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Wednesday, May 10, 2023

My Retrospecive on 30 Years of Ridge Racer

John B. Marine | 9:39 PM | | Be the first to comment!
In October 1993; NAMCO (now Bandai-NAMCO) created Ridge Racer. It has been a franchise characterized by fantastic drifts, sometimes at high speeds. It has withstood the test of time and has delivered many an amazing experience. The year 2023 marks 30 years of the Ridge Racer series. While this blog post was not intended to be a cumulative look at the Ridge Racer franchise, I do want to pay some respect to this franchise and what it has brought to racing/driving games.






Ridge Racer at a Glance


Thirty years of Ridge Racer, and it all began with this:

Ridge Racer
^ from: (Glitchwave) - As of 2023, 30 years of awesome from the Ridge Racer series.

The Ridge Racer series has always been about fantastic drifts. Earlier games in the series have had soundtracks that were mostly quirky. The cars were mostly fictional. The majority of games in the Ridge Racer series were on the Sony PlayStation consoles. However, games in the series did find their way onto the Nintendo 64, Nintendo DS, XBOX 360, and mobile devices. This game also features a handful of past NAMCO titles on the cars, so the Ridge Racer series even stands as a commemoration of past NAMCO titles such as Pac-Man, Mappy, and more.


Why Should You Care?

The Ridge Racer series has its own charm as an arcade racer. You are not going to be playing these games for accurate driving dynamics or amazing engine sounds. No. You want to want to slide around corners like a maniac. That's what these games provide. Whereas some later arcade games would be gritty, offer up illegal street racing action, or allow you to destroy the world around you to try to win; Ridge Racer is all about enjoying speed and just overall good times. Ridge Racer games are simply about enjoying high-speed racing with not much frills or fluff.

Besides the provided action, Ridge Racer was one of the first games to take advantage of fully-textured polygons. The action ran smoothly, but not as smooth as Daytona USA or even Virtua Racing.




My Retrospective on 30 Years of Ridge Racer


I'd like to offer my own thoughts on various Ridge Racer titles, even including those I don't consider as true Ridge Racer games. Again- this post is NOT meant to be a proper tribute to the Ridge Racer series. This is mostly a commentary piece. (NOTE: I will only provide comments on Ridge Racer games I've played or seen before. I will NOT feature every Ridge Racer title, which means I will not be covering the PSP and PSVITA Ridge Racer games.)


Ridge Racer.

From the flashy action to the eccentric announcer, "Ridge Racer" holds a place in many peoples' hearts. Its quirkiness just made it so fun to play again and again. The Ridge Racer action was fun whether at arcades or at home. If you were fortunate enough, you may even see a theater arcade game version of Ridge Racer held in a Mazda Miata. The first Ridge Racer offered a handful of different features. For one, you could notice day become night and night become day. Besides trying to win all of the races, the ultimate form of gratification was to defeat the black No. 13 car in the Time Trials. If a driver is able to acquire the feared 13th Racing car, the player will have the most powerful and fastest car in the game.

The PS1 version of Ridge Racer was unique in that you could play a quick game of Galaga as the game loads. (Something happens) if you manage to clear that quick game of Galaga in the PS1 version of Ridge Racer.


Ridge Racer 2 (Arcade).

Ridge Racer 2 is an arcade game that doesn't seem too much different from its previous title. You still had the same tracks to race on, just with some different songs and graphics.


Ridge Racer Revolution.

I have no experience with Ridge Racer Revolution. What I do know, though, is that you can now battle against this white car that is super powerful. You also race in a new locale that mixes downtown with some beachfront and some country roads. You can enjoy a more tropical setting here. This new locale will challenge you for sure.


Rave Racer (Arcade).

"Rave Racer" was a rather gritty title. Enhanced graphics and some faster cars made up this title. You could also race in a number of different environments ranging from a more industrialized city to some rural areas. The game also featured some more stylish cars to choose from with enhanced graphics details. You can also enjoy some cool music while getting your racing on. It also had an edgy rock girl featured with a skull necklace, a black top, jean short shorts, black tights, and combat boots.


Rage Racer.

Ridge Racer was about to get a bit more serious with the advent of "Rage Racer." The game series that was so colorful and quirky now just got serious. This 1996 racing game exclusive to PlayStation 1 delivered some wicked racing on a very challenging locale. You could race on four different courses. It also was the first game where you could spend credits to buy cars and enhance their performance. You start off in a more-than-capable Gnade Esperanza but work your way up to the Grade 4 (Manual only) cars and even the unique Assoluto Ghepardo.

"Rage Racer" even had something never before seen in a Ridge Racer game- actually licensed sponsors. The game featured sponsorship from Yokohama and ADVAN. You could also paint up your cars and adjust their driving characteristics. Each of the game's four tracks take place in a locale that combines a lot of urban setting along with some challenging country roads. You will see tall hills, cascading waterfalls, Greek island style buildings, and a lot more. It was also the first Ridge Racer title to feature an oval among the racing venues. While most road racing fans may not be attracted to ovals, this at least provides an interesting challenge.

If there was one thing that this game surely brought, it was the game's mascot- Reiko Nagase. This was an early form of Reiko Nagase as she would forever be tied into Ridge Racer lore in future titles.

This is actually one of my favorite racing games on PS1. I was glad to play and enjoy it for the time I played it. I recommend it to any PS1 gamer or PS1 game collector.


Ridge Racer Type 4.

"Ridge Racer Type 4" could best be described as the ultimate swan song for Ridge Racer on the PS1. RRT4 (or R4) was released in 1998 with the best graphics of any Ridge Racer title on PS1. R4 was all about Real Racing Roots '99- an eight-race season taking place in Japan and the United States in 1999.

The game featured 80 cars for you to unlock across four different teams. If you manage to get them all, you can unlock one more car. So in total, you could unlock 321 cars in R4. Unlocking all of those cars, however, will require you to race the RRR championship in different ways... including finishing in certain positions for certain races. Dare I say it- this game's awesomeness even rivals Gran Turismo 1 and Gran Turismo 2!

