This is not an announcement that Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is being renamed Gilius Thunderhead & All-Stars Racing Transformed. I wish, because Gilius Thunderhead is the greatest Sega character of all time, and his inclusion in the sequel to Sega's surprisingly solid crossover racer is definitely reason to celebrate.
If I could be quite honest, Transformed is looking pretty badass.
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And the above is why it's so badass.
That is the skeleton from the stage select screen of the original Golden Axe, and he overlooks the Golden Axe-themed track. You fly over pools of lava and dodge stalactites before driving through Death Adder's foyer. It's really amazing and makes you forget all about the stinky poo that was Beast Rider.
The other two levels on hand for the demo were Super Monkey Ball and Panzer Dragoon courses. In addition to Gilius, Joe Musashi from Shinobi and Vyse from Skies of Arcadia were playable. And for some reason, NASCAR driver Danica Patrick will be playable in the final build, riding in a Sega-emblazoned vehicle that she will be driving for real later this year.
The transforming vehicles really mix up the gameplay. Remember Diddy Kong Racing? It's like that, only you drive multiple vehicles during the same race. No two laps are the same, as the dynamic environment constantly opens up new paths or forces the use of a different vehicle. It keeps you on your toes, but it also ensures that a course is never boring.
Transformed is flat-out fun. It's mascot kart racing, but it's done so well. I'm burned out on Mario Kart, but I could get into Transformed. It was so easy to pick up! I played two tracks on medium difficulty and the last on hard, and I came in first place each time. I pretty much shamed Sega with my skills.
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed will release later this year for 360, PS3, Wii U, PC, Vita, and 3DS. Yeah, you've got options.