Ever since the fateful day in 1992 when gamers took control of Mario and chums in a racing game, the kart racing genre has been defined by the Mario Kart series. Many have tried to usurp the throne, with everyone from Crash Bandicoot to Pyramid Head trying to get in on the act, but so far the house of Nintendo continues to track the throne.
One game that came closer than most however was Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing. Released a couple of years back, it basically took the Nintendo formula and mixed it up with a little cross-franchise loving in the vein of Super Smash Bros and the earlier Sega Superstars Tennis. It featured fan service including Ryo from Shenmue driving his forklift truck, and a Billy Hatcher themed track, gaining decent review scores and respectable sales along the way.
It still wasn’t enough to finally hammer the Mario Kart series however, although along with Little Big Planet Karting, its recently announced sequel provides the best hope of success this year.
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is the name of the title which will be available for PS3, 360, PC, 3DS and Vita later this year. New racers include Gilius Thunderhead from Golden Axe and Vyse from Skies of Arcadia (further hinting that a digital version of that RPG will be available soon perhaps?) and a Panzer Dragoon track will also make an appearance which sounds, frankly, epic. The ‘transformed’ part of the title is due to the racing vehicles being adapted for traveling on water and in the water, in a further move inspired by the Mario Kart series.
“Given the fantastic feedback we received from critics and consumers alike for the first game we really wanted to push the boundaries on our follow-up game, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed” said the Global Sonic Brand Director David Corless. “The transforming vehicles allow us to do this – as well as drifting your car around the corners of a track, you get to fly your plane and pilot your boat against others all within one race. Add to this a grid full of star characters, retro IP, fun, fast race modes and cool tracks and racing fans of all ages are sure to love this one!”
With Sonic 4 Episode II looking great, and Sonic Generations proving a big hit last year, it seems the blue blur may be enjoying a bit of a renaissance. Judge for yourself whether he succeeds when Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed launches later in 2012, and check out the trailer below.