the jury’s still out on whether Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing will do for SEGA what Mario Kart did for Nintendo. Sumo is definitely on the right track with fun and accessible drifting and enough frenetic energy to make launching bombs at your rivals every bit as gleefully satisfying as it should be. We’d just love to see the developer dig deeper into the SEGA vault and really pack the game full of extra character, because this has real potential to be decent. But then perhaps blue skies, striking colours and bright and breezy gameplay is all you’ll really want from Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing and on that front, Sumo has already delivered.


User Comments

Forum Posts: 289
Comment #1 by AndyFreak457
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 @ 08:05:14 PM
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I know i'm excited for it

Forum Posts: 117
Comment #2 by Ratchet
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 @ 08:05:28 PM
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The Green Boxing Glove is from Super Monkey Ball.

Forum Posts: 674
Comment #3 by TheUglyCasanova
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 @ 08:05:29 PM
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Oh god. I think I'll pass.

Forum Posts: 104
Comment #4 by Fuzzy Dem0n
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 @ 08:07:37 PM
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haha sounds awsome, i might pick it up and ty it out. super mario kart was good this will pobably be somewhat the same i think

Forum Posts: 259
Comment #5 by Mike Langlois
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 @ 08:11:47 PM
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The second people compare it to Mario Kart is the second it'll never live up to hype.

Once you stop comparing it and see it for what it is, i bet it'll be great fun.

Cant wait.

Forum Posts: 128
Comment #6 by jamie-the-payne
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 @ 08:17:52 PM
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It'll be fun but it has a huge way to go to reach the hights of mario kart.
P.S. sorry #5

Forum Posts: 214
Comment #7 by zyxomma100
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 @ 08:35:53 PM
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If this game doesn't have a blue shell, well that's one way it'll automatically be ahead of Mario Kart. Hopefully Sega does manage to pull out all the right stops and make this good.

Forum Posts: 59
Comment #8 by J Prime
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 @ 08:46:51 PM
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I don't understand why Sonic would drive a kart, when his running speed is just soo much faster?

Forum Posts: 13
Comment #9 by MowatMan
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 @ 08:49:55 PM
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"exept everyone sega that is"? needs some fixing there i think

Forum Posts: 26
Comment #10 by FatalFlaw810
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 @ 08:54:52 PM
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I really have high hopes for this, I don't see it being better then mario kart, but this has to be better then most other kart racers. So far this game has peaked my interest now I want to buy it lol. I'll try out a demo first though =)

Forum Posts: 2099
Comment #11 by mjc0961
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 @ 08:54:59 PM
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"by Richard Walker"

Who the flaming monkey butt is Richard Walker? I don't think I've seen that name here before? New guy? If so, welcome!

Also, Mario is not the king of the kart racers as far as I'm concerned. The original Crash Team Racing did it better than existing Mario Karts at the time, and new Mario Karts still haven't topped CTR.

Forum Posts: 13
Comment #12 by MowatMan
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 @ 08:56:31 PM
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sorry for double post but seaside hill is the first level of sonic heroes.
I think they're trying to eliminate all prior knowledge of Sonic before the bad games started.

Forum Posts: 212
Comment #13 by Jimbob131190
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 @ 09:03:09 PM
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Nothing will beat mario's the best (well cartoon based theme racer)

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #14 by blackout529
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 @ 09:24:18 PM
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#8 has a good point. This mystery needs some solving. The Hardly Boys. Should get on This one.

Forum Posts: 107
Comment #15 by BORG Dragon
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 @ 09:33:19 PM
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@#14 - It's HARDY BOYS. Not hardLy boys...

Forum Posts: 211
Comment #16 by x2i
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 @ 09:34:37 PM
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@#14 I have a raging clue right now...

Personally, i couldn't care less if Mario Kart is better, Mario sucks anyway - end of!

Although I totally love Sonic ever since I was a kid, I can't help but think it'll end up like Sega Superstar Tennis... I hope I am wrong!

Forum Posts: 211
Comment #17 by x2i
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 @ 09:35:37 PM
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@#15 no its the hardly boys, you obviously haven't watched the mystery of the urinal deuce (south park) have you?

Forum Posts: 87
Comment #18 by DarthRandalNC
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 @ 09:37:18 PM
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They could always put him on foot versus the rest of the cast. Although there may be some public parental outcry when Sonic shows up with a nitrous tank shoved up his ass.

Forum Posts: 129
Comment #19 by SpKXmasSpirit
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 @ 09:51:03 PM
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#11 you are a man of the world, my brother. My cousin and I just threw down on some CTR this weekend and it still fits like a glove and plays sooo smooth. Probably my favorite game ever. Shame CNK did not live up to its standards.

Forum Posts: 152
Comment #20 by DJSeth227
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 @ 09:58:02 PM
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microsoft racing is the next thing with master chief and the arbiter
marcus fenix and random locust
left 4 dead characters Mass efect characters and from a selection of arcades games like splosion man etc.

the items will be dollar signs contracts signed by micro$oft
sticky grenades chainsaws etc etc

Forum Posts: 75
Comment #21 by Soilydude
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 @ 10:01:41 PM
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@9 I think he meant 'everyone except Sega, that is'

Forum Posts: 1469
Comment #22 by Norman Coxwell
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 @ 10:03:37 PM
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Billy Hatcher's in the game? Have to atleast rent it now. Plus interested in the House of Dead track. Seems like a promising rent to play with people. Wonder how the swear level in this will compare to that of Mario Kart.

