Aliens vs. Predator.
Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing.
It didn't take a genius to see that something was amiss at Sega's E3 booth. Veritable mountains of blood and boobs were countered only by a small, cutesy, and sadly neglected group of PlayStations running the latest build of a redundantly-titled game in which Sonic the Hedgehog engages in a good, clean kart race against the likes of Eggman and Samba de Amigo.
Ashley Davis and I, for reasons truly unknown to both of us, decided that this should be the final game we played at E3.
You can find our impressions after the jump.
Anthony: Did you ever play Sega Superstars Tennis? I guess Sumo, the guys behind that, made Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing.
Ashley: I never did, but I don't know why I haven't. I absolutely love "unrealistic" tennis games a-la Mario Tennis, and I have a big soft spot in my heart for Sega characters.
Similarly, I love "unrealistic" racers like Mario Kart, so why would I not love a kart racer with Sega characters?
Anthony: Because some of those Sega characters haven't been in particularly good games for quite some time.
Ashley: I can't argue that, but still. I got to play as Samba! His kart was shaped like a maraca!
Anthony: I played as Sonic.
Which was exactly as exciting as my punctuation would imply.
Sonic & Sega All Stars Racing didn't have anyone at all gathered around it, and after trying out the demo, I can see why. It's not the best Mario Kart influenced racing game ever.
Anthony: The controls weren't great. Everytime I tried to drift, Sonic started spazzing out.
Though maybe my muscle memory was just too reliant on Mario Kart Wii.
Ashley: There didn't seem to be a big variety of weapons either. The whole time, I only got two different things: a speed boost, and a special weapon.
Like Mario Kart Double Dash!!, the special weapons differ from character to character. For Samba, it causes him to dance in his seat to some funky music, making all the racers around him slow down to dance along.
Anthony: And Sonic gets Chaos Emeralds, which turn him into Super Sonic.
I just now got that pun.
Ashley: Hah, me too!
That's sad. I've only had 16 years to get that.
Anthony: I didn't even heard his name until, like, a year ago.
I don't consider myself a better person for it.
But, yeah. I mean, one thing I really, really dug about this game was that the characters seemed to have a lot more personality and animation to them than, say, Mario Kart characters.
Which is weird, because I'm totally unfamiliar with most Sega characters.
But when Sonic would boost, he'd jump out of his car, stand on the hood, and give a thumbs up or something.
I thought that was, at least visually, quite cool.
Ashley: I can agree with that. The course designed to look like an updated Green Hill Zone made me smile as well.
But there's really not too much to get excited about with this game. The demo didn't show off too much content, nor did it ever get frantic and fun like a Mario Kart race would. We both easily won our respective races.
Anthony: Yeah. I was in first place, and I suddenly got another Chaos Emerald and boosted ahead WAY in front of the AI.
I mean, I've bitched about Mario Kart Wii's rubberband item system, but this almost felt like it went too far in the other direction.
Ashley: It seems like items are given out without any discretion, just luck of the draw.
Anthony: Which I can respect, generally, but goodness -- if I'm in first place, don't let me rape the competition THAT hard again.
I did get a few more items than you, thought. I got a big bubble that surrounded my kart and seemed to slow me down at the expense of absorbing one type of damage, and a three-pack of exploding mines that basically acted like less-accurate green shells.
Ashley: Those mines looked a lot like the robot fish that jump out of the water in Emerald Hill. Which was pretty cool.
By the way, Tails was not playable in the demo, but it seems that his plane does not ever go off of the ground. This is very sad, considering that in the trailer, it gave off hints of a Diddy Kong Racing-esque racer.
Land, ground, and possibly sea vehicles would have given the game the bit of variety it needs.
To make it more than mediocre, anyway.
Anthony: You know what? I kind of wish that someone could make a game that combines the character of this game with the not-lousy gameplay of something like Mario Kart.
I wouldn't mind racing Sega characters against Nintendo ones. If I'm going to fucking make them ski against one another in TWO Olympics games, why the hell can't a brother hit Sonic with a red shell?
Ashley: The way they're going, that doesn't seem like the impossible.
Anthony: I would quite enjoy that.
Ashley: To be honest, I think I would too. As much as it feels silly to admit to that.
Anthony: I don't think it's silly. No more silly than Mario and Sonic going goddamn fucking bobsled racing.
Ashley: I know, but I still feel like maybe the two worlds should stay seperate regardless. I have expressed the desire to keep non-Mario characters out of Mario Kart, so it seems a little hypocritical to say I would like Sega characters thrown in.
Maybe Sega just needs to shamelessly rip off just a little more.
Anthony: Sonic games need less originality. Been saying that shit for years.
Ashley: Overall, Sonic & Sega All Stars Racing wasn't one of the better games we played.
Anthony: It was not.
But it was a nice way to cool down after Bayonetta.
Ashley: It sure was. Something simple to cleanse the palate.