The Spin: How SEGA is Ignoring the Middle Children of Sonic’s Legacy

2010 was the year Sonic the Hedgehog came back. Yes, we all heard the stories about how the franchise had declined not long after the jump to 3D, how gaming news outlets and critics even now would begin their pieces with some variation of “Sonic has had a rocky history,” and how every new Sonic game released around the “dark ages” period couldn’t shake off the dreaded “Sonic Cycle.” Continue reading The Spin: How SEGA is Ignoring the Middle Children of Sonic’s Legacy

Hero of Legend’s Lookback: Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity for Wii

This will be the first in hopefully a line of lookbacks I will be doing related to our fav Hodgepodge err I mean Hedgehog. ;)

I also plan on hopefully getting some video content down the road for the site, mostly I’m waiting for YouTube to unlock their 60fps setting so you can see classics like Sonic Adventure 2: Battle and the recent Sonic Lost World in glorious 60fps, I’ve done some clever editing of 60fps recordings to blend them to 30fps showing a “fake” 60fps video (which I will show an example of below!).

Also I want to address anyone that’s wondering if a 3rd Big Red Button research post will happen. The answer is actually yes, BUT I will wait for Sonic Boom’s release and compile the credits and then dig into it to get the info on who else worked on it. :) So for now it’s on hold until then. :)

But for now, let’s get to the lookback!

reply_card [Converted]Developer: Sonic Team UGA/Xeen/O-TWO Release Date: Jan 8th 2008 (NA) Feb 22nd 2008 (EU) Mar 6th 2008 (AUS) Jan 8th 2008 (JP)

Why are you looking at this? This is crap! You may ask. Well to me, it is NOT! And I will explain hence the point of the lookback.

For one thing, this is a pretty damn technically competent game, and what I mean by that is, this game first of all runs in a brisk 60fps not only in gameplay, but in ALL in-game cutscenes, just like in Sonic Adventure 2: Battle and Sonic Heroes. Second, it supports 480p and 16:9 widescreen, so it’s pretty nice even on an HDTV. Now I can’t speak for Sonic ’06 as I’ve (blissfully?) not played it, but I believe it is the ONLY Sonic game of last gen (Wii, 360, PS3) to run in 60fps all the way through and not in either certain parts or very unevenly throughout. Same goes for the cutscenes, Sega’s been pretty happy with always forcing cutscenes nowadays to run in 30fps only (this includes in Sonic Lost World to my disappointment), so this game really does do things later games by the main branch of Sonic Team don’t, think about that. ;)

Now to talk about the gameplay. For me, the gravity mechanic is honestly inferior to the air mechanic in the original, however, the Gravity Dive is pretty satisfying to use, as is the gravity turn technique when you do it right. The items to me don’t really matter much aside from giving you rings and gravity power. The special attacks mean nothing to me as they activate right away and you may not even be able to reach an opponent, also you don’t need it if you’re ahead. You can seemingly use these attacks to access shortcuts specific to a class, but I never get it to work right (likely just me) XD.

Now the part most hate, the controls. To me, they’re JUST FINE! If you’ve played the original on GameCube no prob, then you’ll feel right at home with the GC controller here. On Wii U, you’re forced to use the Wiimote only seemingly (think you can use it on its side or vertically), I tried it on its side Mario Kart Wii/Excite Truck style and I actually had no real issue with it.

Now for other bits, note that this does indeed include the late Deem Bristow’s voice clips from Sonic Adventure 2: Battle for Eggman. Mike Pollock does actually contribute new lines for the gravity moves which work. Also this is NOT the only game of the gen to use the original voice actors! You’re asking “What?! I’ve not heard such a thing, what are you referring to?”, well I’m referring to Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games on DS! That game features reused clips for Omochao and Big from Sonic Adventure 2 and Sonic Adventure/Sonic Heroes respectively (Omochao just says “Ciao” HA… and Big says, what else, “Froggyyyyyy”).

So what about that video I promised? Why it’s below, footage I recorded of the game in the “fake 60fps” I mentioned. I recommend you download the video in 720p, and watch it in 1/2 the size on your offline player for the cleanest and smoothest viewing experience, in case your internet lags the framerate. Enjoy!

