Review by Adamant

"Strictly for kids"

First of all - if you're over ten, this game is not for you. No, not because of the theme, Sonic is good fun for all ages. Hell, I'm 18, and I love the series. No, the problem is the fact that this game is extremely simple, dull, and unexciting. Kids, however, will find it a fun little game that is easy to master, and contain a lot of well-known characters. Let's start picking this game apart, shall we?

Story -
Sonic and friends go racing. Select your favourite character, and win races. (Wait, why isn't Knuckles in the game? He's much more popular that Amy. And Tails, most likely. Hell, probably Eggman too.)
Yeah, it's a racing game. They don't need plots. If they have a plot, it tends to be stupid anyway (like that Mickey racer for N64. What does racing your friends have to do with rescuing Pluto?)

Graphics -
Just like every single handheld racer pre-GBA (well, I haven't played any GBA racers, so this is just based on pictures I've seen), the field of view is split in two. At the top, you see the background, at the bottom, you see the track. The track is completely flat, and has two colors that alternate every meter. This creates the feeling that the track is moving, while you're standing still. Then again, this was to be expected. There's also a map that takes up part of the screen, but it doesn't make the screen feel cramped or anything, so that's okay.
The only problem I see is that the characters doesn't look very good. Especially Amy is hard to recognize from behind.

Music -
Pretty Sonic music. Yay. Okay, I'm not good at describing music, but I liked the soundtrack.

Gameplay -
Okay, what do we have here?
3 tournaments, each with 6 tracks (oddly, the 6 tracks in each tournament has the same name. They're not the same track, though). There are also two levels of difficulty, Normal and Hard. The only difference I spotted was that your opponents seem faster on Hard.
After choosing your tournament, you get to choose which of the four characters you want to play as. The choice is between Sonic, Tails, Eggman and Amy (again, where is Knuckles?)
Select your character, and it's time to race on the 6 tracks, collecting points. Get first, and you'll get 3 points. Second place give 2 points, and third give 1 point. If you have the most points at the end of the 6th track, you win the game.
Now, each track is full of curves (the design seems pretty random, and the tracks aren't sorted after difficulty. The name of the track (they're named after the 6 zones in the first Sonic game) has nothing to do with the track either, except the color scheme and background.), which you have to "drift" through. Since the GG only has two buttons, the brake button is also used for drifting. But be careful, if you drift too much, you'll spin and lose both a ring and some speed.
Littered around the tracks are various objects that give you special powers. The red object gives you a boost, the blue gives you a temporary shield (not too useful, but if you hit the obstacles right outside the track, you won't crash), and the yellow makes you jump (stops you from spinning, if you was doing that at the moment. Otherwise, it's worthless). There are also rings scattered around, which can be collected and used to pay for your character's special ability. This ability costs 2 rings to use, and is activated by pushing up (yeah, only two buttons). Now here is where the game falls apart. The abilities are as following:

Sonic gets a boost.
Tails jumps.
Eggman fires some bomb that's impossible to hit with.
Amy leaves a heart on the track. If someone drives over it, something happens (I think they slow down slightly. For about 2 seconds.)

Well, as you see, all the abilities except Sonics are totally worthless. So much for balancing the characters (apart from their abilities, they're identical).

That's not the only flaw with the game, though. The game is also way too easy. Your opponents are way too slow to be a threat. The drifting is easy to do, so you'll stay on track most of the time (and even if you spin a lot, your opponents are too slow to catch up anyway.) I beat this in about half an hour, doing all three tournaments on Normal first, then switching to hard (which is anything BUT hard) and did the last tournament once more. I won all tournaments on my first try, and finished first in almost all races. Add in the fact that I'm not good at racing games AT ALL,and you see how easy this game is.
Some harder difficulty choices might've made it better, but now, you could beat this on your way home from the store. Which isn't a good thing.

Multiplayer -
Yay, we have multiplayer. Handheld multiplayer isn't exactly my favourite, since you need two consoles and two games. Add in the fact that this game isn't any fun in the first place, and you'll be looking far for a challenger. But at least you can play multiplayer on the emulated game on Sonic Adventure DX for GC.
-it's not fun.
Choose Sonic, and you win. Yep. Even if you agree on not using Sonic, the stage design is still dull and uninspired. Besides, there are better handheld racers out there that are decent in both single- and multiplayer.

Final verdict -
2/10
Too easy.
Too boring.
Too unbalanced.
Kids might have fun with it, but I sure didn't.


Reviewer's Score: 2/10 | Originally Posted: 08/04/04


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