Whereas past Ridge Racer games had mostly quirky dance music, Ridge Racer Type 4 had a great array of dance songs. A lot of them had jazzy or lounge style flow to them. A few songs even had a rocking edge to them. This game was beginning to mature a bit more with this title, at least, on this front. The game has amazing music. This game even got me to appreciate the singing of Kimara Lovelace. However, there were two songs I didn't like in the game- and "The Objective."

I spent lots of time playing and enjoying this game. Each time I play it, I just get so enamored and immersed in the fabulous racing experience this game provides. It doesn't get old or frustrating in the least sense. Even for fun, I pretend Real Racing Roots is still a thing and pretend certain races of the year are coming up. So for example, when it's New Year's Eve, I pretend it is, "Real Racing Roots (the current year) in... Shooting Hoops!" The thing I loved most about this game is that it has the best drifting dynamics of any Ridge Racer game. Even the Grip cars from Terrazi and Age Solo were excellent driving machines.

RRT4 had an interesting bonus to it, which sets things up for the next section...


Ridge Racer Turbo.

Exclusive to PS1 and included with Ridge Racer Type 4 is "Ridge Racer Turbo." Think of this more like "Gran Turismo Hi-Fi" for Ridge Racer. "Ridge Racer Turbo" is basically an enhanced version of Ridge Racer 1 but runs at 60 frames per second. As cool as this sounds, a lot of sacrifices were made to make this game run on PS1 hardware. For one, there are no day-to-night cycles or a full field of cars. This is no true Ridge Racer; it is more a tech demo.


Ridge Racer 64 and Ridge Racer DS.

I am putting together RR64 and RRDS because they are basically the same game on different hardware. Ridge Racer 64 was the first non-Sony, non-arcade Ridge Racer title. RR64 had a look and feel of the classic Ridge Racer. You could race on tracks from the original Ridge Racer and from Ridge Racer Revolution. However, you could also race a brand new locale that takes place in a desert setting. There is also a new Ridge Racer Extreme course you could unlock that takes place at night on a completely new track.

Since Ridge Racer 64 was on a Nintendo 64, one of the perks of playing it was local multiplayer for up to four players. You also didn't have to worry about long loading times since everything is accessible on a cartridge. The graphics were not as impressive on the Nintendo 64 as on the PlayStation 1, but the action was still pretty intense.

You could compete in Duels to win new cars. All you have to do is defeat certain cars in a one-on-one race to add that car to your garage. Can you acquire them all?

I mostly rented Ridge Racer 64. For the times I played it, it was a great game to play. I always considered the RT Ryukyu to be my "Old Reliable" in racing. I enjoyed listening to "Manual Overdrive" and "Speed Nation" in this game. This game had a lot of influence from Digipen, a school where aspiring game developers honed their skills. There is even a Digipen car you can unlock in this game.

The later "Ridge Racer DS" had most of the features and cars of Ridge Racer 64 but optimized for the Nintendo DS hardware. Some different cars are in the game apart from the ones offered in RR64. The game also has a different lady featured besides Reiko Nagase; it instead featured the antagonist of a future Ridge Racer game (explained later in this blog post).


Ridge Racer V.

A PlayStation 2 launch title, Ridge Racer V blew the minds of many a Ridge Racer fan with beautiful graphics and intense racing. Ridge City is your race track, and you have many different locales for which to compete in the city's events. Everything you love about classic Ridge Racer is enhanced completely. It even features an incredible soundtrack with a lot of hard-hitting beats and instrumentals. You have much fewer cars to choose from, but this game delivers the goods. While Reiko Nagase may not be in this game, Ai Fukami is in. What some people may not know is that there was an arcade version of this game made by Konami.

Ridge Racer V can be played on three different difficulties. You can choose to race in Easy, Normal, or Hard modes. There is even a bonus championship if you clear all the Hard races. You had to finish in a certain position to advance through the races. Try to win them all if you can. Perhaps to rival Gran Turismo, there is a race you can unlock called the 99 Trial- a 99-lap race around Sunny Beach. Make time for that one!

This game had you unlock new cars but also new engines. You had Standard engines, Extra engines, and Oval engines. You had some Duel cars to unlock. You take on Duels the same way in Ridge Racer 64 or even RRT4. If you got all of the Duel cars, there is a special race you can compete in only consisting of Duel cars.

I think Ridge Racer V is one of the loveliest games on PlayStation 2. Even with jagged textures, it still is one of the most beautiful games on PS2. Yes- this game I put among the most beautiful PS2 games even with the likes of Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec, Gran Turismo 4, Final Fantasy X, and a bunch of other PS2 titles. And this game was a LAUNCH TITLE!

I enjoyed a lot of the music in this game. The beat style of these songs was great to listen to along with the instruments. The soundtrack was becoming a bit more intense and not as chill as RRT4's music. I found the most fun racing the Kamata Fortune. I also enjoyed the Rivelta Mercurio. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed playing this game and still do.


R: Racing Evolution.

Once at an E3 convention, I thought "R: Racing Evolution" was Enthusia Professional Racing or something. This game may not be a true Ridge Racer game, but it was an interesting diversion. "R: Racing Evolution" is a simulation-oriented racing game.

Unlike other Ridge Racer titles, this one has a storyline to it. You play as an ambulance driver-turned professional racing driver named Rena Hayami. Rena's primary rival is Gina Cavalli. You race real cars and even race on some licensed courses like Twin Ring Motegi. A big part of this game's racing appeal was in pressuring other drivers. The more you try to slipstream or trail racers ahead of you, you rattle their minds into having them make mistakes. Pressure them enough, and you can pull a sick overtake on them.

I wish I played more of this game. If you ask me, this game seems very underrated. It even has a very nice soundtrack. My favorite song in this game is "Liquid Soul." Even if this game doesn't have the appeal of a classic Ridge Racer game, it has a very good racing focus that makes it intriguing.


Ridge Racer 6.

