|North American PS2 version box art|
North American PS2 version box art
Kenjiro Morimoto (director, main game design)
Template:Nihongo is a racing video game spin-off produced by Sega and developed by Sonic Team in cooperation with NowPro, for the Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox and PC. It is the fourth racing game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, preceded by Sonic Drift, Sonic Drift 2 and Sonic R.
The game was released to start off the 15th anniversary of the release of the Sonic the Hedgehog series. For a short while, also to celebrate the anniversary, the Microsoft Xbox version of the game was released with a free Sonic X DVD, which contained five episodes from the first and second seasons. This stopped after the Xbox version failed to sell well. This game introduces five new playable characters, the Babylon Rogues and the E-10000 series. A sequel to Sonic Riders, entitled Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity, was released in 2008 for the Wii and PlayStation 2. This was the last Sonic the Hedgehog game for the Nintendo GameCube and Microsoft Xbox, though not for the PS2. The game includes cameos from three other famous Sega characters.
Sonic, Tails and Knuckles are walking across a bridge in Future City, searching once again for the Chaos Emeralds, when Tails' radar goes off. At that point, three mysterious riders on hoverboards smash through a nearby sign, and drop into the highway below. The trio realize that the Emerald's signal is coming from one of the three riders. Sonic begins pursuit on foot. He catches up with one of the riders, knocks him off his board, and hops on it. He quickly catches up with the lead rider, but is outmaneuvered. Sonic is thrown off his board, and the three mysterious riders disappears into the distance. The next day, Sonic's arch-nemesis, Doctor Eggman, appears on a giant screen in the city, and announces to the public that he is holding the EX World Grand Prix, in which racers will compete on Extreme Gear (the hoverboards used by the three previously encountered riders) to claim the title of champion. He also states that all entrants must pay a fee of one Chaos Emerald, and that "the winner takes all!" It is unclear whether or not he means that the winner will receive all seven Emeralds or not. Three racers are shown on the screen, and Sonic recognized them as the three mysterious riders they had encountered the night before. They are later discovered to be a group of outlaws, called "The Babylon Rogues".
The "Babylon Guardian" (called Angelus the Gatekeeper in Japan) is a fictional character from Sonic Riders. He is a genie in a bottle, and resembles a large purple hawk who guards the treasure of Babylon. He is also referred to as "the guardian god of Babylon" when choosing his stage, called simply "Babylon Guardian". The treasure he was protecting was revealed to be a "magic carpet" which was actually a prototype Extreme Gear created by the ancient Babylonians. He regards those who seek treasure as greedy, and he is hidden behind a large door in Babylon Garden (the Hanging Gardens of Babylon in Japan). He is the final and only "boss" of Sonic Riders. He is defeated by Sonic at the end of the Babylon Story. He is also one of the very few final bosses not to be defeated by Super Sonic. He was voiced by Madeleine Blaustein in English.
The game is played in its entirety using hover boards, which function largely like skateboards. Players must race seven other competitors on a total of 16 tracks, 9 of which must be unlocked through progress in the story mode, and two of which must be unlocked by winning Gold in each World Grand Prix (1 track per Grand Prix). Each individual character has different statistics, altering their performance slightly in races. A key component of the game is the air tank, displayed in the lower right-hand corner of the screen. Air serves as the fuel for Extreme Gear, and is depleted gradually as the race goes on. It is also depleted faster by certain maneuvers. These include cornering, which involves using the air as a sideways force against the board, allowing the player to round sharp turns with ease, and building tension before a jump, which involves using the air to propel the player higher off of ramps. If a player runs out of air, their character will start running, putting them at several disadvantages; they can't boost, attack, corner easily or use charged jumps. After going off ramps, players can perform various tricks, which refill the air gauge according to their rating. Building the tension before a jump will allow the player to perform more tricks before landing. Throughout the courses, there are many rings lying about. Picking them will allow the player to reach higher performance levels. Players start races at Level 1 with no rings and max out at level 3, with 60-100 rings. Possibly the most costly maneuver in terms of air is boosting, by which a player greatly increases speed for a short duration. If a boost is performed when in close range of an enemy racer, the player will launch an attack against the racer, causing them to lose rings, and remain stunned for a short duration.
Rider Attributes Each racer in the game has one of three beneficial attributes: Speed, Flight, and Power. These allows players to grind along rails, propel themselves in mid-air through a series of suspended hoops, and bash certain obstacles out of their way, respectively. Each of these maneuvers will refill the air gauge partially when used. Most characters stats are minimally different from others, the only point of interest is their race attribute, and in the case of Eggman, E-10000 Robots and Ulala, what gears they can ride. Eggman can only use bikes, Robots can only use boards, and Ulala cannot use bikes.
Types of Gear There are three types of gear in the game: Boards, the gear unlocked initially, and the only gear used in story mode. Skates, which tend have slightly lower performance than boards, but burn less air, and bikes, which resemble floating mopeds, and have higher performance, but burn more air. Most gear must be purchased from the shop or unlocked in story mode.
In the Story Mode, players take part in consecutive races, one after the other, based on the storyline, in order to defeat the Babylon Rogues and win the Grand Prix. Throughout the story, Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles must each challenge and defeat the respective member of the Babylon Rogues that matches their attribute type. Mission Mode allows is unlocked after successfully completing the original story. Players take part in various missions assigned in order to gain secret gears. Survival Mode is a special mode of gameplay consisting of two separate modes: race and battle. Race consists of snagging a Chaos Emerald on the track, and passing through five hoops without having the Emerald stolen by another racer. The Emerald is stolen by attacking the player holding it. Battle involves launching attacks at the three other racers on the track. Each racer begins with three health points. The racer loses a health point every time they are attacked. The last racer standing wins the match. The Shop is where players can purchase new Extreme Gear with the rings collected in previous races.
Alternate Story After the initial story is completed, another story is unlocked, in which players assume the role of the Babylon Rogues in their quest to find hidden treasures. The levels in this story are, altered, more difficult versions of the original tracks, and are unlocked by completing this story. After both story modes are completed, a selection of new characters not featured in the story become playable. At the end of this alternate story, players battle the only boss in the game.
Sonic Riders had mixed reviews ranging from good to average:
- Nintendo Power: 8.0 out of 10 
- GameSpot: 6.6 out of 10
- Gamesmaster Magazine UK: 65%Template:Fact
- IGN: 6.2 out of 10
- Games Radar: 5 out of 10 
- X-Play: Template:Rating
- Game Informer: 5 out of 10
A sequel to Sonic Riders, entitled Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity, was released in 2008 for the Wii and PlayStation 2. It wasn't as well received as the first one.
- Dr. Eggman is both voiced by Deem Bristow and Mike Pollock. However, most of his gameplay dialogue are actually voice clips recycled from Sonic Adventure 2, which Bristow used to play his voice before he died in January 15, 2005.
Archie comics adaptationEdit
The Archie Sonic Comic issues #163 and #164 include a loose adaptation of Sonic Riders, even using the same art style used in the game's title sequence. Two characters are also seen riding Extreme Gear in issue #173. Bark the Polar Bear and Bean the Dynamite also use Extreme Gear in the Archie Comics.