Sonic Riders is a hoverboard-racing video game spin-off produced by Sega and developed by their second-party, United Game Artists for the Nintendo GameCube, Sony PlayStation 2, Microsoft 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. This time, the characters ride on vehicles powered by air, called Extreme Gear.
Sonic Riders was revealed by Famitsu on September 7, 2005 prior to 2005's Tokyo Game Show. The game was released to start off the 15th anniversary of the Sonic the Hedgehog series. This game introduces five new playable characters, the Babylon Rogues and the E-10000 series. A sequel to Sonic Riders, entitled as Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity, has been released on the Wii and PlayStation 2 systems. A second sequel, entitled Sonic Free Riders, was released on November 4, 2010 for the Xbox 360's hands-free Kinect peripheral.
One night, Storm the Albatross and Wave the Swallow approach Jet the Hawk. Eggman has arrived on their ship, and has a proposal. He is holding a large race, in which he expects Sonic to compete. If Jet beats Sonic, he will unlock the secret of Babylon Garden. Referring to Sonic, Jet replies that "In the air, with me and my Extreme Gear, he's just a joke!" At midnight in Future City, Sonic the Hedgehog, Miles "Tails" Prower and Knuckles the Echidna are searching for a lost Chaos Emerald. As Tails finally detects it on his radar, glass shatters in the background and from the city bank fall the legendary band of thieves known as the Babylon Rogues. The thieves were riding on Extreme Gear, which are floating air boards that can reach extremely fast speeds. Tails then exclames that the signal was coming from them. Sonic attempts to pursue them, but is outmatched on this new technology. The three mysterious characters fly away with the Chaos Emerald in tow.
The next day, Sonic, Tails and Knuckles see a familiar face on the monitors. Doctor Eggman announces that he has created a race called the EX World Grand Prix, a competition to see who is the best on Extreme Gear. When Eggman announces that the prize is all seven of the Chaos Emeralds, and that the current racers are the same thieves that Sonic and his company met up with yesterday, the three then enroll themselves in the tournament. As the Grand Prix goes on, rivals are made. Jet thinks that he is superior, saying he is faster than Sonic. Tails gets mad at Wave when she insults his Extreme Gear and nicknames him "shorty." Knuckles and Storm get into a fight, smashing one of Eggman's robots in the process.
At the end of the tournament, Jet cheats to beat Sonic in the final race. Using the Chaos Emeralds to empower an ancient key, he reveals Babylon Garden, the ancient ruins of his ancestors' settlement. Eggman quickly reveals his intent to steal the Babylonian treasure and flies off with the Rogues, Sonic, and his friends in pursuit. Although Sonic is able to stop Eggman and settle his score with Jet, the adventure continues when the Babylon Rogues unleash a ancient spirit from Babylon, the Babylon Guardian. Once the Guardian is defeated, the true treasure of Babylon is revealed, surprising everyone, especially Eggman. The Babylon Rouges and Sonic's group part ways, but not before Jet vows to return and face Sonic again.
Characters in Sonic Riders are divided into three varying types: Speed, Power, and Flight with the exception of Super Sonic. The game introduces three new characters: Jet the Hawk, Wave the Swallow, and Storm the Albatross. The three are all members of an organization of thieves known as the Babylon Rogues, led by Doctor Eggman during the tournament until a certain point in the game. Depending on the character type and/or gear, the player can grind, knock obstacles or fly through dash rings. The classifications each of the respective characters fall under is listed below:
Sonic the Hedgehog, Amy Rose, Jet the Hawk, Shadow the Hedgehog, E-10000R, Ulala, and Super Sonic have the highest top speed stats, but low acceleration. They can grind on rails placed around some parts of tracks by pressing the "jump" button twice (once to jump over the rail, second to grind on it).
Knuckles the Echidna, Storm the Albatross, Doctor Eggman, E-10000G and Aiai have the best off road durability and can break through certain obstacles on tracks. Their speed and acceleration stats are only average.
Miles "Tails" Prower, Wave the Swallow, Cream the Rabbit, Rouge the Bat, and NiGHTS have the highest acceleration stats and good top speed stats. Their durability and cornering differs between character to character however, for example Tails has a Power Stat of 2 and a Cornering Stat of 3 while Rouge has a Power Stat of 3 and Cornering Stat of 2. They can fly through "Air Rings" which allow them to fly through the air, often accessing shortcuts and sometimes item boxes.
Every character has their own Extreme Gear, the board that they ride on, that runs by air.
- Sonic: Blue Star and Blue Star II
- Jet: Type-J
- Tails: Yellow Tail
- Wave: Type-W
- Knuckles: Red Rock
- Storm: Type-S
- Amy Rose: Pink Rose
- Shadow: Darkness
- Rouge: Temptation
- Cream: Smile
- NiGHTS: Night Sky
- Ulala: Channel5
- AiAi: BANANA
- Super Sonic: Chaos Emerald
- Dr. Eggman: E-Rider
- E-10000G: E-GearG
- E-10000R: E-GearR
Although Darkness is Shadow's Extreme Gear, it can be used by other characters.
There are a total of nineteen courses in the game, thirteen of which appear in the game's Story Modes, one additional course, two nostalgia stages, and three stages in the Survival Battle Mode. The Sega Carnival and Sega Illusion stages, both of which are unlockable courses, feature numerous references to several other Sega franchises, including Samba De Amigo, Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg, NiGHTS Into Dreams, Super Monkey Ball, Crazy Taxi, Space Channel 5, ChuChu Rocket!, and Fantasy Zone.
