After a long wait we have a decent Kart racer on the PS3

User Rating: 8.5 | Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing PS3
So any kart racer on any console inevitably draws comparisons with Mario Kart and until now all have come up short - Madagascar Kart Racing anyone??

So what does Sonic and SEGA All-star Racing ( SASASR ) have to offer?

1. 24 beautifully detailed tracks themed on some of SEGA's back catalogue
2. 20 interesting and diverse characters from SEGS's back catalogue including Sonic, Tails, Dr Eggman, Knuckles, Amy, Billy Hatcher and Bigs the Cat to name but a few.
3. Several single player modes, local 4 player split screen and on-line 8 player racing

The main "career" is a series of Grand Prix - 6 in total consisting of 4 races each ( thus incorporating all 24 tracks ) with 3 difficulty settings. As a fairly experienced "racer" I found the easy level to be just that and waltzed through but then found the difficulty start to ramp up nicely - making the "career" something you will want to finish.

Then there is time trial - does what it says on the tin, and provides a top 1000 worldwide leader board as well as a friends leaderboard and your local leaderboard.

Mission Mode - 64 missions of various types - race, collect rings, certain amount of boost or drift etc. Score an A or better to unlock the next one and the aim is to get AAA for all - something to keep you going back to it!

The controls are tight and responsive and I have experienced no frame rate issues. You drift to earn boost, collect items to attack the other racers ( these items include rockets, mines, rainbow (like the ink in Mario Kart) etc.

Both local split screen and on-line only allow single-races and this is arguably the biggest and probably only weakness of the game. It would have been nice to be able to set up a grand prix among friends. Usual options are available - you can race with or without AI opponents and can turn items on or off etc. One interesting aspect of this is that there can only be one of each character racing in any one race so sometimes on line you have to go to your second or third choice racer.

SEGA Miles are earned for every race/mission/time trial and these can be used to unlock the last 10 characters and 12 tracks ( only 10 and 12 respectively are available to start with ) and also some more music tracks. Your license colour also changes depending on the lifetime number of miles you have earned!

There are 49 trophies to earn including various ones as you hit "number of SEGA mile" milestones, posting a time trial time on all tracks, buying all the items plus various ones for on-line as well.

Overall this is a fun and addicting game that will keep you coming back for both the single player modes and the fun of playing on line!

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