Sonic R is a racing game staring the spiky blue speed demon and his friends, developed by Traveller's Tales, who also made Sonic 3D Blast, and released in 1997 for the Sega Saturn and later for the PC.note In 2005, it was re-released for the Nintendo GameCube and PlayStation 2 as part of Sonic Gems Collection, which is based on the PC version of the game. It was also made available for download on GameTap for a short time in 2007.
The game is known for its power-pop soundtrack by Richard Jacques with songs performed by British singer TJ Davis. Like many CD-based games of the era, both the Saturn and PC versions can be played in any standard CD player, in case you want to listen to the music without having to play the actual game.
This game is notable for being the final game of Sonic's "Classic" Era, with Sonic Adventure coming out about a year and a half later. It is also the only fully 3D console game wholly featuring the original character designs.note
Sonic R contains trope examples of:
- The Alleged Car: Amy's car- while it does make her the the slowest character in the game, she handles well. The car also has a speed boost and can hover in water.
- Alphabetical Theme Naming: Every race course in the game starts with the letter "R".
- Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: Radiant Emerald.
- Award-Bait Song: Nearly the entire soundtrack is made of techno-pop versions of this.
- Call-Back: Several to Sonic 3D Blast:
- Resort Island shares several elements in common with Green Grove Zone.
- Reactive Factory features elements from Gene Gadget and Panic Puppet Zones (the large machines which decorate the area).
- The pinball area in Radical City and some of the surrounding area look like they came straight from Spring Stadium Zone.
- Canon Foreigner: Tails Doll and Metal Knuckles have never reappeared in any other game.
- Casino Park: Radical City, though only small parts of the level.
- Defeat Means Playable: To unlock the robot racers, you have to collect all of the Sonic tokens around the tracks, finish in first, and beat them in a one-on-one race.
- Dub Name Change: Per usual, Dr. Eggman became Dr. Robotnik in the international releases, although since the game was developed in England, this is mitigated somewhat.
- Eternal Engine: Reactive Factory.
- Excuse Plot: It's referenced in the manual, but not in the game. The game is just a straightforward racer, with no story mode or attempt to make a plot.
- Fake Longevity: There is a bug in the Saturn version where if you complete a course with the Chaos Emeralds, all the Sonic medallions, and finish first, which is required to hold onto the Chaos Emeralds after the race ends, you'll challenge the course boss. When that race is over, however, it negates the first place victory you won in the original race and you can't keep the Chaos Emerald(s) you collected. Thus you have to redo the course in order to get the Emeralds.
- Game Mod: The PC version has Sonic R Updater, which patches the game to run better on modern systems and adds new tweaks and enhancements such as widescreen support, windowed and fullscreen modes, and modding support.
- Genius Programming: Say what you will about the quality of the gameplay, but the visuals of this game are spectacular for the platform. It features full 3D graphics, something that was very difficult to achieve on the Saturn, on top of several graphical effects that should have been flat-out impossible on the hardware. One of the game's developers has a YouTube channel called GameHut where he details how this was achieved.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Not innuendo or violence, but religious. Like many Traveler's Tales games, the devs snuck in a Christian reference. One of the buildings in Resort Island has a Ichthus on it. Sega actually caught the reference during development, but were indifferent to its presence and let it slide.
- Go-Karting with Bowser: With Robotnik, plus Metal Sonic, Metal Knuckles, Tails Doll, and Eggrobo. Though the manual makes an admirable effort to pass it off as an evil plot.
- Joke Character:
- The Tails Doll. His profile on the Sonic Channel website states that no effort went into creating Tails Doll after Metal Sonic and Metal Knuckles. It's just a doll that can float around. This is supported by the fact that he has the lowest speed of any of the robots and his special is just to float higher up. The fans think differently, though.
- Eggrobo is essentially a clone of the already slow and hard to maneuver Dr. Robotnik, albeit lacking the ability to perpetually hover. He hovers for a brief amount of time before gradually grinding to a halt and sinking, which is more of a hindrance than just sinking by default.
- Lethal Joke Character: Amy is this. She is one of the slowest characters in the game who lacks the ability to jump since she drives a car instead of running on her feet. Her lethality is her ability to drive over water without losing speed, decent acceleration and good turning (in a game that's notable for its bad turning), and a rechargeable Nitro Boost ability that allows her to reach a top speed faster then Super Sonic for a few seconds, but it does take away her superior steering ability when in use. Add on to this the fact that when a character goes into a loop or enters an extended falling state, their speed gets locked in unless they decelerate. As such, you can use Amy's boost on the path leading up to a loop with it petering out just as she launches into it or launch yourself off of a big drop at the last moment and effectively gain an extra 25-50% bonus of boost depending on the size of the loop or length of the drop while still allowing her to recharge since the boost technically ran out.
- Love Is a Drug: Most of the soundtrack.
- Master of All: Super Sonic has perfect stats across the board.
- No Ending: Besides A Winner Is You pics, nothing ever comes of the manual's plot.
- Palmtree Panic: Resort Island. Also overlaps with Green Hill Zone.
- Power Floats: Super Sonic and Tails Doll. Super Sonic in particular does it so effortlessly that, he'll simply kick back and lounge in mid-air if left idling.
- Promoted to Playable: Dr. Robotnik, who you can unlock by beating the game once.
- The Psycho Rangers: Metal Sonic, Metal Knuckles and the Tails Doll and Eggrobo.
- Quirky Miniboss Squad: The robot bosses, who are unlocked by finding the tokens hidden in the stages and then beating them in a race.
- Secret Character: There's Metal Sonic, Tails Doll, Metal Knuckles, Eggrobo, and Super Sonic, the last of whom you unlock by collecting all the Chaos Emeralds.
- Shifting Sand Land: Regal Ruins, which overlaps with Ruins for Ruins' Sake.
- Smug Super: Super Sonic, natch. He's so bored by the competition that he'll simply fall asleep when left idle in mid-air...
- The Smurfette Principle: Amy is the only girl in this game. At the time, of course, she was the only female character in the entire franchise.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Most egregiously in the PC version and the Sonic Gems Collections re-release, "Can You Feel the Sunshine" will play no matter what the weather is like. The Saturn version, however, does not have any weather effects at all.