Shift into zero gravity!
Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity (ソニックライダーズ シューティングスターストーリー Sonikku Raidāzu Shūtingu Sutā Sutōrī?, lit. "Sonic Riders Shooting Star Story") is a 2008 hoverboard racing video game for the Wii and PlayStation 2. Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity is the sequel to Sonic Riders and the second entry in the Sonic Riders series. The game was published by Sega and developed by Sonic Team in cooperation with CRIWare.
It was released in Japan and North America in January 2008, in Europe in February 2008 and in Australia in March 2008. The PlayStation 2 version was not released in Japan. A sequel titled Sonic Free Riders was released in November 2010 exclusively for the Xbox 360.
Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity was first announced by Sega at Games Conference 2007 for a Q1 2008 release. Scott A. Steinberg, vice president of marketing at Sega of America commented on the game's announcement, stating that the game would offer long-time Sonic fans, and newcomers alike, the adrenaline-pumping gameplay and moves that made the blue hedgehog famous, while adding a plethora of completely new elements to the Sonic world.
Sonic discovers a legend regarding an artifact known as the "Ark of the Cosmos", an item that can take matter and use it to control gravity. However, the Babylon Rogues, Sonic's well-known rivals, are also after the legendary artifact. This sets off a war over who gets the artifact, now leading them to settle their dispute by having an Extreme Gear competition.
- For the script of this story, see Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity/Script (Heroes).
The story begins when shooting stars crash into the planet. One crashes into the Crimson Tower and rolls into the back of a MeteorTech robot. It activates, along with others and goes on a rampage.
The next day, Team Heroes are on their way to Megalo Station in Monopole when they hear about the news on the radio. Tails gives Sonic a meteor which he thinks might be from the events last night. Soon, they are attacked by the robots, who seem to have recognized the meteor Sonic is holding and barely escape with their lives. While Tails and Knuckles use their respective flying and gliding abilities to save themselves, Sonic almost falls to his death from the summit of a 300-storey building, but fortunately, the meteor was able to save him, clamping the object to his wrist. All three manage to escape from the city afterwards.
Team Heroes then meets up with Amy, who says she was being pursued by the robots as well. As she hugs Sonic, she drops a similar meteor. Tails suddenly realizes that the robots are after the meteorites. They decide to go to MeteorTech to solve this mystery.
The team then arrives at MeteorTech and is greeted by the Babylon Rogues. Jet tries to force Amy to hand over something called the Ark of the Cosmos but she is clueless as to what he is talking about. An alarm then sounds alerting the robots. Sonic and friends take off, leaving the Rogues in pursuit. Sonic and Jet unknowingly crash into Eggman in the main computer room of MeteorTech. When revealing himself, he reveals that he owns MeteorTech, causing his nemeses to accuse him of the robot rampage. He feigns he has no clue until he sees Sonic's meteor and is threatened by the blue hedgehog and Knuckles. Eggman reveals that his Mother computer hasn't been responding ever since he gave it a meteorite, which is why the robots are going out of control. He also says that the robot leader contains a stone. Jet remembers what he was there for, but realizes that Amy and Storm are missing. Eggman's computer shows that Storm is chasing Amy, but they are being followed by the MeteorTech robot's leader.
Sonic, Tails and Knuckles leave and find Amy at Aquatic Capital. She informs them that the robot self-destructed and Storm ran off with something that was previously inside the robot. She then says that Storm was going on about something he found in a place called "Giga" or something along those lines. Knuckles then confirms it to be the Gigan Rocks, a famous ruin among treasure hunters. The team arrives at the rocks and find the treasure gone. When Knuckles reads an ancient script, they find that Babylon Garden is a spaceship powered by the Arks of the Cosmos and that a great darkness attacked it. Eggman then flies overhead with the Babylon Rogues' airship in pursuit. Sonic then says that they should catch up.
They arrive at MeteorTech's home tower and find Jet and the Rogues waiting. Wave confirms that Crimson Tower is MeteorTech's signal tower. Storm then says that the Arks they collected were stolen by Eggman. Jet challenges Sonic, with the prize being all the Arks of the Cosmos and title of "Fastest Creature in the Universe" to whoever nabs Eggman first.
