If Sonic was a celebrity, he'd be Macaulay Culkin: a few good years in his early career, a brief, perhaps fictional flirtation with Michael Jackson, then nothing but cocaine and Wrestlemania appearances for the rest of his life. Sonic's life hasn't been pretty, by almost anyone's definition, after Sonic 3: a couple almost good appearances (Sonic Adventure, Sonic Advance, I'm looking at you!) surrounded by a veritable pile of shit.
Then something funny happened. Nintendo, in their infinite wisdom, decided to reward Sega for all their hard work supporting the Wii by giving them a freebie: Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games. Mario was involved, copious copies were moved. Suddenly Sonic was viable again. It would be like Macaulay Culkin being cast in a zombie John Hughes movie (let's call it Forty Two Candles) and suddenly being successful again.
He was so successful, he got his own kart racer. This is where we come in, and we play the demo.
Sonic and Sega All Stars Racing
Let's be honest, here: Sonic and Sega All Stars racing is a bit of a misnomer. Sure, I've liked my share of Sega games in my day. Super Monkey Ball was a fun time. But, Sonic's basically all Sega has going for it, now that they've cut the naughty bits out of Yakuza 3. Honestly, besides Madworld, I can barely remember another Sega game, and I had a Dreamcast. And I only remember Madworld and the Dreamcast because of the amount of crying.
So let's fire this baby up. There's Tails in a plane! It's Emerald Island! I bet they want us to think that all Sega games take place on one tiny island, but I know better. You can't have nearly enough stock world types on one piddly island for a Sonic game, let alone anything else. And hey look! It's whatshisname, from that game I don't care about. Boy, a normal Japanese guy looks out of place surrounded by...a monkey. And another monkey. And a girl with pink hair. Actually, that's pretty normal for Japan. Sega's all-stars look like they got a random dude off the street, half the monkeys in China and a Japanese pop star. Sure. Not everyone can have dozens of acceptable characters. And wait, Tails has a plane. Of course he's going to win. Oh, no, wait. Sonic's going to win, and save everyone because he's just such a cool dude.
Okay, let's get to the...wait. Was that the announcer from Super Monkey Ball? I hope not. I sure hope not. That would just ruin my day. Seriously, he sounds like he should be announcing movies. I hope he goes away, and they just needed him to remind you you were playing Sonic and Sega All Stars Racing. I mean, how could you forget? It's hard to think you're just playing Generic Kart Racer X when you have this star-studded cast!
Single player it is! I can pick between...well, Sonic and Dr. Robotnik. This demo is fully featured, I see. I can pick the characters anyone would want to play as: the fat guy and the fastest thing alive. I wonder which one would be better at a race. The fat guy does have his charms, but I got to think the weight would get in the way. Sonic it is. And we'll race on...Rampart Road. From Billy Hatcher. Billy Hatcher is a game? I'm never going to remember this. His game will be Billy Mays, from now on. Goodnight, sweet prince.
Okay, Billy Mays Road from Billy Mays the Video Game. Hm. Looks cold. Nothing like this could possibly exist on Sega Island. I call bullshit. Okay, let's see. I'm racing against Dr. Robotnik, so he's coming in last. And Shadow. And hey, it's normal japanese man! And some monkeys! And Billy Mays himself! This'll be great!
Wait. The announcer's...like a thing? He's going to be here, and he's going to talk while we race? That's okay, I guess. I mean, I don't like his pleasing baritone, but someone's got to tell me when I corner beautifully. And hey, the tracks a rainbow! I wonder what The Wizard of Oz would be like if Billy Mays was Dorothy. No, Billy wouldn't be her. He'd be the Wizard, and she'd get there and he'd shout them all to death. Bravo, Billy.
And we're off...wait...wait. X is not accelerate. Why is X not accelerate! WHY IS X NOT ACCELERATE! None of these buttons work not square not triangle...R1. R1 works. Why is R1 accelerate? What kind of strange, perverse god would allow this? R1 is the shoot people in the face button, not the make your car go button. Whatever. We're in last, but we'll catch up.
Billy Mays is in the lead! God bless you, Billy Mays! Truly, may your game be long and glorious! Hey, I got some missiles. They work like red shells. Seems Sonic and Sega's All Stars remembered to take all the equipment from work when Nintendo got rid of them.
Let's go...dammit the track doesn't go that way the track ought to go off into the void of Sega Island! Wait. Fallout, announcer? Fallout? You are from Super Monkey Ball! Get back in your cage!
Of course I can't pass anyone, due to the Mario Kart Corollary: if you're doing awful, you get all the weapons. You use these weapons on the people adjacent to you, who then kill you, meaning advancement is impossible. Except it's worse here because everything is much more accurate and the computer doesn't forget where it is every ten seconds. They should make all children play Sonic and Sega All Stars Racing, just to teach them about how the real world works. You succeed a little bit, then someone with three missiles comes and screws you over, making your only option getting one missile and screwing him over.
Hold on! Hold on! Chaos emeralds? Does this mean! We! Could! Go! All! The! Way! I'm so happy, I'll forgive the announcer for the “When you're in all star no one can hear you scream!” Seriously, that guy's gonna keep talking, huh? He's like that friend who sits behind you and never shuts up and doesn't know what video game you're playing anyway. He thinks you're playing Bomberman and wonders why you don't drop bombs all the time. Except Bomberman isn't even a Sega character, and I'm clearly Sonic. Though Sonic would clean up in Bomberman. He's so fast, he could trap people in corners like it was nothing.
And...it's over. Final tally: some stupid monkey in first, Billy Mays in last (apparently he died mid-race. May choirs of angels sing to you in Heaven), myself in sixth. Wonderful. Hey, I got Sega Miles. They're like regular miles on your odometer, except if I just drove 1000 miles I would have been going over 10000 miles per hour, and when you go over 3000 miles you don't have to replace the disk. You might have to replace the xbox, but that's neither here nor there.
And that's it, folks. This fully featured demo gave me about five minutes of gameplay and a two minute cinematic, all for 800 megabytes of storage space! It took longer to install than to play!
You want a grade for it? Okay. I'll give you a grade. I give you a B. You had trouble with some of the big words, but you got this far, I'd say you're ready to pass the fourth grade. Seriously, the game was less bad than it could have been, but that's like finding an edible pie in the trash. Sure, it's edible, but...there's been a sock on it for six hours and some of the sock flavor has to have seeped in.
Sonic and Sega All Stars: a trash sock pie.
(Lucas Says lots of things. He's the head of the Demo Team, which is unrelated to The A Team. He tends to do his own thing in his space, thebookburner.wordpress.com, and posts here when he writes about video games. He wishes he had a sultry enough voice and the technological know-how to produce his vitriol in video form, but alas.)
(All pictures stolen shamelessly from this very site, and one from wikipedia! They add very little!)