E3 06: Sonic speeds to PSP

Sega mixes 2D gameplay and 3D worlds for the upcoming "racing platformer," Sonic Rivals.

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Sonic the Hedgehog turns 15 this year, and part of the celebration includes the blue speedster's exclusive PlayStation Portable debut in Sonic Rivals. Described by Sega as a "racing platformer," Sonic Rivals sends the familiar hedgehog dashing through 3D environments with 2D gameplay.

Whether playing against the computer or wirelessly against friends, gamers will pick one of four main characters and compete in races full of power-ups, boost moves, tripping, shoving, and other such displays of good sportsmanship. Each character has its own storyline, and the game includes a trading-card-style reward system that lets players customize their racers. Players can even wager their cards to spice up the wireless multiplayer battles.

Sonic Rivals is being developed by Backbone Entertainment, creator of the Death Jr. franchise. The studio also made Age of Empires: Age of Kings for the Nintendo DS and NBA Ballers: Rebound for the PSP. Sonic Rivals is set for release this fall.

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