SAGE 2021: Sonic Riders X Hands-On

It always fascinate me which aspects of Sonic’s game library engender nostalgia in fans. I got to say: I did not expect the Sonic Riders series to be one! This year’s SAGE plays host to not one, but two Sonic Riders projects, and I decided to take a look at one of them. I enjoyed the original and its weird, creative mechanics back in the day, though I didn’t love it (and I was never great at it). So while I’m familiar with it, I’m hardly an expert at its mechanics, so please keep that in mind!

Continue reading SAGE 2021: Sonic Riders X Hands-On

NiGHTS into Sonic (Team): A Brief History of NiGHTS Cameos

Before NiGHTS into Dreams… became widely available with its HD release in 2012, many people (including myself) first encountered the series through its copious amount of cameos, largely in Sonic Team games.

I don’t think any celebration of NiGHTS would be complete without an overview of the character’s many, many cameos in other SEGA properties. This is hardly a complete list, of course, but we’re at least touching on many of the character’s more notable appearances!

Sonic Adventure

Released in 1998, Sonic Adventure’s NiGHTS pinball game in Casinopolis is the franchise’s earliest cameo, and how many of us were first introduced to it. Players knock the pinball around the table, trying to collect cards which feature numerous NiGHTS characters. Collecting more then one of the same card nets a load of rings, and opens up a portal to a second, Nightmare themed pinball table. 

Between the tables, cards, and two neat looking animations that showcase the NiGHTS world, this remains one of the coolest NiGHTS cameos SEGA has done.

It was also possible to create NiGHTS chao by giving them flying animals. 

Shenmue

When Ryo couldn’t find sailors, he could at least find capsule toys

NiGHTS made a brief appearance as two of a multitude of capsule toys that could be collected in SEGA’s 1999 open world game, Shenmue. 

Sonic Shuffle

Image from Sonic the Hedgeblog

NiGHTS popped up again in SEGA’s Sonic party game, Sonic Shuffle, released in 2000. When the Dreamcast’s clock was set to December 24, NiGHTS would replace Lumina as the game’s guide in multiplayer matches. Sonic Shuffle also takes place in a dream world, and Lumina herself bears some visual similarities to NiGHTS, which is probably why Hudson Soft included the easter egg.

Sonic Adventure 2

The NiGHTS cameos are way less noticeable in Sonic Adventure 2, but they are there. NiGHTS decorated a few levels, such as Radical Highway and City Escape. The game also features NiGHTS-inspired Chao like the first game.

Sonic Pinball Party

When Sonic returned to pinball in 2003 with Sonic Pinball Party for the Game Boy Advance, it was only fitting NiGHTS was brought along for the ride. Featured as one of the game’s three pinball tables, this one drew significantly more inspiration from NiGHTS into Dreams… then the table from Sonic Adventure.

This table aims to replicate NiGHTS in pinball form. The pinball needs to be hit into an ideya palace three times to dualize with NiGHTS. From there, it needs to be knocked into the ideya to get it. After all four ideya are collected, the player can then face the boss, which appears in the upper right corner of the table.

With a total of 12 table designs based on the game’s first six levels and bosses, this is one of the most extensive NiGHTS appearances outside of the franchise’s games.

Billy Hatcher & the Giant Egg

NiGHTS was one of several Sonic Team characters to appear as an “egg animal”  in the developer’s 2003 platformer Billy Hatcher and the Giant Egg. Like all those characters, NiGHTS is both difficult to obtain and severely overpowered. Unlocking NiGHTS requires collecting 180 “chick coins.” Once that’s done, NiGHTS can be hatched from a Sonic egg found in Giant Palace’s fourth mission.

Billy Hatcher also had an unlockable downloadable mini-game for the GBA, NiGHTS Score Attack. This game could also be downloaded from Phantasy Star Online Episodes I&II.

Sonic Riders

NiGHTS appeared in 2006’s Sonic Riders and its sequel, Zero Gravity, as a flight-type character. Unlocking NiGHTS in the first game required the completion of all missions, while getting them in the sequel only required beating all story missions. In addition to NiGHTS, Sonic Riders also had a track with an area based on NiGHTS.

SEGA Superstars/Sonic & All-Stars

SEGA Superstars, a 2004 PS2 mini game collection made for Sony’s Eyetoy camera, had a NiGHTS mini game. In this, you waved your arms around to control NiGHTS as they flew through rings. This is arguably NiGHTS’s first playable cameo.

