Sonic Riders

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a game by Sonic Team
Platforms: XBox, PC, Playstation 2
Editor Rating: 7/10, based on 1 review, 2 reviews are shown
User Rating: 9.1/10 - 7 votes
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See also: Sonic Games
Sonic Riders
Sonic Riders
Sonic Riders

Sega’s ever-popular blue hedgehog has suffered many transformations over his long career. His identity crisis isn’t as severe as, say, Nintendo putting Mario in every kind of game imaginable, but Sonic has also proved to be a multifaceted mascot. Sonic Riders is the hedgehog’s foray into the realm of extreme sports and racing, and it’s a pretty good one to boot. As long as you can overlook some unreliable controls, there’s a lot to see in Sonic Riders, and it’s certainly not just for fans of the blue hedgehog.

Racing redefined

Let’s address the elephant in the room: Sonic isn’t the first mascot that tries its luck with arcade racing. Both Mario and Crash Bandicoot have tried, and they’ve gotten great results: the Mario Kart series is considered to be one of Nintendo’s finest. Considering this, Sonic Riders has to differentiate itself from its competitors to really make it into the genre.

This isn’t Sonic’s first entry in the racing genre: Sonic R was an ill-fated attempt at turning the Sonic formula into a racer, but the less said about that game, the better. Sonic Riders is a racer with the rebellious attitude the blue hedgehog is known for, trading puny karts for hoverboards.

The gameplay of Sonic Riders looks more like WipeOut than Mario Kart 64, with racers darting through the treacherous courses at the speed of sound. Quick reflexes and memorization skills are needed to overcome the game’s 16 tracks.

Familiar faces

Many well-known characters from previous Sonic games make it into Sonic Rider’s roster. Sonic and his friends are included, but so are some new additions to the Sonic mythos, such as Jet the Hawk, Storm the Albatross, and Wave the Swallow.

Just like Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing would do years later, the roster of Sonic Riders also includes some iconic characters from previous Sega games: AiAi, NiGHTS, and Ulala are available as secret unlockable characters.

The racers are divided according to their capacities into three types: Speed, Power, and Flight. Speed Types have the highest top speeds but lack acceleration; Power Types are though, but slow brawlers; and the Flight Types are the only ones capable of air riding, at the cost of having terrible durability.

Tricky races

Sonic has always been edgier than its direct competitor, Mario. And what’s edgier and cooler than skateboard tricks?: Sonic Riders features a basic stunt system to add variety to the races. Basic, yes, but incredibly fun nonetheless. Nailing tricks grants you ‘Air’ to store in your Air Tank: players can then use this air to fuel even more impressive air-dependent maneuvers to give them an edge over the other racers.

Where Sonic Riders drops the ball is in its controls. A high-speed racing game should have precise controls — something that titles like F-Zero GX understood perfectly —. Here, however, handling can be downright unwieldy. Many times you’ll lose races not because you’ve made a mistake, but rather because you couldn’t do a sharp turn in time because of the awkward controls.

It might be flawed, but Sonic Riders is an enjoyable racing game with a great sense of speed. The characters are well balanced and the inclusion of the trick system adds a certain edge to the Riders over games like Mario Kart.

7

The awkward controls and the occasional framerate drop can get in the way of fun, but the game manages to pull itself together back again. Sonic Riders is fun, and not just for Sonic the Hedgehog fans, but for any fan of fun arcade racing games.

Pros:

  • Vibrant visuals
  • Great sense of speed
  • Fun unlockable characters

Cons:

  • Awkward controls
  • Some performance issues
  • Only sixteen tracks

Download Sonic Riders

XBox

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

PC

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Playstation 2

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

If Sonic Were a ventriloquist's dummy, he wouldn't want to come out of his chest He'd be shy, beaten and unwilling to star in another over-sped, under-playable iteration of his glorious 2D days. But the crowds come, and the unfeeling ventriloquist pulls him out yet again, and this time he's been dropped on a futuristic hoverboard. Sonic's fast, right? Well just imagine how fast he'd be, if he was, erm, standing still - on a hoverboard!

The game is a basic racer - hit go-faster areas, find shortcuts, collect rings for fairly meaningless Extreme Gear. It's so basic, Sonic Riders feels like nothing more than an over-padded mini-game, and the frustration of the control, response and the sense of luck that infects the results has been carried over perfectly from the console versions.

And no, you didn't miss the main review - this game went straight to budget for a reason.

Snapshots and Media

XBox Screenshots

PC Screenshots

Playstation 2 Screenshots

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