Multiplayer on One Keyboard 3: Sonic Speedsters

By: Jordan Magnuson

On: March 4th, 2008


After some of the reaction to my Tremor post I feel the need for some sort of disclaimer here: this is part of my series on independent same-machine multiplayer games, and is not “news.” This is for those of you out there who enjoy playing multiplayer games on one keyboard, and haven’t yet tried this one.

Sonic Speedsters, created by Shorty Short Productions a while back, is essentially a glorified version of Tron’s Light Cycles game. If you’re not familiar with that game, the basic idea is that you control a futuristic “cycle” as it speeds around an arena trying to stay alive while knocking off opponent cycles. Each cycle leaves a long trails of “light” behind it as it moves, and these trails are deadly to other cycles, as are the arena’s walls.

You’ve probably played Tron, or some spin-off, but there are a few reasons that you should check out Sonic Speedsters none the less. Most of these boil down to the fact that the game is just FUN; it works, it’s done right. There are a number of cycles to choose from, and each is customizable, allowing you to configure for speed, acceleration, or maneuverability. The game supports single player “instant action” and campaign mode, as well as multiplayer LAN, internet (though you might not be able to find a game), and same keyboard play. The single player modes are fun enough, but the game’s multiplayer on one keyboard split screen action is just brilliant.

One of the best things about the game is the level of customization available. Besides customizing your cycles, you can choose between a number of settings regarding the deadliness of the light trails, and automatic turning and whatnot, making the game nicely scalable as you get better—and believe me, the better you get, and the harder you turn the settings up, the more fun the game is. The game also features custom resolution settings (a very good decision, as it allows the game to look good on my 22-inch monitor, years after its release), and a few different camera selections (playing the game from the “cockpit” view is a real blast once you get your feet wet). A variety of weapons, speed boosters and the like are of course available. The game’s feeling of chocolate coated speed is one of the best things about it.

Unfortunately the demo is no longer available on the official website, but I believe that it was released as freely distributable, so I’ve gone ahead and uploaded it here. The demo only gives you access to instant action play, but if you feel like trying out the full game, it only costs $15, and comes with a 60 day unconditional money back guarantee.

Sonic Speedsters
Players on One Keyboard: 1-2
Demo: here (7.8 MB)
Purchase: here ($15, unconditional 60 day money back guarantee)

Sonic Speedsters Split Screen

  • raigan

    how does manouverability work?! the cycles all turn at right angles ;)

  • MisterX

    I’ve never heard of this game, but I used to like GLtron much:
    It’s a far more basic version of the 3D Tron games, but a totally solid and polished one, also giving you quite a bunch of options. Only features local play, but up to 4 players splitscreen :)

    Sonic Speedster sounds quite interesting, though I’m sure I wouldn’t buy it. But I’ll give the demo a try :)

  • gsm

    I was kinda hoping for more 2-4 player games, or maybe an emphasis on them being one-system pc games, with the possibility of using USB controllers. Or at least link to Joytokey with these posts.

  • Lim-Dul

    Demo version crashes under Vista (at least for me)…

    I’ll stick to Armagetron Advanced and GLTron. =)

  • rz.

    i love these kind of games, so keep this series going! <3333

  • Rocket Slug

    May I suggest Little Fighter 2? Great classic game for multiple people on a single keyboard.

  • JJ

    Love this game, definitely. It’s an extra challenge!

  • Jordan

    @raigan: good point! I believe “maneuverability” translates into “quickness” in this case.

  • Jordan

    @gsm: I’m totally about the 2-4 player on one keyboard games; however, I still think there are games that only support up to 2 players on one keyboard that deserve to be mentioned.

    @Lim-Dul: Thanks for the links!

    @Rocket Slug: LF2 is definitely a classic, though I have lasting gripe against the game’ responsiveness which is hard for me to get over.

  • Eclipse

    raigan, do you know Tron? Tron’s Cycles have no physic rules, and they turn at 90°. The nice thing is that nearest an enemy trail you are faster you will go
    (i don’t know if it’s implemented on that game, if not, it’s done wrong) so you have to run very near an enemy tail to speed up to reach him, staying aware when he turns to make you crash, surpass him and close his path doing an U turn, it’s very fun played in two or with a good ia

  • Charles Fleury

    I appreciate the recommendation for Sonic Speedsters and your dedication to showcasing independent same-machine multiplayer games. It’s essential to explore lesser-known gems for those of us who enjoy playing multiplayer games on a single keyboard. Sonic Speedsters, reminiscent of Tron’s Light Cycles, offers an exhilarating experience with its futuristic cycles and strategic gameplay. Much like Bike Mayhem MOD APK, it provides hours of adrenaline-fueled fun for gaming enthusiasts. Thank you for sharing this exciting multiplayer experience!