|Series||Sonic the Hedgehog|
|Release date(s)||PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox
Sonic Riders (ソニックライダーズ Sonikku Raidāzu?) is a 2006 video game spin-off developed by Sonic Team, with production assistance by Now Production, for the PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox and Microsoft Windows. It is the fourth racing game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, preceded by Sonic Drift, Sonic Drift 2 and Sonic R.
The game was released to start off the 15th anniversary of the release of the Sonic the Hedgehog series. For a short while, the Microsoft Xbox version of the game was released with a free Sonic X DVD. This game introduces five new playable characters, the Babylon Rogues and the E-10000 series. A sequel to Sonic Riders, entitled Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity, was released in 2008 for the Wii and PlayStation 2, followed by the Kinect-required game Sonic Free Riders for the Xbox 360 in 2010. This was the last Sonic the Hedgehog game for the GameCube and Microsoft Xbox. There are two stories; after completing the Heroes Story (Team Sonic), the Babylon Story (Babylon Rogues) becomes available, which includes an epilogue. The stories start differently, but eventually overlap.
Jet, observing the key to Babylon Garden (a cube), is alerted by Storm to a visitor: Eggman. Eggman knows that Jet has the key and tells him that he needs the Chaos Emeralds to make Babylon Garden rise. The Rouges steal an Emerald, but are chased by Team Sonic, whom were also aiming to retrieve the Emerald. Knuckles punches Storm off his board, allowing Sonic to take it and chase Jet, but Jet escapes. The next day, Team Sonic sees Eggman on a digital billboard advertising the World Grand Prix. When they realize that the Rogues are participating, Team Sonic enters as well.
Team Sonic win the first race, but prior to the second race, Wave plants a bomb on Sonic's board. In the final race, Wave sets off the bomb, allowing Jet to defeat Sonic and win the Grand Prix and the Chaos Emeralds. Using their power, Jet makes Babylon Garden appear, wanting to go there after Storm infiltrated Eggman's factory and learned of a legendary treasure made by the Babylonians. Eggman steals the cube and enters the garden, with Amy grabbing onto Eggman's ship at the last minute. Determined to avenge his loss, Sonic heads to Babylon Garden as well after Tails gives him a new board. Jet, wanting to defeat Eggman first, challenges Sonic to a rematch. Although Sonic wins, both teams find Eggman, who is holding Amy hostage. Combining their powers, Jet and Sonic manage to retrieve the cube and Amy. After Sonic gives Jet the cube and Team Babylon leaves, Amy gets mad at Sonic and chases him with her hammer.
Jet uses the cube to open a secret door, leading the Rouges to a strange room. When Team Sonic hears a loud growling, they follow, finding the Rogues and the Babylon Guardian, a giant tasked with protecting the treasure. After defeating the Guardian, a chest appears, and Sonic and Jet open it, revealing a carpet. Eggman, following them, forces Sonic and Jet to give him the treasure. When they give Eggman the carpet, he passes out in confusion. The carpet is actually an EX Gear, and can fly when used with the cube, being named "Magic Carpet". Team Sonic and the Babylon Rogues then depart and go their own ways, but Jet promises to race Sonic again one day.
The game is played in its entirety using hover boards, which function largely like skateboards. Different hover boards operate at different functions, which are speed, power, and fly abilities. Speed allows the user to grind on poles allowing increased speed and air. Power allows the user to break certain objects giving the player a boost and air. Fly allows the user to fly through rings boosting the player further into the course. Players must race seven other competitors on a total of 16 tracks, 9 of which must be unlocked through progress in the story mode, and two of which must be unlocked by winning Gold in each World Grand Prix (5 tracks per Grand Prix). Each individual character has different statistics, altering their performance slightly in races.
A key component of the game is the air tank, displayed in the lower right-hand corner of the screen. Air serves as the fuel for Extreme Gear, and is depleted gradually as the race goes on. and by certain maneuvers. These include cornering, allowing the player to round sharp turns with ease, and building tension before a jump, which involves using the air to propel the player higher off of ramps. If a player runs out of air, their character will start running, putting them at several disadvantages; they can't boost, attack, corner easily or use charged jumps. After going off ramps, players can perform various tricks, which refill the air gauge according to their rating.
In the Story Mode, players take part in consecutive races, one after the other, based on the storyline, in order to defeat the Babylon Rogues and win the Grand Prix.
Sonic Riders received mixed reviews. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the GameCube version 63.46% and 59/100, the PlayStation 2 version 59.70% and 55/100, the Xbox version 58.84% and 56/100 and the PC version 43.33%.
A sequel to Sonic Riders, entitled Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity, was released in 2008 for the Wii and PlayStation 2. A third title, Sonic Free Riders, developed by O-Two, is a launch title for Xbox 360's Kinect peripheral which was released on November 4, 2010.
Archie comics adaptation
The Archie Sonic Comic issues #163 and #164 include a loose adaptation of Sonic Riders, even using the same art style used in the game's title sequence. Two characters are also seen riding Extreme Gear in issue #173. Bark the Polar Bear and Bean the Dynamite also use Extreme Gear in the Archie Comics. The Babylon Rogues make appearances with their Extreme Gear and Airship in Sonic Universe issues 23 and 24. They also have an arc in Sonic Universe issues 33 - 36.
- "GDRI developer interview".
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- "Sonic Riders (GC)". GameRankings. Retrieved 2012-11-20.
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- "Sonic Riders (Xbox)". GameRankings. Retrieved 2012-11-20.
- "Sonic Riders (PC)". GameRankings. Retrieved 2012-11-20.
- "Sonic Riders (GC)". Metacritic. Retrieved 2012-11-20.
- "Sonic Riders (Xbox)". Metacritic. Retrieved 2012-11-20.
- "Sonic Riders (PS2)". Metacritic. Retrieved 2012-11-20.
- "It's A Long Ride Down". Game Informer Online. Archived from the original on April 2, 2007. Retrieved 2009-01-09.
- "Games Radar".
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- "Sonic Riders Review Videos". X-Play. Retrieved 2009-01-09.
- Official website(Japanese)