Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed review
Sonic and his friends takes on the tracks inspired by a number of games such as Jet Set Radio, Nights and Panzer Dragoon.
The title of the game implies the change to the series – throughout the race, your vehicle transform between being on wheels, on wings, and wearing a screw. The player can not change between them at will though – instead the tracks have transformation-portals that will prompt your vehicle to transform. This addition is what makes Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed the most diversified kart racer on the current market.
Other than the the transformation during race, it’s just another kart racer; power drifting, weapons, colourful worlds and cute animation all accompanied by an annoying announcer. The range of weapons includes drones (homing device), blowfish (mines), fireworks (non-homing missiles), and boosts. Tracks change as you progress in the race and also features boostpads so you don’t have to rely on grabbing one as power-up.
Special modes a la carte
There’s regular racing (including weapons) which is by far the most common one through the career mode, but there’s a bunch of special modes scattered throughout the map(I’m currently playing World Tour). For me, the most fun and inventive mode was “Traffic Attack” in which the player is presented for a time trial – reach the goal before the time ends. There’s heavy traffic on the track in form of ghost cars in different colors; green ones will keep their lane and speed, but the yellow ones will change lanes at unpredictable patterns – and blue represents the police trying to stop you by driving in front of you, making these to be the hardest to dodge. There’s of course more than this, but I think I’ll save some of it for you to experience yourself.
The console versions includes a little more than 20 different characters once you’ve unlocked them all – there’s around ten to choose from when you start the game. This includes Sonic, Tails and Amy which is of course the most obvious ones – but it’s not only characters from the Sonic universe starring in this game; characters and stages from Golden Axe, Panzer Dragoon and Skies of Arcadia is also present – Wii and X360 versions make use of the incorporated avatars on the platform, and the PC version (just released) features characters from Football Manager and Team Fortress 2 (the latter one has one vehicle, but the person in it changes dependent if you’re driving, sailing or flying).
Being serious about voices
While Sega managed to grab Danica Patrick to voice herself, they didn’t manage to get John C. Reilly (voicing Ralph from Wreck-it Ralph in the movie) to voice Ralph in the game. A quick, but not deep, research revealed that many characters in the game is voiced by the original actor – including Dennis Bateman voicing the Spy and Pyro in Team Fortress 2, and Kent Frick that voices B.D. Joe as he originally did in the Crazy Taxi game. IMDB lists two different persons voicing the Heavy from Team Fortress 2, one of them being the same person as in the original game which seems odd, but I guess there were two different people making the lines. The soundtrack is lovely, very suitable, and plays the theme from the game the current stage is based on, making for a nice touch.
All in all, this is a kart racer that is on par with the rest of the line-up in the genre out on the market, but tops many of them because of the variation the game offers with the during-race transformation. The inclusion of characters from different worlds is making it all that more fun – I would have loved to see more, like characters from a bunch of Pixar movies like Toy Story and How to Train Your Dragon. Using the weapons is very satisfying, especially when hitting from a long distance or just before finish line to grab first place by a nose. This game is excellent for any kart racing fan, and for a quick showdown between the boys over a beer.
Miss; Annoying announcer, but I guess this might be Sega’s trademark…
Need; The usual: More characters and more stages, and not just mirrored ones.