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Sonic Rivals one of the few sonic games that is in 2.5. Sonic Rivals has many different modes to choose form. These are Single Player, Story Mode, Challenge Mode, and Cup Circuit. There is also the Play Mode which features multiplaye races where players can bet cards or just race for fun. There is a Challenge Mode in which the player is given a goal to complete. After completing certain you gain a collectible cards. The game features 7 power-ups these are fire, ice, mine, illusion, wind, ring magnet and star. The star power-up is character specific. But all the other power-ups are available for all characters.
- Sonic the Hedgehog: Sonic's special ability is Sonic Boom, which gives him a great increase in speed for a short period of time, knocking away opponents if he makes contact with them.
- Knuckles the Echidna: Knuckles' special ability is Hammer Punch, which stuns any rivals in a large radius, giving an opportunity to attack or overtake.
- Shadow the Hedgehog: Shadow's special ability is Chaos Control, which slows any rival down at a high rate.
- Silver the Hedgehog: Silver's special ability is ESP, it confuses the opponent mixing their controls around.
- Metal Sonic: Metal Sonic's special ability will have the same effect of whatever the opponents ability is. (e.g. Silver against Metal Sonic means Metal Sonic's ability is ESP)
Miles "Tails" Prower: Upon journeying to Onyx Island with Sonic, Tails is turned into a card by Dr. Eggman's camera as proof to Sonic that he indeed has the power to do so. It is now up to Sonic to save both him, and Amy, who has also been turned into a card. He appears as a playable character in the sequel, Sonic Rivals 2.
Amy Rose: The first to be turned into a card after Eggman, Sonic and Tails' journey to Onyx Island to discover this shocking truth. After Tails himself gets turned into a card, Sonic sets out to save them both.
Rouge the Bat: After discovering the truth about "Dr. Eggman", Rouge goes missing, but it is later revealed that she was turned into a card. Shadow sets out to save Rouge while trying to figure out what she had discovered. She appears as a playable character in the sequel, Sonic Rivals 2.
Espio The Chameleon : A card of Sliver only to help him.
Dr. Eggman: Eggman, in fact, is not the troublemaker in this story. He is actually the victim. He was the first to be turned into a card by his doppelganger Eggman Nega before the main storyline actually occurs.
Eggman Nega: As it turns out, Eggman Nega is the main antagonist of the game, who hails from the future. Masquerading as Dr. Eggman in the past, he uses a special camera to turn everyone into cards on Onyx Island, an island he brought along with him from the future. His master plan is to change his destiny by turning the whole planet into a card that he can control.
- Egg Turtle - The boss of Forest Falls. Involves Eggman's robotic turtle rotating on the spot pinpointing a location before extending its head and tail to attack. During this, the player must attack the head before his rival does. The process is then repeated.
- Egg Falcon - The boss of Colosseum Highway. The same type of circular stage as the Egg Turtle, the Egg Falcon will fly over the player lowering altitude when it drops bombs of ice or fire. The player must attack the cockpit during this phase before his rival does. The process is then repeated.
- Egg Lynx - The boss of Crystal Mountain. Unlike the previous two bosses, this battle takes place on a semi-circular field. The egg lynx will rotate on the spot targeting players before pouncing on wherever it faces. Giving the player the opportunity to attack.
- Egg Kong - The boss of Death Yard. A robot representing a gorilla's head which shoots various projectiles at the player. Also assisting Metal Sonic in the process of attacking the player. Unlike other bosses, the rival will not attack the boss, instead, he will try to stop you. After all the projectiles, Eggman's brain capsule will eject from the robot shooting an electric current across the field. Giving the player an opportunity to attack.
- Egg Destroyer - The boss of Meteor Base. The final battle of the game takes place on board a large rocket, which you will have to fight your way through Metal Sonic and various other obstacles to get to Eggman/Eggman Nega's Capsule. This boss will take 8 hits instead of 6 like the previous bosses.
- Venoom - Spider-like creatures that appear in Forest Falls. Official concept art of the game confirms the name.
- Vultur - Vulture-like bird robots that attack you throughout Colosseum Highway.
- MonoClown - Jester robot that rolls on one large wheel and punches players in Sky Park.
- Yetee - Giant mechanized ice bots that can be seen hunched over in Crystal Mountain. In-game loading screens confirms name.
- Metal Hound - Dog robots that attack you throughout Death Yard.
- Drill Worm - Worm robots that can use their mouths to drill holes in the ground. Found in Meteor Base. Official concept art of the game confirms the name.
- Egg Pawn - Another one of Eggman's robots, first seen in Sonic Heroes, often appears throughout the various stages.
- Flapper - The cannon shooting robot as seen in Sonic Heroes is seen throughout the stages once again, now equipped with homing missiles.
After collecting all of the character's cards will unlock outfits for that character. Each character has a total of three unlockable costumes:
- Sonic: Leather, Ice, Black Tie
- Knuckles: Leather, Armor, Eggman
- Shadow: Leather, Flame, 80's
- Silver: Leather, Lightning, Christmas
- Metal Sonic: Leather, Circuits, Jester
The game contains six zones, each zone has three acts. The third is a boss battle.
- Forest Falls - A strange forest with terrain somewhat resembling Green Hill on South Island.
- Colosseum Highway - A desert with ancient and dilapidated roman-style structures.
- Sky Park - A carnival level with bright psychedelic colors.
- Crystal Mountain - A snowy level with many ice formations.
- Death Yard - A mechanical waste factory with giant fans and other wrecking-style obstacles.
- Meteor Base - Dr. Eggman's base in outer space, which is situated in the middle of an asteroid field. In this final level of the story modes, the player will be assisted through both levels by two characters.
Sonic Rivals features an extensive amount of collectible cards that spans a total of 150 cards. They feature cameo appearances of robots, major characters, minor characters, boxarts, and items from past Sonic games. The cards themselves are used to unlock secret costumes for the characters among other things.
IGN rated the game a 7.4 out of 10, highlighting its replay value, its graphics, as well as its entertaining stages. GameSpot, which rated the game a 6.9 out of 10, said there was a good sense of speed and colorful graphics. On average, this game has received a 66.2% through 28 reviews, according to Game Rankings' official score . Game Informer gave it a 6.75 out of 10
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