Sonic's Sega All-Star Racing Impressions

Sonic trades in his sneakers for a hot rod in Sega's speedy arcade racer.

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Sonic is trading in his trademark speedy feet for a sweet convertible in the upcoming Sonic's Sega All-Star Racing. Coming in early 2010 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, and Nintendo DS, the game is an arcade racer that stars more than 15 of Sega's popular characters from the publisher's long history. We had a chance to check out the game on the show floor of Comic-Con 2009.

The demo at the show featured two courses and four playable characters--the titular Sonic, Aiai from Super Monkey Ball, Amy Rose from the Sonic series, and Amigo from the Samba de Amigo games. The characters will have their own special vehicles, such as Sonic's blue hot rod or Tails' airplane. In addition, the characters will have their own special powers that will be activated at random during races. For instance, Sonic will temporarily transform into Super Sonic; Amy will have mallets she can use to bash her opponents with; Aiai will let loose with a torrent of monkey balls; and Amigo will form impromptu conga lines that any racer will be powerless to resist joining.

The special powers will give you a power advantage on the tracks, but they won't be the only way of getting an upper hand. There will also be on-track pick-ups, such as homing missiles, land mines, Sonic shoes (for an extra boost of speed), and shields that will protect you from harm. Of course, you'll have your own skill on the sticks to rely on, as well as the game's simple controls--R2 (on the PS3 controller) to accelerate; L2 to brake and drift around corners (when combined with the gas button). Pulling off drifts and midair tricks (the latter executed with the R1 and L1 buttons) will earn you turbo boost as well.

All-Star racing will have more than 15 tracks available and feature locales inspired by Sega's many games. The courses shown off in the demo were impressively large, featuring brilliant bright colors and a good amount of variety in layout--including massive spiraling corkscrew sections and huge jumps. Sega fans might get a kick out of the more nuanced nods to Sega classics, such as the bumpers that line certain parts of the track that are straight out of classic Sega games.

Clearly aimed at both the kart-racing crowd and nostalgic Sega fans, Sonic's Sega All-Star Racing seems like it will be a good match for kids and parents alike. Look for more on the game in the coming months ahead of its release in February 2010.

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