Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity released in Japan as Sonic Riders Shooting Star Story (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), is a hoverboard racing video game published by Sega and developed by Sonic Team in cooperation with NowPro. It is the fifth racing game in the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, following Sonic Drift, Sonic Drift 2, Sonic R and its predecessor, Sonic Riders.
Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity was only available on the PlayStation 2 and Wii video game systems. The PS2 version was not released in Japan. A sequel titled Sonic Free Riders was released on November 4, 2010 exclusively for Kinect on Xbox 360.
The Story is split into two halves, the Heroes Story (Team Sonic), and Babylon Story (Babylon Rogues). Although the stories start separately, they overlap each other, telling the story as the main characters within that story see it. Following the format of Sonic Riders, Babylon Story also includes an epilogue that expands past the Heroes Story.
Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles are alerted to robots that are attacking a famous city of the future. They set out to retrieve a legendary artifact that has the ability to control gravity. Along the way they discover surprises, including the Babylon Rogues, a group of avian thieves who are also after the artifact. This sets off a war to decide who gets the artifact, leading them to settle their dispute by having an Extreme Gear competition.
This game introduces many new abilities in addition to ones from the first game. By gaining gravity points through tricks and technical challenges, players will enter a zero-gravity zone and be able to perform new moves.
The first is the Gravity Dive, which sucks the player towards a black hole further down the track, giving them a speed boost which tosses cars and other objects off the track and into the air which characters are able to smash into to gain more speed, and Gravity Control, which changes the gravity of the course, allowing the player to use a different track, such as one of the walls.
Also in the game is a move called Gravity Drift. This move is similar to the Grip move in Sonic Riders in which it can help characters turn on tight corners.
Items can offer help the player, such as an attack boost, or cause hardships, such as a ball-and-chain that hooks on your gear and slows your speed down.
There is a new method in the game called "Gear Change". Once you gain a certain amount of rings, your gear will gain an upgrade. Each gear has from zero to three upgrades and can be upgraded during a race. Some upgrades include modifying your Extreme Gear's look or top speed. There are many different board types to use as well, adding for many options for customization.
In Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity, there are three new modes added to the game: Survival Mode, Survival Relay, and Survival Ball. Survival Mode entails each player to pick up missiles, then lock on and launch them at foes with Gravity Control, the winner being the last person standing. Survival Ball mode is, simply put, a soccer game on Extreme Gear. In Survival Relay, 2-4 players make a team of two and do a relay, with Extreme Gear as the baton.
There are a total of 16 courses in the game, eight worlds with two tracks in each. The tracks appear in the order they appear in the story mode.
Megalo Station/Nightside Rush
Botanical Kingdom/Snowy Kingdom
MeteorTech Premises/MeteorTech Sparkworks
Aquatic Capital/Tempest Waterway
Gigan Rocks/Gigan Device
Crimson Crater/Security Corridor
Astral Babylon/Mobius Strip
80's Boulevard/90's Boulevard
Each different type of gear has their own special advantages.
Boards with the Grind upgrade and Skates are able to use the Grind Rails as a shortcut. Although boards must install the Grind upgrade themselves, Skates can already Grind from the start. Besides this, they are predominant in speed, and usually have no other functions.
Air Riders and Yachts are able to use the Launch Ramps as a shortcut. Although Air Rider Gears usually come with no special advantages, the Yacht Type Gears can ride on drafts, which is completely different from Turbulance. By tailgating an opponent, a Yacht will gradually speed up to the point where they pass the opponent. However, their major drawback is that without a draft, Yachts are very slow, generally below 130 MPH.
Bikes and Wheels are able to smash obstacles to create new pathways. Although most Bikes don't come with any additional advantages, Wheels come with a major advantage of the ability to drift.
Some Gears have no Gear Parts, but usually come in the form in the other Gears listed above. However, sometimes, they have extra abilities that help you proceed in the race. For instance, the Money Crisis Gear is a Wheel Type that has no extra upgrades, but increases speed for the more rings you collect.
The Chaos Emerald Gear is a unique gear that can only be used by Sonic. It can only be obtained after you complete all of the missions with an Extreme rank. The Chaos Emerald has no initial Skill and uses rings instead of GP. However, using Gravity Moves consumes rings during at an extremely high rate. When Sonic's rings run out, he reverts back to regular Sonic, and is forced to run the track on foot until he obtains some rings. Before obtaining 60 Rings, the Chaos Emerald Gear is just basically Super Sonic on the Blue Star. When Sonic obtains 60 or more rings, he activates his "Super Sonic Boost". In this state, Sonic gets off his board and flies around the track in a comet form. At this time, ring consumption is increased, but Super Sonic flies at 180 MPH and he is practically invincible to all attacks.
Source: Wikipedia, "Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity", available under the CC-BY-SA License.