Riders isn't bad....but it's the pits....that can
kill the fun. Read on. by
28, 2006 - Sonic
has seen a lot of wacky action outside of his regular
video game activities over his 16 year career, such
as racing, pinball and fighting. Sonic Riders attempts
to cash in on the racing genre, perhaps in another
bid to usurp Nintendo's Mario Kart as the pinnacle
of the lighthearted racing genre, but that ain't gonna
happen anytime soon. Instead of running on foot as
we last saw in Sonic R, Tails, Knuckles, Sonic and
some new characters (all equally forgettable and generic),
this time out it's all about hoverboards. Yes, hoverboards
- as in TrickStyle, EyeToy: Antigrav and Namco's AirBlade.
For some reason, Western civilizations' fascination
with hoverboards hasn't fared well in the video game
arena and unfortunately, Sonic Riders isn't the catalyst
to spark a newfound gaming fad even though it tries
to amalgamate surfing, snowboarding, skateboarding
back story of Sonic Riders involves a new team of
emerald stealing thieves known as the Babylon Rogues
who just happen to ride around on "extreme gear"
(aka hoverboards). Sonic's seemingly only worthwhile
nemesis, Dr. Eggman, throws a racing tournament in
a thinly veiled evil plot to get his hands on - what
else? - and before you know it, you have a barebones
understanding of why you're playing Sonic Riders,
aside from the fact that you either bought or rented
it. As you progress Sega will continue to force the
half-assed story down your throat via cutscenes, but
will you really care?
racing in Sonic Riders is fast and might make you
furious, due to a few factors that should have remained
on the cutting room floor. The worst gameplay mechanic
in years has to be the loss of air while using your
hoverboard. Using boost drains your air supply (if
only it drained the lifeforce of Air Supply, the 80's
wussy band that annoyed the crap out of me back then...)
which results in your chosen character running on
foot if emptied completely. To restore the air, you'll
have to find a pitstop along the way. Not only does
this waste valuable time, but it completely disrupts
the entire flow of the game. I believe Sega thought
it would add a strategic element to the game, but
it only succeeds at annoying you since you'll probably
find yourself avoiding the boost feature at all costs;
without it, the game seems like your standing still.
element of gameplay that does work as intended is
the use of riding opponent's turbulence trails. Streaming
from behind them, you'll be able to jump onto their
tailwind and increase your speed and execute tricks
and combos by leaping to and from a variety of turbulence
created by the other riders. The shallow trick system
isn't anything to get excited about and the stunts
are executed by a directional push - the only downside
to the tricks is landing them incorrectly which can
result in a small scale wipeout, which will cost you
valuable time. The only way to make that time up is
to use the boost, which drains your air supply which
requires a visit to the pits....Argh! Enough already!
the game is pretty hot stuff across the three available
platforms (GC, PS2 and Xbox). Sonic Team kept the
environments in Riders to look as though they were
lifted from the same bizarre Sonic universe that all
of the other games were borne from. The game is very
smooth with the occasional framerate hiccup, but it's
nothing to get your panties in a knot over. Remember,
I've played Tomb Raider: Angel Of Darkness (PS2) so
I've seen the benchmark for worst framerate in a video
game ever. Angel of Darkness was akin to playing a
video game on one of those "Flip the pages as
fast as you can!" books; that's how bad the frame
rate was. As mentioned the character designs are as
generic as they come, but let's face it, that all
began with the introduction of Tails in 1992 and hasn't
showed any signs of slowing down since. At the very
least they work within the framework of what has come
track structure is more than a little attention deficit
- it's like someone went crazy with the Track-Designer
3000. The tracks start out busy and distracting and
manage to assault the senses even more the further
you progress - which means they should be just perfect
for the youngsters and teens this game is targetted
at. Hey, I know I'm old. My eyes are going. Lots of
flashy lights give me headaches. I'm not saying the
level design is bad - Sonic has always featured level
layouts jammed with everything and the kitchen sink
- it actually suits the style of the game quite well
and allows for the limited amount of technique the
hoverboard mechanic offers the player.
game supports up to 4 players which signifies that
Cube and Xbox owners will be ready to play right out
of the box, while PS2 owners require the multi-tap.
