Sonic the Hedgehog just keeps on going. It's too bad that the venerable mascot is getting plopped into games that belong in the bargain bin.

The main thing that separates "Sonic Riders" from other arcade-style racing games is the characters. In the (pointless) story mode, Sonic and sidekicks Tails and Knuckles come across a Chaos Emerald.

Some thieves riding Extreme Gear airboards (floating skateboards) steal it. Sonic tries to catch them on a board dropped by one of the thieves, but they get away. On a giant monitor, Sonic nemesis Dr. Eggman challenges the heroes to a racing tournament.

Winning a race is not just about speed. You have to keep your board fueled with air by performing midair stunts, picking up an air power-up or stopping at an Air Pit. If you run out of air, you have to hoof it at a much slower rate until an opportunity to refuel pops up.

The game play itself is generic at best ˆ fast action with a backdrop of varied, eye-candy-filled landscapes, including a megatropolis, a desert and jungle rapids. But the game is often frustrating. Sure, the Sonic games have always been about speed. But the control is sloppy, often forcing you to crash into walls and obstacles.

Despite a number of available power-ups, there doesn‚t seem to be a real strategy to win besides avoiding crashes. "Sonic Riders" is fun for a little while, but the novelty wears off fast.