Review by MegaPowerNinja

Reviewed: 07/05/06

One of the best racing games EVER.

First Thoughts:
When a friend of mine sent me a link to a preview of this game I never thought that it would turn out to be one of the best racing games of all time. I've never been a big fan of the racer genre but I always appreciate games of any genre that put a new spin on an old and overdone game. For example, the Mario Kart series excels at turning the boring old lap racer into an intense mix of racing skills and projectile weapons. This is a game that has managed to do the same thing. Sonic Riders is an excellent racer pitting well known Sonic the Hedgehog characters, all new racers and even a few faces from Sega's past all against one another and the insane tracks from the twisted minds at Sonic Team.

Graphics: 5/5
Always par for the course, Sonic Team never fails to deliver in this department.
Breathtaking stages as well as highly detailed models make this game a real feast for the eyes. The character models are a noticeable upgrade from those in Sonic Heroes or Sonic Adventure 2, and more importantly, they blend in well with the vivid and colorful backgrounds. I personally think that this is some of Sonic Team's best work and hopefully other players will agree. You will be blown away by how the characters and the environments look once the action starts..

Music: 4/5
I've always been a big fan of Sonic the Hedgehog games, but the music used in Sonic Adventure 2 and Heroes left a bad taste in my mouth. I half expected to hear the same kind of poppy rock music in this title, but thankfully Sonic Team opted to go with a soundtrack filled with some nice techno music. Whether or not you’re a fan of that genre, you will find that these themes fit very well as you race through the stages. The only problem is that a couple of the tracks can get a little repetitive.

Controls and Gameplay: 5/5
The controls in this game are pretty straightforward, tilt the stick upward to accelerate, back to brake and left and right to make turns. Simple enough?

As for the gameplay, Sonic Riders is a classic case of simple and easy to learn, while still being a challenge to master. This game does have a learning curve of about 2-3 hours, but once it 'clicks' with you, you'll improve at a pretty quick rate. Sadly, most people don't give it that kind of time opting instead to give it a bad review. It is a difficult game but honestly, that's part of what makes it fun. I plead that you play it for yourself before you judge it.

The game itself is extremely fast paced and sports a great sense of speed. As you whip around the curves and ride the air currents, collect rings to level up your character and increase his or her speed, handling and power. You’ll spend your time on the track doing everything you possibly can to charge through and take out the other racers on your way to the front of the pack. Each character has different shortcuts and talents they can use to come out as the winner. Smash through obstacles in your way, grind those rails,or fly through rings in the air to skip over sections of the track. Play through the various modes to unlock new characters, new boards and new tracks. You will even see some familiar faces from Sega’s past. It will take you quite a while to unlock everything.

Multiplayer: 5/5
The multiplayer supports one to four players. Don't have any friends? That's fine. Just play Battle mode or run a grand prix against computer players. If you do, take part in some split screen action. Battle mode allows players to take each other out with the help of various items situated around unique arenas. Free racing is a given, four players duke it out on split screen doing anything they can to finish first, each taking advantage of their selected character’s style. These are just two modes you can play among others. Trust me, there is a lot you can do to keep yourselves entertained.

Fun Factor: 5/5
This is the all important part of any review, and happy to say Sonic Riders passes this test with flying colors. Even if you aren't very good, this game will keep your attention for hours on end. But once you get some skills, and start playing with your friends you will lose sleep over this game. You really should give this game a shot.

Buy or Rent: BUY IT.
This game is priced at 39.99 and is well worth it. Trust me on this one, you just won't get nearly as much out of it by renting it.

If you like this game, try these:
Mario Kart: Double Dash (GCN)
Mario Kart DS (NDS)
Burnout 3 (XBOX)
Sonic Adventure 2: Battle (GCN)
Sonic Rush (NDS)

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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