Single player, multiplayer
ESRB: Everyone (E)
Windows 95/98/Me/XP, 90 MHz Pentium, 16 MB Memory, 20 MB hard drive space
Game controller, keyboard
Sonic R is a racing game that uses multi-3D polygons and was developed by Traveller's Tales and Sonic Team for the Sega Saturn and PC, the latter version being ported to the GameCube and the PlayStation 2 in Sonic Gems Collection. It was initially released for the Sega Saturn but was later ported for the PC. It is believed that the game was adapted from code originally written for the Sega Neptune.
Tails spots a huge sign alongside the road they are currently traveling on. It is a recruiting advertisement for the World Grand Prix. Tails then says, "Sonic! Sonic! Look! There's going to be a huge race with all the best racers in the world! What a great opportunity for you to show your speed and compete with the other great runners!"
Sonic thinks for a moment. He's the world's fastest runner, but participating in races is not really his interest. Something on the sign, however, catches Sonic's eye. Dr. Robotnik, Sonic's arch-enemy, is participating in the race. Sonic races off into the distance. "Wait Sonic! Wait for me!", Tails shouts to his friend.
Miles above the sign, a spy satellite focuses on Sonic and Tails. Dr. Robotnik snickers in delight, saying, "Now that you have fallen into my trap, Sonic, I will finally have the Chaos Emeralds, and beat you at the same time. With my new hover machine, and these new robots..." Dr. Robotnik then looks to his left, and a row of gleaming eyes gaze back at him. "Nothing can go wrong! Hahahahahahaha....." Little does Sonic know that Dr. Robotnik has learned of the location of the Chaos Emeralds.
Sonic is not the only one who will be racing with Dr. Robotnik. Sonic's pal, Knuckles, has learned that Sonic will be participating in a very important race. Knuckles never turns down a chance to be around Sonic when the action starts.
Amy will be there too. After secretly following Sonic to his vacation spot, she joined the race, hoping that winning will impress him.
Sonic R has five courses:
Sonic R received mixed to negative reviews from critics. One source concluded that "despite the range of characters and numerous race options, Sonic R doesn't offer enough varied game-play in the races, and loses its appeal quickly." Ryan MacDonald of GameSpot commented positively on the graphics and audio, but said that the game is "so short that you'll probably finish it the day you rent it." Game Revolution noted that the game was "a little different" from normal racing games, but was highly critical of the music (remarking that "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") and the "wily and inexact" controls. The game was also known for its similarities to Mario Kart 64, which raised criticism to most reviewers and calling it a "Mario Kart 64 knock-off".
- For more see: Sonic R/Gallery.
- The PC port of the game has a few noteworthy differences, enhancing the game with some extra features and making the controls more responsive. Some of the changes include changing the character stats slightly and altering the item probability (making the game-play easier against the AI), as well as weather ("snow" would also make the water frozen), daytime effects, and some graphical changes like multicolored balloons and character model touchups (though certain effects like the water surface and Radiant Emerald lost its unique characteristics, such as elusive transparencies in a Saturn game). However, there are multiple publishers for the PC version, and some of them (namely the common Activision distribution) inexplicably removed the entire soundtrack (possibly due to extended licensing issues). Versions released around 2004 (namely the ValuSoft edition) fixed minor glitches and also helped compatibility with Windows XP as the game is notoriously hard to set up on modern computers, but also do not include the music. In versions that do include the soundtrack, not only does the game require the original CD in order to play the audio, but the instrumental tracks have noticably been shortened from the Saturn length. The version in Sonic Gems Collection is based on the PC port with its version of the soundtrack, but is missing a few additions such as Netplay (which was an officially patched feature). The PS2 version is also only up to two players like the Saturn version.
- The game's theme music is also heard in Sonic Pinball Party and Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Music from this game is also featured in Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing.
- Every course begins with the letter R.
- This is the only original Sonic game on the Saturn.
- This is the only Sonic racing game where characters primarily race on foot.
- At the beginning of the episode "Dinner Out" in the TV series Malcolm in the Middle, Malcolm and his friend Stevie can be seen playing Sonic R in the level Resort Island. Malcolm is playing as Sonic and wheelchair-bound Stevie is playing as Amy Rose, who is the only character in the game on wheels.
- During gameplay there is an orange Chaos Emerald. Despite this, the image shown when the player beats the game with all Chaos Emeralds replaces it with a blue emerald.
- In the development of the game "Mario Kart 64", Nintendo had already named as Super Mario Kart R in early 1995 as this game also has the "R" title. It was changed when the game was released in 1996/1997 and Sonic R coming in 1997.
- Sonic R was promoted before its release at Sonic's 6th Birthday Celebration.
- According to the prototype version of the game, this was originally going to be Sonic's first appearance with the soles on his shoes. This was scrapped for unknown reasons.
- This game was Traveller's Tales second and last involvement in the series, the first being Sonic 3D Blast.
- This is the last Sonic game of the "Classic" era, before Sonic Adventure redesigned the characters.