Years later, in 2008, NiGHTS and Reala would both appear as playable characters in SEGA Superstars Tennis, along with a court based on Journey of Dreams’ Aqua Garden. In 2010, NiGHTS would appear as a flagman in Sumo Digital’s second SEGA crossover game, Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing. In 2012’s Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, NiGHTS and Reala appeared as playable vehicles, driven by a Nightopian and Nightmaren respectively.

Sonic Lost World

The Wii U version of Sonic Lost World came with free NiGHTS DLC in its early physical copies, labeled “The Deadly Six Edition,” and would later be included in all PC versions of the game. This DLC was essentially a boss rush, featuring all of the bosses from the first NiGHTS game (aside from Reala) teaming up with the Deadly Six to fight Sonic. There were also brief auto-running sections where Sonic could home in on blue chips and go through rings from NiGHTS.

The battles were easy, and mostly just variations of the Deadly Six’s original boss battles, but it did give us Wii U-quality HD models of all of NiGHTS into Dreams’ Nightmaren bosses for the first time, which is neat.

Sonic Forces

NiGHTS became the basis for an unlockable costume set in what is currently Sonic Team’s latest Sonic game, Sonic Forces. This set included headgear, body gear, and footwear.

And so…

A few Nightmaren enemies briefly popping up at the start of IDW’s Sonic 30th Anniversary comic

NiGHTS has a pretty long history of appearing in Sonic Team’s games, as well as the occasional title from SEGA’s other developers. With NiGHTS tied so closely to SEGA’s blue mascot, that could continue to keep the character around even if they never get another game. Here’s hoping they pop up in Sonic 2022!

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

Microsoft Gets Their Riders Crossed

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnYBlKuP_9c[/youtube]

Microsoft’s new Kinect sensor for Xbox 360 is hitting U.S. stores shortly and what better way to help grab interest than for Microsoft to show all Xbox 360’s Xbox Live users the launch game line-up in an Inside Xbox video, what could possibly go wrong? Well, it appears the Inside Xbox team haven’t paid too much attention to SEGA’s Sonic Free Riders, because they seem to have it confused with the original Sonic Riders title on Xbox, PlayStation 2 and Gamecube. When Microsoft’s Bridget O’Neill gets to the game at the 02:34 mark, a trailer for Sonic Riders is on display, logo and all. Before the end of the video the Sonic Riders logo (seen below) is shown again and O’Neill refers to the title as Sonic Riders, too.

You have to wonder, how does the company behind the Xbox 360 confuse an original Xbox title with an Xbox 360 game, especially one that’s launching the next day, only on their new Kinect peripheral? Now, I wonder what SEGA would have to say about this comical promotional failure…

AAUK Reveals Three Tidbits About Sonic Free Riders

Sonic Free Riders is a game SEGA’s been keeping close to its chest until recently. Leave it to Sonic City Blognik’s AAUK to finally drop us some info!

– The next track to be revealed has a Wild West theme, including waggon trains and a minecart section (MOAR MINECARTS!) where you actually have to pull a lever left and right to change the points and avoid rockfalls. It looks quite slick actually.

– Someone’s return in the pre-race configuration screen is still gaining momentum!

– Since you guys apparently love anything Roger says as Sonic (e.g. “…consoles…”) here’s another line for you: “Place your hand on Start!”

Rumour: Sonic Free Riders Coming To XBLA?

According to a report from Joystiq a new Project Natal compatible entry in the Sonic Riders series will be announced for Xbox 360’s Xbox Live Arcade at this years E3 giving you the ability to play as your Avatar on one of the games Extreme Gears using the Natal’s motion controls. Microsoft will be holding a seperate show to their Press Conference specifically for Project Natal and it’s software so we’ll keep an eye out there for this title(if it’s real). Would you like a new entry in the Sonic Riders series? Let us know in the comments.

Thanks to Tirann0 at the SSMB for the heads up!

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!

New Sonic tidbits galore!

If you’ve been hanging around the Sonic Rivals board on the SSMB, you may have noticed this by now, but if you haven’t, well… pictures speak better than words, right?

Recently revealed in GameSpot’s screenshot section for the new PSP Sonic title Sonic Rivals are screenshots of the elusive mystery 5th character pictured on the character select screen in existing screenshots of the game. Well, that “mystery” character isn’t such a mystery anymore: Continue reading New Sonic tidbits galore!