Exclusive to XBOX 360, Ridge Racer 6 gave Ridge Racer fans on XBOX 360 a dosage of awesome. Much more beautiful graphics and more intense game play were what this title provided. I played a little of it on my cousin's XBOX 360 for a bit. You could enjoy classic and newer songs in this package. In addition to the lovely graphics, RR6 provided a more futuristic touch with the tracks and the cars. It still maintained the classic Ridge Racer look and feel. That is... wait- is that a Nitrous system? YES! You could race with some nitrous by charging them up with drifts. This made for some intense drifting while also adding an element of strategy for races. You could enjoy XBOX Live racing with Ridge Racer 6 if you fancy some multiplayer racing action in the Ridge Racer realm.


Ridge Racer 7.

Among the PlayStation 3 launch titles was Ridge Racer 7. RR7 picked up where RR6 left off. This Ridge Racer allowed you to purchase vehicles and customize their appearance. A more serious style soundtrack with many more artists made up the music for this game. This game also featured an even more futuristic appeal to it.

You will be speedfreaking all around Ridge State and compete in the UFRA. Upon completion of the main game mode, you can try some more intense races that are very challenging to win. The many tracks to this game will test your racing abilities. You can compete in a handful of different race events to earn money and unlock more content. It will keep you busy for sure!

The amount of depth this game has is incredible. It is the deepest Ridge Racer you will ever play. I enjoyed the experience. It felt like a true Ridge Racer game while not being overly foreign or exotic- even including the nitrous system. I'd enjoy the game more if I had more luck in the more extreme races. However, I been so trash at those races that I have not given much thought to trying most of the other races.


Ridge Racer 3D.

Released in 2011 for the Nintendo 3DS, this is perhaps the last true Ridge Racer game. Beautiful graphics, cool cars, and intense racing make up this beautiful racing game. I have no experience with RR3D, except that I wanted to include this as being the last true Ridge Racer title.


Ridge Racer Unbounded.

Easily the most gritty, extreme Ridge Racer game ever conceived is "Ridge Racer Unbounded." Never have I been intrigued to play it. You could think of "Ridge Racer Unbounded" as NAMCO's and Ridge Racer's answer to Burnout or Split/Second. This is NOT a traditional Ridge Racer game. It was not even developed by the classic Ridge Racer team. In addition, this was the first(?) Ridge Racer you can play on PC. Since I am not into the Burnout scene much, I can't say I would play this. If you want the appeal of destroying the environment and even destroying your car, "Ridge Racer Unbounded" will serve you well.

I guess if you wanted a gritty racing experience in the realm of Ridge Racer, this is the game you should play. Since I have no experience with this game (and since I usually think of this game when I hear of "Need for Speed: Unbounded") I can't offer any comments on this title.


Ridge Racer Slipstream.

"Ridge Racer Draw and Drift" is a Ridge Racer title for mobile devices. The way you compete in this game is to draw a drift line and then execute drifts in said sections. I never played this game. I have, though, seen some videos about it. It has some annoying voice acting that was a turn off for it. Then again, this is not a proper Ridge Racer title.



Whew! That was a lot of retrospective! So with 30 years of Ridge Racer, will we ever see a true Ridge Racer title again? How should Bandai-NAMCO commemorate 30 years of Ridge Racer?




How Should Ridge Racer's 30th Anniversary be Commemorated?


Fans of the Ridge Racer series would hate to see one of the most successful racing/driving game franchises not be celebrated in any such way. So what I want to do here is talk about what could be done to maybe honor or recognize 30 years of this franchise. These are not what Bandai-NAMCO SHOULD do, but more like what I think could happen.


OPTION 1: Offer Special Merchandise or Memorabilia.

This may be what Bandai-NAMCO could do. This could range from special mixes of past Ridge Racer songs, maybe launch a line of collectible model cars of the most famous vehicles in Ridge Racer history, or even have some clothing. This would seem quite likely.


OPTION 2: Offer Ridge Racer-Related Downloadable Content.

Maybe for the most popular Bandai-NAMCO games, you could have stuff like giving your avatar Ridge Racer-themed material. Maybe you could have a special version of Pac-Man where instead of Pac-Man, you control the Pac Racing Team against with the ghosts being other teams. This would seem likely while also being kind of a cheesy way to remember 30 years of Ridge Racer.



Do these sound boring so far? Well, check these next ideas out:


OPTION 3: Create a "Legacy" Collection of Ridge Racer Games.

Imagine being able to race some of the most famous (and infamous) vehicles and tracks in Ridge Racer history. I think the collection would come with some fancy and updated graphics, but imagine if you could race the Crinale around the very first Ridge Racer track. Maybe imagine if you could race RR1's RT Ryukyu around Bayside Line from RRV. Maybe you want to race a fully upgraded Danver Hijack from RR7 around Rage Racer's tracks. Imagine if Real Racing Roots took on the tracks and atmosphere of Ridge Racer 7. One of the great things about the Ridge Racer series is that all or most of the vehicles and tracks are fictional, so you won't need to worry much about licensing issues. This would be a challenge to try to rework a lot of past Ridge Racer games to make a modern legacy collection where you could race almost any Ridge Race vehicle around almost any Ridge Racer track- even including arcade and portable Ridge Racer titles! This seems like a great idea, but I have great doubts it will ever happen. If this did materialize, I'd say it starts small but then gets bigger and better with updates and downloadable content (DLC)


OPTION 4: Create a Ridge Racer-Inspired Game.

Rather than make a totally new Ridge Racer game, come up with a successor or a game that pays homage to Ridge Racers past. This would seem likely by an independent developer rather than the Ridge Racer team. This COULD happen, but I think more people would want to see a true Ridge Racer game with all the furnishings that only a true Ridge Racer game can provide.

And finally...


OPTION 5: Make a Brand-New Ridge Racer Game.

