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Sonic and Sega All Star Racing GamesCom 2009 Preview

Welcome to the colourful world of Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing, where the weird and wonderful come to life via the medium of racing. Now you're probably thinking 'Oh this is just a clone of Mario Kart'. Well in all fairness this is what I was expecting as I entered the presentation booth, however I was pleasantly surprised at what was on offer.

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First off, each character in the game, which spans Sega's vast catalogue of unique and familiar faces, has their own style of vehicle with its own strengths and weaknesses. For example if you pick Alex Kidd you get to ride on a small agile lightweight motorbike, while not being the fastest of vehicles the quick acceleration and manoeuvrability will pay dividends on tight twisty tracks. However on the flip side of this you are very vulnerable to bullying from more stable and heavier vehicles as they barge past you.

Another aspect of the uniqueness of the game's vehicles is the special power pick-ups on the track, if you are bringing up the rear of the pack, you have a chance of gaining your star power which plays a small animation before unleashing the power which will bring you back into the race. The example shown was with Billy Hatcher, calling forth a huge egg which he ran on top of, giving him a substantial speed increase to catch up with the pack while knocking over any driver unfortunate enough to be in his path. Each character in the game has their own unique super power to use when collected so a little strategy may be involved in this entertaining racer.

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As you can expect with these sorts of titles, everything is vibrant and full of life, this is especially true in the themed tracks, where the environments always have something on the go. Take the casino themed level for example, there are slot machines spinning, everything is lit up with more lights than Christmas in your town centre, pool balls are rolling all over the shop, poker chips are moving on the track giving you an obstacle or seven to get around while racing, so there is plenty of eye candy to keep you entertained. You will discover that the level themes are based upon the game characters themselves so you'll encounter tracks based around Sonic, Super Monkey Ball, Jet Set Radio and more.

As with Mario Kart, there is a drift mechanic in the game which will give you a slight boost after you perform a drift. The longer you are able to keep your drift going the greater the boost out of the manoeuvre is, additionally each vehicle is able to perform stunts which also gives a slight speed boost when successfully performed.

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Of course the main attraction for this game is the multilayer element, which is where, in my opinion, All Star Racing will shine. It is possible to have up to four player split screen with eight player online action on the Xbox and PS3 versions. Details on PC, Wii and DS versions were sketchy but understandable due to the stage of development the team are currently at.

So from expecting an average clone of Mario Kart, I was pleasantly proven wrong and walked out with one of the highlights of the show, this is definitely not your run of the mill racer and is one to pencil on your calendars for an early 2010 release.

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Wedgeh | 23rd August, 2009
Angelfromabove's picture
i love these kinds of racers, dont take themselves to seriously. Will look out for this. Nice preview
ViddaXondi's picture
I'll give this a try, always liked kart racing games..even the bad ones are fun.

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