Tracks (in order)
|Heroes Cup||Babylon Cup|
|Story-only courses/Courses selectable in Single-Course Mode:|
|Babylon Guardian - Sonic|
The music is done by Tomonori Sawada, Kenichi Tokoi, and Fumie Kumatani. Sawada directed the sound and recorded the sound effects. Tokoi and Kumatani did the music for the game. Most of the game's music involves techno and synthesizers. The music is, unlike earlier Sonic games, not rock, but has a more electronic, futuristic-type of feel.
Sonic Riders had mixed reactions from reviewers:
- Nintendo Power: 8.0 out of 10 
- GameSpot: 6.6 out of 10
- Gamesmaster Magazine UK 65%
- IGN: 6.2 out of 10
- Games Radar: 5 out of 10
- X-Play: 3 out of 5(appreciated the game's multiplayer mode)
Game Rankings currently gives Sonic Riders 59.2% for the PlayStation 2, 62% for the Gamecube, 58.6% for the Xbox, and 52% for the PC.
Archie comics adaptation
Issues #163 and #164 of the Archie Sonic the Hedgehog comic series include a loose adaptation of Sonic Riders, even using the same art style used in the game's title sequence. Bean and Bark are also seen riding Extreme Gear in issue #173. In issue 234 Bunnie and Antoine are using Extreme Gear also.
- Unlike other contemporary multi-platform games in the series, the console differences in all three releases are largely negligible. Once again, the GameCube release only has one voiced language available (Japanese in the Japanese release, English elsewhere) and performs the most consistently. The Xbox version contains dual languages dependent on system settings, but is actually prone to run the most inconsistently. The PlayStation 2 version contains freely selectable languages (though no Japanese voice option in the PAL release) and performs almost as well as the GameCube edition - the only somewhat noticeable change is the lack of anti-aliasing and that the game might occasionally have slowdown in the few instances of cluttered action. The PC version is an upscaled port of the Xbox version with selectable voiced languages, but audio has been downsampled and it only support two players.
- All Target Xbox and PlayStation 2 copies came with a free Sonic X DVD.
- SEGA Guest stars Aiai, Ulala, and Nights are all playable.
- This is the second game where Rouge is not wearing clothes with a heart design, as well as the second time Rouge is not seen with lipstick.
- This is also the first game where Amy is seen wearing pants, and not her usual red dress.
- This and its sequels, Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity and Sonic Free Riders, are the only games where Cream the Rabbit wears a shirt instead of her trademark dress.
- This is the first Sonic game since Sonic CD to have an anime-style opening cutscene.
- This is the second game where Eggman organizes a Grand Prix for a racing game. His first was World Grand Prix in Sonic R.
- Shadow and Eggman are the only characters that do not have gear exclusive to themselves, as their gear, Darkness and E-Rider, can be ridden by any character in the game.
- Eggman rides his Extreme Gear, the E-Rider, during a cutscene in the Babylon storyline when he is driving through Babylon Garden.
- In one of the Babylon story cutscenes, when Jet opens a door with his Control Box, in his hands you can notice for a little moment, the control box disappears but then it comes back on his hands.
- In this game, everyone's shoe design is different from what they usually wear.
- During gameplay, Eggman's voice is actually recycled clips from Deem Bristow. In cinematics however, his voice is still Mike Pollock.
- It is possible that Sega used concepts from Iraq while making this game (for example, Babylon Garden is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Another example is that the Babylon Rogues have Babylonian heritage which in modern day that happens to be old Iraq), although some of the concepts (such as the genie), relate to Arabic times.
- E-10000R, E-10000G, E-10000P, and E-10000Y are similar to Egg Pawn from Sonic Heroes and Shadow the Hedgehog (game).
- In the CG cutscenes, Tails and Knuckles are seen without their respective glasses.
- This is the only Sonic Riders game where tricks are named.
- In the last cutscene, if you look closely, Amy's gloves are different.
- This was the last Sonic game for the Xbox and GameCube. It was also the last Sonic game to be released for the PlayStation 2 in Japan.
- In one of the Babylon story cutscenes, Wave is shown detaching the red jewel from her necklace, which is a small computer, to look at Eggman's diary entry bought by Storm. However, if you look carefully in one of the scenes while Jet is reading what Eggman says, the red jewel is reattached to her necklace again yet she's still showing the digital file.
- Normally, the tip of Knuckles' tail would be pointing downwards, but it points upwards in this game during gameplay and the non-CG cutscenes. Strangely, his tail is not crooked at all and is rather straight in the CG cutscenes (this was also noticed in the CG cutscenes of Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity).
- All three Sonic Riders games have anime style gameplay and cutscenes.
- Rouge's character design coursed many complaints by parents and the general gaming media. It was stated as being "too skimpy" and "too revealing" for a family friendly game. The names of her moves also caused some complaints due to them featuring the word "sexy".
- Ulala gets 3D artwork, but NiGHTS and AiAi don't. However, her artwork is recycled from Sega Superstars.
- Tails' radar for the Chaos Emeralds looks similar in appearance (and serves a similar purpose) to the Dragon Radar from DragonBall, which is believed to share many similarities to Sonic.
- This is the first and only time where Eggman actually wins in the end. However, he still ends up rather unlucky regardless.
- Whenever Sonic, Shadow, or any other male character performs a complex trick, Omochao exclaims; "And she sticks the landing!" and vice versa for male characters.
- This is the only game in the Sonic Riders trilogy that does not have a robot as the final boss, as in Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity the boss is Master Core: ABIS and in Sonic Free Riders the boss is Metal Sonic.
For more please see: Sonic Riders/Artwork