Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ridge Racer (PlayStation 1, 1994)

John Marine | 3/31/2011 10:33:00 PM | |
In 1993, Namco set out to make a classic racing game franchise. That franchise would become the Ridge Racer series, and Ridge Racer would make immediate impact. This game was released at a time when Sega's Daytona USA was re-writing the standards of racing games in the future should be with its fast gameplay and textured 3D graphics. In 1994 in Japan and 1995 in the United States and Europe, Ridge Racer was released for a fairly new console called the Sony PlayStation (later referred to as the PlayStation 1 or PSX). It was the very first Ridge Racer that would set the tone for this franchise to really shine as one of the most popular racing game franchises. In fact, I'd say this is the best franchise from Namco since Pole Position. This blog post is a look at Ridge Racer as well as somewhat a review of it.

--- Ridge Racer ---
In my youth, I can remember going to the game room with my brother at the University of Houston's main campus to see Ridge Racer as an arcade unit. So what makes Ridge Racer fun? Drifting! In case you don't know what a ridge racer is, it's an actual term. I've learned ridge racers to be those who participate in illegal street racing. Ridge Racer games, then, take place on city streets. However, there are no gangs, "street cred," avoiding cops, or any crap like that. Ridge Racer is a classic franchise because it's all about racing. Forget about a hardcore damage model, actual racing technique, making pit stops, and things like that. Ridge Racer games have ALWAYS been about the joy of racing.

Ridge Racer takes place on two tracks that can both be raced in the reverse direction. It features four cars for you to race as well. You can play a game of Galaxian as the game loads. Without spoiling the experience... something cool happens if you can clear the level of Galaxian before the game fully loads. You may need to restart the game a couple of times if you fail to clear the game of Galaxian on your initial try.

The Tracks.

Both tracks utilize one city (to be called Ridge City in a future title). This city has a combination of downtown skyscrapers and some mountain roads. The race starts on a highway and goes through a tunnel. You will see things like a lovely waterfall, a nice bridge, coastline, a resort hotel, a gas station, and more before going back on the main highway to complete one lap. What makes the two courses different is where you go after the second tunnel (past the gas station). In the three-lap races, a makeshift 24-hour time cycle happens. Daytime becomes evening, then night, then back to the day. All the while, you're racing the wheels off of your car.

The first track was basically described in the previous paragraph. The most important thing to remember is that you have to control your drifts heading into the corner past the bridge and after the checkpoint. Those are really the toughest corners of the entire course. In Ridge Racer V, this track would be called Sunny Beach.

The second track is a longer and tougher course that branches off into an area under construction. A number of decisive corners await you here. Advanced racing technique and great handling is required if you are to stand a chance at winning here. In Ridge Racer V, this track would be called Green Field.

The Cars.

As few as two cars and as many as 14 cars take up the track at once. Through the history of traditional Ridge Racer games, there have NEVER been real cars. Though there have never been licensed cars licensed cars in any traditional Ridge Racer game, many of the cars somewhat resemble bits and pieces of real-world cars. Realistically, there are five cars; four of them with differing with two different color schemes. Each car is noted by four key elements:

* Acceleration - how quickly can it get up to speed?
* Handling - how well can it handle corners?
* Traction - how much grip of the road can it get?
* Maximum Speed - how fast can it go?

Here is a brief description of each of the regular cars in Ridge Racer:

* #3 F/A Racing
a red car with white accents that is all-around average in every category.

* #4 RT Ryukyu
a red and green car with white accents that is great handling. This is the car I recommend as it's been the car I've used the most. Handling and traction are its strongest characteristics. Aceeleration and maximum speed, however, are average.

* #2 Yellow Solvalou
a yellow mid-engined sports car. Its strongest charactistic is its acceleration. It has great top speed and decent handling, but poor traction.

* #12 Blue Solvalou
a blue mid-engined sports car. Its strongest charactistic is its maximum speed. It has equal levels of acceleration and handling (both average). Its worst characteristic is its traction.

There are eight other cars that can be accessed. These are the rival cars you race against. Many of them have the same or equal performance as the four primary cars. Remember- there is a certain way you can access all of these cars. For now, consider this a preview:

* #15 RT Pink Mappy
a pink sport compact coupe. It is all-around average in all categories (like the F/A Racing car), but it is one level less in each category compared to the F/A Racing car.

* #5 Blue Mappy
a blue sport compact coupe. It is equal in every category to the RT Pink Mappy car.

* #16 Galaga RT Plid's
a yellow, orange, and red sport compact coupe. Its strongest characteristics are in handling. Acceleration and maximum speed are average, but has poor traction.

* #6 Galaga RT Carror
a blue, orange, yellow, and green sport compact coupe. This car is equal in performance to the Galaga RT Plid's car, but has one greater level of handling than the Galaga RT Plid's.

* #18 RT Bosconian
a yellow and white sports car with red accents. It has a body style similar to the F/A Racing and RT Ryukyu cars. This car is all-around average in acceleration, handling, and maximum speed; but it features slightly weak traction.

