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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Ridge Racer Series

John Marine | 12:44 PM | |
The Ridge Racer series began in 1993-1994. Its trademark has been about drifting. About 20 years of this franchise has given many a racing gamer quite the thrill ride and quite the fun race. Today, the series remains somewhat strong. Many probably feel Ridge Racer's best days are behind it in today's racing game culture. But no matter how you perceive the Ridge Racer series, it still remains one of these top racing game franchises of all time.

Individual posts on the Ridge Racer series may surface in the future. For now, this blog post looks at the Ridge Racer series in general with a brief look at all or most of the game's titles.

About the Label: "Ridge Racer"

This blog label features all topics regarding the Ridge Racer series from NAMCO. Material here may relate to the Ridge Racer series through reviews, resources, and more.

--- Ridge Racer Series in General ---

I wish I had a picture here to set the mood. Unfortunately, I am unable to. Whatever picture or media I WOULD find would fill this space.
^ from: ??? - Ridge Racer has drifted into the hearts of many a racing game fan since 1993.

The Ridge Racer series was born in 1993. Nobody had an idea that this franchise would last for over 20 years and then some. What has given the Ridge Racer series its identity over the years has been its drifting. The racing in the Ridge Racer series mostly takes place on city highways and country roads. Many of the environments in Ridge Racer games usually consist of a few locations each with different variations of the course. Most Ridge Racer games require you to finish the race in 1st Place to advance to the next stage or see the ending. Most Ridge Racer games have a screwy collision system. Don't expect to rub fenders like you would in a NASCAR game or anything.

Ridge Racer games were NEVER about hardcore racing, in-depth simulation, or anything like that. This series is purely about fun and entertaining arcade-type racing. If you have never played any Ridge Racer title before, you are very much in for a treat if you just enjoy old-fashioned racing. The music in Ridge Racer games are usually high-energy electronic dance music songs. Some of the earlier songs in Ridge Racer games can actually be quite annoying to listen to. I personally recommend the likes of "Ridge Racer Type 4" and "Ridge Racer V" if you want to hear Ridge Racer titles with great music.

Another sort of tradition of Ridge Racer games is to feature sponsorship mostly consisting of past NAMCO titles. Even the very first Ridge Racer features a handful of references to past NAMCO titles like Pac-Man, Xevious, Mappy, and Rave War (Tekken). There are no real cars or real tracks unless you're talking about "R: Racing Evolution."

While NAMCO's mascot is Pac-Man, the Ridge Racer series' mascot is Reiko Nagase. She is the most popular character serving as perhaps the face of Ridge Racer games.


Many of the cars in traditional Ridge Racer games are all fictional. Most of the cars mostly appeared as mash-ups of various real-world cars. People who really know their cars can envision what most of the cars resemble. For example, the Assoluto Bisonite from Ridge Racer Type 4 highly resembles the legendary Ford GT40. A lot of cars were immensely futuristic, such as the Terrazi Terrific from Ridge Racer Type 4.

A lot of cars could be crazy drifters. Some others, however, were great Grip cars. The Grip cars were meant to take corners precisely rather than be pushed like a demon.


Because "ridge racers" is a term to describe a street racer, it's probably fitting the racing in Ridge Racer games take place on city streets and highways rather than proper race tracks. The only difference is that you are not racing on the streets with civilian traffic and the police on the roads. It is just you and a handful of other cars burning rubber on mostly public roads.


The Ridge Racer games are pure arcade racing titles. Always have been (I am not including "R: Racing Evolution" in describing the racing). The only thing that matters is going from last place to win. Doing so, however, will require you to execute some great drifts as well as make timely overtakes. It won't be easy climbing through the pack to win. In most Ridge Racer races, you can't advance unless you win the race. So the pressure is really on for you to make your way from the back to the front.

Don't worry about pit stops, setups, or anything like that. Well, "Rage Racer" gave you the option to upgrade your car to a higher class or even customize tires to have more grip or more drift capabilities. None of the things you'd be used to in a Gran Turismo game would be present in a Ridge Racer.