When they reach the top, Sonic and Jet enter at the same time and grab one of the two Arks he was holding. After bumping into his machine, Wave grabs the master Ark that fell out. After this, all robot operations are cancelled. Due to the five Arks being in the same place at once, it called down Babylon Garden. Seeing that he doesn't need the Arks of the Cosmos, Sonic hands all of them over to Jet. When Jet accuses Sonic of running away, Sonic states that he'll see Jet at the next World Grand Prix.
- For the script of this storyline, see Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity/Script (Babylon).
The story begins in the Gigan Rocks when the Babylon Rogues are trying to get an Ark of the Cosmos at the Chalice. The Ark was held in a booby trap, so Jet punched in some keys on an ancient keyboard in Babylonians text. This deactivated the trap. Slowly, Jet grabbed the Ark of the Cosmos. No sooner than that, Wave saw a shooting star. There, she closed her eyes and put her hands together, making a wish. When she tells Storm what she's doing, he simply laughed, but not for long, as he saw Jet doing the same thing. Jet wished of having a power to beat "him". Then, three more crashed down and caused a rumbling sound just as Storm was about to make a wish himself. This re-activated the trap, causing two boulders to come crashing down. It nearly crushed them until the Ark's power caused them to fly out of the way. Jet remarks that "his wish already came true". With this power, the Rogues escaped the ruins safely.
Back on the ship, Wave was analyzing the Ark of the Cosmos they found and explained it can charge up gravity and convert it to power the engine unit of Babylon Garden. She explains that there are five of them. Jet then orders her to create a radar to help find them. Storm then bursts in and shows a news report of a MeteorTech Mech stealing an Ark of the Cosmos from the Megalo City Museum. At seeing this, they set a course for Megalo Station. After going through Megalo Station, Jet tracks the robot to Botanical Kingdom where he destroys the robot, but loses the Ark. He searches the ground and discovers Sonic talking with the others. When Amy hugs Sonic, the Ark of the Cosmos she found (the one Jet is after) falls out. Overhearing their conversation about MeteorTech, Wave and Storm appear and Wave suggests that they go ahead of Sonic and the others to gather information on MeteorTech.
They meet Sonic and friends at MeteorTech but are cut short by guard robots. As Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Jet, and Wave ride off, Storm attempts to get the Ark of the Cosmos from Amy, only to get whacked by Amy's hammer. She then escapes with Storm in pursuit. They reach the Aquatic Capital and Amy throws the Ark at Storm's face. She then insists that he find away out when they are confronted by a MeteorTech robot, SCR-HD. After scanning Storm's Ark of the Cosmos, it blows up and reveals a second Ark. Storm runs off with both Arks and returns to the airship. Jet, happy that they now have three, is cut off by Wave's description of an ancient Babylonian text. After Jet gives up on trying to figure out what the lightless black is, he discovers that the two Arks are missing. Eggman then appears outside flying away with them, having sneaked inside while the Rogues were determining what to do.
They follow Eggman to the Crimson Tower where they waited for Sonic and the others. Jet then challenges Sonic and they reach the top of the tower. After Babylon Garden is called down, Tails thought about what was going on. So he put together the clues he thought about it and figured it out. The damaged SCR-HD breaks in and steals all five Arks of the Cosmos from Wave. Tails informs Everyone out loud that the five Arks will make a giant black hole if put in Babylon Garden. After that, Eggman declares that massive energy readings are coming from Babylon Garden. A scene then shows the outer part of Babylon Garden falling off transforming it into Astral Babylon, the Babylonian spaceship and creating a black hole. Sonic, Jet, and everyone else (except Eggman) rush to Astral Babylon's Mobius Strip to face SCR-HD's giant new form and disconnect the Arks of the Cosmos from the ship.
