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Aiden Smith
Aiden Smith

Sonic Riders: A Review of the 2006 Racing Game Spin-Off

Sonic Riders: A High-Speed Hoverboard Racing Game

Sonic Riders is a racing video game that was released in 2006 for various platforms. It is part of the Sonic the Hedgehog series and features many of its iconic characters on hoverboards called Extreme Gear. The game was developed by Sonic Team and Now Production, published by Sega, and released in commemoration of the Sonic series' 15th anniversary. The game received mixed reviews from critics but was a commercial success.

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Extreme Gear

Extreme Gear are anti-gravity vehicles that consist of hoverboards, hover skates, and hover bikes. Each character can use different types of Extreme Gear that have different statistics and abilities. For example, hoverboards are balanced in speed and handling; hover skates are fast but hard to control; hover bikes are slow but stable. Some Extreme Gear also have special features such as flight or grinding.

Air Tank

Air is the fuel for Extreme Gear and is displayed in a gauge at the bottom right corner of the screen. Air is depleted gradually as the race goes on or when performing actions such as boosting or attacking. Air can be replenished by collecting rings or air capsules on the track or by performing tricks or drifts. Running out of air will cause the character to lose speed and fall off their Extreme Gear.

Race Modes

The game offers several race modes for single-player or multiplayer gameplay. The main mode is story mode, where players can choose between Team Sonic or Team Babylon and follow their respective storyline through six tracks each. Other modes include free race, where players can race on any unlocked track with any character; time attack, where players can race against the clock or a ghost; world grand prix, where players can compete in a series of four tracks for the highest score; tag, where players can team up with another character and switch between them; and survival, where players can race in a battle royale style with items and obstacles.

Tracks and Environments

The game features 16 tracks that are divided into seven themed environments. Each track has multiple routes, shortcuts, and gimmicks that require different types of Extreme Gear or characters to access. The environments and tracks are as follows:


Metal CityMetal City, Night Chase

Splash CanyonSplash Canyon, Red Canyon

Egg FactoryEgg Factory, Iron Ruin

Green CaveGreen Cave, Sand Ruins

Babylon GardenBabylon Garden, Sky Road

Digital DimensionDigital Dimension

SEGA CarnivalSEGA Carnival, SEGA Illusion


Playable Characters

The game features 16 playable characters that are divided into four groups: speed, fly, power, and special. Each group has different advantages and disadvantages in terms of speed, acceleration, handling, and air consumption. The characters and their groups are as follows:

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SpeedSonic the Hedgehog, Jet the Hawk, Shadow the Hedgehog, AiAi

FlyMiles "Tails" Prower, Wave the Swallow, Rouge the Bat, Ulala

PowerKnuckles the Echidna, Storm the Albatross, E-10000G, Dr. Eggman

SpecialAmy Rose, Cream the Rabbit, Super Sonic, NiGHTS

Non-Playable Characters

The game also features some non-playable characters that appear in the story mode or as announcers. They are:

  • Dr. Eggman: The main antagonist of the Sonic series and the organizer of the EX World Grand Prix.

  • Omochao: A robotic helper that provides tips and tutorials for the player.

  • E-10000R: A mysterious robot that competes in the EX World Grand Prix and is later revealed to be a spy for Dr. Eggman.

  • E-10000Y: A yellow robot that is unlocked by completing all missions with an Extreme rank.

  • Babylon Guardian: A giant genie-like creature that guards the Babylon Garden and is fought as the final boss.

  • Sonic Riders Announcer: The voice that narrates the game and announces the results of the races.

  • Sonic Riders DJ: The voice that plays music and comments on the races.

  • Sonic Riders Shopkeeper: The voice that sells Extreme Gear and parts in the shop.

  • Sonic Riders Reporter: The voice that reports on the events of the EX World Grand Prix in the story mode.

  • Sonic Riders Commentator: The voice that commentates on the races in the world grand prix mode.

  • Sonic Riders Audience: The voices that cheer and boo during the races.



The game has two storylines that can be played in the story mode: one for Team Sonic and one for Team Babylon. Both storylines involve the EX World Grand Prix, a racing tournament organized by Dr. Eggman, who promises to give the Chaos Emeralds to the winner. However, Dr. Eggman has ulterior motives and is actually after the Ark of the Cosmos, a mysterious artifact that can control gravity.

Team Sonic's storyline follows Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles as they enter the EX World Grand Prix to compete against Team Babylon, a group of legendary thieves composed of Jet, Wave, and Storm. Along the way, they encounter various rivals and challenges, such as Shadow, Rouge, E-10000R, and the Babylon Guardian. They also learn more about the history and secrets of the Babylonians, the ancestors of Team Babylon.

Team Babylon's storyline follows Jet, Wave, and Storm as they enter the EX World Grand Prix to prove their skills and claim the Chaos Emeralds. Along the way, they encounter various obstacles and enemies, such as Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, E-10000R, and Dr. Eggman. They also discover more about the Ark of the Cosmos, which is connected to their heritage and destiny.

Ark of the Cosmos

The Ark of the Cosmos is a mysterious artifact that can control gravity and is sought by both Team Sonic and Team Babylon. It consists of five pieces that resemble shooting stars. One piece is embedded in Jet's Extreme Gear, another is found by Tails in Metal City, another is stolen by Storm from Eggman's base, another is given to Sonic by Amy, and another is hidden in Babylon Garden. The Ark of the Cosmos has the power to activate Babylon Garden, a floating island that was once the home of the Babylonians. However, it also attracts a swarm of robots that are programmed to collect them for Dr. Eggman.



Sonic Riders was developed by Sonic Team and Now Production, a subsidiary of Namco. The game was directed by Kenjiro Morimoto, produced by Takashi Yuda and Yoji Ishii, designed by Masahiro Kumono and Takao Hirabayashi, programmed by Katsuhiro Hasegawa and Hiroshi Nishiyama, and composed by Tomonori Sawada and Kenichi Tokoi. The game was inspired by extreme sports games such as SSX and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, as well as anime series such as Air Gear and Eureka Seven. The game used cel-shaded graphics to create a cartoon-like style.


Sonic Riders was released for various platforms in different regions and dates. The game was first released for PlayStation 2 and GameCube in Japan on February 16, 2006; in North America on February 21, 2006; in Europe on March 17, 2006; and in Australia on March 23, 2006. The game was later released for Xbox in North America on February 21, 2006; in Europe on March 17, 2006; and in Australia on March 23, 2006. The game was also released for Microsoft Windows in Europe on November 17, 2006; in North America on November 20, 2006; and in Japan on December 21, 2006.

The game had different editions depending on the platform and region. The PlayStation 2 version had a limited edition that came with a DVD featuring a making-of documentary and a soundtrack sampler. The GameCube version had a bonus disc that contained a demo of Shadow the Hedgehog. The Xbox version had enhanced graphics and online multiplayer features. The Windows version had improved controls and compatibility.


Sonic Riders received mixed reviews from critics but was a commercial suc




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