Sega has announced Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, a kart racer featuring a slew of characters from Sega games like Sonic, the Super Monkey Ball monkey and the Samba de Amigo Amigo.

The idea of Sonic in racing games has baffled me for a long time now, even when I was too young to be baffled by anything when Sonic R came out. Why is Sonic racing his friends? What’s the point? He can run faster than all of them. That’s why he’s Sonic. Okay, so he might be riding a hoverboard, or in the case of Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, Sega’s new take on the modern kart racer, a sports car. But why should Sonic drive a car? He’s faster than most of them.

It’s probably best to put such questions aside when talking about something like All-Stars Racing. Set for release on PS3, 360, Wii and DS next year, the game pits a variety of characters from Sega’s pantheon of game franchises and has them do what any group of mascots would do when they get together. Race each other across novelty stages in silly vehicles.

In addition to Sonic, Dr. Robotnik (Eggman), Tails, AiAi (the monkey from Super Monkey Ball), Amigo (of Samba De Amigo) will be in attendance, racing in cars, planes, motorcycles and, for Mr. Monkey Ball, banana mobiles. Each character has a special move they can use, and there are power ups and items on each track, like in most kart racers.

Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing is no ordinary racing game. Its huge variety of characters and vehicles, plus the ability to play both online and off set it apart from other games of this type,” said Gary Knight of Sega Europe. “The team have pushed the boundaries on what you would normally expect and created a different and unique party racing title whereby you really can’t take anything for granted!”

Sounds like a simple but fun time. Now if Sega makes an unlockable Dreamcast kart, then we’d really be in business.

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