Afterwards, it shows Astral Babylon orbiting Earth. Jet and the Rogues are atop a rock in the desert looking at it. After a quick conversation, they fly off on their gear. The scene then switches to Sonic, Tails, Knuckles and Amy, in Tails' vehicle driving through Megalo City. Tails explains how the ancient Babylonians warped to Earth and left their engine unit in orbit. Then Amy theorizes that's probably why people started wishing on shooting stars. Shortly after, Sonic hears someone say his name in the tunnel. Jet rides up imposing a friendly challenge. The scene ends with Sonic and Jet racing through the tunnel marking the end of the story.
Gameplay in Zero Gravity is largely similar to its predecessor, with characters racing on different types of hoverboards called "Extreme Gear". In addition to the mechanics from the previous game, Zero Gravity adds a new gameplay system based around gravity which replaces the Air mechanics. During the race, performing tricks and other actions will increase a character's Gravity Points, or GP. If players have accrued enough GP by the time they enter certain areas of the track, they may perform one of two maneuvers which lets them enter zero gravity. A Gravity Dive will create a black hole that gives the player a boost, launching them quickly down the track; this will also displace objects in the vicinity such as cars or signs, which players can pass through to gain additional speed. Alternatively, Gravity Control will shift the gravity of the course, allowing players to reach otherwise-inaccessible areas and shortcuts. Players can also use Gravity Control to more easily maneuver around sharp corners.
Building on the upgrade system from its predecessor, Zero Gravity features a new system called "Gear Change". Once players gain a certain number of rings during a race, they can choose to activate one of their Gear Parts. Gear Parts are predetermined based on the racer's equipped Extreme Gear, and will grant bonuses and abilities when activated, such as modifying the Extreme Gear's look, higher specs, an increased GP Gauge and character type specific Gear Parts (the ability to grind in rails as a Speed character, transform into an air ride/yacht-type Gear to fly through Dash Rings scattered throughout the stage as a Fly character, or transform into a bike/wheel-type Gear which can smash through objects including barricaded shortcuts as a Power character).
In addition to the boards, skates, and bikes from the previous game, Zero Gravity also introduces three new types of Extreme Gear: air rides, yachts, and wheels. New Extreme Gear can be unlocked via the in-game shop, with different Gear providing different advantages and unique abilities.
The usage of Tricks also changed. When progressing towards a ramp or ledge where it is possible to do a trick, the player must simply press the jump button. The main key is timing. The earlier the jump is applied, the slower the trick, less distance and height that is covered and the lower the Rank. When performing a trick, the player can only trick in one direction (such as only doing frontflips, or only doing backflips), unless the player successfully performs an X-Rank trick.
There are a total of sixteen courses in the normal racing gameplay; eight areas with two tracks in each:
One notable difference from Sonic Riders is that the tracks are slightly longer and don't virtually carbon-copy each-other, like they did in the original previous. Another change is that there are sharp turns that require the use of Gravity Control or Slide Turn. As Air is no longer used as a fuel source, Air Pits were removed and there are no such equivalent objects that give the player Gravity Points. There are six tracks in the Heroes Story and seven tracks in the Babylon Story. The first four tracks are unlocked in Free Race, the other twelve tracks are unlocked once the player progresses through Story Mode.
In Survival Mode, with the exception of Survival Relay, there are six exclusive fields.
|Survial Ball||Survial Battle|
|Sonic the Hedgehog||Grind||Dash||★★★★|
|Miles "Tails" Prower||Air Ride||Dash||★★★★★|
|Knuckles the Echidna||Bike||Dash||★★★|
|Jet the Hawk||Grind||Dash||★★★★|
|Storm the Albatross||Bike||Dash||★★|
|Wave the Swallow||Air Ride||Dash||★★★★★|
|Dr. Eggman||None (Bike or Wheel Only)||Dash||★★|
|SCR-HD||None (Air Ride by default)||Dash||★★★★|
|Cream the Rabbit||Air Ride||Dash||★★★★★|
|Rouge the Bat||Air Ride||Dash||★★★★★|
|Shadow the Hedgehog||Grind||Dash||★★★★|
|Silver the Hedgehog||Air Ride||Dash||★★★★★|
|Blaze the Cat||Grind||Dash||★★★★|
|SCR-GP||None (Wheel by default)||Dash||★★★|
|N/A||Super Sonic (Chaos Emerald)||None|
The following items are power-up items that can be obtained from Item Boxes during a race which will grant the player bonuses or hinder the player and/or his/her Extreme Gear.
