Sonic Riders is a spin-off of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise in which Sonic and his friends face off in a futuristic hoverboard racing setting. The game was developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega for the Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, and PC. The game was originally released to kick off the 15th anniversary for the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. As part of this celebration, the Xbox version (for a short while) shipped with a DVD containing the first five episodes of Sonic X. The game was released on February 21, 2006. Sonic Riders even had an Archie Comics adaptation of the game.
The game's reception was relatively mediocre. Reviews ranged from eights to fives. Game Rankings lists the GameCube version as the highest rated with a 63.1% rating, then the PlayStation 2 version with 59.7%, the Xbox version with 59%, and last the PC version with 43.3%.
Sonic Riders is a traditional racing game in the same vein as F-Zero and Wipeout. Players can choose a character, each with different stats that slightly alter their performance during the game. In addition, the player can select a board or even other vehicles to use as they are unlocked, and each affects the performance of the character during the race. There are a total of fourteen tracks to race on, seven of which must be unlocked through the game's story mode, and two that must be unlocked by winning Gold in the World Grand Prix. The key feature of the game is a small air gauge in the corner of the screen. Air is essentially the fuel for the Extreme Gear, and is depleted slowly as the race goes on. Air is also depleted when the player performs certain maneuvers, such as boosting. Air can be gained at some stations along the way (when out of air, the character runs along the track slowly while carrying their board), as well as by doing well in tricks. Rings on the track "level up" the player, allowing them to carry more air (at the start of each race, the player is restarted to Level 1).
Each character has one of three attributes: Speed, Flight, or Power. The main benefit to these attributes is what it allows the character to do during a race. The Speed attribute allows characters to grind on rails along the track for a good shortcut. The Flight attribute allows characters to "fly" over certain portions of the track, triggered by rings. The Power attribute allows characters to destroy obstacles that make shortcuts for the character to go on. Each maneuver for these attributes will refill the air gauge as well. Because most characters' stats are similar, their attribute is a point of interest.
There are three types of Extreme Gear available in the game: Boards, Skates, and Bikes. Boards are the only gear unlocked at the beginning of the game, and is the all-around gear. The Skates have lower performance, but use up less air, and the Bikes have higher performance, but use up more air. Some characters can only use one of the three types, limiting options.
The game opens with Sonic and Tails walking in Future City, again searching for the Chaos Emeralds. All of the sudden, Tails's radar goes off and three mysterious riders fly by. Sonic pursues them on foot (as the radar is detecting they are carrying a Chaos Emerald), and knocks one of the three off their board. He quickly catches up to the leader, but is outmaneuvered. The next day, Dr. Eggman announces that he will be hosting a World Grand Prix. The entrance fee is one Chaos Emerald, and the winner "takes all!" Sonic recognizes the three riders as a few of the entrants, and decides to enter himself. The race will be on Extreme Gear, a type of hoverboard that the three riders were using. The three riders are later revealed to be the Babylong Rogues, consisting of Jet the Hawk, Wave the Swallow, and Storm the Albatross.
PC System Requirements
- Windows 2000/XP
- 1GHz Pentium III/AMD Processor
- 128MB RAM
- 64MB VRAM DirectX 3D Compatible Video Card
- 3GB Hard Disk Space
- 640x480 16 Bit (High Color) Display
- 12X CD ROM Drive
- DirectX 9.0C
- DirectX Sound Card
- 1.4GHz Pentium 4
- 256 MB RAM
- 640x480 24/32 Bit (True Color) Display