Ridge Racer is a Arcade game that focuses on road racing around made up tracks, mostly taking place in Ridge City when they tend to get mentioned. Players start at the back of the grid and fight their way to first. It also features drifting as a mechanic that became more prominent as the series progressed. RR offers great music, wild rides, beautiful vistas, Namco callbacks, and great challenge. Starting in 1995 for home consoles (arcade machines could be found in '93) it has been home on PlayStation consoles, with exceptions being the Nintendo 64, Nintendo DS/3DS, and Xbox 360. All ridge racer games come recommended.
- 1 PlayStation 1
- 2 Nintendo 64 and handhelds
- 3 Arcade - Namco System 22
- 4 PlayStation 2
- 5 Xbox 360
- 6 PlayStation 3
- 7 PSP
- 8 Other Things
- 9 Bastard Children
Ridge Racer/Ridge Racer Turbo
The genesis for the series on home console. It was ported over from the Namco System 22 arcade game with new features. The base game of one track that has a variation (the Famous "bird" course that has popped up in subsequent games) with three difficulty levels and a time trial. The PlayStation added in a third person view (the arcade only had first person), reversed courses, and a Mirror mode (achieved by turning around on the start and driving into a wall placed behind you), and the reoccurring "boss" of the 13th Racing car nicknamed "Devil" that's challenged by beating the three difficulty levels and going onto time trail. This marked a moment where a home console surpassed the arcade.
A "Turbo" version of the game was made that ran at 60 FPS. It had the four cars, the "bird" course with variation, and two music choices and a different shading method. It came packaged as a bonus disk with R4, which also had the Regular RR for you to compare the two. The 60 FPS was done as a demo to see if R4 could be ran at improved graphics with 60 FPS but couldn't do so on the PS1. There was also a version where you sat in a Miata to play the game being displayed on three separate screens.
Ridge Racer Revolution
RRR isn't changed much from the first but is definitely add onto. The course has changed from the "Bird" course to something else that has a different layout for each difficulty level instead of just having two. The music includes remixes and new tracks. It retains the extra reverse courses (a constant through out the series) and the choice of time the races take place once you win the main three races. This also introduces 13th Racing kid and the White Angel, who would become a constant through out the series like "Devil". It also added "multi-player" that work like LAN in that you need two PS1's and two copy's of the game. Still at least it had it, unlike the first.
This marked the first Ridge Racer developed for home console over being a port of an arcade game. This game also sets the "lore" as it were, in that car companies are established, distinct courses were made instead of just having having variations on the same course (thought there still are variations and "extra" races on the same tracks just reversed), and the face of the series Reiko Nagase was fully introduced. The style is more realistic and detailed here opposed to the previous two which just used nearly flat colors and basic textures. There is a customization aspect to the game as well in that you could choose tires that more suited your style/the course you'd be driving, paint (with Mario Itasha too for custom logos), and even spend money earned to increase the performance of a car (as represented as a different spoiler/wing and wheel arch bulge).
The Car selection is pretty vast, especially over the previous games, with there being four manufactures with almost all having three standard cars and flagship car, as it were. The manufactures are Gnade, who is odd-man-out with only one vehicle and you start with it but it's average in all respects. Lizard (who would later become Danver) sells 'Murican cars with insane acceleration but not much handling fineness. Age, that makes Renault's with very good handling. Then there's Assoluto with monstrous top speed, but not much else. The last tier of standard cars and the flagships all come with Manual Transmissions only, so they're scrub proof.
Rage Racer also lives up to it name as it's the most consistently hard game in the series where as other would ramp up. First the AI is fast and with limited amounts of retries to make podium to move to the next class the bar's pretty high. Then it set's the bar on fire and starts berating you. First you must come first in all races (especially on the last race in the series as if you finish second you technically didn't win the series and can't go back to get first without wasting retries) to earn a trophy and you must use a car at level or below also (So only the Gnade can be used for the first three tracks, a grade 2 car for class 2, ect.). Then just do that four more times and you'll unlock the Extra GP and enough money to buy anything. Complete the Extra GP and you unlock the 6th class races and the Flagship cars become available to buy. Many hours of Rage Racing will occur. Still a pretty solid game.