Let's give this the hypothetical title of "Ridge Racer 8." Fans been waiting since Ridge Racer 7 or Ridge Racer 3D for a true Ridge Racer title. Let's say the Ridge Racer team (or some other developer) wanted to make an authentic racing experience worthy of being called a Ridge Racer. Either this new Ridge Racer would follow the futuristic style of RR7, or it maybe goes with cues from the PlayStation 1 Ridge Racer games. Maybe we get a Real Racing Roots for the 21 Century and with many more cars and with many more teams. Or maybe... Ridge Racer goes back to its roots from 1993 and not be so overly fancy. You know- like how MegaMan/RockMan 9 and MegaMan/Rockman 10 went back to a classic 8-bit style as opposed to the beautiful work of art that was MegaMan/RockMan 8. Maybe we see challenges in a "Ridge Racer 8" similar to "R: Racing Evolution" like rally, drag racing, or maybe even drifting. We could see many of the past cars and manufacturers return alongside some new ones. And what about the likes of Reiko Nagase? The feared RT Solvalou? Could the 13th Racing car return? Where will all the racing happen? What music will fuel the "Ridge Racer 8" experience?

This would be the ultimate dream for any Ridge Racer fan to see a true successor to Ridge Racer 7 and continue the franchise. However, these ideas are too good for us, and I'm sure Bandai-NAMCO doesn't care too much to even entertain the thought of "Ridge Racer 8." This is VERY unlikely to happen. The best chance of this happening is if some other dedicated developer makes a Ridge Racer title as authentic and as complete as any true Ridge Racer game.

I hate to wish this to my fellow Ridge Racer fans, but dream on if OPTION 5" is what you are hoping for.






Special Offer


If you want to search for Ridge Racer series games online, please be search around on these sites for "Ridge Racer" listed below. Your involvement is voluntary, but it would be appreciated:

Gamespot
Amazon
eBay


Happy shopping! :)





Retrospective, speculation, and memories... thank you for checking out my blog post regarding celebrating 30 years of Ridge Racer. Here's a question if you care to discuss:

How do you think Bandai-NAMCO should celebrate 30 years of Ridge Racer?

If you enjoy my work, please Subscribe/Follow my blog(s) in any capacity if you love my work and want to support me any way you can. Share my blog post(s) with others if you enjoy my work. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Saturday, January 7, 2023

All-Star Racing 2

John B. Marine | 4:46 PM | | Be the first to comment!
A year after "All-Star Racing" was released, along comes "All-Star Racing 2." The same tandem of Kung Fu Games and Mud Duck Productions give you another round of racing goodness only they can provide. HOW good, though? You're going to have to find out by reading this blog post. So let's go!






All-Star Racing 2


"All-Star Racing 1" showcased four different disciplines of racing. "All-Star Racing 2" features different styles of vehicles in a variety of different racing challenges. It was released in 2003 for PlayStation 1 by Kung Fu Games (developer) and Mud Duck Productions (publisher). This game was released towards the sunset of the PlayStation 1.

Get ready for four different styles of racing featuring five tracks in each of those styles.


The Modes.

You can choose between Start and Options. Options will allow you to adjust difficulty and lap distance. You can input your name after choosing a Game Mode.

  • Bikes - prove your racing mettle on two wheels.
  • Karts - race with agile go-karts on competitive kart tracks.
  • GP - race the high-speed, highly-fragile formula-type racing cars.
  • Trucks - go road racing in over five-ton semi-trucks with over 1000 horsepower!

Once you select a mode, you input your name. You then go to the next menu.


The Tracks and Vehicles.

Like how each mode in "All-Star Racing" has its own set of tracks, the same applies to "All-Star Racing 2." However, unlike the previous game, each mode have five tracks to them. After picking a track, you then select which vehicle you want to use. You go racing afterwards.


The Racing.

You will be competing in however many laps you set the lap counter to (3 to 15 laps). There will be six vehicles to a track, yours included. Try to win using whatever vehicle you are using. Each of the vehicles have different handling characteristics. For you to win, learn the ways of your machine and try to win on the tracks for that discipline of racing. Go for the win!


Let me provide some final thoughts for you all on "All-Star Racing 2." Please read the next section.




"All-Star Racing 2" - Final Thoughts


"All-Star Racing 2" improves upon "All-Star Racing 1," but it is still not an overall good game. At least the different vehicles feel different from one another. Each discipline feels like a different game. Despite this, more can be done to make "All-Star Racing 2" a better game. It is serviceable at best.

While this game still feels like it could be at least decent, at least not every vehicle feels the same but in a different aesthetic. The more dedicated racing gamer will not be impressed in the sense of no qualifying, race weekends, tuning, or championships. This is simply a racing game to enjoy racing but with no real incentive or replay value. Once you complete everything, that's it. The Memory Card is actually used in this "All-Star Racing 2" unlike "All-Star Racing 1."

The vehicles all feel different. The Bikes are tough to control, and it really feels like you are trying to move your weight properly to handle better. These races can be tough. The karts are quick, and you'll need to be attentive and active to try to win with these karts and on kart tracks. The GP machines is basically Formula 1. They are the purest racing and most capable racing machines in this game. The Trucks, while unrealistic to real semi-truck racing, offer a decent challenge trying to drive these monsters on the track. They will keep you busy for sure. No matter which vehicles you race with, they are all met with the same shaky driving/riding model and fidgety AI.

You can still do better than "All-Star Racing 2," but you can't really do too much worse. At least this is better and more of a game than "All-Star Racing 1." "All-Star Racing 2," though, still falls short overall as a quality racing game.


Video Preview.

Get your video insight of "All-Star Racing 2" here:


All-Star Racing 2 ... (PS1) Gameplay


Hopefully this blog post has given you some insight on this game.





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Friday, January 6, 2023

All-Star Racing

John B. Marine | 8:40 PM | | Be the first to comment!
All-Star Racing challenges you to prove your racing mettle across four different disciplines of circuit racing. This game came towards the sunset of the PlayStation 1. If most people moved onto the PS2, then did people care for this game? All-Star Racing gets the attention of me and this blog for this blog post. So come along with me and get my thoughts on "All-Star Racing."


BEFORE I BEGIN...

HAPPY NEW YEAR (2023)!!!






All-Star Racing


Most people moved on from the PlayStation 1 to the PlayStation 2 when "All-Star Racing" was released in 2002. "All-Star Racing" was developed by Kung Fu Games and published by Mud Duck Productions. The game challenges you to take on four styles of circuit racing. Pick a discipline, pick a car, pick a track, and go race. It is dirt simple.


The Modes.

