Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is only a month away! In anticipation of the game’s release, we here at SEGAbits want to highlight the many All-Stars appearing in SEGA’s racing title. To do this, we’re kicking off a four week salute to the characters appearing in the game. Each week will focus on five SEGA All-Stars. We’ll share why we think these characters are important to SEGA’s history, and why we’re looking forward to racing as them. Let’s kick off part one with the first five, can you guess who they are?
Sonic the Hedgehog
First Appearance: Sonic the Hedgehog, Genesis/Mega Drive, June 1991
Rad Mobile, Arcade, April 1991 (non-playable cameo as inanimate car decoration)
Latest Appearance: Sonic Jump, iOS, 2012
Of course we’d kick things off with Sonic. He’s the headlining All-Star of the All-Stars Racing series! As SEGA’s mascot since 1991, Sonic has represented the company through some of their strongest years. Sonic’s games were must haves on the Genesis/Mega Drive, and Sonic’s first fully 3D platforming title, Sonic Adventure, was a title that showcased all the innovations the Dreamcast had to offer. While the Sonic franchise dipped in quality from 2004 to 2008, there were still gems to be found during this period on handheld consoles. Things began to turn around for Sonic in 2010 with the release of Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing. While not a Sonic title per se, it was an incredibly fun game with the hedgehog’s name attached to it. In November of 2010 Sonic returned to greatness with Sonic Colors, and since then the series has been on a winning streak with games like Sonic Generations and Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 2 (yes, I liked that game, live with it).
First appearance: Skies of Arcadia, Dreamcast, 2000
Latest Appearance: Valkyria Chronicles (guest character), Playstation 3, 2008
Revealed as a racer the same day as All-Stars Racing Transformed’s announcement, Vyse has since become the headlining cult favorite to appear in the game. As the star of Skies of Arcadia on the SEGA Dreamcast, Vyse lead a band of Blue Rogue pirates against the Valuan Empire. The game itself is one of the best RPGs to be found on the Dreamcast, and Vyse is one of the coolest new characters to come from the Dreamcast generation of SEGA games. Given Transformed’s addition of flight, Vyse is a fitting inclusion, and the promise of a Skies of Arcadia track is the best gift Sumo and SEGA could give Arcadia fans… aside from a Skies of Arcadia 2, of course.
First Appearance: NiGHTS into Dreams…, Saturn, 1996
Latest Appearance: NiGHTS into Dreams…, XBOX 360/Playstation 3, 2012
Despite having only two games to his name, NiGHTS is an incredibly popular character with a rabid fanbase. When the first All-Stars Racing game was revealed, and NiGHTS was nowhere to be found, fans pushed so hard for NiGHTS inclusion that Sumo Digital ended up adding the turncoat Nightmaren as the game’s flag waver. With the sequel, Sumo would have been fools to not include NiGHTS, and so NiGHTS and his/her rival Reala joined the roster as racers. The NiGHTS franchise itself even got a sweet looking track inspired largely by the first game. Aside from All-Stars Transformed, NiGHTS fans were recently treated to a rerelease of the first game to digital download platforms. Suffice to say, now is a great time to be a NiGHTS fan.
First Appearance: Jet Set Radio, Dreamcast, 2000
Latest Appearances: SEGA Superstars Tennis, Multi-Platform, 2008; Jet Set Radio, XBOX 360/Playstation 3, 2012
Beat may be the star of the Dreamcast classic Jet Set Radio, but Gum is no secondary character. Acting as the franchise’s female lead, Gum has appeared on the cover of De La Jet Set Radio (a revised version of the game for Japan) as well as on the cover of the Japanese version of JSRF. While a new addition to the All-Stars Racing series, Gum did appear in Sumo’s first franchise crossover title SEGA Superstars Tennis. With the addition of Gum to All-Stars Racing Transformed, the GG duo of Beat and Gum are together again for the first time since 2008. SEGA has yet to show off Gum in Transformed, but Sumo Digital has said she will be riding a repaint of Beat’s ATV. The reasoning for this is that characters like Gum came after the initial roster was decided, so consider Gum a bonus for fans, added thanks to the extra effort of Sumo Digital.
First Appearance: Samba de Amigo, Arcade, 1999
Latest Appearances: Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing, Multi-Platform, 2010
Although Samba, star of the maraca shaking Dreamcast rhythm game Samba de Amigo, is one of the wackier characters found in All-Stars Racing Transformed, he has had an incredibly prolific past. Amigo has appeared in two Dreamcast games, a Wii game and has made cameos in countless titles including SEGA Superstars Tennis, the All-Stars Racing titles, Billy Hatcher, Sonic Pinball Party, the Sonic Riders series, and many more. Amigo has pretty much become a lock for all past and future SEGA franchise crossover titles, and for good reason! The music of Samba de Amigo is incredibly addictive, and the art style is very unique. Samba de Amigo had some of the craziest tracks in the first All-Stars titles, and if early screens are any indication, things are going to get crazier in the sequel.
Next week: One of Sonic’s best friends, Sonic’s greatest foe, another monkey, another GG and a ninja!