Sonic Riders PC port announced!

The newest availiable Sonic game for the newer-gen consoles — Sonic Riders — just had a new suprise announced in regards to it: A port to the PC!

Like Sonic Adventure DX and Sonic Heroes before it, Sonic Riders will now be released in the near future on the Sega PC platform! While not many details are availiable yet as to if it will have any new features, or what the system requirements are, what we do know is that it’s a sure thing in the future, and will be on retail for $19.95 USD. If you were thinking of picking up Riders at all, this is probably your best chance at it, especially if you don’t have any of the consoles that the game is availiable for. Continue reading Sonic Riders PC port announced!

Sonic Mobile Hits Top of Charts

Pleasing news for SEGA this morning is that their venture into the mobile phone game sphere has paid off well, with Sonic the Hedgehog spinning his way into the #1 spot on the official Mobile Phone Charts.

ELSPA, the British association founded as a voice for the games industry, holds the latest charts figures in the UK every week, and their official mobile phone chart reveals that Sonic has shoved Tetris into second place, after the block-busting puzzler pipped the hedgehog to the post in February’s tot-up.

Even though Sonic the Hedgehog mobile was only half of the Mega Drive version of Sonic 1, mobile fans seemed to lap it up, obviously experiencing shots of nostalgia when playing the game.

In other chart related news, in an unsurprising twist Sonic Riders is still selling extremely well on the Nintendo Gamecube, maintaining the #1 spot since it was pretty much released. Its success may be pushed aside this week however after sales of the newly released FIFA World Cup Germany 2006 is added up over the last 7 days.

Sonic’s a model citizen

The Japanese Sonic Riders website is offering the chance to download the Sonic Riders Extreme Gear. No silly, not real Extreme Gear, but miniature cardboard mock-ups.

Head over to the Japanese Riders site, look in the gift section (It’s marked as ‘New’) and you’ll be directed to a page with Extreme Gear stencil sheets for download. All you need to do is stick the sheet on some card, a few snips here, a few folds there, glue, and you’re done.

Up for download are the Sonic and Jet Extreme Gears:

Production IG’s Sonic Riders concept art

It’s amazing, and yet at the same time hardly surprising, but of all the Japanese animation studios out there SEGA landed ‘Production IG’ to work upon its anime intro for ‘Sonic Riders’.

This revelation came about when Sonic Channel staff member Moro (although there maybe a translation error in the name) revealed a piece of the Sonic Riders conceptual art on the Channels staff column. It would appear the art represents a part of the intros storyboard; although Moro is unclear on the matter, often deviating in content to Japans current weather conditions. However one thing is certain, the art bears Production IG’s official logo. Continue reading Production IG’s Sonic Riders concept art

This Month on the Sonic Channel

Every month, as most of us now know, Sonic Channel updates with a new character art, wallpaper and other goodies.

This month, we have a Big the Cat profile, along with his art and wallpaper. There is a Rouge puzzle with last month’s Rouge art added and some fan art. Lots of fun there.

Along with the site update, they have also said that the 2 in 1 packs with Sonic Advance and Sonic Battle, Sonic Pinball Party and Sonic Battle, and Sonic Advance and Chu-Chu Rocket, have been released as of the 26th of January, in Japan. However, don’t fret. There have been a few 2 in 1 packs already released for English customers. Continue reading This Month on the Sonic Channel

Sonic Riders interview, and SEGA go bananas!

‘Gamespy’ have conducted an interview with ‘Sonic Riders’ producer Takashi Yuda. Basically Yuda talks about already well know aspects of the game, so nothing new there.

Sonic Riders Takashi Yuda interview

In other news SEGA has announced a brand spanking new game, and TSS has known about the game’s existences for sometime now.

It was when visiting ‘SEGA of Europe’ that TSS stumbled upon some conceptual art, but the good people of SEGA vowed to “staple our nuts to a stack of paper, smack us in the face with an eraser” unless we promised not to spill the beans. And no, Eminem wasn’t really there. Continue reading Sonic Riders interview, and SEGA go bananas!

SEGA of America Sonic Riders update

SEGA of America have updated their long neglected Sonic Riders game page, finally unveiling some previously unknown game modes and officially confirming the rumored February 2006 US release date.