There are four disciplines to choose from when you start the game. Take a look:

  • Supercar Challenge - race with some sports cars.
  • Classic Cars - race with some classic automobiles.
  • Stockcar Frenzy- take on the intense realm of stock car racing.
  • GT Racer - race in full anger with high-powered GT race cars.


Once you select one of the game modes, you will be greeted to a screen that lets you choose between starting the game, game options, or going back to the main menu. They all operate the same, only with different fonts and graphics. So don't expect any purely unique experiences among the modes.


The Cars.

You have a choice of three cars to use through your racing adventure. Pick one and go racing.


The Tracks.

Each of the four disciplines of racing feature three tracks each unique to each style of racing. With no reverse or mirror options, you have a total of 12 tracks in this game. You can go into the Main Menu to adjust difficulty and lap count (from 3 to 15). It is a fairly straightforward process.


The Racing.

Six cars can be on the track at a time, including yours. Your job is to [obviously] win the race. Try to outlast your opposition as best as you can.


Now that you have an idea about this game, allow me to review it for you.




All-Star Racing: Final Thoughts


If you were reading this blog post being unimpressed with how I am discussing "All-Star Racing," there's a reason for that. That is because this game is absolute trash. No replay value, no incentive, completely boring experience, and lackluster game play. This "all-star" effort is more like an all-star effort on making a PlayStation 1 game as a class project rather than a complete game people would enjoy for years to come.

Qualities that makes most racing games fun is tough to find in this game. This is an arcade-style racing game that tries to surpass "Gran Turismo" and "Gran Turismo 2"... and fails miserably. If this is an all-star collection, what is this an all-star collection of- the same game with four different aesthetics? That's all this game is. Don't even think about trying to set up your car or go for the best lap times because this game doesn't even utilize your Memory Card. You don't even get to choose between Automatic or Manual/Standard- all cars are automatic transmission. The tracks themselves will take up about 50-70 seconds of your time for each lap. There are not even pit stops or damage to this game. As for the cars themselves, it's a matter of personal preference which is better. Even if you beat the Lap Record for each track, you don't get recognition or anything exciting for it.

The racing is not much better either. The game has a shoddy driving model and a twitchy collision system. On Easy difficulty, do not be surprised if you win the race by at least five seconds if you are a semi-decent racing gamer. You don't even get any fancy graphics or honors for winning a race.

The only things "All-Star Racing" gets right is that it works and is playable. Other than that, you don't need this game unless you're trying to add this to some collection. There are much better racing/driving games you can play on PlayStation 1 than this one. "All-Star Racing" is all-fail racing. You COULD use this game to simply learn how to make a simple racing game... then try to make something much better.


Video Preview.

If you would like a video look at "All-Star Racing" to see if your thoughts differ from mine, take a look at the following video:


^ All-Star Racing ... (PS1) Gameplay


I hope I swayed your interest on this game in case you were curious.





I hope you enjoyed my post. If you enjoy my work, please Subscribe/Follow my blog(s) in any capacity if you love my work and want to support me any way you can. Share my blog post(s) with others if you enjoy my work. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Half-Life Rally

John B. Marine | 6:59 AM | | Be the first to comment!
Half-Life is one of the greatest games ever. The Half-Life series itself is one of the best gaming franchises ever. Half-Life couldn't possibly make for a racing game, right? Well, modders thought otherwise. Meet Half-Life Rally. Half-Life Rally utilizes the GoldSource (or GoldSrc) engine and built a racing game mod around it. This blog post takes a look at this mod for Half-Life.






Half-Life Rally


Although Half-Life is an excellent first-person shooter and first-person shooter series, there isn't much to making a racing mod for it. However, the GoldSrc Engine for Half-Life is told to be entirely versatile. Versatile enough... to be the base of a racing/driving game mod. Now before you go thinking this game mod will replace any of your favorite racing games of its time, think again.

Half-Life Rally lets you take on a series of tracks consisting of open circuits and closed circuits. All of the cars you can choose from are real-world rally cars. Many of them, though, may be fictional to avoid copyright issues. You can race any number of the included venues offline or online. Funny enough, this game even has some maps where a bomb is attached to your car, and you have only a certain amount of time to drive around with that bomb. Other than that, get ready for a cracking good time racing!

If you intend to download the Half-Life Rally mod, you must use the original "Half-Life," NOT the "Half-Life: Source" version.


Half-Life Rally: Experience.

To begin "Half-Life Rally," you must set up a server, either online or offline. You then select what map you want to use. One thing you may want to note is the prefix of each map name. Seeing "ab" means a point-to-point. "RC" is a closed-circuit rally course. "HC" notes a location with your car having a bomb attached to it. You then go ahead and set lap distance, time between races, and other options. Once you have everything set, it's time to race!

When you begin a race, you then select what car you want to use. Each car is rated for Acceleration, Handling, and Top Speed. Acceleration concerns how quickly the car gets up to speed. Handling affects how well the car can take on turns. Top Speed relates to the maximum speed the car is capable of. You start off with $600 to customize cars. That is not much, but once you complete a race, you will earn credits to use to buy performance parts. You can buy tires, exhausts, intercoolers, and turbo systems to improve the performance of your car.

When actually racing, you are trying to clear checkpoints. Your co-driver will tell you when you clear a Checkpoint. Keep track of the checkpoints you clear. If you miss a checkpoint, you will need to go back and clear it. The best way to ensure you clear a checkpoint is to drive through the center of the checkpoint gates or markers. If you are doing races with time extensions, you need to clear checkpoints in time. You can change car views at any time during the event. You may even add bots to race against when offline.


Half-Life Rally: Final Thoughts.

Half-Life Rally is a great mod utilizing the GoldSrc Engine. The graphics look great, and the driving model is actually quite good. It is sometimes a bit of a bug to think you cleared a checkpoint but really didn't. It happens in Half-Life Rally. At times, the game crashes as I raced; however, those crashes were not frequent and consistent. Some people talk about the game crashing upon loading. I didn't have such loading problems. It is a solid mod no matter how you look at it. This game will not replace "Colin McRae Rally," but it is a very good rally experience using the engine from the award-winning "Half-Life."


For More Information...

