The general consensus seems to be that Mario reigns supreme in the land of kart racing games, but here at Everybody Plays, we think there's another contender for the title. While both games are essentially very similar pick one of the popular Sega characters, jump in a car and race round an elaborate, game themed track pelting each other with power-ups and weapons Sega All-Stars Racing struck a chord with us, and not just thanks to it's heavy dose of Sega nostalgia. Dare we say it, it was possibly better than Mario Kart when it came to the single-player, with its range of challenges to complete like collecting bananas, beating up zombies and squishing cats while rolling on top of a giant egg which were a world away from Mario's stricter 'Grand Prix' four race cups.
But now comes the news we've all been waiting for - literally, when it comes to the staff at Everybody Plays, as Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing is getting a sequel - and now it has a slightly streamlined name too - in the form of Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. Much like the first game, the sequel will feature the same all-star cast of characters from Sega's franchises both past and present from staples like Sonic, Robotnik and Monkey Ball's AiAi to the less familiar not-had-a-game-for-a-while Beat from Jet Set Radio, Space Channel 5's Ulala and forklift-truck driving Ryo Hazuki from our Editor's favourite, Shenmue. But there'll also be a few new faces too, such as air pirate Vyse from Skies of Arcadia and Golden Axe's beardy dwarf, Gilius as well as tracks themed after some other old Sega favourites like Panzer Dragoon Saga.
The 'transformed' part of the title alludes to the new transforming vehicles each character will have to take them through the multi-terrain courses, so you'll automatically switch from your normal car to a jet-ski-eque version for bouncing over the waves to one with wings for rocketing through the skies perhaps as Sega's take on Mario Kart 7's multi-terrain, customisable karts.
There's been a couple of other changes too, although these are a little bit more worrying. One of the best parts of Sonic and SEGA All-Stars Racing was just how close the races always were. The weapons pick-ups had been tweaked to award the people at the back the best power ups, while the people in first were forced to survive with the worst ones going, which helped keep the whole field a lot more tightly packed, and meant you were never really out of the race - a single power up was all you needed to turn it round. In many races, it was anyone's guess as to who'd win until you rounded the final corner. In the new Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed, though, things are a little bit different. As before, your All Star move, a rather fancy power-up that usually gets awarded to the person in last place in order to help them plough through the field returns, but this time, you seemingly have to earn it by filling a bar, by pulling off stylish racing manoeuvres or taking more risks. This is then coupled with a revamped weapons system that'll let you block or evade any weapons fired at your car once you've gained the skills to do so, whatever that might mean. While we're going to give Sega the benefit of the doubt here, we're hoping these alterations won't make the races as one-sided as they sound, with those in front (and therefore the most skilled) ending up even further in front, as they'll likely have learnt how to dodge everything that gets fired at them, and can repeatedly fire off All-Star moves, while those at the back don't stand a chance...
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (which is still more long winded than SEGA Superstars Racing, which is what it should be...) races onto the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC, as well as the Playstation Vita and 3DS, later this year. There's no word of a Wii version as yet, but with the Electronic Entertainment Expo a few weeks away and the new Nintendo WiiU console waiting in the wings, we wouldn't want to rule out a Nintendo console version just yet. Keep those fingers crossed, and check out the trailer below. In the mean time, altogether now - "Everybody's Super Sonic Racing, try to keep your feet right on the ground!"