Why does the female hedgehog get the car?
I can understand that Dr. Robotnik uses the hovercar because he's a low down dirty cheater, but what about, uh, what's her name again? Oh yeah, Amy. Anyway, the plot to this game is simple. Dr. Robotnik has discovered the location of the Chaos Emeralds, and plans to take them again. So, he tricks Sonic into joining a race, the winner getting the precious gems. Tails follows Sonic because, well, Tails is a sheep. Knuckles decides he should join the race to prove that he is the best. And Amy? She overheard Robotnik's plans and decided to help. Make any sense? Nah, didn't make any sense to me either. Why didn't this Robotnik fella just get the gems without involving Sonic at all? The only person who overheard him was Amy, and she's just Sonic's girlfriend. At least they're no longer on the island of the flickies . . .
I used to really like Sonic. I've played every game that has borne his name. I even liked the vastly unpopular Sonic Spinball, but the Sonic games offered for the Saturn so far have been mediocre at best. One of the first titles expected for the Saturn was a 3D interactive Sonic game. Sega teased us with the museum addition to Sonic Jam. Unfortunately, with the release of Sonic R, I have lost all hope that such a game will ever exist.
The graphics for Sonic R are rather nifty. You have free reign to run anywhere in the 3D arena. You can even ignore the track all together. There are a lot of things that you can find in your journeys, but finding them means giving up winning the race. The water effect is by far the best looking thing in the game. With the ability to make crisp graphics like these, where is the 3D Sonic game we've been dreaming about?
The gameplay is mediocre at best. Set up like your basic, run-of-the-mill racing game, there is a start and a finish. The goal is to get from one to the other in the shortest time possible. Sound easy? Yea, right. In Sonic R there are several different ways to travel, some significantly shorter than others. Why, you ask, would you not always take the shortest route? Well, the aforementioned nifty things are secrets that you have to find in order to open up special areas and tracks. So that means that you have to race each track over and over in order to find everything you need. I thought the point of a racing game was to come in first?
Now, I can't be complaining about the game if I don't mention the music. Whoever sang the music should be shot. Actually, the singer was just trying to make a buck, so you can't blame her. Whoever wrote the song should be shot, burned alive at the stake, brought back to life, cut into many tiny pieces, and fed to carnivorous slugs. Sound like overkill? You haven't heard the music. With lyrics like "Can you feel the sunshine brighten up your day," you feel like Disney has suddenly taken over the world and Gestapo mice are forcing you to smile all the time. Trust me, it's not a pretty sight.
Of course I forgot to mention the most difficult part of the game, the control. Wily and inexact, I found myself plummeting off the course into a pool of water more times than I'd like to admit. While it does take awhile to get used to, I'd like to take this moment to rant. If I had to name the best game controller ever made for a home console system, the award would go to the 3D NiGHTS controller. Why Sega promptly ignored the many benefits this controller has to offer after its release, I will never know. So far, no game since NiGHTS has used the controller effectively. When 3D games like Croc and Sonic R abound, it's amazing that the controller has gone almost completely unnoticed.
So, the goal of the game is a little different than normal racing games. We here at Game Revolution promote variation and love things that are different, just so long as they are fun. I found that I could not really sit down with this game because it is sooo different. I could never play the game long enough to find all the Choas Emeralds and stop Robotnik from ruling the world. Unless you think you can do better against his scheming ways, I don't recommend that you buy this game. Being a subject of an evil dictator isn't all bad; at least the trains run on time.