Review by SharmHedgehog
"Why were all the games released for Sonic's 15th anniversary so bad?"
Sonic the Hedgehog is Sega's mascot; a hedgehog that can run beyond the speed of sound. And this game, Sonic Riders, is about various Sonic characters racing. However, it falls flat compared to Sonic R. How? Read on...
The story is totally unoriginal. Some wingless birds come from nowhere riding on flying surfboards and want to find a treasure, and Sonic wants to stop them. Even Sonic Heroes had a better plot, and the only real twist is the revelation of the treasure at the end.
They tried, but it just didn't work. The game lets you ride on an air-powered motorbike, a flying surfboard or in air shoes. Where's the on foot option? This would have been the perfect chance to show off Sonic's real speed, but no... you can ride the opponent's turbulence, which is great, but annoying at certain times, as the turbulence may cause you to crash into an obstacle, costing you the race. Also, the AI has been known to cheat. I have seen characters teleport before, and E-10000G and E-10000R have been known to use all kinds of shortcuts. For instance, I have seen E-10000G grind, a technique only speed-types can use, but G is a power-type. Also, the process of air is extremely aggravating. You can be going really fast and you could run out of air, and unless you fiddled with the options, letting your air tank go empty will cause you to drop out of the race. Eggman has now been degraded even further; one of his attacks is farting. Seriously... Also, enemies often come out of nowhere to attack and suck out all your rings and demote you back to Lvl. 1, with no warning whatsoever.
The graphics look like everybody is from a cartoon (Wave looks like one of those McDonalds mascots). Remember how in Shadow the Hedgehog, everyone actually had perfect lip-sync? Well, the lip-sync is back to Sonic Adventure level. In the cutscene before Sand Ruins, you can see that Jet's mouth doesn't match his lines. Did I mention that this game makes Tails look like a teenager, when he's really only eight years old? The CG is nothing special either. Some people may applaud it, but it's basically a colourful version of the CG from Shadow the Hedgehog, which was amazing. Somehow, it just looks worse now. Maybe it's how weird the mouths look, or maybe it's the weird art style. And in certain cutscenes, when you can see Storm's face, you can see how bad the graphics really are. Speaking of cutscenes, how does Amy switch between her red dress and racing clothes so quickly?
First of all, the sound just sucks. In the opening cutscene, Jet says "Huh, not bad." but with Sonic's voice! Speaking of Jet, he sounds like Usopp from One Piece (well, 4Kids era One Piece). After Jason Griffith did a decent job as Sonic in Shadow the Hedgehog, he's stooped back to Sonic X level. It's also extremely hard to hear what Shadow and Cream are saying. And even though Eggman has his SA2 voice (but only in races), it's just various clips from the game inserted in various places. Also, Omochao has returned. If you fail to do a trick, he says "(insert character here) has lost his/her balance, and also his speed.", and even stupid things like "It looks like Rouge just grew wings, because he's (yes, he says Rouge is male!) flying!" Also, the music isn't anything special. Sound effects are the same as always, with cartoony sounds thrown in. The translation has gone back to Adventure level as well. "Not just a race, but a special race to see who is the fastest!" The music is pretty catchy though, so I guess the sound passes with a 6.
Replay Value: 9/10
You could always race friends, but it gets repetitive after a while, since there are limited characters, stages, and Extreme Gear.
Rent or Buy?
If you really want to experience this game, I strongly urge you to rent it. I bought it, and it was a waste of $50.
To cut a long story short, Sonic Riders just isn't a good enough racing game. If the graphics, sound, gameplay and story were better, then I would urge you to purchase it. However, they aren't, resulting in this. If you want a party game, buy Super Monkey Ball 2 or something. Just as long as it isn't Sonic Riders.
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 05/29/07, Updated 05/12/08
Game Release: Sonic Riders (US, 02/21/06)
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