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Friday Flop - Sonic Free Riders
Sonic Free Riders (2010, Xbox 360) is the exclusive launch title for Xbox's motion sensing camera. the Kinect. It is the seventh racing game in the Sonic series and the third game in the Riders title, being the sequel to Zero Gravity released in 2008 for the Nintendo Wii and Playstation 2.
The main story of the game follows four teams in a tournament set up by King Doc of Toreggmania for treasure and cash. These said teams are Team Heroes (Sonic the Hedgehog, Miles "Tails" Prower, and Knuckles the Echidna), Team Babylon (Jet the Hawk, Wave the Swallow, and Storm the Albatross), Team Rose (Amy Rose, Cream the Rabbit, and Vector the Crocodile), and Team Dark (Shadow the Hedgehog, Rouge the Bat, and E-10000B). If you play Teams Heroes or Babylon, they will face off in the finals, and the same goes for if you play as Teams Dark and Rose. Also, the story will always end with that team winning the championship.
After completing all of the stories, King Doc appears for the closing ceremony, but Sonic makes him admit that he is actually Dr. Eggman in disguise. He says that he used the Grand Prix to copy all of the racers' data to make an unbeatable Extreme Gear bot. After racing and beating him, Eggman tries to challenge the racers again, but the robot explodes revealing Metal Sonic, who betrays Eggman and takes the data for itself. The robot challenges Sonic to a final race, and runs away after losing.
Sonic Free Riders uses the Kinect sensor to catch your movements as if you are actually riding an Extreme Gear board. To speed up during the race, you have to kick your leg back like you would on a skateboard. To grab and throw an item, you have to lean to the side with your arm out, then shake it forward as if you are throwing a frisbee or ball. To do tricks off of a ramp, just jump. Being a Kintect launch title, however, there are still bugs with the controls. While playing the demo, the sensor would not pick up my movements very well, even with it at its optimal setting via the Kinect Tuner.
The game received mixed reviews. It was one of the best titles for the Kinect's launch, but some could not enjoy it because of the control and sensing issues. The game has an enjoyable and original story, which makes every game great.
You can find a free demo of Sonic Free Riders in the Xbox Marketplace, and the full game in any video game retailer.