Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity Review
TV Support: Progressive Scan
A few months before the World Grand Prix, a meteorite falls to earth and causes robots all over the world to suddenly go on a rampage. Sonic and his friends recover the meteorite then suddenly get attacked by robots. While holding the meteorite, Sonic is shot off of a skyscraper but his fall is cut short by an anti-gravity field that emanates from the meteorite causing his fall to be broken. A band of thieves is intent on recovering this meteorite and Sonic and his friend must protect the rock while finding the mysteries it holds.
In Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity, you take on the role of the Sonic Hero team and must race quickly to different destinations to keep control of the mysterious meteorite and find out its secrets. The races are very fast and can get rather chaotic as the levels progress, much like one would expect in a 3-D Sonic game. Courses are full of alternate paths and shortcuts that are hidden throughout the level. Each of the characters has their own hover board and can upgrade their board momentarily throughout the races by collecting powerups. Upgrading is sometimes essential for finding new paths and shortcuts. Characters can upgrade to a hover board, roller blades, or a bike in order to use obstacles such as ramps and pipes (grind) to reach alternate areas of the course. The bike will plow through walls that are normally sealed off.
Zero Gravity distinguishes itself very well from other racing games through its use of gravity to help characters gain a burst of speed or slow down time to make a precise turn when needed. While moving up to a sharp turn, you can simply hold down on the square button to create a gravitational field (Gravity Control) then turn whichever way is needed and let go of the square button then your characters will zoom in that desired direction. This move can also be used after jumping a ramp in order to immediately turn in the air and shoot over to an alternate hidden track. Objects can be caught in this gravitational field and they will shoot out in front of your character, which will remove the objects from the characters path and the objects can destroy other roadblocks up ahead that may stand in the way of your path - this is sometimes needed for exposing a new path.
Characters can also use what is referred to as a "Gravity Dive" by pressing and holding the R1 button. This will cause the characters to slow down for a brief second then dive forth with a burst of speed. The Gravity Dive is most useful when other objects are in the area since the objects will be caught up in the gravitational pull allowing you to run into them and skip off the objects in order to build up even more speed.
All gravity moves require Gravity Points (GP), which are built up by performing tricks and other various actions throughout a course. Leap at the end of a ramp before a jump to get a better rank and thereby earn more GP - there are many other tricks as well that will boost GP. GP can be consumed quickly while using the Gravity Drive and both gravity moves require this so you must keep a constant watch on the GP gauge, especially since Gravity Control is a vital part of making sharp turns. Run into a sharp turn without any GP and you'll most likely run into a wall.
The main portion of the game is played out through the game's story mode. You have to choose the hero team from the beginning then you can go back through the story mode with an alternate team once the game has been beaten with the hero team. Full motion videos tell the story and they all lead up to a race that you must either beat with a certain time or come in first place in order to progress. The story is very basic and forgettable for the most part but thanks to the option of playing with another team it is told from two sides, which make it a little more interesting on the second time through. You can also move onto the World Grand Prix after completing the story modes for some extra races.