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How Sonic R Revolutionized the Racing Genre with Footraces and Exploration

Sonic R: A Retro Racing Game with a Cult Following

Sonic R is a racing game that was released in 1997 for the Sega Saturn and later ported to PC, GameCube, and PlayStation 2. It is the third racing game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, and the first to feature 3D computer graphics. The game features 10 playable characters from the Sonic universe, who race on foot on various Sonic-themed tracks. The game also has a hidden story mode, where the player has to stop Dr. Robotnik from stealing the Chaos Emeralds and enslaving the world.

sonic r

In this article, we will explore the history, gameplay, reception, and legacy of Sonic R. We will also answer some frequently asked questions about this unique and controversial game.

Table of Contents



Sonic R was developed by Traveller's Tales and Sonic Team, and published by Sega. It was the second collaboration between the two studios, after Sonic 3D Blast (1996). The game was designed to take advantage of the Sega Saturn's hardware capabilities, especially its 3D graphics engine. Sonic Team designed the race tracks, while Traveller's Tales handled the implementation and programming using a custom game engine. The game's soundtrack was composed by Richard Jacques, who created catchy pop songs with vocals by T.J. Davis.

The game's development began after the completion of Sonic 3D Blast in 1996 and took nine months. The game was originally intended to be a Formula 1 racing game, but Sega asked Traveller's Tales to make a Sonic racing game instead, after the cancellation of Sonic X-treme (1997). The game was rushed to be released in time for Christmas 1997.

How to unlock Super Sonic in Sonic R

Sonic R soundtrack download

Sonic R review for Sega Saturn

Sonic R cheats and codes for PC

Sonic R online multiplayer mode

Sonic R vs Mario Kart comparison

Sonic R remake or remaster

Sonic R modding community and tools

Sonic R history and development

Sonic R best characters and courses

How to play Sonic R on emulator

Sonic R speedrun tips and tricks

Sonic R easter eggs and secrets

Sonic R fan art and cosplay

Sonic R trivia and fun facts

How to fix Sonic R graphics and sound issues

Sonic R merchandise and collectibles

Sonic R fan games and projects

Sonic R sequel or spin-off ideas

Sonic R reception and legacy

How to get all Chaos Emeralds in Sonic R

Sonic R OST remixes and covers

Sonic R walkthrough and guide

Sonic R system requirements and compatibility

Sonic R achievements and trophies

How to improve Sonic R controls and gameplay

Sonic R ROM hacks and patches

Sonic R voice actors and composers

Sonic R memes and jokes

Sonic R vs other Sonic racing games

How to install Sonic R on Windows 10

Sonic R hidden characters and unlockables

Sonic R original vs port differences

Sonic R behind the scenes and interviews

Sonic R ranking and tier list

How to stream or record Sonic R gameplay

Sonic R alternatives and recommendations

Sonic R demo and trial version

Sonic R manual and instruction booklet

Sonic R box art and cover design


Sonic R was released for the Sega Saturn in November 1997 in North America and Europe, and in December 1997 in Japan. It was one of the last games released for the Saturn before Sega discontinued it in favor of the Dreamcast. The game sold poorly compared to other Sonic games, due to the Saturn's low market share and the mixed reviews from critics.

The game was later ported to Windows PC in 1998, with improved graphics and sound quality. The PC version also added an online multiplayer mode via LAN or Internet connection. The PC version was re-released several times as part of various Sonic compilations.

In 2005, Sonic R was re-released for the GameCube and PlayStation 2 as part of Sonic Gems Collection, a compilation of rare Sonic games. This version was based on the PC version, but with some minor changes and fixes. The GameCube version also supported progressive scan mode and widescreen display.


Game Modes

Sonic R has two main game modes: Grand Prix and Time Attack. In Grand Prix mode, the player can choose one of four initially available characters (Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, or Amy) and race against seven other opponents on one of five tracks. The player can collect rings to unlock shortcuts and power-ups on the tracks. The player can also collect Chaos Emeralds and Sonic Tokens to unlock secret characters and modes.

In Time Attack mode, the player can race on any track with any character they have unlocked, and try to beat their own or other players' best times. The player can also race against a ghost of their previous run.

