It seems pretty likely that Sonic would have tried its own version of Mario Kart in eras past, well before Sonic & All-Stars Racing was a thing. And it did — but it was only released for mobiles in Japan. It was called Sonic Kart 3DX, and now someone appears to have gotten the game working again.
Footage of the lost Sonic racer was uploaded on Christmas Day. It looks like it flew completely under the radar, with just over 1,100 views at the time of writing.
As far as mobile games from 2005 go, it’s pretty playable! The YouTuber also seems to have gotten their hands on a pretty good version: the sound and music is actually pretty decent, given the age of the game and the nature of what we’re dealing with.
The original game had two modes: time trials on different maps where you could race against the best times uploaded online, or a multiplayer version in Grand Prix that used the Sonic Cafe service. What’s interesting as a game, however, is you can zoom out to this almost early ’90s, Mode 7-type view, or you can be right up the rear of the character like modern Mario Kart games.
Circuits include a Sonic Circuit themed after Green Hill Zone, a Resort Island, the snow-covered White Field, Ancient Ruins and the urban night-inspired Radiant City.
It’s cool to see someone get their hands on old games and get them working again. According to the video, the footage was recorded by using the HDMI output in Docomo’s SH-01C phone (which was made in 2011). From there, you can use a HDMI splitter to output the information to a capture card like this one.
Neat stuff. Sonic would go on to make some pretty good racing games after this — I’d still argue Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is just as good as any Mario Kart, perhaps more so if you hate blue shells and you really want to be rewarded for mastering a level. The mechanics in that game are pretty tough, but on the flipside, it’s still not Mario Kart.