* #8 RT Nebulasway
a yellow and white sports car with blue accents. It has a body style similar to the F/A Racing and RT Ryukyu cars. This car is equal in performance to the RT Bosconian.

* #7 RT Xevious Red
a red exotic sports car. It has outstanding acceleration and great maximum speed, but it also has average handling and poor traction.

* #17 RT Xevious Green
a lime green exotic sports car. Its best feature is its maximum speed. Acceleration and handling are about the same (average). Its traction is its weakest characteristic.

And then... there's that one black #13 car. You can only get this car doing the Time Trial events. It is a car that you see parked on the side of the road as you zoom by it. Then... it zooms by YOU in your attempts to prevent it from passing you. If you beat the black car, it becomes part of your collection. And for what I know, this car has the best of the best in performance of ANY car in Ridge Racer. Let me tell you that I have NEVER gone one entire lap keeping that black car at bay! I'd be lying to you if I told you that I actually beat the black car.

* 13" Racing
a black exotic sports car. Consider yourself a master if you unlock this car. It is incredible in all categories. Handling, traction, and maximum speed are outstanding. It's only weakness (if you can call it that) is that it has excellent acceleration, but one degree less than the max level. Prepare to play this game for a while before your eventually defeat the black #13 car.

The Races.

Your top speed will be limited in each race.

* Beginner (max speed of 100 mph) - you will race the original course for two laps.

* Mid-Level (max speed of 125 mph) - you will race the same course in Beginner, but at faster speeds, three laps of racing, and with a time cycle.

* High-Level (max speed of 125 mph) - you will race the long course that winds through the little airport area and a construction site. This is a three-lap race.

* T.T. - (max speed of 138 mph) - you will only race against another rival in trying to lay down the best lap on the long course. This is a three lap race. If you've already cleared this course, you will encounter the black #13

Once you clear all the races, you will face an Extra challenge where you race all four courses in the reverse direction. The Extra races are tougher because there are no checkpoints except for the Start/Finish line. Therefore, it is important to make as few mistakes as possible if you expect to win each Extra race. The starting point is different as well.

There is a cool trick I want to share with you. You can race any of the normal tracks in a mirrored setting (in other words, a left-hand turn is a right-hand turn). The way to do this is before getting out on the main highway to start the race, you stop, turn hard to the left or right, and go through the wall. You will race a mirrored version of the track. It is a different sort of experience when you race.

When you're racing, don't even think about trying to ram into cars. The collision physics will not allow you to tag bumpers or quarter panels without serious consequences. There is no damage model, but when you run into the back of somebody or try to do side-by-side racing, you are just pushing your rival ahead. NOT what you want to do. So make clean passes to have any chance of winning.

Lastly, here is a recommendation. The driving dynamics are crazy for a game like this. Here is a crazy way I try to keep a car stable when cornering. I keep the accelerator depressed and only use the brakes (while still at full throttle) to decelerate better in the corners. It is risky trying to drift around corners because you need to re-gather control of the car after a drift, and it is tough in this game to try to get back to stability after a drift. This is one way to try to get the car stable.

Other Features.

If you have a neGcon, you can use the neGcon for your racing. You can also listen to the music in the game using the included Music Player. The Music Player allows you to listen to music tracks in the game. You can watch the cars in Ridge Racer zoom around the track while the music can be played. Of course, you can put the Ridge Racer CD into any CD player to listen to the game's music.

--- Overall Review ---
If you want to know why the Ridge Racer series has reached the fame it has garnered over the years, it all begins with seeing and playing the very first Ridge Racer. This game set the tone and character for the Ridge Racer series. This is a game that offers an amazing arcade experience. The music may be a bit on the annoying side for this day and age, but at least it's better than music I've heard in Burnout games. And so what if the cars and graphics don't have the same level of detail, not even to the level of Daytona USA? If you are any kind of classic racing game fan, Ridge Racer delivers the kind of racing experience that withstands the test of time. Think about it- this game franchise wouldn't evolve further into games like Rage Racer, Ridge Racer Type 4 (which I have also reviewed here in my blog), Ridge Racer V, and any of the modern futuristic Ridge Racer titles.

--- Video Preview ---
Here is a video preview of Ridge Racer:

Now you have an idea as to what this deal is all about.

That concludes this blog post. You can get this game on Amazon by visiting this link:

^ "Ridge Racer" for the PlayStation 1.

Thank you for reading!

Become a Fan (or Like) my Facebook Fan Page and subscribe this blog (and my others) via FeedBurner (or any other aggregator in the sidebar)! Visit (or subscribe):
* Subscribe to John's Blog Space!
* Subscribe to John's Shop Space! (
* Subscribe to John's Gran Turismo Space! (
Share this article


JohnMarineDesigns on TurboSquid

Would you like to donate to support my creative work for my creative works studio JohnMarineDesigns? If so, please show your support using this PayPal item:
I am now on Patreon! Support my creative work on Patreon today at:!
Copyright © 2015 John's Blog Space • All Rights Reserved.
Template Design by BTDesigner • Powered by Blogger