Retro Review: Sonic Drift 2

With the emphasis on high-speed action, one who thinks that the Sonic the Hedgehog series is perfect for creating some terrific racing games. Unfortunately, that has largely not been the case. Sonic R was a terrible excuse due to a lack of courses and lackluster features, and Sonic Riders had the computer players cheat at every turn. Luckily, there is at least one solid Sonic racing game in existence, and that is Sonic Drift 2, released for the Game Gear in 1995. A sequel to a game originally released only in Japan, this is a surprisingly fun racing title, and one worth checking out. Here’s the review of Sonic Drift 2 by 토토사이트 that you can read about. 

As with the Mario Kart games, there is no story here…just plenty of racing action. You can select one of seven characters to race on the game’s eighteen tracks. Returning from the first game are Sonic the Hedgehog, Miles “Tails” Prower, Amy Rose, and Dr. Eggman (at the time, this was one of the rare occasions that he was referred to as Eggman outside of Japan). New to the series are Knuckles the Echidna, Nack the Weasel (a.k.a. Fang the Sniper), and Metal Sonic. Each driver has his or her own strengths and weaknesses, so the player can try each one out until he or she finds the driver that is best for him or her.

There are three Grand Prix races, each containing six courses, and they steadily increase in difficulty. As in any other racing game, the objective is to try and place first in every course. To do this, you can collect items that can give you a speed boost, help you leap over things, make you temporarily invincible, and more. Collecting two rings will help you trigger one move, while others are granted by running over item boxes. The races, a number of which are based on levels in classic Sonic games, can be either three-lap races or courses in which there is a long path leading to the finish line. The higher your finish position, the more points you earn at the end of the race. Try collecting as many points as possible so that you can win the gold trophy at the end of the Grand Prix.

The courses tend to have their own special features. Sometimes, there are half-pipes that you can drive over, and in one course, you can drive over water safely as long as you do not stop driving. Other neat features include a rainy course with flashing lightning and a cavern that shakes every so often. To help you get through these courses, you have pretty tight controls, though some drivers handle better than others. Personally, I find Knuckles to be the best driver, as his handling is excellent. With plenty of practice, you can master the courses and, by placing first in all six races of the Blue Emerald Grand Prix, you can unlock a final race which, if you win, will give you the (rather bare-bones) ending.

While playing this game, I find that it is more fun than frustrating. The computer players can cheat, though not quite as bad as in other games. The items are fun to use, and every course has plenty of surprises. The presence of classic Sonic characters is a joy here like it is in other games, and the title as a whole is a neat example of what a solid Sonic racing game should be like. As far as the graphics go, they strictly get the job done in most parts, though there are some nice recreations of sorts of classic Sonic courses and some 3D effects courtesy of the half-pipe sections. Some slowdown is present but does not make the game unplayable. The music is quite catchy, and there are even some remixes of tunes from Sonic 3 present. If there is one disappointment, it is that the game is a bit on the short side, with not many extra features, but it is a good game to just pick up and play.

Interestingly, when the game was first released in North America, it retained its original title even though the first Sonic Drift game had not been released there (it finally was released outside of Japan in 2003, when it became an unlockable game in Sonic Adventure DX: Director’s Cut). In Europe, the game was retitled Sonic Drift Racing to avoid confusion. One wonders why the name was not changed in North America in the first place before 2003, or why Sonic Drift was not released outside of Japan for nearly a decade. Perhaps it was because, compared to the sequel, the first game was a bit limited, with only four characters and having six levels with three variations each. At any rate, the move to keep the game’s original title in North America, but not in Europe, is an interesting, if somewhat strange, idea.

Sonic Drift 2 is a bit tough to track down, with the Game Gear having long since been discontinued. For those with a Gamecube or Wii, however, the game can be unlocked by playing Sonic Adventure DX or is available from the start in Sonic Gems Collection, both of which may still be found at Gamestop, or failing that, available on e-bay, Amazon, and other sites. However, you acquire the game, be sure to do so, as it is the best Sonic racing game I have played. It is certainly better than Sonic R could ever hope to be.