Sonic Rivals- Impressions, Links, and More…

December 26, 2006 at 4:52 am 1 comment

Sonic Rivals is SEGA’s latest adaptation of the classic Sonic series, except it is far unlike its 3D console counterparts–it involves a story where you are catapulted into an all racing-fest full of competitiveness and some classic 16 bit Sonic play. Sonic Rivals fails where it lacks features, but does wonders where it offers superb features.

Sonic Rivals is a pure racing game, except it incorporates the same features you love about Sonic. Speed will get you everywhere and push you into boring maps, but power-ups, boosts, special hidden areas, and coin collections will make the game enticing and prove whether you are really up to the challenge.

There are four different modes in Sonic Rivals:

  • Career Career mode pivots you into a storyline where you race Sonic (or a character of your choice) against others to try and fight Dr. Eggman, who has done something to harm you. For Sonic, it was turning his friends into cards.
  • Skirmish a.k.a. “Just Play” Mode You play with the characters/maps/features you’ve unlocked so far and face off. In each map, using each character, you have different goals that you can try to accomplish.
  • Tournament A series of competitions between you and another player and the winner receives an accolade.
  • Multiplayer Using the PSP’s ad-hoc multiplayer feature, play against someone who is near you. Basically, a head-to-head competition.

Career mode is a so-so way to entice those looking for a challenge, but in terms of a good storyline, don’t expect it from Rivals. Instead of bringing in awesome cutscenes, fighting action, and more, it just shows you pictures of the characters talking, their voices, and text to go along with it. It all talks about why each character wants to destroy the evil “Dr. Eggman”. Dr. Eggman is not really a good name for an evil nemesis, is it?

In gameplay, though, your opinion of Rivals will automatically play. The graphics are stellar, and the camera angles satisfy. They angle, twist, and turn to show you your character, and at the same time, allow you to see what is occuring across the board. On the bottom, it will show your status in the map in comparison to your opponent. The races are fast-paced, and power ups and boosts will automatically help and give you a slight advantage over your rival. Even so, you rival is mysteriously always 2-steps behind you, no matter how many power-ups or boosts you use or no matter how many times you attack your opponent. This allows the game to be continuously competitive, but can also be an annoyance when you feel that you are doing extremely good.

There are three different “special moves” that you can do in Rivals:

  •  Power-Ups These are basically tubes by which give you more power to go around loop-de-loops and go onto different platforms. These are simple to attain, because you automatically pass them on the map.
  • Boosts There are two kinds of boosts: O (speed) and X (power). These boosts can be very helpful to either push you onto a higher platform or add speed to you. You may click these at any time when the buttons pop up on the screen. If a “?” mark appears, you can use either. These are very fun and are especially challenging.
  • Attacks You achieve attack powers through small circles that show different powers. These allow you to freeze, confuse, set your opponent on fire, and more. This will slow down your competitors and allow you to get first-hand advantage. Unfortunately, these attacks can also come right back to haunt you, because you may actually push the attacks in the wrong area and get stuck in them yourself.

Sonic Rivals is hard to explain. Where it was suppose to entice, it did. But, where it was expected that they would offer mini-games and extra features, they failed. The gameplay is pure-Sonic, clearly enticing and exciting, fun and engaging, and playing with a friend on Ad-Hoc must be exciting. But, card collecting will only offer different suits for your characters, which will become a yawn after you achieve them all. I would’ve hoped that SEGA/Backbone Entertainment would’ve brought in Tekken-style mini-games that would a) help you work on your skill or b) just let you have some fun. Instead, nothing was brought in. This game is nowhere worth $40, but it still deserves credit where it delievers. This was a hard one to judge.

In the end, Sonic Rivals is a PSP game that doesn’t achieve much further than its main course. It’s sort of like ordering a hamburger in a high-class restaurant and getting only that, a hamburger. No cheese. No ketchup. No fries. No drink. It kind of annoys you. Especially for a restaurant where you’re paying way too much for your own good. Mini-games are missing for the most part, the card collection is a yawn, and the only hope after beating it all is the multiplayer feature. Maybe next time?

Graphics: 9.6/10 Gameplay: 8.5/10 Longevity: 5.1/10 Easy to Play: 9.1/10

Final: 8.075/10* Average Score

For the best resource of info on everything Sonic Rivals, look no further than here:

Sonic Rivals~ Official US Website

Get Loco:: Sonic Rivals Tag

GameSpot Sonic Rivals Review (6.9)

IGN Sonic Rivals Review (7.4)

MetaCritic~ Sonic Rivals (63)



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