Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing > Mario Kart Wii
Sumo Digital, the developer of this game has done really good job with previous Sega titles they developed. This is no different. Calling this game a better game than Mario Kart Wii might not be fair since Mario Kart Wii was released two years before Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing. And although this game is a more or less a blatant clone there still enough reasons to buy this game. Especially if you are fond of Sega's characters.
As with any Mario Kart you are given roster of characters to choose from. These characters being from old Sega games naturally. You get the obvious (and not so obvious) Sonic characters, such as the blue man himself, his yellow tailed partner and Doctor Ivo "Eggman" Robotnic. And as well AiAi, Amigo, Beat and Alex Kidd to name few. Each character has only one vehicle compared to Mario Kart. There are 24 different tracks in the game all having theme from a old Sega games as well. The premises is to drive around the track collecting power-ups and causing mayhem. Like in any kart-racer game.
The power-ups are mostly direct copies from Mario Kart, but there are also a couple of different ones, most importantly a special power-up for each character in the last position, which is called All-Star Move. This is usually something that is faster and more devastating and may turn the race in your favor.
Graphics is what set this game miles ahead of Mario Kart. Each of the track has tons detail and action going on. Fresh and colorful and same time simple, the way Sega (or Nintendo) only can pull it off. Tracks are based on the locations of previous Sega games. Such as a Sonic's Casino level. Like with Sonic platform games the track is raced in a massive casino environment with bright neon lights and massive pinball effects. All of the characters also very detailed and all of them are constantly moving and goofing around in their vehicles.
On sound part, biggest difference to Nintendo's kart games is that there is some licensed music. Usually I am quite hesitant on accepting such but the tracks are well chosen and give the nice uplifting feel. There is also of course Sega's original tracks from these older games. One clear addition is also a commentator that has been added. Nice extra touch to add more racing feel. Can think that this gets annoying after a while though, this can be turned off if necessary.
The different game-modes are the usual Grand Prix which each 4 tracks. And as with with Mario's small, open, four-wheeled vehicle games there are three different difficulty levels. There is also a online mode, single-race, mission and a time-trial. There is also a set of in-game achievements(challenges) and in-game currency. The currency is called Sega Miles and as the name gives it away this is acquired from the miles you are racing. There set of characters, tracks and soundtracks that can be unlocked with this currency. Character's such as Ryo from Shenmue and epic Opa-Opa.
I must say I really like this game. Get a feeling that Sumo Digital has taken all the aspects from the Mario Kart Wii, improved those and added Sega touch. Only complaint I would have is that the tracks are not as well thought as Mario Kart tracks. IE you can get stuck and/or have too sharp turns. Well no wonder Nintendo has had eight installments to perfect this. Shame that 3rd party developer needs to show how kart games are made.