The world needs more karting games like this. Crash Bandicoot's racing games were crap, but at least they kept Nintendo on their toes and frankly I put the slightly disappointing performance (over half the tracks are re-hashed old ones!) of Mario Kart Wii down to a lack of competition. SEGA are here to change that apparently, and they've done a pretty good job of crafting a colourful, entertaining and incredibly fun little racer.
You can pick up a copy of the Wii version for £19.95 over at The Game Collection, which will save you nearly £5 on the nearest in stock competitor (Amazon - 24.75). The Hut is listing it for less, but they've run out of copies I'm afraid.
With six grand Prix tournaments, and 64 offline Missions to keep you occupied, this is a pretty nifty little racer. In true SEGA style, the drift, time trial and cartoony road-rage of the expanded mini-game Missions are graded by the letter, and you'll spend most of your time striving for a perfect AAA.
The presentation is excellent, and SEGA have raided their entire back catalogue for some flavoursome locales and treacherous tracks. As with most SEGA games these days, it's bright and accessible for the newcomer, but there are a ton of little in-jokes and nostalgic throwbacks for long-term fans too.
As with Mario's tyre shredder, it's in multiplayer where this thing truly comes alive, whether you're passing round the controller hot-potato style or taking three other players on locally for some wacky, weapons-assisted karting mayhem. Online you can have up to 8 players competing for pole position, and the game comes closer than any other pretender to stealing the red plumber's crown.
Thanks to andywedge at HUKD