Sonic Riders

Format: PS2

Age Restrictions: 3+
17 March 2006

Dr. Eggman has thrown down the gauntlet, calling out Sonic and friends to join his World Grand Prix. But, just what is the egg-shaped genius really planning? And who are the legendary riders known as the Babylon Rouges that beat Sonic to the signup? At unparalleled breakneck speeds, you'll catch the turbulence air stream of your board-bound opponents and blaze past them while busting out wild stunts and tricks. Take full advantage of your characters' talents in Speed, Power, or Flight and challenge up to three friends to find out who really is the fastest rider in the world...

Sonic Riders is a fast-paced air board racing game featuring a cast of familiar Sonic characters and some brand new rivals to battle against. Dr. Eggman challenges Sonic and his friends to a Worldwide Grand Prix, and the prize for coming out on top is an ultra-rare Chaos Emerald. Gliding at breakneck speed on air boards - performance-orientated for each playable character - you get to experience extreme sports-style racing tension as Sonic and his friends perform tricks and stunts over the treacherous wide-open terrain. Sonic of course is well known to be the speediest on the ground, but will he be able to outrun all the others on his air board?

Sega has taken the sonic universe and put a new twist on it. Sonic Riders is a pretty addictive racing game that some may easily dismiss. On first play through it is annoyingly complicated to get to grips with the controls, and everything zips by a little too quickly. This has the dizzying effect of making you believe that this is an impossibly difficult game.

It took me ages to master the controls and finish in a reasonable position, but once you have mastered it this game becomes great fun. In a lot of ways it harks back to the days of the original Sonic game. Do you remember how, when Sonic shot off at the speed of light, everything was a blur and you had no control of what was happening. Then, as you got used to the speed, everything became a lot easier to control - even though it was still insanely fast and furious. That's also an accurate description of Sonic Riders, just stick with it and the rewards are worth it.

As you progress through the levels it's easy to miss the well hidden short cuts and rails that will take you soaring above the other racers. But after a few hours of playing it becomes easy to jump at the right time, perform those all important tricks, and then land correctly. There are shortcuts to discover and tricks to master if you want to win that Chaos Emerald.

While this may not be to everyone's tastes, all in all this is a fairly good racing game and one that should certainly appeal to the hard-core Sonic fans.

Nick Smithson

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