From what I can see, this game failed to attain better write-ups due to the following factors:
- It's derivative (specifically, a rip-off of Mario Kart)
- It is a kart racer that does not feature Mario, or characters from the Super Mario franchise
- Mario Kart was released before S&SASR
If you take my point, and kart racers are a sub-genre of racing games, then it would be accepted that there would be some common features to games of this genre (or sub-genre as it were):
- A cast of characters, usually related to a particular franchise (not usually racers themselves)
- Vehicles that reflect particular aesthetic and/or physical characteristics of cast members
- An arsenal of weapons, passive items and power-ups that are intended to balance the race in relation to each competitors place (meaning the further behind you are, the better weapons/abilities you receive)
- Tracks that feature hazards independent of the weapons/items/abilities that competitors can obtain during the race. These tracks are usually inspired by levels or locations specific to a cast member's source game.
The criticisms I am prepared to level at Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing are:
- You can not play through Grand Prix with more than one player (split screen or online)
- There are no mirror tracks
- The majority of weapons and power-ups fail to draw inspiration from the source material: The most obvious example, players can obtain a shield that protects them from one hit/hazard. The designers could have used the bubble from the Sonic series (which protected players from one hit/hazard).
- The All-Star Powers have severe balance issues: Jacky Bryant's All-Star Power is essentially turbo auto-pilot for as much as half a lap. By comparison, Beat's ability obscures the view of your competitors but doesn't offer any noticeable boost in speed.
- Seriously, they include Big the Cat and Amy but no Shinobi or Wonder Boy?: Casting fail
Dutch note: The end of financial year games sales are hitting their straps now. For any of you who were waiting for Lost Planet 2 to get cheaper, EBGames is now selling the Collector's Edition (with an adorable Akrid figurine) for half price. The latest Prince of Persia game has also been reduced to half price. I don't know when those specials expire so if that interests you, be sure to check it out. The GAME website (and stores according to a friend) also had a fire sale last Friday which I was lucky enough to pick up on. Keep your eyes peeled people, there are plenty of bargains out there for gamers on a budget (even those of us who can't adhere to a budget).