Now, let's take a look at the individual Ridge Racer titles themselves. Go to the next section.

--- Ridge Racer Series: Brief Game Overviews ---

Remember that individual blog posts on all or most games in this series will be featured. For now, enjoy this brief look at each title.

Ridge Racer (1993).

It all began in 1993 when NAMCO released Ridge Racer. It would find its way into arcades and the PlayStation 1. It would also eventually find its way into the hearts of racing gamers. There was no greater satisfaction than to slide out wildly into corners on either of the games' two tracks.

In the PlayStation 1 version of Ridge Racer, the player is treated to a game of Galaxian before Ridge Racer starts. If you manage to clear the Galaxian stage, something happens. The greatest challenge of Ridge Racer is in acquiring the black #13 car, which is the fastest and most capable car in the game.

A customized version of Ridge Racer was released for arcades called "Ridge Racer Full Scale," where instead of the arcade unit's cockpit, you got into a Mazda Miata in this theater setup. This special edition allowed you to experience Ridge Racer in a most unusual way. IN CASE YOU'RE INTERESTED... here is a YouTube video that provides a little peek of what the Ridge Racer Full Scale experience is like: Ridge Racer Full Scale.

Ridge Racer 2 (1993, 1994).

Ridge Racer 2 is essentially a somewhat prettier looking Ridge Racer with a more insane bunch of songs. This sequel to the classic Ridge Racer doesn't bring too many more new things to the table that the first title brung. You still race the same two tracks from the first Ridge Racer in Ridge Racer 2. There just wasn't too much different between these two titles except for some different graphics.

I personally have never played Ridge Racer 2.

Ridge Racer Revolution (1995).

The first PlayStation 1-exclusive Ridge Racer title was "Ridge Racer Revolution." You race in a brand-new environment featuring mountainous terrain and some tropical scenery. New to this game is the ability to choose from different classes of competition for cars. Higher class types for cars allows you to race with faster and more powerful settings. A race could be restarted if you don't like how the current race is going. If you want a challenge, try to unlock the White Angel. The White Angel is the fastest car in this game. It is essentially this game's version of the 13 Racing car from the first Ridge Racer.

Rave Racer (1995).

With more cars and more frenzied racing action, Rave Racer was ready to hit you hard with its intense action. Rave Racer was only in the arcades. This is the first Ridge Racer to feature a feminine voice. Her voice can, however, can be quite annoying. "Come on... drive a smart race! There's a lot of racing ahead!" It can be quite annoying hearing her say this. One of the most noticeable aspects of Rave Racer was the featuring of a female model. This is actually the first Ridge Racer title to feature a woman to promote the game. She wears leather shorts, a cropped leather jacket, and a cropped top underneath the jacket. As you turn and drift, the camera turns with you to provide you with exciting views. You are unable to select cars. This game features the original two courses from the first two Ridge Racer games. In addition, there are new City and Mountain courses for you to race in this game. You can choose to either run a regular race or perform a Time Trial.

Rage Racer (1996).

Rage Racer featured four tracks around an incredibly difficult environment. The city you raced around features many undulating roads and a handful of difficult corners. Your first car is very well balanced- the Gnade Esperanza. This was the first Ridge Racer where you could collect money to buy and tune cars. It was also the first Ridge Racer to feature cars only with Manual/Standard transmission. Cars could be tuned and even customized. You could make a paintscheme for your car and even choose what kind of tires you want to use. If you don't want to purchase newer cars, you can pay to upgrade a weaker car to the specifications of a higher class. That car may even reflect those changes with more aggressive bodywork in addition to more powerful statistics. You could have either full Drift tires or full Grip tires. To my knowledge, Rage Racer is also the only Ridge Racer title to feature actual sponsors. Yokohama and Advan were featured. If you're window-shopping for the ultimate car in Rage Racer, then you almost certainly want the most powerful and fastest car in the game- the Assoluto Ghepardo and its lofty price tag. If the music seemed annoying from past Ridge Racer titles, then you could better tolerate the music from this game.