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3q5hoFsOFFI[/youtube]

So my views overall on the game? I think it’s very much worth playing. By the way, I’ve beaten the whole story. :) I actually like how the cutscenes feel very Sonic Adventure 2: Battle-esc, in some scenes like one with Jet, the scenes ends abruptly, just like in SA2B, so that made me smile as hey, anything that reminds me of that game is cool in my book. ;)

The story itself is also feels like the Adventure-era, it’s deep, not goofy like in the recent games, and Knuckles even references himself as a treasure hunter, nice touch Sega. :) The best term I can give it? Sonic Adventure as a racing game with the 4kids cast, seriously, it’s even got the Chao market ala the Chao Garden where you buy the gear WITH YOUR RINGS, come on people! XD

Speaking of 4kids, also consider this is the only full-fledged on the mark sequel to a pre-gen sonic game. I don’t put Sonic 4 in this category, that’s another story, but here the game has the same voice cast, the same structure, virtually the same everything, but it’s on a newer-gen console. And I actually really liked 4kids in this. Also Jason as Jet gets bonus points from me for sounding like Terrosaur from Beast Wars (who was voiced byDoug Parker), greatest show of all-time, you missed out big time if you didn’t watch it.

I also next want to address the PS2 version, and sadly I can’t personally speak for it as I’ve sadly not tried it out. :( I really want to compare the two. I BELIEVE it lacks 16:9 (the back cover shows 4:3 screens and I don’t recall seeing footage in 16:9) and could also possibly run in 30fps as no footage I’ve seen hints at 60fps. I think I’ve heard it does support 480p, but again, I can’t confirm officially without having played it, gotta put that in my to-do list!

Also I personally think it was a Wii game at heart and then ported down to PS2, consider how the original looked on GameCube (developed by Now Pro), the textures in that had no filtering in the stages so you literally saw the square pixels, aka like a DS game, I was floored at that even way back in 2006. Also I think the environments are more complex in Zero Gravity which would be thanks to more advanced hardware. Also it feels like the PS2 version is a downgrade like they removed things rather added any to the Wii version. Take the water in Aquatic Time, the water has lovely reflections of the stage and I think there’s some bump-mapping

Also, I want to comment on Sonic Free Riders on Xbox 360, again I’ve not played (and I certainly don’t want to other than to see how it runs in person), I can’t believe how obviously low budget it looks, for one thing all cutscenes are in stills instead of in full-3D, also it seems to be more in a mission structure if I recall than purely racing, but it could be foggy memory on my part. Something tells me Sega was prepared due to it being a Xbox 360 Kinect exclusive (personally, I think this was a really strange and bad idea) so they didn’t spend as much as they would’ve like in the previous two games, saving on the cutscene work certainly helped them.

Also, ever notice how first, Rumblebee seemingly was absent in Free Riders, second, he was actually the singer also in Sonic and the Secret Rings, AND was the announcer in all of the Mario & Sonic games? Wow, kinda fond of Nintendo ain’t he? :P

Also, did you know that the developers Xeen and O-TWO also worked on Sonic Unleashed Wii and PS2? Dimps only did daytime stage design work in that. I heard once the game did use the Zero Gravity engine, this pretty much confirms it! I have more to say, but perhaps I’ll save that for the future wink wink nudge nudge. ;)

Anyway, if I had to give a score, I say it’s at least a solid 8 out of 10, but it’s just my opinion because I love what it accomplished and think it was a really solid game under any rough spots reviewers said of it. If you’re lucky, you can still find it in the $20-$30 range, sadly it’s the ONE Wii standalone Sonic game that isn’t everywhere still, so you might have some trouble findng it at least brand-new.

So there you have it! I hope this was an entertaining read for you all, and I hope to have more for you later on down the road. :)

Edit @ Aug 11th, 2014 2:53PM EST: I just remembered this little bizarre point. Anyone remember this article at Eurogamer where Sega confirmed in November 2005 that a sequel to Sonic Riders would be released on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3? Huh, wonder what happened behind the scenes that caused this unexpected shift that made the game a Wii and PS2 game instead, hell was it even true to begin with? The world may never know…

Sonic Riders Zero Gravity and Sonic Rush Adventure price crash

UK retailer GAME have made some huge spring season Sonic price cuts on Sonic Riders Zero Gravity (both versions) and Sonic Rush Adventure for Nintendo DS.

You can now pick the Wii version of Sonic Riders Zero Gravity up for £19.99, down from £39.99 and the PS2 version for £12.99, down from £19.99. You can also pick Sonic Rush Adventure for Nintendo DS up for £14.99, down from £29.99.

If you were interested in these games before but were reluctant to part with mega bucks for them, then now might be a good time to give these games a look.

Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity

One has to wonder why, when Sonic Riders pretty much tanked, Sonic Team thought it was worth making a sequel. Much like the original game, players must ride around intricate courses using custom hoverboards called Extreme Gear. There are plenty of gimmicks within each stage to take advantage of in order to take the lead, but one of your own techniques is to control gravity, allowing you to corner effectively and even take alternative paths on walls or ceilings.

