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Sega Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity
Sonic is back
- Races full of alternate routes; fun Gravity Control mechanic; catchy menu music
- Control could be tighter, especially with the Wiimote; no online multiplayer, no mix' n match controller options
If you can suffer the controls or have GameCube pads lying around, it's not a bad kickback 'n' relax option for some speedy cartoon laps.
Price$ 99.95 (AUD)
Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity doesn't gain anything by being on the Wii. In fact, it's best if you play it the way you played its predecessor, Sonic Riders, for GameCube — with a GameCube controller. If you have a couple of those purple peripherals hanging around, it's possible to have a fair amount of fun zooming around with Sonic and his pals. But thanks to some wonky controls, playing with the Wii Remotes does cut into the enjoyment.
The story is also rather minimal so don't worry much about the the whys and wherefores; I should note, however, that the cut scene animations are vibrant, pleasant, and smooth. The racing itself plays out similarly to Sonic Riders, while adding in some new twists. Gravity points are awarded for getting a good running start (which entails crossing the line as the exact moment an electric barrier is removed) and pulling off tricks. Once accumulated, you can use them to turn on Gravity Control which is basically drifting with a little bullet-time slo-mo thrown in for fun. There is also a boost move that somehow makes running into things a strategy for going faster.
The tracks themselves can be exciting, especially once you get a handle on exploiting the potential of your vehicles. Vehicles come with three Gear Parts that you can unlock during a race by collecting rings. At first, it seemed like it might be a hassle to upgrade while navigating, but you don't have to think about what you're upgrading since it only requires a single button press. Finding the best route through each course lends replayablility, and so does playing with friends or racing ghosts downloaded off the World Rankings. Unfortunately, downloading ghosts of the leading times is the closest you'll get to online multiplayer, but local options are available for both races and rather pointless Survival Mode sporting events.
Though the tracks and gravity gimmicks are fun to experiment with, Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity isn't likely to be something you'll come back to as a competitive racing staple.
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