Ridge Racer Type 4 (1998).

Ridge Racer Type 4 (or R4 for short) offered the very best experience of any PlayStation 1 RR game. The main mode is centered around Real Racing Roots '99. Do you have what it takes to prove your worth in this eight-race championship? This game offered the most number of cars in Ridge Racer history- 320! But really, it is just 80 cars with four different performance levels. There is also a bonus 321st car you can unlock. All the racing takes place on eight courses that can be raced Normal or Reverse. The venues take place in Japan and the United States. Choose cars from four different manufacturers offering cars with either Drift or Grip characteristics. Very popular about this game is the promotional model (she's not real) Reiko Nagase. She's the pretty lady who you see parading around in R4. Of any Ridge Racer on the PS1, this one features the best music.

Included with this game was a bonus disc featuring a version of the original Ridge Racer that ran at 60 frames per second. It was possible insight at making Ridge Racer even faster.

Ridge Racer V (1998).

As a launch title for the PlayStation 2, Ridge Racer V offered gamers the opportunity to enjoy the Ridge Racer series on a (then) next-generation console with the PS2. Six cars were offered, each one different in driving dynamics and performance. You could even unlock upgraded racing-spec versions of these cars. You even could unlock a handful of bonus cars. Each car offered demo views of them as well as demo views of each of the engines in the game. A pulse-pounding soundtrack complimented this game. This game has a pulse-pounding soundtrack. Rather than the lounge-style electronica of R4, the soundtrack has some great sounding beats. As for tracks, the game takes you around Ridge City. The two original Ridge Racer courses return again as Sunny Beach (the Beginner and Intermediate courses) and Green Field (the Advanced and TT courses). There are new courses as well.

A little-known fact about Ridge Racer V is that this game also was available in arcades. However, not many people know of this game in arcades.

Ridge Racer 64 (2000).

As its name implies, this Ridge Racer- 64-bit style. It was the first Ridge Racer outside of the arcades or any Sony system. Ridge Racer 64 had a lot of the flair and character that made Ridge Racer games fun to begin with. The game has the classic Ridge Racer look and feel while being custom tailored to the Nintendo 64 and its capabilities. There is one track exclusive to the Nintendo 64, but most of the other tracks come from Ridge Racer and Ridge Racer Revolution. It does feature an exclusive desert location referred to as Renegade. Many cars from past Ridge Racers up to this point could be raced in this game. If you were able to make enough noise winning races and series, you can add cars to your garage by competing in duels. If you manage to beat that car in a duel, you can add that car to your garage. Ridge Racer 64 even has some influence from one of the world's premier schools for game development- Digipen. IN CASE YOU'RE INTERESTED... If you would like to learn more about Digipen or enroll in their programs (including gaming), visit; or, you may check out Digipen's gaming department at

This game would later find its way to to the Nintendo DS as Ridge Racer DS in 2004.

R: Racing Evolution (2003).

By no means was "R: Racing Evolution" a traditional Ridge Racer game. Instead, this game was a more sim-oriented Ridge Racer title. It was also the first story-driven Ridge Racer title. Unlike a traditional Ridge Racer title, all (or almost all) of the cars in the game are real-life cars from actual manufacturers. The game was released for all the current-generation consoles of its time- the PlayStation 2, the Gamecube, and the original XBOX. You play as Rena Hayami - an ambulance driver who has racing ability. You're trying to become the next big racing star. Doing so requires you to compete in a variety of intense racing events. Standing in your way is your sworn rival- Gina. This game features an exceptional soundtrack consisting of electronic dance music and some sexy lounge music. Races are more than just basic circuit races. You do circuit races, rally racing, and even drag racing in "R: Racing Evolution." A big part of racing in this game is putting pressure on leading racers. You put pressure on racers by filling up their rear view mirrors with your car and by slipstreaming them. The more you stay on leading racers, the more they are pressured into making mistakes. Use these moments to make bold passes on the track!

