"Why the hell am I in a car?"
—Sonic's thoughts on Drift in the first entry of Sonic Shorts
The first entry, released in 1994, was a basic kart racer, with four playable stars: Sonic, Tails, Amy and Dr. Eggman. Rings could be collected to either give the player a speed boost, or give the player a jump ability. Gameplay wise, it is very much Sega's answer to Super Mario Kart -- it even has a map on the screen ala the original outing (but inexplicably put on the top of it rather than the bottom). Prior to being ported to Sonic Mega Collection Plus and Sonic Adventure DX, this game never saw the light of day in the U.S. or Europe.
However, the following year it did receive a follow-up, the aptly named Sonic Drift 2, which did make it overseas (and curiously retained the numeral in the U.S.). This game expanded upon the original by adding many more playable stars and tracks.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Speedup monitors are red, Invincibility monitors are blue.
- Gimmick Level: Emerald Ocean in Drift 2. The whole track is the sea, so you need to keep your speed over 40% to avoid falling.
- Green Hill Zone: The original Green Hill Zone, no less, appears as the first track in the first game.
- Interface Screw: The R Ball in Drift 2 reverses the controls for a couple seconds.
- Kill Sat: The Death Egg, which appears at the end of Drift 2.
- Lampshade Hanging: The manual and character profiles from the time stated that Sonic dislikes cars.
- Meaningful Background Event: The Death Egg's appearance in the Milky Way track of Drift 2.
- No Export for You: The original game, prior to compilation appearances.
- Nostalgia Level: The tracks in Drift 1 are all levels from Sonic 1. Likewise, many tracks in Drift 2 are levels from Sonic 2.
- Recurring Riff: You Can Do Anything is the invincibility theme in Drift 1. Drift 2 uses the Sonic 3 Invincibility theme instead.
- Sequel Difficulty Spike: The first game is easy enough that you can only lose if you mess up a lot. The second game, however, has the A.I. cheat constantly to stay ahead of you.
- Spiritual Successor: Sonic R, Sonic Riders, and Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing.