Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Updated Impressions

Sonic is the fastest hedgehog on foot, but how does he fare when he's put behind the wheel of a racing car? Pretty good, it turns out.


Sonic's back again, but this time, he's switched his red running shoes for a shiny racing car. Sega All-Stars Racing is coming out early next year on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, and Nintendo DS and is being developed by Sumo Digital (GTI Club Plus, OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast, Virtua Tennis 2009). We checked out the PS3 version at GamesCom 2009 in Cologne, Germany.

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What's New: There were a few new tracks on show at GamesCom, including the fun casino park roulette raceway level. This track harks back to Sonic the Hedgehog 2's Casino Night levels, and you get to race around roulette boards, pool tables, and other casino-themed games. All-Stars Racing's appeal will no doubt be its competitive multiplayer, and the game will support up to eight players on consoles (including four-player split-screen) and four players on the DS.

What's Different: We saw a few new characters this time around, including Sega stalwart Alex Kidd, Beat from Jet Set Radio Future, and Billy Hatcher. Alex's vehicle is a motorcycle, Beat has a souped-up racer complete with neon lights, and Billy gets an egg pod racer. Yes, that's right, an egg-shaped vehicle. Each vehicle matches the owner's style and will offer a different experience thanks to unique power moves. When the power move is executed, Alex Kidd's vehicle turns into his trademarked helicopter, and you can shoot at other competitors. Beat's move, on the other hand, lets you ride his skateboard and tag other enemies with spray paint. Billy's move is probably the most hilarious, though, and he rides atop a giant egg, crushing all opponents that get in his way.

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What's the Same: The game's existing lineup looks like it'll be fun to play, and each character has his or her own individual vehicle, such as Amy's pink jalopy, Amigo's turbocharged maracamobile, Aiai's banana dune buggy, and Knuckle's ATV. It looks like there will be some interesting variety when it comes to the level themes too.

What Impression the Game Made This Time: The first thing we noticed about All-Stars Racing is how crisp the environments are, and things looked so smooth that we were surprised to discover it wasn't running at 60 frames per second. Both the characters and levels feature a bright colour palette, making the whole game look bright and cheery. The game looks like it will be a lot of fun, and we're glad to see some of Sega's less prominent characters making an appearance (note to Sega: please include Wonder Boy). Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing is coming out in early 2010, and we hope to get hands-on with the racer at some stage before then.

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