Let me just say for the record that playing a game
as involved as Sonic Riders is a nightmare on a small
TV in 4 player split-screen mode. The speed of the
game is impressive with 4 players, but the twisty
turny, hair-pin curve, level design and reduced visibility
make most of the races trial and error rather than
pure talent. Two player split-screen is definitely
your chosen character is a snap for the most part
and gamers of all skill levels will be able to pick
up and play it with minimal instruction; whether they
can manage a 1st place win or not is another story.
The game requires the use of just a couple of buttons
- jump, boost, R and L tight turns (shoulder buttons)
and once you get the hang of it, you'll begin exploring
the landscape using different characters to mine their
various abilities (based on speed, flight or power)
to reach cool new places.
value is high if you persevere and manage to like
the game enough to beat many difficulty levels. There
are no less than 10 extra characters to unlock, including
NiGHTS, Aiai (Super Monkey Ball), Shadow the Hedgehog,
Ulala (Space Channel 5) and Super Sonic just to name
a few. Unfortunately, Super Sonic is a mixed blessing
as you'll constantly be reverting back to Sonic due
to Super's high ring count which you must maintain,
and if you've played this game you'd know keeping
the ring count above a certain number can be a little
overwhelming given the lack of rings and hazards that
tend to take them away.
you're a patient gamer as well as high ranking Sonic
fanclub member, chances are you'll be able to overlook
some of the games weakspots and enjoy Sonic Riders
for what it is. It's certainly not perfect, but it
is definitely playable and enjoyable. Again, my biggest
complaint is the pits...pitstop that is. At any rate
it's a far site better than the recently released
Shadow the Hedgehog game. If you're sitting on the
fence, rent it. Sonic Riders is a bit of a bumpy ride,
but what do you expect with all of that turbulence?
air board racing. New blend of snowboarding, surfing
and high-speed racing combat.
Innovative Turbulence air-system. Catch
the drift of your opponents and leave them in your
tricks. The more difficult trick you pull off, the
more points you get!
Ultimate Battle. New rival group, the Babylon Rogues
sets the stage for scorching head-to-head multi-player
battles up to 4 players.
13 outrageous tracks, plus multiple modes, and tons
of bonus unlockables.
and customize your Extreme Gear with over 40 unique
types of equipment to choose from, as well as equipment
the mystery in Story Mode. Youll play as two
opposing teams, complete with cut-scenes.
TrickStyle for the DC? Criterion created that. If
Criterion doesn't ring a bell, certainly Burnout will.
They created that too. How about Namco's AirBlade?
Another hoverboard game. Now add Sega to that short
list. Sonic Riders will feature your favorite Sonic
characters shreddin' the laws of gravity on their
very own hoverboards in this futuristic racer.
the Hedgehog, Knuckles the Echidna, Storm the Albatross,
Jet the Hawk, Miles "Tails" Prower, and
Web the Swallow. Gamers will compete for a Chaos Emerald
in a speed challenge set up by Dr. Robotnik.
board runs on air. You can fill your air at various
points during the game, but you must also get air
by performing tricks on your board throughout the
course. You also want to use turbulence from racers
in front of you in order to get speed or make your
board leap into the air. When you are using turbulence,
you dont use your air supply. Yet, the downside
of using turbulence is that players can knock you
off course by creating irregularity in their turbulence.
is promising a lot of game play with numerous tracks
like Splash Canyon, Egg Factory, Green Cave, and Sandy
Ruin along with different modes including two and
our player split screen. Sega is promising the game
will be an "eXtreme" experience. The game
has a planned winter release in Japan for the Xbox,
PS2, and GameCube.