Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing News & Info Blowout

The time is nigh, as Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing is scheduled to drift its way onto retail shelves tomorrow. Even so, there’s quite a bit of info in today’s update.

For starters, if you’ll recall a certain trailer from about a week ago, it featured some people playing the PlayStation 3 version of the title with a wheel attachment. More about that has now been revealed, as The Sonic Stadium reveals GAME’s Spanish website now has a PS3 bundle which includes an officially licensed wheel to help aid the game’s Sixaxis controls.

So far, the deal only seems to be in Spain, but we’ll let you know if it spreads elsewhere.

Another report spoke of cheap prices on the Wii and DS versions in the United Kingdom, and it seems to have really worked. The Sonic Stadium reports that the Wii version has sold out at many of those retailers, and the DS versions are expected to follow. However, this only accounts for the version not bundled with a wheel, which costs more and is still in greater availability. For a full list of retailers and their price offerings, click here.

Incidentally, one has to wonder if the sell-outs are due to the game being under-ordered. TSSZ News speaks of one post on the SEGA Forums which says:

My Walmart is only getting 2 copies for each system by Tuesday. How did I find this out? I typed in 11 out of the 12 digits from the UPC numbers of each game into our computer. My Wal-mart is in Seekonk, Massachusetts, one of the busiest stores in the district, yet each version is only getting two copies? WTF? Do they expect this game to sell poorly? Companies only ship out small amounts to figure out demand. Other examples include Tatsunoko vs. Capcom and any of the Nippon Ichi games. This game may be a sales flop, folks, and I’m not liking it.

Others have commented on the likes of GameStop and Gamestation receiving 15 to 20 copies, with one response to the above post recalling his experience pre-ordering at one such outlet:

I went to Gamestation to pre-order this and Final Fantasy XIII Special Edition at the same time. The man at the counter told me I should definitely come in on release on FFXIII (well, ASAP he said) but don’t worry at all about S&SASR (I wasn’t able to pre-order, but it was obvious he didn’t think it would hinder my chance to purchase). It’s funny when you think that Mario and Sonic at the Winter Olympic Games has sold 6 million.

Of course, if the game proves popular, that could increase demand and lead to second printings (it happens; see: Wright, Phoenix). Microsoft’s marketing push will hopefully help the game along as well.

On another note, I’ve said in the past that if Mario had been included on the Wii version, I would have picked that as my version of choice, no questions asked. During an interview with SEGA Nerds (via GoNintendo), Sumo was asked about his exclusion and whether he was ever a possibility, and Producer Omar Woodley stated “Everything is a possibility. It definitely was discussed way early on in development, but just the fact that we have the whole separate ‘Mario and Sonic’ series; well frankly we didn’t want to cross contaminate them.’

Personally? I think that was a bad move, especially as they revealed (confirmed?) that the Wii will indeed not be host to downloadable content. What makes this sadder still is that just prior to that exchange, they said “SSASR was built for DLC.” At least they did confirm it was coming for the other consoles.

Asked about how they feel about the inevitable Mario Kart comparisons and what sets ASR apart, Woodley said:

Well we have Sonic the Hedgehog for one *laughs*. Our initial goal was to be better than Mario Kart and capitalize on the next gen consoles. We wanted more fun, content, characters, tracks, and a massive, online multiplayer component. I think we achieved those goals. I really think the sheer amount of content in SSASR outweighs Mario Kart. People are definitely going to get their money’s worth on this title.

You can read more of the interview here, and get even more from Omar in a video interview (non-embeddable) at GameZone (via GoNintendo). They also have some new footage of the game’s Whale Lagoon track at SEGA’s Community Day last Friday; unfortunately, the video doesn’t show up for me. If you’re having the same difficulty, you can find it embedded (somehow) at TSSZ News.

For those looking to improve their performance, Executive Producer Steve Lycett took to the SEGA Forums (via TSSZ News) to offer some “advanced driving techniques,” which is reprinted here:

Some easy ones then.

