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 PLATFORM: GAMECUBE
IT'S A LONG RIDE DOWN
hat’s that feeling? It’s strange…unfamiliar. Could it be…nostalgia for Sonic Heroes? As sad as it sounds, I think Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic Riders have finally made me look back with affection for a time when Sonic games at least managed to achieve mediocrity. Sonic Riders places the usual gang atop some sci-fi hoverboards and sends them through a series of races conceived by Eggman in service of some rather incomprehensible and silly plot points. I shan’t waste your time with the details.
Let’s stick to what is important, that being the fact that Sonic Riders is a very poor game. For one, it manages to actually annoy me with the way it starts the races (no mean feat!), and matters generally go downhill from there. It’s certainly fast, but the control is wildly erratic and aggravating. Even worse, much of the time you aren’t really in control of your racer at all, either zipping automatically on another racer’s slipstream or going through a scripted mini-cutscene sequence. That’s one of the biggest problems with the whole current-gen Sonic franchise for me – one of its main design precepts seems to be to take control out of the player’s hands as much as possible. The general feeling this game conveys is confusion and chaos, akin to being flushed down a jet-powered toilet. If that sounds fun to you, I say go for it.
  

ANDREW REINER   4.5

Sonic is like a family pet. He’s been a great friend for 15 years, but now he’s crapping on the carpet. His most recent stain of stink is Sonic Riders. As cool as it is to see a game based on an idea from Back to the Future 2, barreling down the track on a hoverboard has led to some of the most frustrating moments in my gaming career. Never have I felt such a lack of control over my character, nor have I been so confused by track designs. The game does deserve props for its innovative approach toward drafting and the starting line, but the remainder of the content is a mangled mess of blue fur and something rank.

5
CONCEPT:
Another bad outing for Sonic and co., this time in a botched hoverboard racer
GRAPHICS:
It actually looks fine and moves fairly quickly
SOUND:
Sonic proves he’s as adept with bad techno as he is with bad ‘80s metal
PLAYABILITY:
he control scheme, while simple, is a mess in practice
ENTERTAINMENT:
Weird design decisions and erratic gameplay collide head-on
REPLAY:
Low
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