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E3 2012 | Sega Transforms Kart Racing

Posted on June 7, 2012 AT 07:15pm

Still to this day, one of my most fondly remembered game consoles was my Dreamcast.  The long history that Sega had as a first party led to a host of games that stretched both the limits of awesome and strange.  Sonic & All Stars Racing: Transformed has gone deep into the developers past and pulled out some old favorites and maybe even some you’ve forgotten into a formidable kart racing game.

One of the major things that caught my eye with this game was the immense amount of content they pulled from.  With twelve characters playable in the demo, there were still several gray boxes left unfilled on the screen, which means there’ll be even more come release.  Sonic, Tails, Beat from Jet Set Radio, Amigo from Samba de Amigo and Vyse from Skies of Arcadia were just a few of the playable characters in the demo.  Being a huge Skies of Arcadia fan, I had no choice but to race as Vyse.  The tracks themselves were also huge nostalgia pieces and were themed after Sega games old and new.  Golden Axe, Super Monkey Ball and Panzer Dragoon all had their own level to race through.

For this game, after Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, they’ve completely redone the racing engine.  The reason for this is the new ability for karts to fly or glide across the water during the race.  Each track lists what kind of racing will be involved and can sometimes even consist of land, air and water racing.  As you progress through the race, the tracks has a bunch going on in the background.  In the Panzer Dragoon stage, a bridge gets taken out during one of your laps as you’re gliding across the water underneath it and during your next lap you transition to air racing as you fly off the edge of the broken bridge.  It does a great job of keeping each lap a bit more fresh and keeping the player on their toes.  As you glide across the water, waves can also send you bouncing up into the air, which can  slow you down or give you a boost in certain situations.

The new racing engine feels really good and, once you get the hang of it, gets to be pretty fun.  There’s nothing particularly surprising about it, but it gets the job done.  You can use the gas and brake simultaneously to slide around corners or do a barrel roll in the air.  Items can be picked up along the way and consisted of snowballs to hurl at enemies, boosts and a baseball mitt to act as a shield.  The visuals in the game looked great and I especially loved seeing all those past Sega franchises in these dynamic tracks.  The transformation sequence for the vehicles as you entered the different sections were also a lot of fun to watch and kind of gave a Transformers vibe.

If you’re a fan of Sega’s past games and you dig kart racing, this is definitely one to check out when it releases later this year on Xbox 360, Wii U, PS3, PS Vita, 3DS and Windows.  I’m still hoping I’ll get to race as a zombie from House of the Dead.


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