Feathering the gas (that is varying the amount you are applying) during drifts will actually give you more control. As with all racing games, you want to be aiming to drift as close to the inside of corners as you can, you vary the gas, you can do this a lot more.

Chaining has been spotted I see. This is where you can mix drift and then stunts to max out boost to level 3 quickly.

Another good one you can try on the 360, is to take the shortcut, do three tricks in the air, then immediately hold the drift button again so when you land not only do you immediately go into boost, but you’re straight into drift building up an extra one for the finish line.

Any small bump in the road if hit hard enough will give you enough air time to throw in a single trick for a boost. Finding these is intentionally tricky 😛

On the Boost Transition, from how Im reading it, this sounds like our intentional method of letting you switch drift direction without releasing you boost. This is really useful on the chicane following the corkscrew on the 360 demo. Basically, take the left drift after the corkscrew, and either let off and immediately back on the drift – or gas, as you throw the stick the other way. If you do it right, you should switch drift direction without boosting.

You’re actually better doing this there, as then you can exit the final corner with level 3 boost, then hit the boost pad before the jump, which will give you huge air, this letting you have another level 3 boost via stunts before landing into drift ready to change up again as you cross the two wooden bridges.

It’s all about chaining the boosts – keep this in mind, and you always want to max out the boosts where possible, or do short quick ones if you can sneak them in.

Those are a few – that’s before we start on the track specific ones!

Finally, here are a lot of fun tidbits that were trickled out over the weekend, many of which pertain to music and other nods to the fans in the game.

To start, Sonic Wrecks (via The Sonic Stadium) reports that two music tracks from Sonic R will be in the game, “Super Sonic Racing” and “Can You Feel the Sunshine.”

In addition, Sonic Wrecks (via TSSZ News) says that there will be music tracks from Sonic Rush, though they did not specify which. They did, however, confirm “And…Fish Hits!” from Sonic Adventure will be included.

Then there are these bits of info:

* The music also contains a piece from Sonic CD and Sonic Rush tracks also feature… but Wrapped In Black doesn’t. BOOOO!
* Fish Hits plays when Big does his All-Star move.
* Switching difficulty to “Off” removes the AI from a multiplayer game.
* Race distances can be set between one and nine laps in length.
* There IS a reference to Ryo and sailors in the game. You can officially rejoice.
* There is at least one line of dialogue from the announcer when talking about Big that…well… it made me choke on my drink.
* Amigo’s boost is probably the most powerful in the game. It certainly seems to be from off the line.
* There is a very clever way of getting the “no collisions” achievement.
* It is entirely possible to legitimately do the “Wonder Boy” (winning by reversing over the line) achievement.
* You will definitely need to master drift for later Super Monkey Ball levels as they mirror the games a lot. This means lots of 90 and 180 degree turns!

TSSZ notes that Kevin Eva, the SEGA of Europe Community Manager who runs Sonic Wrecks, learned this from playing over the weekend. They also make note of the game holding over 80 tracks of music, many of which are purchasable through the SEGA Miles shopping system.

In addition, The Sonic Stadium found ten more discoveries Eva made while playing the 360 version over the weekend:

The Sonic CD track is indeed Palmtree Panic (Present) – Japanese/Euro version.

As I corrected myself earlier on Wrecks, Wrapped In Black does appear but only the Wrapped In Black end of level jingle.

The instrumental version of E.G.G.M.A.N is also purchasable.

One of the multiplayer modes, Grab, consists of you battling for control of the seven chaos emeralds… VERY addictive.

There are three arenas – the Curien Mansion graveyard, “Seaside Square” and a monkey ball level arena with ramps and a bridge.

…whew! And that’s it for today. I think now all that awaits is to actually play the game when it’s released tomorrow… or whenever it reaches stores.

Of course, if anything else of note comes up, we’ll be sure to bring it to you.