Sonic R

Sonic R
Sonic R
Sonic R.jpg
Developer(s) Traveller's Tales
Publisher(s) Sega
Designer(s) Yuji Naka (General Producer/Supervisor)
Tetsuo Shinyu (Producer)
Masamitsu Shiino (Director)
Takashi Iizuka (Game Design Director)
Hirokazu Yasuhara (Map Design Director)
Artist(s) Yuji Uekawa & Yoshitaka Miura (Character Designers)
Naoto Ohshima & Hiroshi Nishiyama (Graphic Advisors)
Composer(s) Richard Jacques (also Sound Effects)
Naofumi Hataya (Sound Advisor)
Platform(s) Sega Saturn, PC, Nintendo Gamecube, Playstation 2
Release date(s) Sega Saturn
  • NA October 27, 1997
  • JP December 4, 1997
  • PAL November, 1997
Microsoft Windows
  • JP December 11, 1998
Genre(s) Racing
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer
Media/distribution CD-ROM
System requirements

Windows 95/98/Me/XP. Pentium 90 MHz, 16 Mb RAM, 20 Mb Hard Disk space, CD-ROM 4x.

Sonic R is a racing game 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 features characters from the Sonic the Hedgehog series. It contains colorful 3D graphics combined with an upbeat dance soundtrack by Richard Jacques. The in-game music was stored as standard CD audio tracks on the game disk, meaning that the game could be played on any standard CD player.



Five characters at a time race to cross the finish line first. The game is similar to cart racing games such as Mario Kart, but most characters have the ability to jump, adding platforming to the mix. In addition, each of the ten playable characters has a different speed and a unique set of abilities. The abilities are in line the respective character usual abilities, such as Sonic having a faster speed or Knuckles being able to glide.

Also like other Sonic games, racers collect rings. There are speed boosts that consume up to 50 of a player's rings, but boost the player ahead along a preset path.

Also, special doors on the tracks open only if a player reaches them with twenty or fifty rings, depending on the number on the door. The doors often contain important items or shortcuts on the course.

Touching an emblem gives the racer one of multiple possible items, similar to ones seen in past Sonic games like Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles. Items include a random number of rings, power sneakers which provide a speed boost, a water shield that allows characters to run on water, and lightning shields that attract nearby rings.

Hidden in the first four tracks are five tokens with Sonic's face printed on. If these are collected and the race is finished in at least third position, the player will have the chance to unlock a new character by facing them in a one-on-one race. Seven Chaos Emeralds are also hidden within the first four tracks. The player must finish in first after finding them in order to obtain one. Collecting all seven will result in Super Sonic becoming playable.

Aside from the main game, there are three special gameplay modes accessible from Time Attack mode: reverse, in which racing occurs facing the opposite direction, break five balloons, and tag four players.


Sonic R uses an engine described as "12 layer transparency" that makes distant textures transparent to disguise the Sega Saturn's limited draw distance.[1]


The original version of the game was released for the Sega Saturn. The PC versions graphics were somewhat modified to allow for more detail. For example, races occur in random weather conditions, either normal, rainy, or snowy, unless the default settings are altered. Snowy weather freezes the water so that racers can run across it without sinking. The PC versions also allow one to select between software rendering and 3D acceleration. Also, a Draw Distance option is available, affecting how soon objects in the distance are visible. This affects the processing power needed to play the game; the sooner the graphics are rendered, the more processing power it takes.

There are at least four PC versions released. The Activision release does not require the network patch, but does not include CD Audio tracks. The SoftKey version was released in 2000 for Windows. The ValuSoft version has corrected some glitches and includes native support for Windows XP, and is identified in the credits as "Sonic R 2004". The version of the game included in Sonic Gems Collection is similar to the PC version due to its inclusion of weather effects, but there are no options for network play, 3D graphics, or draw distance. The PC version of the game also had a limited release on GameTap in 2007.


Review scores
Publication Score
PC Saturn
Gaming Monthly
GamePro 3/5[3]
Game Revolution C-[4]
GameSpot 5.6/10[5]
Aggregate scores
GameRankings 70%[6] 68.92%[7]

Both versions of Sonic R received mixed to poor reviews from critics. Peter Suciu of GamePro concluded that "despite the range of characters and numerous race options, Sonic R doesn't offer enough varied gameplay 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."[5] 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. [4] 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".[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Blue Is Back Again! Race Around Moebius! [sic]". GameFan (11): p. 126. November 1997. 
  2. ^ Electronic Gaming Monthly (Ziff Davis). June 20, 2003. 
  3. ^ Suciu, Peter. "Sonic R". GamePro. Retrieved June 8, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "Sonic R Review for the SATURN". Game Revolution. June 6, 2004. Retrieved June 18, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b MacDonald, Ryan (December 22, 2007). "Sonic R Review for Saturn". GameSpot. Retrieved June 8, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Sonic R for PC - GameRankings". GameRankings. Retrieved June 18, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Sonic R for Saturn - GameRankings". GameRankings. Retrieved June 18, 2010. 

External links

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