I wasn’t originally planning to cover the PSP titles in the Ridge Racer series, but after being well and truly glued to them for the last week there’s no way I can’t say something about them.
Known as Ridge Racers in Japan, the two PSP games are almost identical to one another, so we’ll be taking them as a single “unit” today. The main difference between the two releases is that the confusingly named Ridge Racer 2 has more tracks than its PSP-launching predecessor — most notably incorporating all of Ridge Racer Type 4’s circuits instead of just two — plus a few additional single-player modes, including the return of a “checkpoints and countdown”-style arcade mode of the type that hasn’t been seen since Ridge Racer Revolution.
Other than that, they’re pretty much the same game. It’s fortunate, then, that they’re pretty much the same brilliant game.
Continue reading Ridge Racers: The Greatest Hits
Over the last decade, we’ve seen a lot of series attempt to “reboot” themselves for one reason or another.
In many cases, this is an excuse to go back to older games and remake them with a more modern aesthetic or gameplay conventions, but in others, it is in an attempt to completely reinvent the series for one reason or another — usually as an attempt to respond to the ever-present phantom that is “market forces”.
The Ridge Racer series underwent such a reboot in 2012 with Unbounded. Not only was this an attempt to turn the ageing franchise on its head, it marked a shift in development strategy, too; Unbounded was developed not by Namco itself, but by Bugbear Entertainment, a Finnish outfit who had previously been responsible for the FlatOut series and Sega Rally Revo on the PSP.
Continue reading Ridge Racer Unbounded: The Black Sheep
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.
Continue reading Ridge Racer 7: The New “Revolution”
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.
Continue reading Ridge Racer 6: PlayStation Who?
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 4, it 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.
Continue reading Ridge Racer V: Back to Basics
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.
Continue reading Ridge Racer Type 4: Real Racing Roots ’99
It’s Ridge Racer month here on MoeGamer, and you didn’t think I was going to let Reiko Nagase slip by unnoticed, did you?
First appearing in Rage Racer’s CG intro (or perhaps Rave Racer’s attract mode, depending on who you want to believe) but shooting to prominence in Ridge Racer Type-4, Reiko Nagase is as much an iconic part of the Ridge Racer franchise as its exaggerated drift handling and memorable soundtracks.
She’s also one of the first examples of a “virtual idol” in computerised entertainment, helping to lay the groundwork for future success stories in this field such as Crypton Future Media’s Hatsune Miku and friends.
Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Reiko Nagase