Continue reading Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity

Sonic Riders Zero Gravity hits Europe

Sonic Riders Zero Gravity for Wii and PS2 has hit European retail today. You can now pick up the game for the RRP of £39.99 for Wii and £19.99 for PS2. The sequel to 2006’s Sonic Riders see’s Sonic and friends stumble upon a new gravity defying bracelet that allows them to pull off Zero Gravity maneuvers with their Extreme Gears.

For more information you can now visit the new European website for the game.

Also Archangel UK from the Sega Europe community team has put up a new blog entry in the Sega Europe blogs that includes a new Sega Superstars Tennis trailer that showcases the Superstar State power up. Also included in the new blog entry is half of the Xbox 360 versions Achievements list. Click the link below to check those out.

Sonic Riders Zero Gravity European release date confirmed

Sega Europe have added a release date to their official websites game page for Sonic Riders Zero Gravity on Wii and PS2. The game is listed for release on Friday 22nd February this month, the date Sega Europe released in their Q1 schedule so it looks to still be on track.

Sega Europe’s overview of the game –
“New gravity-altering powers can transform walls into tracks, or create a “black hole” that sucks players through for the ultimate speed boost, and allows for an entirely new way to gain a leg up on your competitors. Continue reading Sonic Riders Zero Gravity European release date confirmed

Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity Ships in the US

Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity is shipping for the Wii and PS2 today in the US, for an MSRP of $49.99.

Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity is the sequel to original Sonic Riders from 2006. This game, like the last, features a variety of characters from the Sonic-verse (as well as a few from other Sonic Team franchises) racing each other on upgradeable airboards called “Extreme Gear”. This game changes things up, by replacing the air gauge from the original game with Gravity control. This new ability allows you to change the center of gravity on the course, turning what had once been a wall into a new track. This can be used to find shortcuts and get an edge on your opponent. The game features twice as many courses, 16 in all, as well as 18 character and sixty vehicles. It has three multiplayer modes: Free race, World Grand Prix, and survival. The Wii version also comes with a “ghost mode” which allows you to download ghosts of other players online that you can race on the course.

Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity should arrive in Europe sometime next month. We’ll let you know when it ships.

UPDATE: Japanese Sonic Riders 2 Site Updates

The official Japanese Sonic Riders: Shooting Star Story website has updated with three new characters.

Now added to the Characters page are Dr. Eggman, Nights, and “Emy” (lol, Engrish). We of course knew about Nights already, but it’s nice to have Amy and Eggman confirmed, and with some spiffy new CG art, too.

I’ll keep checking the site for more updates as the launch date draws near.

12/19/07 EDIT: Profiles of Shadow, Rouge, and Cream added as of yesterday. Also added is a new Extreme Gear section, which features previously-unseen Wheel and Yacht Gear types and what appears to be a listing of power-ups.

Sonic City interviews Richard Jacques

Good old ArchangelUK over at Sega Europe has released some early Christmas presents to fans on the official European Sonic City website.

Site goers can now:

  • Read an interview with popular game composer Richard Jacques about creating the main theme for Sega Superstars Tennis
  • Listen to 2 Sonic Riders Zero Gravity tracks on Sonic FM
  • ArchangelUK has also managed to get a Sonic City EXCLUSIVE. The main theme to Sega Superstars Tennis is now available on Sonic FM for your listening pleasure.

Congratulations ArchangelUK! Stay tuned to Sonic News for further updates as they happen!

‘Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity’ English site has arrived!

Following suit of the previous Sonic News post, the English version of the new Sonic Riders 2 game site is now open for your viewing pleasure!

Packed well with Zero Gravity goodies, the English site has new CG artwork for the characters (including NiGHTS), 3D maps of the courses, lists of the different Gears available to race with in the game and much more!

You can check out the new site right here.

A huge thanks to Tailzmas for finding the new site and posting about it in the forum topic. Thanks dude!

Keep checking back at Sonic News for all the latest Riders 2 information!

Another new Riders 2 trailer shows off some new moves

IGN updated their Media section of ‘Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity’ earlier today with a brand spanking new trailer showcasing some new tricks such as Gravity Dive (which looks similar to how Chaos Control worked in Shadow the Hedgehog) and some flashy never before seen gameplay footage.

You can view the new trailer at IGN’s media page for the game here or at Nintendo Wii Fanboy courtesy of Joystiq here.

The release date is still set for next January in the US and March 08 for Europe. Hopefully it will improve on what the first game had to offer with its tonne of extra gears and courses.

Sonic Riders: ZG and Sega Superstars Tennis dated

Nintendo Europe have released their Wii and DS release schedule for Early 08. Sonic Riders Zero Gravity and Sega Superstars Tennis(both formats) are down for a March 08 release. The March release of Sonic Riders Zero Gravity will mark 2 years since Sonic Riders was released in Europe March 06. Will the 2 year gap provide a great sequel? Only time will tell.