I played this game before on the Gamecube, but I mostly played this kind of like a sample. I never played through the entire game.

Ridge Racer/Ridge Racers (PSP, 2004).

Making its debut on the PlayStation Portable (PSP), Ridge Racer offered something old, but also something new. This was the first Ridge Racer to allow for Nitrous to be used. How you earn Nitro is most unusual- you have to drift in corners to fill up your boost. You have a maximum of three Nitros you can use and fill up. You can either use one right away, or try to save up your nitrous for a longer boost. Doing so requires you to have either double nitrous or the maximum three nitrous. The longer you hold onto your nitrous energy, the longer the boost when you let the Nitrous loose! A lot of the tracks and action mostly featured futuristic cars and venues.

Ridge Racer 6 (2005, 2006).

The XBOX 360 had Ridge Racer 6 as one of its early titles. This game takes on a more futuristic style as well as being an evolutionary step in the series. The Nitrous system from Ridge Racers on the PSP found its way into Ridge Racer 6. Couple that with a handful of beautifully-designed cars and tracks, and you have an experience sure to keep you interested if you're a Ridge Racer fan. Or... is it such an interesting experience? Not a lot of people thought so. This game seemed to seriously divert from most of the classic elements that made Ridge Racer great. A groovy DJ comments on your moves. His commentary, however, isn't really pleasureful to listen to. The environments range from lovely urban settings to various gorgeous natural settings.

In addition to the available material, you could even download some extra material- such as extra songs to enhance the experience even further.

Ridge Racer 2/Ridge Racers 2 (PSP, 2006).

The sequel to the first PSP Ridge Racer title came in the form of Ridge Racer 2 or Ridge Racers 2. This 2006 title picks up where the initial title left off but with better graphics.

Ridge Racer 7 (2006, 2007).

The PlayStation 3 saw Ridge Racer 7 as one of its launch titles. It picks up where Ridge Racer 6 left off, and it offers a great suite of customization for cars. Multiplayer action was also a big part of this game's popularity with a host of race types and events for gamers to enjoy. One of the biggest feats of Ridge Racer 7 is its ability to run at 60 frames per second under 1080p High Definition. But unlike the 14 cars to a track in Ridge Racer 6, there are a maximum of 8 cars to a track (including yours).

You could download extra content- such as music- to enhance your RR7 experience all the further.

Ridge Racer Accelerated (2009).

iOS and Android users could enjoy the full fury of Ridge Racer on their mobile devices with Ridge Racer Accelerated.

Ridge Racer 3D (2011).

For the Nintendo 3DS, Ridge Racer 3D was your 3D-enhanced Ridge Racer experience. But really, this was nothing more but Ridge Racer DS but for the 3DS.

Ridge Racer Unbounded (2012).

No question about it... the most mature Ridge Racer ever was NOT made by NAMCO. Instead, it was a company called Bugbear Entertainment who created Ridge Racer Unbounded. This game is more concerned with widespread destruction of the city rather than racing goodness. This was the first-ever Ridge Racer game made available for the PC in addition to the major consoles.

Ridge Racer (PSVita, 2012).

The new PlayStation Vita got some Ridge Racer love when Ridge Racer PSVita was released for the PSVITA. This game, however, was met with absolute lukewarm reception by many reviewers. One of the big reasons was in how the game was played out and how you had to continually pay for content.

This post concludes my brief looks at the history of the Ridge Racer series.

--- Ridge Racer Series: Final Thoughts ---

The thing I personally love most about the Ridge Racer series is that it is one of the series that simply is about the thrill of speed. No racing game has made drifting look so cool than with the Ridge Racer series.

Thank you for reading my blog post on the Ridge Racer series.

Remember that I will try to focus on as many of these Ridge Racer titles as I can in individual posts here on "John's Race Space." Let's chat!

Are you a Ridge Racer series fan? Do you have any memories?

In the meanwhile, thank you for reading!

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