- Rings: Grants a varied number of bonus Rings in. This number can be 10, 20, 30 or even 100.
- GP Boost: Replenishes the player's GP Gauge with a varied number of Gravity Points. This number can be 30, 50, 100 or Max.
- Magnetic Barrier: Forms a blue barrier around the player which attracts nearby Rings towards him/her.
- High Speed: Gives the player a sudden boost of speed.
- Speed Down: Hooks the player's Gear with a heavy ball, drastically slowing down the player and prevents usage of Gravity Actions.
- Explosion: Launches a round bomb that rolls around the track for some time inflicting damage to any opponents the bomb touches.
- Attack: Player's character hops off his/her Gear and runs at full speed on foot, allowing him/her to attack opponents and access special shortcuts such as Springs.
- Colorball: Obscures the player's vision with colored paint.
- Parts Lock: Prevents the player from activating any Gear Parts and prevents usage of Gravity Actions.
The following items appear exclusively in Survival Battle:
- Missile: A weapon that the player can attack opponents with using Gravity Control.
- Shield: Protects the player from one attack.
- Hit Point: Grants one Hit Point to the player (appears only in Sudden Death matches).
- Explosion: Explosion works differently in Survival Battle to that of its normal gameplay counterpart. The bomb will explode after a short amount of time, damaging the holder and any other characters caught in its vicinity. The bomb can be transferred to another character using Gravity Control.
In Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity, there is a new game mode entitled "Survival Mode", that has three special games that can be played with other players or against the computers: Survival Battle, Survival Relay and Survival Ball.
- Survival Battle entails each player to use Gravity Control in certain spots of the level to slam objects into opponents, mainly missiles. The mode consists of a rather small arena-type field where four players are to knock each other out by aiming missiles through Gravity Control.
- Survival Ball mode is, simply put, a football game on Extreme Gear. Players score points by using Gravity Control to launch the ball through point hoops.
- Survival Relay is basically a relay race where two-to-four players make a team(s) riding a single Extreme Gear, using it as a baton to pass on to the next character.
Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity is the second game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series to use the Extreme Gears in gameplay, the first being the game's predecessor, Sonic Riders. Like in Sonic Riders, the Extreme Gears are high-tech hoverboard vehicles that are used by the characters to ride on, but uses Gravity Points (GP) to as a fuel to perform special actions in this game rather than Air, and are the central component in the gameplay.
Like in Sonic Riders, every playable character has their own unique default Extreme Gear, which only they can use, but additional Extreme Gears can be obtained in the game by either buying them in the shop for Rings, or fulfilling certain requirements, such as completing one or more missions in Mission Mode, or completing a certain story.
Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity features six different types of Extreme Gear. In addition to the returning Board type, Skate type and Bike type Extreme Gears from Sonic Riders, the game introduces as well three new types of Extreme Gear in the series, namely the Yacht type, the Air Ride type and the Wheel type.
- Board: Resembles regular boards. A basic and balanced Gear type that most characters can ride and is suited for general riding.
- Skate: Resembles roller skates. This type of Gear tend to lack in power, but is more agile and always allows the user to grind in Grind Areas.
- Bike: Resembles motorbikes. This type of Gear is more durable and allows characters to knock away certain objects, but is less maneuverable compared to the other types.
- Air Ride: Resembles hovercrafts. This type of Gear allows the user to glide through midair and fly through Dash Rings.
- Yacht: Resembles windsurf boards. This type of Gear allows to glide through the air and fly through Dash Rings and as well ride on opponents' slipstreams (different from the first game, as you only run along the slipstream) to increase speed, which somewhat makes up its low top speed.
