Back in the heady days of the SEGA versus Nintendo console wars there was much debate over who was superior Sonic the Hedgehog or Mario. While the debate still rages to this day, there's one thing that's never been in any doubt who was the fastest. The answer is, was and will always be Sonic. Why, then, have we been seeing the tubby little plumber belt around race tracks in karts for years, while we've had to wait since Sonic Drift on the Game Gear to get a new kart outing for the spiky blue speedster? Well, the wait is over thanks to Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing.
The formula is pretty straight-forward jump into a kart and shoot around the track, grabbing power-ups, tricking and drifting to victory. While Sonic might be hogging the game's title, he's far from the only SEGA star in the game. As well as the blue blur players will find (among others) Tails, Amy Rose, Shadow, Dr. Eggman from the world of Sonic and Billy Hatcher (he of the giant egg), Amigo from Samba De Amigo, Aiai of Super Monkey Ball rolling notoriety, and Shenmues Ryo Hazuki.
Each kart is designed to suit its racer Aiai does his thing in a giant banana, Billy, of course, rolls around in a giant egg while Ryo sits abreast a motorbike.
There are power-ups galore on the SEGA-themed tracks fairly standard items such as boxing gloves and rockets complement a more bizarre array of tools at your disposal that includes rainbows that get in competitors' eyes and shooting stars that will turn their screens upside down. Most important of all is the All-Star power-up a magic bullet that's sure to bump you up a few places and themed to match your rider. Sonic, for example, goes Super-Sonic, while Dr Eggman's kart will sprout wings equipped with a massive arsenal to take out the competition.
The game wouldn't be complete, of course, without a multiplayer mode. You'll be able to race against up to three of your friends. It's not kart racing if you can't earn bragging rights against your mates.
Yes, we're as baffled as you by the fact that the world's fastest hedgehog even needs a kart, but never mind that - get those engines revved!