The world of SEGA
The 24 tracks available to race on take in iconic SEGA locations, from Sonic's Green Hill paradise to the murky Curien Mansion from The House of the Dead. The graphics are bright and colourful and each course has original music from the game it represents. In a nutshell, Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing is a love letter to fans of those classic games of the 1980s and 90s.
In the Collection section, you can browse those locations, characters and music tracks that you've unlocked and read up on their origins. Even the PlayStation Trophies get a nostalgic touch, with names like Streets of Rage and To Be This Good Takes AGES, referring to a clever marketing slogan from some years ago.
In single player mode, you can enter Grand Prix tournaments of four races each set across three difficulty levels. On top of that, there are 64 fun challenges that include collecting coins, shooting crabs with rocket powered boxing gloves and negotiating a maze of vases with a giant cat on a motorbike, trying not to break any of them.
Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing features 20 characters from the extensive SEGA back catalogue, each with their own unique vehicle. Not only do you have Sonic, Tails, Shadow and Dr. Eggman, you'll also discover characters from popular games such as Crazy and Taxi and Virtua Fighter, as well as cult favourites like Alex Kidd and Ryo from Shenmui.
Some characters are available from the outset while others can be purchased with the SEGA Miles you'll earn for completing races and challenges. They each have their own signature All-Star Move to upset opponents, such as Dr. Eggman's rockets and Amigo's infectious samba dance that forces rivals to focus on the beat and not on the road.
As you might expect from a racing game, the aim of the game in Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing is to cross the finish line first. However, getting there isn't quite so simple.
As opposed to brakes, you can initiate a drift as you enter each corner. The longer you drift, the greater the speed boost you get as you leave the bend so it's important to use this tactic as often as you can, even though it can leave you open to attack. The tracks wind, loop and climb to huge ramps and you can pull off tricks while airborne to gain yet another speed boost.
You can also collect items as you hurtle round and these include a variety of weapons, as well as shields and speed boosts to help you escape the pack. Generally, the further behind you are the more powerful the item, so even if you're in last place you could find yourself out in front within seconds. By far the most powerful weapons are the All-Star Moves. They are unique to each character and the best way to secure a place on the podium.
Fun with friends
You and your friends can gather round the TV and take each other on across any of the tracks in four player split screen races. Or, you can pit yourself against the best in online races for up to eight players.
If speed is your forte, you can take to any of the tracks on your own in Time Trial mode. This a race against the clock with no weapons and no limit to how many laps you can rack up. Your best times will be added to the online leaderboards and you can even download ghost replays of the best racers in the community and the game's developers, to really test your skills.