- Wheel: Resembles monowheels. This type allows the user to knock away heavy objects and have the ability to perform Slide Turns, but the dash from Gravity Control is shorter.
List of Extreme Gears
There are a total of 61 different collectible Extreme Gears that can acquired in Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity (excluding SCR-GP and SCR-HD despite that they also function as a Gear themselves). The following Extreme Gears are listed as they appear in the Gear Gallery.
|List of Extreme Gears|
There is an official soundtrack for Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity, which was released as the album Zero Gravity Tracks: Sonic Riders Shooting Star Story Original Soundtrack.
Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity received mixed reviews from reviewers. GameRankings and Metacritic assigned the PlayStation 2 version 59.31% and 56/100, respectively. GameTrailers praised the game for its graphics, but lambaste the control schemes, especially the fact that the Wii version was compatible with the GameCube controller but not the Classic Controller, and saying that a "broken interface" rendered the game "almost unplayable". It has currently sold about 1.08 million copies worldwide, the majority of which on the Wii version.
- The obvious differences between the two versions of the game is that the Wii version features three different play styles: two using the Wii Remote and one using the GameCube controller, but none with the Classic Controller. However, the PlayStation 2 version also contains more instances of slowdown as is common in Sonic's PlayStation 2 ports.
- The PlayStation 2 version includes an expanded tutorial that is missing entirely in the Wii release.
- While the US PlayStation 2 version has both Japanese and English voice languages in the disc, the EU PlayStation 2 version completely removes the Japanese voices (and therefore the ability to switch voice language at all). Text language choices in all regional variations of the PlayStation 2 version are identical.
- Any Gear Storm rides is nearly twice as big as normal. This can be more easily noticed in Tag Mode, in which the other characters will be much smaller than their gears.
- This is Silver and Blaze's first and only playable appearance on the PlayStation 2.
- SCR-HD is the only unlockable racer who is not unlocked in story mode.
- This is the last game to use Deem Bristow's voice clips of Dr. Eggman, as the next game in the miniseries, Sonic Free Riders, has all of Eggman's lines recorded by Mike Pollock.
- During cutscenes, Amy is wearing her normal dress, but during the races, she wears her racing outfit from the previous game. However, when playing as Amy in Story Mode, she is wearing her normal dress.
- In the intermission cutscene, Amy is not there even though she participates in the race before that cutscene. She is also not present in the final boss.
- On the cover Tails' Arc of the Cosmos is on his left hand, while in the game mode it's on the left side of his hip.
- Shadow's artwork in this game has a striking resemblance to his Sonic Adventure 2 artwork, as it is a mirrored version of it.
- This is the only game in the "Riders" series in which the main story doesn't take place during a World Grand Prix.
- The Shinobi & Kunoichi Extreme Gears reference the Shinobi series by Sega and its canonical offshoot, Nightshade (called Kunoichi in Japan).
- This is the only Sonic Riders title to not be released on a Microsoft console.
- Despite being a member of Team Heroes, Amy is playable in the Babylon Story not the Hero Story during story races, but during Mission Mode races she is played exclusively in the Hero Story.
- Despite the fact that the PlayStation 2 supports widescreen, the PS2 version of the game cannot be played in widescreen.
- The SCR robots are counted as Gears, as seen at the EX Gear section at the profile select when having everything in the game.
- This is the only game to have all six types of Extreme Gear, as Sonic Riders had three (Board, Bike and Skate) and Sonic Free Riders had two (Board and Bike).
- Unlike the PS2 version, the Wii version depends on motion control with the remote, except if the GCN controller is being used instead.
- Unlike the first Sonic Riders, Cream is not playable in Mission Mode. Inversely the Babylon Rogues are when they were not in the first game's Mission Mode.
- Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity (NA). IGN. Retrieved on 28 September 2019.
- Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity (UK). IGN. Retrieved on 28 September 2019.
- Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity (AUS). IGN. Retrieved on 28 September 2019.
- Bozon (23 August 2007). Sega Announces Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity. IGN. Retrieved on 28 September 2019.
- Game Database. vgchartz.com. Retrieved on 29 July 2015.