Review by XGlite015

Reviewed: 05/22/03 | Updated: 05/22/03

This ain't no Mario Kart 64!

A true 3D sonic game has never made it to the Sega Saturn, for years now saturn owners have been craving for a sonic game. Sure the saturn have Sonic 3D Blast but it's not really accepted by most saturn owner mainly because it's just a port of the genesis game with slightly better graphics and some 3D polygonal bonus stage. Then there's Sonic Jam, a compilation of Sonic the hedgehog, Sonic 2, Sonic 3, and Sonic and Knuckles. It received a warm welcome to most sonic fans with its well-presented Sonic museum, a collection of sonic history, sketches, arts, music, and video clips but the main attraction was a full 3D sonic world used to navigate the museum. It is a small environment but sonic fans liked it, a preview of what a 3D sonic game would look like and they craved more. Enter Sonic R, a fully 3D Sonic game, with polygonal environment and really nice graphics but it's not what people expected it to be.

Sonic R is a 3D racing game developed by Traveller's Tales and published by Sega. It is a racing game like Mario Kart 64. Sonic R is a great showcase of what the Saturn can do when it comes to 3D graphics but the game itself failed to impress me.

Graphically, Sonic R is impressive, never before have I seen as Saturn game feature 3D polygons with clean textures, you'll barely notice pixelated structures here. And the transparency effects on waterfalls and structures are not seen on the saturn before. The Sonic characters are also 3D and designed well and the animation is superb. This is really proof that the saturn can do 3D graphics very well with the right programming know-how. Music is okay, it's just that the music and its lyrics is so happy, the kind of music that's embarassing to listen to in the car especially if other teen see you listening to it. It's cheesy like a children's show music but fits the game, some people might like it but the majority might not. Sound is typical Sonic, the same sounds you hear from the past sonic games like when you get a ring, lose a ring, jump on a spring, etc. Gameplay is the same as Mario kart and Crash kart, except that you run on foot and some characters have vehicles. The problem is it's not as fun as mario kart, there are no weapon or item to pick-up to use on the other racers and the lack of more tracks only lessen the replay value. There are characters who can use a blaster(powered by rings collected) from their vehicles but they are not very useful and not as fun as shrinking another racer(mario kart item). Most of the time you'll just towards the finish line as fast as you can, using dash power-ups or shortcuts. So what about replay value? there are unlockable characters by finding hidden icons throughout the levels, but after you've done that there's not much to do. With only 5 tracks in total, you might not play this game again after unlocking everything. Two player races are not fun because the lack of items you can use against your opponent. You could just explore the 3D environments to see the sights and sounds of this 3D sonic world and for familiarity but after all that is done, there's not much you can do.

Overall, Sonic R is not a bad game, it just lacks the fun, variety, and depth of Mario kart 64. It deserves an above average score because it's fun for awhile and it's a great showcase of the saturn's 3D capabilities.

Rating:   3.0 - Fair

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