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North America Details

Publisher: Sega
Release Date: February 23, 2006
Genre: Driving/Racing
Players: Single Player, Up to 4 players
ESRB: Everyone

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Game Review

Aug 27 2008 06:01 AM
Sonic Riders was the first game out of two Sonic games that was based on the concept of airboarding. No doubt an attempt to compete with Nintendo’s popular Mario Kart series, such as other games like Kirby: Air Ride and Crash: Tag erm… Well, I seem to have forgotten the rest of the name so, let’s just get into the review.

This time around, Sonic and the gang (he, Tails, and Knux) are hanging around in Future City. Tails has a device in his hand that is tracking a Chaos Emerald. The signal gains interference. Suddenly, three mysterious shapes crash through panels of windows from a building, riding strange hover boards. Tails’ tracker finds an emerald, and he points toward the direction it is located. Our favorite hedgehog dashes off, towards the three figures. However, on the boards they zip past him. Knuckles throws a few punches at the biggest and he flies off of the board. Caught by his partner they dash away anyway. Sonic looks at the fallen board and makes a drastic decision. He takes the flying plank and gets the first taste of how this thing actually works. He flies past two of the dark figures and reaches what appears to be the leader. The two combat for a few seconds until Sonic pulls out in the lead. However, he is quickly shot down by his adversary performing a turbulent dive towards him. All three regain their boards as they run away, the leader mocking, “So, you’re the fastest thing alive?” Our blue hedgehog cockily responds, “Heh, new competition!” Basically, this sparks a search for Chaos Emeralds, and a spot in Dr. Eggman’s World Ex Grand Prix. You now own a hover board. Basically, you play it like a Mario Kart game, except for the fact that there are no items and the board accelerates by itself. You can dash at any moment you like, and while you do, you are in attack mode. Hit anyone while you are in this condition and you’ll knock out all their rings and steal a bit of their air. However there is a downside. Doing so wastes your air, which is kind of like “gasoline” in this game(Promoting good Earth-saving techniques are we?). You run out quickly, and when you do, you are forced to run on foot. Luckily, there is a way to replenish your firepower. Simply, charge before a jump (which are scattered all over each level) and jump.

Use your Control Stick to do as many gnarly tricks as you can before landing back on the ground. Depending on the ranking of your air performance, you will receive an amount of air that reflects your ranking. A tip for jumping. There are often alternate paths that act as shortcuts. They, however, are going to be a bit harder to get to. Pulling back on the control stick gets you high in the air, and pushing forward gets you major distance. See which one gets you to each of these alternate paths and see what works for you. Now, let’s talk about rings. The maximum you can get on one stage is 100 rings. Build up your collection and head over to the shop to buy more Extreme Gear (fancy name for air board ). There’s bikes, scooters, skates, and more regular boards. However not each board works for just any character. For example, a pair of S Type boots may work for a Speed Type character, but not for a Fly Type character such as Tails. Some Gear will double the rings you receive, some will enhance your performance, some will give you new attack abilities, etc. That’s about it…

Graphics aren’t that good in Sonic Riders. The colors often get muddy, and the motion blur in this game is really overdone. Textures on tracks look rushed and the outside details such as trees, bushes, look very blocky. The characters have pretty nice and fluid animation. Animation during the cut-scenes is pretty weird. Sometimes characters just put their arms up for no reason.

Hmmm. All this game has a few techno tracks. Every two levels have the same music track. Not a really good job here. Everything soundwise in this game is pretty drab and really rushed. Nothing will stay in your mind for very long.

Overall each gear has pretty nice control. Jumps need a bit of work because you may twist this way, but the character goes that way. While you run, the controls pretty much go haywire. They are really sensitive, and if you over-steer, you’ll find your character taking steps backward. Also, it depends on what gear you are riding. For example, there’s a Cloud gear that has absolutely excellent stats. It’s fast as hell and does the quickest tricks you will ever see, but then it majorly over-steers. A minor tilt on the control stick could have you going in circles in the middle of the track.

Honestly, Sonic Riders never gave me much of a challenge. I got through both story modes awfully quick, and the challenges took about three days. However, gaining all of the rings for all of the Extreme Gear took a few more days. You won’t get stuck much on a game like this.

Like most recent Sonic games, this one won’t be much fun. I’m sure you’ve all heard of the voice-acting issues in the Sonic world right now. No different in this game, it’s really bad, sometimes to the point of it being funny. Jet’s laughs are absolutely classic. Also, the storyline in this game is really cheesy. All of the character’s lines sound really stupid and don’t have much depth to them.

Final Comments:
Not really a game I would recommend. I mean, I bought this because I still had some hope in Sonic games, but really, this thing dampened my hopes. Don’t get this unless you’re really looking for something to play. It’s better than some games, but definitely not as good as it could be. Save this for later on, when you really have nothing better to do.

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