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Sonic R is a 1997 racing video game developed by Traveller's Tales and Sonic Team for the Sega Saturn. It is the third racing game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, and the first to feature 3D computer graphics. The player races one of ten Sonic characters in various Sonic-themed race tracks as they attempt to stop Doctor Robotnik from stealing the Chaos Emeralds and enslaving the world. Sonic R features single-player and multiplayer game modes, and while similar to kart racing games such as Mario Kart, it places an emphasis on jumping and exploration. By collecting items and completing objectives, players can unlock secret characters.
Development began after the completion of Sonic 3D Blast in 1996 and took nine months. It was the second collaboration between Traveller's Tales and Sonic Team and was designed to take advantage of the Saturn hardware. Sonic Team designed the race tracks, while Traveller's Tales handled implementation and programming using a custom game engine. The soundtrack was composed by Richard Jacques; tracks from the game, most notably "Super Sonic Racing", have been reused in subsequent Sonic titles. Sega released the game for the Saturn in late 1997, for Windows the following year, and for the GameCube and PlayStation 2 as part of Sonic Gems Collection in 2005.
Sonic R was the only original Sonic title released for the Saturn; Sonic 3D Blast is a port of the Mega Drive game, and Sonic Jam is a compilation of the first four Sonic games. Initial reviews for the game were positive, although retrospective reception has been more divisive. It was praised for its visuals and level design, but criticised for its controls and short length. Meanwhile, Jacques' soundtrack polarised audiences, who alternatively found it catchy and well produced or out of place in a racing game. Fan interest in Sonic R would inspire Sega to revisit the racing genre in future Sonic games, leading to the development of titles such as Sonic Riders (2006).
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Sonic R System Requirements
- Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP
- Processor: Pentium 90 MHz
- RAM: 500 MB
- Video Card: 64 MB
- Hard disk space: 300 MB