Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity
Who remembers Sonic R? Not that many visitors, I presume. If you do remember the game, it means that you bought a Sega Saturn that died a painful dead with only a handful of long forgotten games. Sonic R was the first race game with Sonic. You could run or just race with a car. Now the combination of Sonic and cars is just plain stupid, so no wonder nobody remembers this game. And now we have the sequel to Sonic Riders, named Sonic Riders Zero Gravity. Not much has changed since Sonic R, although you do get to ride a hoverboard this time. Another crazy combination from Sega.
Sega can count their blessings. If the blue hedgehog wasn’t so insanely popular in the mid-90’s, they would never be able to make these mediocre Sonic games in 2008. Luckily for them, Sonic is a symbol of the early nineties and Sega. Nostalgic as we are, we can’t help to think of those days when Sonic was still a franchise you actually liked playing. Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity is anything but a game you would want to check out.
The interface looks as if it was stolen from an old Sonic game from the 32bit era. And if there’s one thing a game doesn’t need anymore, it’s interfaces from that era. It’s hard enough to type your name, but that’s because it’s wasn’t clear to me that you had to turn your wii-mote around. Silly me, and silly Sega for mentioning this after I entered my name.
Story mode, Normal Race, Survival, Time attack: do these guys at Sega know how to get me excited or what? I don’t know which breathtaking option I’ll choose. Because I have to eventually, I pick up the Story mode. After a unnecessary and disturbingly difficult tutorial, it’s time to get it on. The FMV sure looks like Sonic is back in business for some fast speed ass kicking. Too bad the racing itself isn’t all happyness and ass kicking.
It’s possible to slow time in Zero Gravity. You will need this to take sharp turns and when you do this for a few seconds, you can steer into the right direction. This sounds interesting, but it will only get you slamming into walls. It’s difficult to master, especially in the beginning.
You can collect power-ups to get weapons and additional speed or vehicle upgrades. Those power-ups are already chosen for you. Every character has its power-ups and some of them include motorcycles. Sounds fun, but steering the vehicles sounds easier than it is.
The controls of Zero Gravity are hardly any fun. The Wii-mote reacts strange and stiff to your input. I advise not to use the tilt function of the Wii, just keep it to the normal controls. Not that these are that much better, they just give you less of a headache.
Speed and adrenaline: That’s Sonic in two words. That used to be Sonic at least. These days he can hardly impress anyone with his speed, I think he as fallen down to Super Mario Bros 3 standards. Now Mario could run a few miles at a reasonable pace, but we’re used to incredible speed from Sonic. No incredible speed, just slow motion this time.
And after one small hour, the ending titles run from the screen. It’s time for me to run to the pub. I’ve got more important things to do than playing this mediocre Sonic game.
Yeah, I almost forgot. There’s a Grand Prix Mode in Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity, but you have to be really bored to play that. Or you have paid for the game, bless your soul. There’s also a Survival Mode, but I didn’t really get the concept of this. Something with basketball and hoverboards and something with rockets. Looked to me as if it was something to fill up the gaps. Sega should have minded their gap… because this isn’t really worth mentioning.
First Donkey Kong, now Sonic. Another stupid race game on the Wii. Congratulations Nintendo and Sega.