Sega did better this time with their 1995 sequel to Sonic Drift, the Super Mario Kart-style racing game for Sega Game Gear starring popular Sonic the Hedgehog characters. The sequel sports more characters, more courses, items, and better control. In my opinion, this is what Sonic Drift should have been in the first place.

The original four racers have been increased to seven, giving us the following playable characters:

Each character has a different driving style. Some are faster then others, while others handle better. It's trial and error to find out which character is best suited to you and your playing style.

The CPU is smarter this time around and plays dirty to get ahead. You'll find it difficult to maintain the lead in the race, and your best bet is to hang back in second place and zip ahead right at the finish line to claim the top spot. Incidentally, not all courses form a loop. Sometimes the goal lies at the other end of the track, making the race a trip down the highway instead of laps on a track.

Items are scattered on the track in the form of squares. Run over a square to pick up the item and press Up to activate it. Items includes shields, projectiles, instant jumps, and speed zips. Some items cost rings which are scattered on the track for easy pick-up.

As mentioned earlier, the game features more tracks than its older brother. Sonic and friends will be racing along the following tracks based on levels from other Sonic games:

  • Emerald Hill Zone - Acts 1 And 2
  • Hill Top Zone - Acts 1 And 2
  • Dark Valley Zone - Acts 1 And 2
  • Casino Night Zone
  • Desert Road Zone - Acts 1 And 2
  • Iron Ruin Zone
  • Rainy Savanna Zone
  • Ice Cap Zone
  • Mystic Cave Zone
  • Quake Cave Zone
  • Balloon Panic Zone
  • Emerald Ocean Zone
  • Milky Way Zone
  • Death Egg Zone

As before there are three Grand Prix modes in which you'll race three other racers over six tracks earning points for each race. Score the most points to win. There's also a Free Run mode where you can practice your racing solo on any track in the game. Your best three times are saved in this mode along with which character was driving at the time.

Sonic Drift 2 was released in Japan, the USA, and Europe (where it was known as Sonic Drift Racing). The fact that the original Sonic Drift never saw the light of day outside of Japan in it's prime confused a lot of gamers who saw the big "2" on the package and wondered what happened to the first installment. The easiest way to play the game is to get a hold of Sonic Adventure DX for the Nintendo GameCube which includes this game as a bonus.

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