Sonic Riders

By on December 19, 2006

This racing game lacks excitement and disappoints.


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First Impressions
My reaction is

Sonic Riders is a game which SEGA hoped would be a fast-paced, entertaining racer, but sadly, the game disappoints.

Sonic Riders is a game that will ride out of your mind, and fast.

The story is ridiculous. Sonic and his friends are just strolling along in a future-city highway, when Dr.Eggman announces that he is holding a grand-prix with the world’s fastest racers, on a hover board, of sorts, called Extreme Gear. Sonic has to compete with some characters called the Babylonian Rogues. Then the story takes the usual twists and turns, like Knuckles making some mistakes, which Sonic has to correct etc. The dialogues are bad. It seems as if SEGA hired a 6 year old to write the story and dialogues! But let’s not talk of such bad things, and instead proceed to the gameplay!

Riding the turbulence is a good, but not fun, way to boost your speed.

Unfortunately, the gameplay, too, is disappointing. It basically mixes racing with some basic boarding tricks. Though the idea is new and innovative, both the aspects (i.e. the racing and the boarding tricks) are very basic and rudimentary, with not a grain of depth in them. There a few maps to choose from, and most of them, though have a lot of hidden areas and shortcuts, are very loosely designed, and are not fun to play in at all. The badly designed maps could have been pardoned, if the racing was good, but it is not so. The players can ride turbulence, that is the wind left by a racer in front of them, and thus get a speed boost. However, it is to be noted that the RACERS ride the turbulence and not YOU. If you guide your racer into the turbulence, they will just ride it, and you don’t have to do anything. It would have been better if there was any room for error, like the racers could fall off; but apparently, they are just too good to make any mistakes.

There are a few tricks you can pull while you are in the air, like a melon, but there is not much of a choice over what you do. More importance is given to how well you land, and you get a grade for that. The minimap is not detailed and is usually not helpful. There are a few pit stops, where you can recharge your power, but this totally slows down the game.
You can also purchase some Extreme Gear in the shops to equip your racer, but what’s the point, if the racing itself is badly designed?

Maps looking colorful are an understatement, in Sonic Riders.

Let me make this clear: The graphics are bad. The character models look bad, there is no good animation, and the maps look mediocre, at best. The graphics of Sonic Riders would have looked good, if it released 3 years ago. The maps were also too colorful for my liking. The cut scenes look good, but that’s about the only aspect of the game which is pleasing to the eye.

The audio in the game overall, is bad. The in-game and menu music are mediocre but however, are loud to the point where I started remembering the roads of India. Thankfully, this can be changed in the settings menu. The sound effects are mostly drowned out by the music, but are nothing great, when they are heard. Also, a grating voice can be heard, at different intervals of the game, like when you land a good trick. It is sad that the sound effects cannot be heard during the game, but that grating, annoying voice can be heard loud and clear.

In conclusion, I can say one word to sum up this full game- Ouch.

The Scorecard
Racing is bad but is still fast-paced; tricks are basic and not much fun to play.
Too colorful, player models look bad; animation likewise. The graphics are outdated.
Music is mediocre, commentator’s voice is annoying.
You most probably won’t play this game for more than 3 hours, unless you are a Sonic fan.
Even though it was badly designed and presented, the racing-cum-trick boarding aspect of the game is interesting.
Stay away from this game, unless you are a die-hard willing-to-give-up-his-life-for-Sonic fan....


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