Learn more about "Half-Life Rally" by visiting www.hlrally.net. If you bought Half-Life on Steam, you need to use the original Half-Life to play this mod, NOT the "Half Life: Source" version.


Video Preview.

Here is a sampling of what "Half-Life Rally" has to offer:


^ Half-Life Rally (2004) - Every PC Rally Game


I tried to find some real trailer for "Half-Life Rally," but this was as best as I could find and share.






Proton Rally (Bonus Section!)


Developed with the GoldSrc engine and developed in the same vein as "Half-Life Rally" was an unreleased game called "Proton Rally." This game utilized models from Proton, a Malaysian automobile company [that even once made a motorcycle competing in MotoGP]. This game is nowhere to be found online for what I know. However, I will provide you this video as kind of inspiration for modding ability with Half-Life Rally:


* Proton Rally - Half-Life 1 Rally Mod

Again- no further information on this game/mod is known. To read an article about "Proton Rally," visit the following: Proton Rally game based on Half Life engine.





That is all for this blog post! I hope to see you again when I make another post, whenever that will be. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Monday, February 7, 2022

Quake 3 Rally

John B. Marine | 6:48 PM | | Be the first to comment!
(UPDATED: February 8, 2022)

Quake 3 Arena is a fairly decent first-person arena shooter. However, it couldn't possibly make a decent racing game, right? Well, since 2002, the team of Quake Rally has worked to make racing happen for the Quake series. There have been Quake Rally titles for the first Quake and for Quake 3 Arena. For this blog post, however, I only will focus in on Quake 3 Rally. Welcome to "John's Race Space!"

NOTE: This blog post only concerns "Quake 3 Rally," not the very first "Quake Rally."

CREDENTIALS: I am using the Mod version of Quake 3 Rally, not the standalone versions.


About the Label: Modding

Topics listed under "Modding" relate to mods for games. Relevant to this blog's subject matter, these mods include racing games and driving games to any number of game engines. Even game engines and games that are not racing/driving games may be featured in blog posts under this Label.






Quake 3 Rally


Quake 3 Rally brings a racing environment to the Quake 3 ecosystem. You will be able to race a variety of vehicles on a handful of tracks. You can race tracks in the Quake 3 Arena realm exclusively for racing. Races happen either offline or online. You may elect to run races, deathmatches, or capture the flag.


Quake 3 Rally: Experience.

I only used the offline action. These allow you to race locally by yourself or against bots. Each track allows you to race for a certain number of laps, choose time limits, choose the track length; and if offered, you can choose to race certain tracks normally or in reverse.

If you go to the Options menu, you can configure a number of elements to get into the action. You can set up whatever vehicle you will use. You have options for the vehicle that you can select. You can go further by picking a skin for your vehicle along with the wheel choices and whom you use as your driver. From what I can tell, there is no difference in performance regardless of what vehicle you choose. So your choice comes down to personal preference. It is recommended you save your favorite combination of vehicle, its skin, and the wheels by marking it as a Favorite. You can save up to four Favorites.

You can download more vehicles and maps and just drop them into the Quake 3 Rally folder if you are using the Q3 Rally mod (like I am for this review). Quake 3 Rally's website features some more material you can download.

Once the track loads, you must press "Fire" or "Use" to start the race. A wait follows along with the race starting proper. You must try to find as many different resources as possible to help your cause and finish the race. If you are defeated, you can press "Fire" to respawn at the last checkpoint you cleared. You will take damage upon each elevation change and hitting walls. Considering the frantic nature of certain race tracks, do NOT expect a perfect, damage-free race. You WILL take damage in some form as you race. Some tracks don't even have health pickups of any kind, so do not be surprised if you are defeated on a track that doesn't have any health pickups.

The race is over when the lap distance has been met. Most tracks have a defined or suggested number of laps you can run. However, you can always set the lap distance to whatever you want. Your personal best lap times will be noted during your runs.


Quake 3 Rally: Final Thoughts.

I hate that I could not get the Quake 3 Rally standalone version to work without excessive lag. Therefore, I was glad to find the mod version of this mod. This mod plays wonderfully within the Quake 3 environment. Honestly, part of the reason why I bought "Quake 3 Arena" [on GOG] was to play "Quake 3 Rally." If I can learn to make maps for Q3 Rally, I would make my own sort of maps for it. Same goes for if I can model vehicles for the game also. The fact this mod has been around for over 20 years shows its longevity and importance to modders. So I would go get this mod if you love racing and want a more-than-decent mod for a first-person shooter.


For More Information...

To learn more about "Quake 3 Rally," please visit: Q3Rally.com.

NOTE: Apparently if you have OpenArena, you can install this into your OpenArena folder. I don't know how to do this, so you're on your own there.


Video Preview.

Consider this your "hype video" of "Quake 3 Rally." Get psyched:


^ Quake 3 Rally







I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Rush Rally 2

John B. Marine | 7:28 PM | | Be the first to comment!
Rush Rally 2 is one rally racing game sure to challenge you. If you want to take on the intense realm of rally racing, Brownmonster Limited has your rally racing game for either Android or iOS. So get ready to get dirty taking on some of the toughest roads in the world across a handful of countries! I'm here to review "Rush Rally 2" for your pleasure.


Before I Begin...

For full disclosure, I am basing my review based on my Android TV experience with "Rush Rally 2." My device used is a Xiaomi MI Box S.






Rush Rally 2 at a Glance


Here is a look at "Rush Rally 2."

Rush Rally 2
^ from: (Amazon) - "Rush Rally 2" gives you that rush of excitement rally racing provides.

"Rush Rally 2" is a rally racing game developed by Brownmonster Limited, a solo developer from England. This game presents the challenge of off-road racing through both rallycross and traditional rallying. This game was first released in 2016. The player is met with the challenge of off road racing on rally stages and rallycross races. It is run on an in-house game engine. There also is no licensing in this game. There are fake sponsors on the cars and on the various billboards. The individual drivers are also fake. For example, there are drivers named after real-life drivers. Names include Bichard Rurns, Carlos Saint, Ben Klock, and others. Oh, well... a game like this doesn't need proper sponsorship to be attractive.

