After a two well-received racing games featuring a host of Sega characters Sumo Digital changed things up for Team Sonic Racing. One of the most surprising alterations was the removal of all non-Sonic content. Sonic All-Stars Racing Transformed brought together a host of recognisable Sega characters. From Super Monkey Ball, Crazy Taxi and Nights: Into Dreams to Jet Set Radio and Skies of Arcadia. Even retro characters were included, such as Alex Kidd and Shinobi‘s Joe Musashi. With the removal of all of these fan-favourites the Sonic-only character line-up definitely seems a step backwards.
Chances are your favourite Sonic character is probably here. Team Sonic stars Sonic (duh), Tails and Knuckles. Team Dark reunites Shadow with Rouge the Bat and Omega. Team Eggman includes Eggman (also duh) with Metal Sonic and Sonic Lost World‘s Zavok. Team Rose consists of Amy, Big the Cat, but replaces with Cream the Rabbit with with 4 different Chao characters. Go figure. Similarly Sonic Heroes‘ Team Chaotix is now ‘Team Vector’. Vector the Crocodile returns, but instead of Espio and Charmy we have Silver the Hedgehog from Sonic ’06 and Blaze the Cat. Its a substitution that makes some sense, including many of the most recent characters. It would have been nice to have a few more characters to compensate for the limited line-up. A few older or more obscure characters would have celebrated the diversity an all-Sonic roster could still bring. With that thought in mind, here are 5 characters it would have been nice to see join the race.
Jet the Hawk
Sonic Riders falls into the pretty large category of Sonic games that are only ‘pretty good’. Its got to be someone’s favourite. As a racing game, though, it would have been nice to see one of its signature characters return. Jet is far from a one-time character though. Sonic Riders had two of its own sequels; Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity and Sonic Free Riders. Apart from numerous cameos, he showed up in Mario and Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Jet would have been right at home in Team Sonic Racing.
Fang the Sniper
While we’re on the subject of older Sonic racing games, Fang the Sniper would have been a nice call-back. Fang, also known as Nack or Knack the Weasel, is a pretty minor Sonic antagonist. He has a cool hat, though! Fang took to the track once before in Sonic Drift 2. With Sonic antagonists being reasonably thin on the ground Fang seems like he could have added a little menace and a lot of retro to the roster.
Mighty and Ray
I’ve said already that Team Sonic Racing‘s line-up focuses on the most recent. But there’s no denying the most successful recent game was Sonic Mania. Mighty the Armadillo and Ray the Flying Squirrel’s return, heavily publicised in the + edition surely made them potential racers? It would have also been a nice nod to the game that helped make Sonic seem cool again.
Sticks the Badger
Sonic Boom divides opinion. The infamously terrible Wii U game may go down in history as one of Sonic’s worst attempts. The cartoon its based on? Pretty good. Amidst some questionable redesigns (big dumb Knuckles?) the new character of Sticks added another female character to the line-up. Team Sonic Racing does not seem like its drawing on a rich Sonic continuity so a Sonic Boom character might not have raised many eye-brows. Even so, maybe this could have been a good opportunity to introduce a mainline version of Sticks? If we’re stuck with Silver after Sonic 06 it’d be a shame to see Sticks hidden away.
Bark the Polar Bear
Sonic the Fighters had a couple of characters that we’ve not seen much of since. Fang fits this description pretty well, but there’s also Bark the Polar Bear and Bean the Dynamite. Most recently they cameo’d in Sonic Mania, joking about their mysterious absence. Team Sonic Racing seemed like a great opportunity to resurrect some of these fan-favourite characters to flesh out a roster. Why Bark over Bean? He’s a big, tough-looking bear who we really don’t know too much about. A racing game would allow for his playable return without incorporating him into any kind of plot.