The game also has a two-player split-screen mode, where two players can race against each other or against computer-controlled opponents on any track.


S Sonic R features 10 playable characters, each with their own abilities and stats. The characters are divided into four categories: Speed, Flight, Power, and Special. The Speed characters are fast and agile, but have low traction and acceleration. The Flight characters can fly for a short time, but have low speed and handling. The Power characters have high traction and acceleration, but low speed and turning. The Special characters have unique abilities that vary depending on the character.

The game has four initially available characters: Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Amy. Sonic is a Speed character who can perform a double jump. Tails is a Flight character who can fly by pressing the jump button repeatedly. Knuckles is a Power character who can glide by holding the jump button after jumping. Amy is a Special character who drives a car that can boost by pressing the action button.

The game also has six secret characters that can be unlocked by collecting Chaos Emeralds and Sonic Tokens in Grand Prix mode. The secret characters are: Dr. Robotnik, Metal Sonic, Tails Doll, Metal Knuckles, Eggrobo, and Super Sonic. Dr. Robotnik is a Special character who flies a hovercraft that can fire missiles by pressing the action button. Metal Sonic is a Speed character who can dash by pressing the action button. Tails Doll is a Special character who can hover over water by holding the jump button after jumping. Metal Knuckles is a Power character who can punch by pressing the action button. Eggrobo is a Flight character who can fly by pressing the jump button repeatedly. Super Sonic is a Special character who can run at super speed by collecting 50 rings and pressing the action button.


Sonic R has five race tracks, each based on a different theme and location from the Sonic series. The tracks are: Resort Island, Radical City, Regal Ruin, Reactive Factory, and Radiant Emerald. Each track has multiple paths, shortcuts, obstacles, power-ups, rings, Chaos Emeralds, and Sonic Tokens to collect.

Resort Island is a tropical island with palm trees, waterfalls, beaches, and bridges. It is based on Green Hill Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog (1991). Radical City is a neon-lit city with casinos, highways, tunnels, and loops. It is based on Casino Night Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (1992). Regal Ruin is an ancient ruin with pyramids, statues, pillars, and sand. It is based on Sandopolis Zone from Sonic & Knuckles (1994). Reactive Factory is an industrial factory with pipes, conveyor belts, fans, and toxic waste. It is based on Chemical Plant Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (1992). Radiant Emerald is a futuristic space station with rainbow-colored roads, stars, planets, and asteroids. It is based on Death Egg Zone from Sonic & Knuckles (1994).


Sonic R has many secrets and hidden features that add to its replay value and challenge. Some of the secrets are:

  • Collecting all seven Chaos Emeralds in Grand Prix mode unlocks Super Sonic as a playable character.

  • Collecting five Sonic Tokens in each track in Grand Prix mode unlocks a special race against one of the secret characters (Dr. Robotnik in Resort Island, Metal Sonic in Radical City, Tails Doll in Regal Ruin, Metal Knuckles in Reactive Factory, and Eggrobo in Radiant Emerald). Beating them unlocks them as playable characters.

  • Collecting 50 rings in any track in Grand Prix mode allows Super Sonic to transform into his super form by pressing the action button.

  • Collecting 100 rings in any track in Grand Prix mode grants an extra life.

  • Pressing down on the D-pad while racing makes the character look behind them.

  • Pressing up on the D-pad while racing makes the character taunt their opponents.

  • Pressing left or right on the D-pad while racing makes the character do a spin move that can knock down other racers.

  • Pressing down on the D-pad while jumping makes the character do a ground pound that can stun other racers.

  • Pressing up on the D-pad while jumping makes the character do a flip that can avoid obstacles.

  • Pressing left or right on the D-pad while jumping makes the character do a barrel roll that can dodge missiles.


Critical Response

Sonic R received mixed reviews from critics when it was released. Some praised its graphics, music, and originality, while others criticized its controls, gameplay mechanics, and lack of content. The game has an average score of 60% on GameRankings and 63% on Metacritic for the Sega Saturn version, and 69% on GameRankings and 70% on Metacritic for t

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