Players: 1 to 4 Player Game | Release Date: 02/21/06 | Genre: Driving
Why have wheels, when you've got air?
Sonic Riders is Sega's latest racing game using the Sonic characters, but instead of being on foot (like in Sonic R), or using cars (Sonic Drift),Hoverboards are the vehicle of choice. I've heard complaints about the graphics, however I think they're very nice. Then again, these complains could have come from the PS2 version.
Sonic Riders is not an easy game to pick up and play, the game takes time getting used to. The controls are a bit different from other racing games. There is no 'accelerate' button, the Hoverboard moves forward on it's own. You have a limited amount of fuel(air), and it must be refilled. Air is refilled by riding some one else's turbulence, doing tricks off of ledges and ramps, or stopping at a pit stop.
Turbulence is the 'wake' left behind when a player/computer player speeds by. It can be used to refill air and catch up with other players. While you're riding the turbulence you do not use up air, so it's a good idea to hop on in most situations, instead of trying refill at a pit stop.
Tricks are used to regain air, and can also be used to boost a player's speed. There is no trick button, instead using the control stick to move the character in mid air is how tricks are done. The only hard part is performing lots of them and landing correctly(the more you perform the better your boost, and the more air you'll gain). By correctly I mean landing facing forward and having the character upright when they land, if this is not done you'll gain very little air regardless of how many tricks were preformed and you will end up slowing yourself down.
There are 16 tracks, but 8 of them are just 'partner' tracks. To better explain this, consider 8 of them just 'remixes' of the original 8. Metal City has Night Chase as it's 'partner' track. It looks like Metal City but it takes place at night, and the starting line is completely different, but the rest of the track (except the short cuts) feels nearly the same. This isn't to say that they're not fun to race on.
Story mode in this game is almost exactly like Sonic Adventure 2's "Hero" and "Dark" Stories, but replace "Dark" with "Babylon" (rogues). The 'story' of this game is a joke but to be honest I don't think anyone buys a racing game for a great plot.
Characters can be equipped with gear, but only outside of story and mission mode. Most gear is unlocked by gathering rings while racing and using the rings to buy gear from the extreme gear shop. Considering you may only carry 100 rings at a time and most gear ranges from 300 to 5,000 rings, it will take a while to unlock it all.
The music in the game is made up of techno (except Jet's theme), and is quiet fitting for the setting of the game. The voice acting isn't that great, a couple of the secret characters can barely be heard, unless you turn up the volume, and after your 100th race the announcer can grate on your nerves.(Thankfully there’s an option to turn this off)
Overall Sonic Riders is a great racing game, but isn't a pick up and play type of game. If you buy it, prepare to spend some time getting used to the controls.