Tag Archives: driving games

SNES Essentials: Top Gear

It’s weird how some memories stick with you for the longest time, for seemingly no reason whatsoever.

Prior to picking up a copy again recently, I hadn’t played Top Gear on the Super NES since the early ’90s when it was first released. And yet upon firing it up I confirmed something I had suspected for a while: its music had indeed been stuck in my head for nearly thirty years.

I was also pleased to discover that Top Gear is indeed still a whole lot of fun — and a great example of a type of racing game that has been rendered largely obsolete by the advances in technology over the years.

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N64 Essentials: Wave Race 64

Some of my fondest memories from my formative years have the Nintendo 64 as their focal point.

Whether it was indulging in loud-mouthed, profanity-laden four-player GoldenEye, Perfect Dark and Duke Nukem 64 deathmatches or just me and my similarly non-sporty school friends desperately trying to understand the appeal of the World Cup through the use of EA’s imaginatively titled World Cup 98, this console holds a special place in my heart.

And yet somehow up until now I’d never played one of its most well-respected games: Wave Race 64. And now I am kicking myself for not checking it out sooner.

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The MoeGamer Awards: Best Ridge Racer

The MoeGamer Awards are a series of made-up prizes that give me an excuse to celebrate games, concepts and communities I’ve particularly appreciated over the course of 2017. Find out more and suggest some categories here!

The Ridge Racer series was a prime candidate for the Uncancel This Series award, but I’m still holding out hope that we’ll get a new one someday, and that it will be the most amazing arcade racer in existence.

Until that time comes, there are plenty of games in the series that I can continue to enjoy. But that, of course, begs an important question: which one of them is best?

And the winner is…

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Ridge Racer 7: The New “Revolution”

Almost exactly a year after its previous installment, Ridge Racer got another mainline entry — a title which marked the franchise’s return to Sony platforms after its temporary dalliance with Microsoft.

Ridge Racer 7 was an exclusive title for Sony’s new PlayStation 3 platform — and in keeping with series tradition, it was a launch title, too — but it represented a less radical reinvention of the series than some of the previous games. In fact, those who played Ridge Racer 6 might find an awful lot of it quite familiar.

Ridge Racer 7, you see, is largely a reinvention of Ridge Racer 6, similar to how Ridge Racer Revolution was a reinvention of the original game. But that doesn’t make it a game you should pass up. Quite the opposite, in fact.

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Ridge Racer 6: PlayStation Who?

It was a good five years between Ridge Racer V helping to launch the PlayStation 2 and the next mainline numbered installment in the series.

In the intervening years we had a couple of spinoff games that are a little beyond the scope of what we have time to cover this month: in 2003, there was series outlier R: Racing Evolution, the only installment to feature licensed cars and thus a game some don’t consider to be a Ridge Racer at all, and 2004 gave us a well-received title for PSP that, in true Ridge Racer tradition, helped to demonstrate what a new Sony platform was capable of at launch.

It was 2005 before the next “true” sequel, however, and once again the series helped to launch a console. This time, however, it wasn’t a showcase game for a Sony platform; it instead formed part of the launch lineup for Microsoft’s Xbox 360, the first of the high-definition consoles to hit the market.

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Ridge Racer V: Back to Basics

Ridge Racer V was an important game for Namco.

Not only was it to be a follow-up to the incredibly well-received and popular Ridge Racer Type 4it would also be the first installment of the series on a new generation of consoles — and a launch title for that system, the PlayStation 2, to boot.

Expectations were high for the new game to be both an impressive showcase for the new format and another solid installment in what was, by now, a well-loved and much-respected arcade racing franchise. The reality didn’t quite match up to these expectations… but it was certainly a damn good effort.

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Ridge Racer Type 4: Real Racing Roots ’99

1998’s Ridge Racer Type 4 is the quintessential PS1 game.

Perfectly embodying the spirit of late ’90s “cool” that Sony was so keen to pursue with its platform, particularly in the West, the game is also a showcase for exactly what the humble PlayStation was capable of in its later years as well as a perfect balance between widespread accessibility and hardcore long-term challenge.

In short, it’s a comprehensive realisation of what Namco had wanted to achieve with the home versions of the Ridge Racer series ever since Revolution, and one of the most consistently enjoyable arcade racers ever created.

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