If you are wondering why I am reviewing "Rush Rally 2" and not the first one, that is because I could not find the very first Rush Rally game. The first game was taken off of the Android and iOS markets leaving only "Rush Rally 2" and "Rush Rally 3" available. So there is a "Rush Rally 1"... it just isn't available anymore.

Rush Rally 2 is available through Google Play, the Apple Store, and TouchArcade. It costs $0.99 USD on Google Play.


Tracks: Rally.

Rally racing takes you on a world tour featuring a handful of different rallies. You start in Finland and then work your way around the world unlocking more rallies. A total of eight rallies are in this game. Each rally features six stages except one.

• Finland - high speeds and romps through forests on gravel await you in this classic rally.
• Argentina - deal with these dirt roads while also contending with tall rocks and canyons.
• Sweden - race on ice and snow.
• Spain - asphalt and gravel stages await you here.
• Germany - a rally dominated by mixed surfaces with very deceptive mountainous and hilly roads.
• Australia - a host of {country roads and mixed terrain define this rally.
• USA - a paved roads rally that is essentially the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. Only one stage, and it is the longest in the game at over 12 miles.
• Canada - this rally features grueling uphill stages with decisive turns. Roads are a mix of tarmac and snowy roads.

To advance to the next rally, you must finish 3rd or better in the final rally classifications.


Skills Games.

Test your driving skills with a handful of challenges. Your goal is to try to complete each challenge within the Target time. If you fail to complete the course in the Target time or have multiple penalties outstanding, you will fail the challenge and must try again.

There are three Cups for Skill Games: Crabman Cup, GPS Championship, and Parsons Trophy. You unlock the other two after clearing the first set of challenges. Here are the challenges in general:

• Air Missile - Indicators will tell you where missiles will strike. Avoid being in the indicator to avoid the missile strike. Penalty time will be added for each time you are hit.
• Roadworks - avoid the various hazards on the road. Avoid EVERYTHING- cones, signs, barriers, and more. Penalty time will be added if you fail to completely avoid each hazard section.
• Coin Rush - collect coins scattered about in a line. Each missed coin results in penalty time added to your run.
• Trailer - a trailer full of soccer balls will be attached to your car. Try to keep all the balls in the trailer to clear the challenge. This means not accelerating or braking too hard along with taking note of various elevation changes. Penalty time will be added for each ball that leaves the trailer.
• Skill Gates - You will be racing a stage while also trying to clear each gate. You must properly clear each gate to receive credit for each clear. You will not be rewarded a cleared gate if you either miss it entirely or knock over the barrels. Each missed gate will result in penalty time added to your run. Clear the stage within the Target time to pass.
• Turbo Rush - Pick up turbo bottles across the track. Use those turbos to try to clear the stage in time. Each collected turbo makes your car run at faster speeds. It is recommended you try not to rev the engine on the start. Otherwise, you will suffer engine damage and go VERY slow.


Rally: Rallycross

Rallycross brings wheel-to-wheel racing in frenzied circuit battles. You will deal with a mix of tarmac and non-tarmac surfaces trying to finish stop the standings. You must finish within the Target position to advance to the next stage. Clear all of the stages to win the Cup in each class. You will not be penalized for leaving the track or dangerous driving. You do, however, need to be mindful that damage will affect your car no matter what you do on the race track.

You must place third or better in the first set of races, 2nd or better in the second set of races, and you must win all stages of the third set of races.


That covers the racing, but what about those vehicles?


Vehicles.

There are ten cars to choose from in "Rush Rally 2." While there is no official licensing, you can make out what most of the cars are as well as the associated liveries to each. You can actually set up each car to meet the given rally or race you are taking part in. Not all vehicles are available right away. The game tells you what you have to unlock certain vehicles. The game insists the races will be harder if you go with faster vehicles. So if you feel you keep losing, try stepping down to lower-class cars to get the advantage.


Racing.

This section features advice for rallycross and rally.

A rallycross race pits you against five other cars. Your job is to finish in a target position to unlock the next race. Once all races of a certain cup are complete, you can unlock a new Cup. There are no penalties for leaving the course or rough driving. So if you feel you have to cheat, do so. However, be mindful that damage will impact your car.

Take part in any of the game's rally events. You will begin in Finland before you can unlock the seven other rallies. Finish in a target position to advance to the next rally. All of the rallies has six stages, except one. You can make repairs to your car after the 2nd and 4th stages of each rally. Once you are in the service areas, you have only a certain amount of time to make needed repairs. Adjust the slider to each element to lower the amount of damage to certain components. If you do not have enough time to repair damage, you will not be able to fully repair certain things. The elements that usually endure the most damage are your engine and your wheels. So take note of these most.


Good luck becoming a champion! :)




Rush Rally 2: Final Thoughts


For work done mostly by a solo developer, and considering this is a paid app, what you get is a very good rally game. Maybe "Rush Rally 2" is not a Triple-A type game; it is still a game that has a very nice rally racing mechanic. The driving model is a great one. This is a more-than-decent rally racing game that you will enjoy playing. Some of the different skill races are unique diversions from the usual rally racing. There is only a small price to pay for this app, but many of the racing memories this game has to provide are priceless. Surely recommended by me, but not strongly recommended.


For More Information...

Here are ways for you to learn more about "Rush Rally 2":

Brownmonster Games - the developer's site
Rush Rally 2 on Google Play
Rush Rally 2 on Apple Store


I am hopeful you enjoyed this blog post and review.





That's all, folks! Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Daytona USA

John B. Marine | 7:54 AM | | Be the first to comment!
SEGA's Daytona USA is one of the most iconic racing games for a number of reasons. It was the first non-licensed game to make stock car racing cool. Hornet High-Class Racing has been the team to beat. With so much going on and so much to gauge, "Daytona USA" will gladly take you for a ride through the wild world of stock car racing. This blog post focuses on the main Daytona USA. You'll see why this is one of the best racing games of all time and remains so even today.






Daytona USA


Daytona USA classic
^ from: (YouTube) - The original "Daytona USA" was groundbreaking and exciting for its time. It remains one of the greatest racing games of all time even today.

