Friday 24 April 2020

Sonic R - Life is not a Race

I have talked at length about how Sonic has not had the greatest relationship with the Sega Saturn. With a title like Sonic 3D Blast not meeting a lot of expectations, that is a well long dried up in terms of enticing conversation. It’s not a horrific game, but it certainly doesn’t blow up the skirts of those looking for the high octane action of the original trilogy. Sonic Jam was a massively awesome title, but that’s more because it ported Sonic’s success on the Genesis over to the 5th generation. Not only could you play all three original titles, but you can play all of them with Knuckles as well. Total Sonic win!

Then there is a title that many have overlooked for many reasons. Sonic R is not what we would call a celebrated title among the many games on the Saturn. There are legitimate reasons for this for sure. The graphics are not the greatest by any means. The framerate can dip to some single digits and the glitches in the gameplay can make your skin crawl. Then the controls come along, and yes, you need to get used to them in a very steep learning curve. When you are trying to win this game, it can be a bit of a hassle.

However, when you are going into this game with the idea of “fun” in mind, you can have all kinds. It’s really not hard at all. With a bit of practice and a few friends playing, you can engage in some minigames that the game comes with from the very start! On top of the racing, you can also play tag! That’s right! A racing game with a tag feature! With the awesome characters at your disposal, you can have high speed games of cat and mouse with free exploration of the vast maps as far as the eye can see.

When you have a child to entertain, the possibilities are endless! Quality time can be spent scouring the race tracks for a balloon minigame. Finding the balloons sounds childish as all getout, but why not? Isn’t the point of a game to be fun in our own little ways?

No matter how much this game gets lambasted by the critics and snidely turned down by framerate snobs. This game is still a lot of fun to play. This is not a troll, nor is it saying that it’s the GREATEST SONIC GAME by any means. The love for this game stems from a mixture of both its wide variety of gameplay, its characters and its amazing soundtrack.

The music in this game can never be overstated. It is some of the most energetic, majestic, lyrical tunes on the Sega Saturn. If I were to pit this up against Daytona USA, Sonic R would come out on top, and that’s really saying a lot. From start to finish, this game hits the beats hard and does not stop.

Sonic R is far from perfect and it certainly won’t make a whole lot of favorite games lists. However, there are those of us who still love it for both its pros and its cons. Would I recommend it? No, it’s more for a certain group of people and those willing to forgive its flubs in the graphics and gameplay. On a conventional scale, this game is not good and it deserves all of its critical panning. On another level, the subjective, nostalgic, bleeding heart level, this game is endless fun and deserves a second glance if you’ve got the time. If you’re a Saturn fan, give this game a try and don’t drown in the water. Drink it.

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