R4: Ridge Racer Type 4
As mentioned in the opening of this page, all Ridge Racer games come recommended. But while all animals are equal, some are more equal then others.
Namco would have to do something amazing to top the solid entry of Rage Racer. And they did. The ONLY game with a story other then "why do they do it and why are they named Ridge/Rage Racers?" and the story is pretty solid. It's based on which team you choose and how well you do which is better then pretty much all RPG's released now-a-days. The game also has 321 cars in case you were wondering about the racing part of the game. Speaking of which, this is the best racing even amongst other more modern games. The drifting is drastically different in that your car acts as though it's drifting and doesn't become a roller-coaster, which does take some getting use to if you've played every other Ridge Racer. Another difference is that it uses Gouraud shading so the game looks more pretty then a game on the PS1 has a right to. The races take place on fictional future courses at real places (like L.A.) where as every other title defaulted to "Ridge City". The Story mode takes place over three Grand Prix that have two races for the first two GP and a four race final GP with races taking place on multitude of courses with the qualifying starting at third place, then second for the second GP series and first throughout the the final GP. The Customization of cars is paired back from Rage in that you can't make a logo from scratch but can choose a different color and have an icon on the hood. You also can't alter the performance of the cars you have but if you do well poor enough you can earn an upgraded version.
It also has proper multi-player too. Special versions came with a Jogcon controller. It's a bit stupid looking.
Nintendo 64 and handhelds
Ridge Racer 64
Namco would have to do something amazing to top the GOD-TIER entry of Ridge Racer Type 4. They didn't. They really didn't, as this was developed in-house by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64 which was three years old at the time, with the GameCube coming out a year latter and Ridge Racer V coming out out little towards the end of 2000. This is certainly the most a-typical of the Ridge Racers which were usually: PlayStation exclusive, a launch title (thought Rage and R4 don't necessarily fit this ether), and not made by Namco. The only other title to be like this. Will be discussed later. But unlike that title, this one is damn good and serves as a more direct sequel to the spirit of Ridge Racer and RR: Revolution. It has a little bit of R4's style but is more old-school. The courses are the "Bird" track from the original, Revolutions course, and a unique track called "Renegade" that takes place in the desert (which more games frankly need).
The Car selection is more in line with Rage but still has enough special machines to titillate a treasure hunter. 32 in total (which can have their color changed on a sliding scale), which include an enclosed golf cart with absurd top speed, and the ship from Galaga. The manner of unlocking the cars is unique in that you have to duel each car to unlock it, outside of the four starting cars and hidden cars (though you do need to do something to earn them). This idea was in the originals, though it was only to unlock the PS exclusive "Devil" and then "Kid" and "Angel" in RR: Revolution. This takes place with a Car on each Course of game.
The Courses are, as mentioned before, "Bird", "Revolution's", and "Renegade", which all have variation on layout and time the race takes place. A High-speed course is opened latter and there is the "Extra GP" course variations for each course too. It also introduces the idea of a reward for doing 99 laps on a course (you get a Pac-man ghost that is called Inky but can represent the other ghosts by changing the color). This also has the best announcer, personally speaking. You can also change Drift and collision physics between RR and RR: Revolution.
Ridge Racer DS/3DS
This game was remade for the DS and changes Reiko to Gina Cavalli from R: Racing Evolution and the graphic on the "Ultra 64" car from the original's 64 to the infinitely less cool DS. And while the physics are set to their own, collisions are less ruinous then in the 64 version so there's that. Supposedly the corners are easier to navigate too. Also some of the hidden cars details have been replaced with Nintendo characters. The announcer has also been changed too. The author has not played this version so comments cannot be made. Same for the 3DS game that was made, that is not related to 64/DS but later games like 6&7.
