TGS 2005: Sonic Riders Hands-On

Sonic is getting all Marty McFly on us in his new hoverboard racing game.

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TOKYO--What do you get when you cross Sonic R with a snowboarding game? This must have been the question rattling around in the heads of the designers responsible for Sonic Riders, a new futuristic-looking hoverboard racing game that features characters from the Sonic the Hedgehog universe.

At the Tokyo Game Show 2005, Sega is displaying the GameCube and PlayStation 2 versions of the game, though a version is also in development for the Xbox. The game seems like your basic character-driven racing game, though the tracks are filled with large jumps that give you an opportunity to put the game's trick system through its paces. You can execute a small number of grabs and flips, and after every big air opportunity, you'll receive a letter grade displaying how well you did with the tricks.

Sonic Riders features eight playable characters, including Tails and Sonic, who has much longer legs in this game than he normally does, which makes him look slightly slimmer and edgier than his normal, platform mascot-style design. Each rider is rated in multiple categories, like dash, limit, power, and curve. On tight turns, you can hit a trigger button to slide around the corner a little more gracefully than you normally would.

The game moves fast and appears to support up to four players. Sonic Riders is currently scheduled for Japanese release in 2006.

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