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POSTED 23/11/12


SONIC & ALL-STARS RACING TRANSFORMED

SEGA

PS3 (also on Xbox 360, Wii U)

We don’t wish to alarm anybody, but Sonic is dead.

Why such a seemingly outrageous claim, especially in light of this apparent new starring role for the bluest of blue hedgehogical zippy-shoeses? Well, think about it. He’s the fastest thing pretty much ever, right? So why does he need a kart? Huh? Huh?!

Obviously it’s an impostor filling in. Maybe it’s Paul McCartney in a Sonic suit? Anyway, it doesn’t matter, ’cos this racer is fucking fantastic.

The almost as ungainly-titled SEGA & Sonic All-Stars Racing was great, but this one’s brought to you by the letters ‘E’ and ‘R’, sticky-taped to the end of that ‘great’. You zip around as any of 20-plus characters – some returning, some in race suit debuts - upon tracks based on classic SEGAness from the obvious like Sonic to the anything-but like Skies of Arcadia, with stops including Golden Axe and NiGHTS into Dreams in-between. But there’s a twist...

Your car thingy dutifully metamorphoses into a plane thingy or boat thingy at certain junctures involving big transformimacating blue ringy-thingies. So, you’ve Power Drift becoming After Burner becoming Hydro Thunder. The ‘driving’ vibe obviously changes, but one brilliant thing remains, and that’s the driftability. Master it and you can hit much of the track in a constant, finely-tuned slide – on ground, at sea or in the air. Burnouts in space!

Soloist modes are plentiful, plus four can race simultaneously locally, or up to 10 can go nuts online. Weapons are plentiful – from puffy fish to bee swarms (!).

A scintillating karting experience, the key to S&ART’s success is feel. There may be no construction kit, or stupid real-life drivers (although inexplicably Go Daddy flogger Danica Patrick pops up), but this sucks you in with sheer playability – which is what racing should always first and foremost be about.

RIP Sonic – knowing that your doppelganger’s doing alright.

take me back to the start...

 



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ALL WRITTEN CONTENT COPYRIGHT © AMY FLOWER 2008-2014. GAME IMAGES COURTESY OF RESPECTIVE GAMES COMPANIES.