Arcade - Namco System 22
Ridge Racer 2
An upgrade for original Ridge Racer cabinets, RR2 is the same game but with a rear-view mirror, day/night cycle, and 8-way multiplayer. It also features a new soundtrack.
A true sequel to the original Ridge Racer, Rave Racer was never ported to home console, and so exists only as an arcade machine. Rave Racer features the original Ridge Racer's "Novice" and "Expert" layout, as well as two new circuits, "City" and "Mountain". It also features better graphics and animation, as well as new, more intuitive drifting physics. Introduced with Rave Racer was the "slipstream" mechanic, making it possible to draft opposing racers in order to slingshot around them. The AI were much more competitive, and could also draft the player and eachother, making Rave Racer one of the more difficult games in the series.
Ridge Racer V
Ridge Racer V is the last of the "grip centric" Ridge Racers where cars could make turns (even the American ones) where drifting was featured. Latter would be all drifting, all the time. This game is more a sequel to Rage Racer rather then R4 in that the style is more contemporary rather then futuristic. It also features Livery paint customization (no tire changes though just rim color change) over just collecting livery's. There are two types of liveries you can paint, "Stripe" and "Two-tone". And cars have manufacture specific speedos too. But R4 has it's representation here too in that cars are classified as ether grip or drift and you collect cars by completing GPs with them rather then buying them. Also has a "secret" Pac-man car, but this one is earned by beating a special GP that unlocks after you drive 3,000 KM (or 1,900 MI) rather than collecting 350 cars. It also features a return of Devil and Angel (Kid and a "Kid" Angel were in 64 and "Devil" was represented spiritually with the "Lizard Nightmare") along with the the Soldat Rumeur (a modern interpretation of the Fiat Abarth 1000 TC) with superb handling that will more often then not put you into the inside wall unless you practice with it. Then there's the Danver Spectra (An ambassador from 1950's Americana with a massive Supercharged V8) that's a bit hard to control while drifting (not as bad as "Devil") but if you put it into a wall it will just accelerate to it's decent-relative-to-other-duel-cars top speed without much wait. Ridge city is probably the most characterized in this game due to the announcer who is a radio DJ (who is personally third best) and the courses you race.
May make your PS2 cry, as it tries to render the graphics. This is also the only game to not feature Reiko Nagase (except for the first two, DS remake of 64, and a later release).
Ridge Racer 6
This marks a turning point for the series. Cars apparently forgot how to turn except when sideways and Nitrous was introduced because this game was made in a post "Fast and the Furious" world. This game is definitely more modern in terms of the car design and course design over V (which to be fair was released in 2000). It also has possibly the longest GP mode (with possible exceptions to 7 and R4/Rage depending how OCD you are.) Though different car classes, race types (usually centered around nitrous) and extra races against harder opponents keep it from getting too tedious. Also make better use out of the Special Vehicles (you could only use Duel cars for one race in V and Rage only had the Flagship cars eligible for one GP though they could be used elsewhere). Story is also the weakest here in that it has a standard "Become Fastest rasar" and the announcer is focused on you and doesn't mention much else, unlike V's DJ (speaking of which you have options to change the announcer from V's DJ's retarded cousin to the female robot voice-over for most everything else in the game [That I like best since it fits the tone of the game better and is my second best announcer] and Tekken's Heihachi Mishima [who is a Moon-rune special]). Customization is on par with V, in that you can change Livery color and wheel color, but the Livery's aren't limited to just two generic choices of "Stripe" and "Two-tone" and are instead full racing liveries, though some are better then others. Unlocking things is done by encircling them on the map by beating all the races around them. This is done by the "make your own GP" style rather then having preset races. There are thirty courses to race. The special machines are also some of the most inventive here with a Rocket powered GAZ 14 and a Hovercraft.