Forum Posts: 504
Comment #23 by padraiglovesyou
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 @ 11:05:45 PM
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@15 owned lawl

Forum Posts: 68
Comment #24 by Adnanoo
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 @ 11:50:34 PM
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I Think This Game Well Be Simuller 2 Madagascar Kartz

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #25 by boykingkilla19
Thursday, December 31, 2009 @ 01:35:00 AM
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I can't wait to play this! Mainly because of the fact that I'm a Ryo Hazuki fanboy. Can't wait to drive Ryo's badass motorcycle and forklift. XD

Forum Posts: 63
Comment #26 by Gearbolt
Thursday, December 31, 2009 @ 04:38:21 AM
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I'll have to try the demo when it comes out. Doesn't look that fun so far. Maybe worth renting?

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #27 by Shyguy678
Thursday, December 31, 2009 @ 05:10:00 AM
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@20 isn't that just joy ride? , sure its free but if you want all the stuff your talking about obviously you'd have to pay the big monster which is "micro$oft"

Forum Posts: 2099
Comment #28 by mjc0961
Thursday, December 31, 2009 @ 06:26:39 AM
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Right on, #19. :)

One of my favorite things about CTR that I'm amazed that Mario Kart hasn't done yet is being able to power up your items by holding fruit. Mario Kart could obviously do this with coins and make some powerups more useful. I never understood the point of the blue shell when you're back near the end, taking out the guy in first place doesn't help you much. But grab some coins and power it up so it knocks out ever racer in front of you (like the orb in CTR) and now you have something that doesn't suck donkey balls.

Crash Team Racing > Mario Kart, no question!

Forum Posts: 216
Comment #29 by samjustsam
Thursday, December 31, 2009 @ 06:42:05 AM
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yep 19 and 28...CTR rocks but i wouldnt mind something new. i like the sega characters and being able to play as ryo and banjo-kazooie and use your avatars is enough reason for me to check this out. and by that i mean reading some reviews on it and checking out the price and looking for a good deal on it before i decide to get my own copy.

Forum Posts: 755
Comment #30 by l.maciver
Thursday, December 31, 2009 @ 07:51:12 AM
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it'll be good to have a fun racing game on the 360

Forum Posts: 64
Comment #31 by Abe_sapien
Thursday, December 31, 2009 @ 09:01:46 AM
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I am hoping the dwarf from Golden Axe makes the cut. But so far does feel like a nice retro cast of racers :)

Forum Posts: 14795
Comment #32 by Webb [STAFF]
Thursday, December 31, 2009 @ 10:04:47 AM
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@#11 - Rich has been writing previews for us for over a month now, I wish you'd pay attention MJ =P

Forum Posts: 30
Comment #33 by NosX
Thursday, December 31, 2009 @ 10:58:45 AM
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Im so getting this game!

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #34 by dR PowerDrain
Thursday, December 31, 2009 @ 11:01:46 AM
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All I have to say

Forum Posts: 358
Comment #35 by kizwiz
Thursday, December 31, 2009 @ 11:31:36 AM
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doesn't sound too promising.
But hopefully they get the game right and I'm sold.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #36 by tangydream
Thursday, December 31, 2009 @ 12:03:32 PM
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demo first...
actions later...

Forum Posts: 134
Comment #37 by OMGmyFACE
Thursday, December 31, 2009 @ 09:36:16 PM
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Oh, Sega news? Is it about a new Sega console, Shenmue 3, or Toejam and Earl hitting XBLA? No? Ok, then.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #38 by xvatchi
Thursday, December 31, 2009 @ 09:57:58 PM
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Doki Doki penguin land

Forum Posts: 23
Comment #39 by Star-Road-Warrior
Friday, January 01, 2010 @ 12:42:28 AM
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now im a HUGE fan of mario kart and there is no way that this will be better than mario kart. a fail in my book

Forum Posts: 10
Comment #41 by ERIKDOTCOM
Saturday, January 02, 2010 @ 12:12:05 PM
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Well, I always loved Mario Kart, and I've been waiting for something like this to come to the 360. I'll try it out, although I'm not expecting another Mario Kart...

Forum Posts: 129
Comment #42 by evilronnie42
Saturday, January 02, 2010 @ 03:09:58 PM
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mario is k but since its sonic i'd prefer it but anyway nobody compared it to crash nitro racing which as alot more fun

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #44 by SonicBlazing95
Sunday, January 03, 2010 @ 09:07:38 AM
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The game looks so far pretty good, and the roster seems much improved over Superstar Tennis.

I don't like the idea of Banjo being in it, though. It seems like a bad cash-in. But whatever, the game is still looking pretty good.

Forum Posts: 71
Comment #45 by Hollywood!
Sunday, January 03, 2010 @ 12:27:13 PM
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#37 agreed... note the absence of Toejam and Earl in the kart racing roster.

This is for the same reason that we haven't seen TJ & E hit XBLA yet.

SEGA doesn't want to purchase the rights to use the characters in the game - even after they topped the polls in the summer.

Meh, and double meh, SEGA.

Half-assed work. Get it together.

Forum Posts: 20
Comment #46 by SHIMA 41
Sunday, January 03, 2010 @ 06:38:02 PM
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hmmm hope they put a demo up first. look promising

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Game Info


US February 23, 2010
Europe February 20, 2010

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