Here’s the full release list: Continue reading Sonic Riders: ZG and Sega Superstars Tennis dated

New Riders 2 Screens Reveal Loads


That looks like an awkward position to drive in…

New screenshots of the upcoming Sonic Riders sequel to PS2 and Wii uploaded at SEGAs FTP show off some new content. Shadow and Rouge and confirmed to be back, now with the unsurprising inclusion of Blaze the Cat.

Other than the new Blaze sightings, water bike gear, flying gear and Chopper bike gear have been shown, expanding on the originals mere three type of vehicles (Board, Bike and Skate.) There’s also screens of some new courses such as the water based stage and temple like area. Continue reading New Riders 2 Screens Reveal Loads

Footage of Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity

Nintendo have released a new video showcasing Wii and DS titles in Japan for 2007-2008. Among them is the first in-game footage of Sonic Riders:Zero Gravity, it’s only 3-4 seconds long and the quality is terrible but beggers can’t be choosers :p

The first thing you notice is that the HUD has been revealed. We have a meter in the bottom left with the speed count above it, which quickly fills up when Sonic uses Gravity Control, a map of the track in the top right which look’s like a simple course, something in the top left which is covered by the game name >_< and in the bottom right the position count and something I can't make out. If anyone can tell me anything else about this HUD please let me know. Continue reading Footage of Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity

Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity minisite launched

So for those of you who have been paying attention to the SEGA website recently, you’ll notice that the official minisite for Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity has launched! You can access it here.

Interesting tidbits to note:

  • Release date: Winter 2008 (for both PS2 and Wii)
  • Manipulation of gravity used to both attack enemies and find track shortcuts.
  • A new “Black Hole” move used to gain advantage over your opponents.
  • 16 different courses to race through.
  • Over 40 upgrades, and the ability to switch vehicles mid-race.
  • 18 characters. (Oh god)
  • “Gravity Points” will be used to pull off special moves in game.
  • Wii version will have downloadable ghost data in which to compete against.
  • Multiplayer mode with 4 players at a time.

That’s a good bit of info to chew on, eh?

Stay tuned to Sonic News for further developments! And of course, watch your gravity and all that.

Thanks to Hogfather for the tip!

Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity trailer revealed

You’ll remember that we mentioned a sequel to the racing game Sonic Riders being announced by SEGA a month or so back. Well, now it’s official – so much, in fact, that an official trailer has been released for the game! (Courtesy of Gametrailers.com)

This trailer includes a small breakdown of the main point of focus in the game, involving tracking down the “shooting star.” In addition, the ability to control gravity is stressed as a main aspect of the gameplay, and is likely a key aspect of the storyline as well.

At this point, no new characters have been revealed, but knowing Sonic Team’s track record so far, there probably will be.

In addition, you’ll also find some screenshots of the game here, courtesy of IGN. Stay tuned to Sonic News for further updates on Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity, as well as other future Sonic titles! And do be careful with that gravity control.

PLAY Magazine: Sonic Riders Sequel Details

The English Playstation 2 magazine PLAY have featured a Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity article in the September issue of the magazine! The article divulges several details, not least of all the fact that Jet the Hawk (Of original Sonic Riders fame) is set to return alongside a few more new yet currently unrevealed characters.

According to the 2-page preview’s text regarding the story, Sonic the Hedgehog himself discovers an odd artifact that contains the power to alter gravity itself (Possibly alluded to in the game’s title), sparking the interest of his Extreme gear rival Jet the hawk. Naturally, a clash breaks out between the two over dominance of the mysterious artifact, leading them to settle their score over a few Extreme gear races across such courses known as ‘Botanical kingdom’ and Crimson Crater’, the former being the first stage and the latter being the second. Continue reading PLAY Magazine: Sonic Riders Sequel Details

Retailers Reveal Sonic Riders Sequel

Video game retailers EBgames and Gamestop have put up the supposed Sonic Riders sequel up ready for pre-ordering on their sites! The game is titled “Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity” and is listed as having a proposed shipping date of the 1st of February 2008. Currently revealed details on the sites also say that the game will be availiable on both Nintendo Wii (For the pre-order price of $49.99) and Playstation 2 (For the price of $29.99)

No other information has been revealed as of yet about Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity’s details except for the title. It’s not even yet known if it will be available for other consoles other than Nintendo Wii and Playstation 2 (Indeed, SEGA’S American and European sites make no mention of the game) but when we know, so shall you. So please stay tuned to The Sonic Stadium and Sonic News for more information as it breaks.

Many thanks to Holy Nightmare on the Sonic stadium forums for the tip-off!