Ridge Racer 7
Think of this as the "Directors Cut" of Ridge Racer 6. With a liberal helping of R4 for good measure. It' all of RR6 with a new car from Sinseong (the newest car maker in Ridge Racer with Himmel being second newest appearing in V)courses, a Drafting mechanic, and most in-depth customization with perfomance and body being changble. It also feature limitless retries, a feature not seen since RR:Revolution in '96.
The Author of this initial article has not played any handheld iterations of the games so basic facts are presented only.
This could be considered a "Best of" compilation as it features courses from Ridge Racer (on the PS1) to R4 and two courses from the Arcade only Rave Racer (both forward and backward) as well as music (though it does have it's own music). The cars predate 6/7 but are the same cars. Would be advised for Ridge Racing on the go and as a nostalgia trip.
Ridge Racer 2
More of the same but with some original courses and an appearance by the Rally-X car. It feature 62(?) cars.
R: Racing Evolution
This is being mentioned here only for the sake of completeness of the article. The only similarity between it and Ridge Racer is it's a racing game made by Namco and has a Story like R4. Still pretty good.
Know how I've been saying that the entire series is recommended? That doesn't extend to these games.
If you want recommended Ridge Racer games stop reading. If there was a spot to point at to declare Ridge Racer dead, it's here. Ridge Racer 7 was beaten onto the Vita, striped, and told to go make Daddy BamCo some money. Considering it made it onto this list (which delights me to no end to find) you could figure out how well that went. It's a nothing game that only serves to deliver DLC. It's the EA "Dungeon Master" of the Ridge Racer series which up to this point has been fantastic.
We are now into grave robbing territory. If the Vita was nothing more then a bare bones version of a Ridge Racer game meant to cart you DLC, you could be generous and say it's at least a Ridge Racer game.
This is not.
It was developed by Bugbear (Developers of Flatout), not a launch title, and not PlayStation exclusive (it's Multiplat), just like RR64. Except this one sucks. Because it's not a Ridge Racer game. Frankly it only being mentioned here as a warning.
So where do we start with Unbounded? How about with a theory? One day Bugbear were working on the next Flatout then a representative from BamCo kicked down the door , punched the nearest developer, threw the second nearest a thumb drive with some songs and the model data for the RR6 Crinale and spoke "Ridge Racer. 23 Hours. Go". And that how this game came to be.
Now that's (hopefully) not true but the end results would be the same. Now for a more thorough dissection of this game. First it's a mix-mash of Burnout and Flatout. From Flatout you have the Destructible environment and the ability to crash the opponents over time. And some cars too. From Burnout we have touching a car causes it to rocket into a wall, only for it to be back in seconds, and recognizable licensed music. And some cars too. But the slow bangers racing of Flatout and the quick berserker take-downs of Burnout don't blend. The two styles are differentiated by Nitrous on loan from 6 (you commit to boost when you hit the button, but they could only get stage one) and unlike in Burnout (where you being taken down was possible, but uncommon [in Paradise at least]) you get taken down like a black man runnin'. And taking down people isn't really worth it because outside the first time you don't get refilled on nitrous which could be used to open a shortcut or defend if you pay attention to the rear view. The only thing outside some songs and the RR6 Crinale on loan point to this being a different game. Like the achievement Homage (that pays tribute to a better game designer, Isao Nakamura) and Fanboy's Revenge (win a online race in the Crinale, the only enjoyable section of this shit). To drive this point home the regular car manufactures aren't here (the Crinale is just refereed to as the Crinale, not the Soldat Crinale)and the only other Ridge Racer cars are DLC (who still don't mention the manufactures). Also Despite there being a track editor all the Courses seem more same-ish then Revolutions courses.
Now for another theory. This game panned so hard they took the engine and made a "Free"-to-play version of it and shoved it on steam. Except they did.
Just go play a good Ridge racer game. Hell, anything else really.