The brief updated features list is as follows:

  • All-new air board racing. New blend of snowboarding, surfing and high-speed racing combat.
  • Innovative “Turbulence” air-system. Catch the drift of your opponents and leave them in your wake!
  • Insane tricks. The more difficult trick you pull off, the more points you get!
  • 4-Player Ultimate Battle. New rival group, the Babylon Rogues sets the stage for scorching head-to-head multi-player battles up to 4 players. Continue reading SEGA of America Sonic Riders update

Sonic to do a Mario?

Gaming website Kikizo Games has recently had a chat with a few of the top dogs of SONICTEAM, and revealed a few tidbits of an interview that will be posted later today.

Akinori Nishiyama and Takashi Yuda, the brains behind Sonic Rush and the upcoming Sonic Riders respectively, spoke openly to the website about 2D games coexisting with 3D adventures, and on more Sonic spinoffs to come.

Nishiyama explained about the state of games;

“I think 2D games would be preferable for many users. I believe that in 2D games, say for example shooting games, you have to be careful of the slightest space on the screen and think in terms of how many pixels of space you have to manoeuvre.

Continue reading Sonic to do a Mario?

Sonic Riders sequel confirmed

Shockingly enough, word has already found its way onto the internet of a sequel to SEGA/Sonic Team’s Sonic Riders, which is due for release next year. This information was brought forward by Takashi Yuda, the producer of Sonic Riders whose past work spans back from Sonic the Hedgehog 3 right through to Space Channel 5.

Eurogamer were lucky enough to talk with Yuda at a press event in London, the following is an extract from their report of the interview:

Speaking at a press event in London this week, Yuda-san told Eurogamer, “there will be a sequel to Sonic Riders, and it will definitely be on PS3 and Xbox 360”. Definitely, we responded, parrot-like to the last? “Yes.” Continue reading Sonic Riders sequel confirmed

Sonic Riders for PSP

Spanish gaming site confirms from SEGA the launch of Sonic Riders on the PSP.

SEGA Japan apparently plans to release the upcoming Sonic racing game, Sonic Riders, for Sony’s Playstation Portable. This means that Sonic Riders will be coming out for a total of four systems- Gamecube, Xbox, PS2 and now PSP.

Currently, there are no details on the PSP version, or even if it is going to be different. It’s safe to assume though, that it may be possible that Sonic Riders may be going Wi-Fi with the handheld. Continue reading Sonic Riders for PSP

New Sonic Riders gameplay footage

Kikizo, the games site, has recently added two new trailers for the upcoming Sonic Riders game, to appear on all platforms for the current generation of consoles, and new hi-res footage of the trailer that was first show at the TGS.

Kikizo Sonic Riders media

The videos were added on September 30th 2005. There is the choice to download high resolution, or one of lower quality, game play footage for either Sonic or Knuckles. Continue reading New Sonic Riders gameplay footage

Sonic Riders Official Web Page Online

When Sonic Riders appeared from nowhere just days ago many were rightfully suspicious of the authenticity of these claims coming in think and fast from around the web. It wasn’t to long before scans of the original Famitsu article hit the web, and much to the delight or shock of many fans, Sonic Riders was indeed real and not too far away.

The latest tidbit in the developing Sonic Riders story comes today with Sonic Team’s launch of their official home page for this title, presumably to coincide with the upcoming Tokyo Game Show. At the moment content is a little thin, only a short synopsis of the game (In Japanese) and 14 screenshots, many of which were published in the original Famitsu article.

Also, while you are visiting Sonic Team’s page, be sure to take a look at the Puyo Pop Fever page, which was updated earlier this week with some more details of the soon to be released Puyo Pop Fever 2.

Be sure to stay with SONIC NEWS for more Sonic Riders updates as they occur.

Sonic Riders is on the Track

Sonic Team surprises with announcement for a new racing game. Sonic Riders is on the way for this Winter, for Japanese gamers.

The latest issue of Famitsu magazine reveals the whole deal for Sonic Riders. Sonic, Knuckles, Tails and three new bird friends called by the names of Storm the Albatross, Jet the Hawk and Wave the Sparrow.

Much like Sonic R, Dr.Eggman has called for a racing challenge. Winning means gaining a Chaos Emerald. Alot of tracks will be included in the game, such as Green Cave, Sandy Ruin, Splash Canyon and Egg Factory. Continue reading Sonic Riders is on the Track