The consumer cynic within sees a one-shot called Team Sonic Racing immediately the question is, “why?” The whole concept of the tie-in Sonic racing series is a vastly inferior rip-off of the Mario Kart series in general. Plus the idea that characters like Sonic even need to race in cars when they could run faster just beggars belief as a trait within the character.
But this isn’t about the game or the idea behind it. This is a review about the one-shot meant to act as a promotional tie-in for the Team Sonic Racing game. Thus we’ve given a story with no real link to the continuity that we’ve been following with the comic run so far aside from appearances by the higher tier level of characters.
The story, written by Caleb Goellner, is very simple. A mysterious man called Dodon Pa invites everyone to race. This is everyone, including Dr. Eggman who wants to win for some reason. Thus unfolds a small plan to take out Eggman through the process of teamwork and other such stuff…
The logistics of which aren’t particularly interesting; which you can say for the rest of the story. It just doesn’t raise enough interest for this reviewer to want to buy the game, which is what it’s meant for. But is it really a bad thing?
My personal history with the Sonic franchise as a whole was leaning towards a lot of the spin-off merchandise. I didn’t own a Mega Drive so didn’t play the original games until much later, only really playing the Game Gear conversions. But I was a fan of some of the tie-in novels written by Martin Adams and most importantly, the Fleetway produced Sonic the Comic that came out during the 90s.
A big, big thing that Sonic the Comic did was have an ongoing arc, but then made the creative decision to adapt the games that were coming out. Sonic CD? The comic introduced Metallix. Sonic 3? Knuckles appeared. The comic made no qualms that it was tying into this nature. I loved it. Also? I was a child at the time.
So as the main series that we’ve been covering is dipping into its own continuity is doing its own solo story, this feels as if it’s hearkening back to the days when a young Matt Latham would read about stories of games he wouldn’t own for another fifteen years.
Team Sonic Racing is aimed at it’s main target audience: children. The letters are from a younger generation who will be lapping this up ready to play the game, whereas the older generation who are reading the IDW comics out of nostalgia and a love of the Sonic lore can easily skip this. But for it’s target audience, it helps expand the story of a game they’ll probably end up getting anyway. It fleshes out something in a similar way the old video game manuals fleshed out the backstory of Sonic and Robotnik that made the Sonic the Comic continuity.
The end of the comic has a section about how the script is produced and the art is laid out, which is a nice dip into how comics are made. With the aforementioned target audience who may one day want to develop comics – it’s not that bad a section.
As players of the game (released in 2019) will finally find, a lot of the concepts will be familiar to them after reading this. In fact, this is quite possibly the closest thing we’ll ever get to having a fully blown instruction manual similar to ones of the older games that eventually fleshed out the stories for it’s young fanbase.
The only thing really missing in this comic is the controls!
Team Sonic Racing is now available from IDW Publishing.