Game Review

Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by James Newton

Pocket rocket

Just like the Wii version, Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing on DS is up against some stiff competition, but as with its bigger brother manages to carve out a fine racing line for itself.

One remarkable aspect of the DS version is how faithful it is to the home console version. All the characters, cups and unlockables are present, meaning you can take Shenmue's Ryo Hazuki on the road, and with the Sega Miles rewards system in place there’s plenty to keep you returning.

Graphically the game naturally suffers compared to the Wii version but the clever course design limits the amount of pop-up and the framerate, although not quite as consistently smooth as Mario Kart, keeps the game moving at a high pace. The character models are decently detailed and the stages are bright and well-textured, and the DS version benefits from an onscreen map that the Wii version could have used in certain parts. The music is also of a good quality, with even Sonic R’s infamous vocal tracks sounding good pumped through the DS’s speakers.

The DS cart boasts 24 courses, the same number as the Wii version, and although many are near-identical there are significant differences in some layouts that make them feel fresh even for those who’ve mastered all cups in the other version. That said, they’re all based on the same games and stages as the Wii edition, so there’s still no sign of OutRun, Daytona USA or other classic SEGA titles: if it’s not in the Wii version, it’s not here.

But, as we said, there’s plenty in the Wii version available here too. Online play is smooth and speedy for the most part, although the matchmaking side of things is a little slow, as in the Wii version. Matches themselves seem to suffer from very little lag, there’s a distinct lack of snaking (at the time of writing, at least) and, most importantly, the weapons seem to be much more well-balanced, meaning you should avoid those frustrating finish line Blue Shell incidents.

Those of you who prefer solo play will no doubt enjoy the Mission mode that offers sixty different challenges that are completely different to those on Wii, with a different scoring mechanic that relies on stars instead of AAA rankings. They’re still as fiendishly difficult as those on Wii though, so only truly expert racers will make it to the top of the pile with ten-star ratings in the bag. It adds a huge amount of longevity and is perfect for learning advanced skills in a manner reminiscent of the classic Crazy Taxi’s Crazy Box mode.

Although lacking the analogue control of its Wii brethren, the DS version handles fantastically, with a pleasing feel to the drift that proves Sumo’s undoubted mastery of the racing genre. In fact, there’s something about the game’s handling that almost feels better on DS, perhaps the accuracy of the controls or the use of triggers to drift, but there’s never any doubt that this game belongs on the DS and truly excels in the handheld format.

Conclusion

As with the Wii version, Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing may not do anything especially new in the character racing genre but it handles well, looks good and offers stacks of reasons to return. Whether multi- or single-player there’s plenty to recommend All-Stars Racing to handheld racing fans, and it even perhaps narrowly eclipses the already-excellent Wii version.

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User Comments (27)

Fuzzy

#1

Fuzzy said:

I played the demo recently and they have certainly done an impressive job. Good review. I might pick this up soon.

Odnetnin

#3

Odnetnin said:

Thank you for reviewing this, James! I've been torn between the DS and Wii versions, and now I think I'll go with this one.

LEGEND_MARIOID

#4

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

Thanks.

I got both the ds and wii versions of this game and I can myself confirm they are both marvelous

advance_melee

#5

advance_melee said:

My Review: 8.1

My review is base off playing my friends copy. I dont have the game but I got to play it for a good while and it was actually better than I expected. Its not Mario Kart, but its a new experience. Try it out

pixelman

#6

pixelman said:

Played the demo and it handled amazingly well. I'll snag a copy when the price drops. :3

Yosher

#9

Yosher said:

I've played the demo of this one too and I was honestly surprised by how well it played. A bit too item-based if you ask me, like Mario Kart Wii, but still seems like quite an enjoyable game. I might get this for a fair price sometime!

Kid_A

#11

Kid_A said:

Snaking is a skill, though. It takes a lot of practice and timing--the online itself was fairly disappointing, though.

pixelman

#12

pixelman said:

@Od: Nope, but if you want to race me some time I'm up for some Excitebots action. :3

Lonnie2Hottie

#13

Lonnie2Hottie said:

I got this last night and played for like 2 1/2 hours. It's really a great racer. I agree with the score and would reccommend this to racer fans. Oh yeah, Samba rules!!

suburban_sensei

#14

suburban_sensei said:

I was dead set on getting the PS3 version, however I am trying to budget my money a bit better. I saw this on goozex, and I had enough points for it, and after playing the demo off the Nintendo Channel, I almost liked the DS version the best. The fact it's portable and the handling felt great, I am pleased to be getting it for free, basically. :) I may get the PS3 version later down the road, but for now, this version seems really well done.

Supermegaman

#15

Supermegaman said:

This actually looks like a better buy than the wii version suprisingly!
I already have such great racers as MKW and excitebots for the wii, but my ds racing games are limited to MKDS which i believe to be overshadowed by the amazing wii one. I think ill try out the nintendo channel demo soon so i can comfirm the awesome.
And what is snaking? I am confused...

Vinsanity

#17

Vinsanity said:

I gotta say that Outrun actually is in there in spirit. If you unlock the Virtua Fighters as racers, Akira and Jacky drive around in the car from Outrun:)

This game is fantastic. Sumo digital nailed the racing model on every SKU (I own the Wii version, and played the demos for the DS and PS3 SKU), and the SEGA style is in full effect. It even has some of the music from Sonic R! Also known as some of the best music ever put to disc - Richard Jaques from Travellers' Tale is one of the most underrated game composers of all time:D

The wii version is awesome, and better than Mario Kart Wii because it's much MUCH better balanced and features more content and better visuals. But Mario Kart DS is still the best in that series; I'm happy with it as is. I needed a cart racer on Wii, but if I need another one for DS, I'll happily pick this up.

Then again...ModNation Racers IS coming to PSP as well as PS3...

KanrakusPizza

#19

KanrakusPizza said:

Great game, great review, but Im still going to stick to my Mario Kart DS. Besides, I have enough racing games already.

Saber

#20

Saber said:

lame

another dumb boring sonic game, its gonna suck, they haven't been good since sonic battle 2 like 13 yrs ago

28greg

#22

28greg said:

I want to get this but only if it has good online multiplayer the ign review says that it has a hugley restrictive track list but I want something more specific then that so could someone tell me in detail what the online mutiplayer is like?

sonic_brawler95

#23

sonic_brawler95 said:

Just picked this up new for 20 bucks. Great game, too bad my DS doesn't work with my internet anymore, otherwise I would be all over the online play. :/

xPOTATOx

#24

xPOTATOx said:

I just ordered this with my christmas money, and when I saw this review, it made me even more excited for it. Hope it comes soon :D

xPOTATOx

#25

xPOTATOx said:

Just got this game hours ago and have been playing it since. This game is awesome, they really did do an amazing job. The wifi is very cool. The game is HIGHLY better than Mario Kart DS, it seems as if they took Mario Kart and took everything out of it that made the game bad, and added better features. Mario Kart is 35 bucks, and this game is even better with a price of only 18 bucks!!! What a great deal! If your thinking about this game, buy it. AWESOME. By the way, this should be rated 9, not 8. Mario Kart DS should be 8 instead of 9.

atariman

#27

atariman said:

I have to agree with that review on Nintendo Life. 8/10 sounds right. not as good as the wii version.

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