Daytona USA has been one of the most iconic racing games of the past. It picks up where "Virtua Racing" left off by offering textured polygons. The action even ran consistently well at a decent frame rate. Of course, Daytona USA also delivered in providing an unreal racing experience. The Daytona USA series has found its way into homes through console and PC. The earlier home versions of Daytona USA were trimmed-down versions. Later versions around the mid-2000s and 2010s feature arcade-perfect renditions of "Daytona USA" for home. Everyone is part of the ultimate underdog team- Hornet High-Class Racing. Even though the game is named after Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; this game does not feature the actual Daytona International Speedway.

Here is a look at some of the finer points of Daytona USA...


The Cars.

Unless you are playing the PC/Saturn version of this game, you really have two cars to choose from- an Automatic car or a 4-speed Manual car. The Manual/Standard car offers a higher top speed. In the home versions of the first Daytona USA, you could unlock different-colored cars with different levels of performance. You could even unlock something that... is not a car. Each vehicle you can control is rated by Grip and Acceleration. Grip determines the level of traction you get on each course. Acceleration determines how quickly you get up to speed. Some vehicles may actually be better at certain courses than certain others. So be sure to experiment around with the home version of Daytona USA. In the arcade version of Daytona USA, up to eight racers can compete if four dual cabinets of Daytona USA are linked. Each car is color coded in the arcade version and have no real performance advantage over another.

In all versions, you are racing the number 41 Hornet High-Class Racing car. If you are adept enough, it is possible to get a rocket boost off of the starting line to get a wild head start.


The Tracks.

No racing game is ever a quality racing game without tracks, so get to know the three available tracks. Each track features lap lengths for Normal, Grand Prix, and Endurance:

• Three-Seven Speedway (Beginner) - 8 Laps Normal, 20 Laps Grand Prix, and 80 laps Endurance
Three-Seven Speedway is the bread and butter of stock car racing- an oval. This oval, however, is more properly defined ss a tri-oval. So it is more akin to the likes of Pocono Raceway. One of its unique traits is that it has a slot machine you can actually stop and play as you drive. The real problem area each lap will be the sharp final corner. Victory should not be hard to achieve at this track.

This is the only track in the game that begins on a rolling start. A total of 40 cars can race on this track, including your car.

• Dinosaur Canyon (Advanced) - 4 Laps Normal, 16 Laps Grand Prix, and 40 laps Endurance
This natural terrain road course features a good variety of challenging corners and elevation changes. You will be weaving through a location with tall rock walls and hills as well as go through a tunnel. You may also have to do some drifting to aggressively clear some of the corners. So in other words, you're going to be pretty busy here. But don't worry- it isn't an impossible course to win at.

This track begins on a standing start, and as many as 20 cars (including yours) can race this track at a time.

• Seaside Street Galaxy (Expert) - 2 Laps Normal, 8 Laps Grand Prix, and 20 laps Endurance
If you want the ultimate challenge of Daytona USA, take on this city street course. This race begins on a long bridge followed by weaving into an airport. The roads twist and snake into some park land followed by a small village and some extra highways. It later goes into a space shuttle section and a pier. All the while is a challenging and punishing race course. The track is challenging, but perhaps more challenging is trying not to get caught up in the lovely song that accompanies this track. This is the toughest track in the game for a reason.

There are 30 care that race on this track with the event beginning on a standing start.


Suffice to say, you will be quite busy no matter which of the three tracks you race on. Now for some Final Thoughts...




Daytona USA: Final Thoughts


The original "Daytona USA" is forever intertwined in the history of racing/driving games. Released in 1994, it has left a mark that no other racing/driving game can replicate- even including most other SEGA racing games before "Daytona USA." If you want to experience the classic Daytona USA today, you can do so with the arcade-perfect versions of Daytona USA for systems like the PlayStation 3 and the XBOX 360. Or you might be able to find Daytona USA cabinets at arcade rooms and at some other places that have arcade units. That is... in places where arcades are still a thing to most places.

"Daytona USA" was not meant to be any proper simulation of stock car racing. It is not meant to fully and properly replicate the insanity that stock car racing provides. Even with its licensing of Daytona International Speedway, it does not actually feature the actual Daytona course. What it DOES excel in, however, is great fun. That is what Daytona USA delivers more than almost any other racing/driving game of its time. Also consider "Daytona USA" was a pioneering title in the sense of what it provided for most games in general with textured polygons and all running at a wonderful frame rate. So there are many reasons to play Daytona USA if you haven't already.


Hopefully this blog post has spurred your interest in regards to Daytona USA.





This concludes my latest post on "John's Race Space." I hope you found it enjoyable. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Saturday, January 30, 2021

Hornet High-Class is an Inspiration!

John B. Marine | 9:16 AM | | | Be the first to comment!
When thinking of the greatest racing teams of all time, not many give Hornet High-Class any love. For whatever reason, Hornet High-Class Racing seems to qualify the worst, yet they manage to win. The frenzied world of stock car racing lends itself to all kinds of insanity. Hornet High-Class Racing, though, somehow manages to find ways to win amid the chaos any given day of stock car racing. The team is easy to root against since the team doesn't qualify well. However, when it is race day and race weekend, they prove the world wrong each time with their capable driver. This team proves the old adage, "it isn't how you start, it is how you finish." Hornet High-Class still manages to find ways to win despite poor qualifying. Hornet High-Class even estalished itself as a fighter in a fighting game ("Fighters Megamix")! How many race cars and race teams can say that?

So remember that when you are handed tough circumstances, you can always prevail as long as you believe in yourself and your abilities. Give yourself a chance every and in each situation. Make the most of what you are given and rely on your skill to make the most of even the toughest circumstances.

Also, if you are constantly not given a chance, this fuels the fire for you to prove people wrong, just as Hornet High-Class Racing always does. Go ahead- change peoples' minds. Reverse others' thinking.

Long story short...
Hornet High Class Racing
^ from: (PNGKey (best I could find))

Hornet High-Class is an inspiration!





I hope you enjoyed this casual post on "John's Race Space!" Thank you for being a part of this blog for as long as I've established it. So you all have a great day/night. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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