#242 Ridge Racer

Posted: 16th July 2019 by Jeroen in Games
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799th played so far

Genre: Driving
Platform: Arcade
Year of Release: 1993
Developer: Namco
Publisher: Namco

Racing and driving games are interesting entries on the list. They are quite well suited to the arcade when provided with time limits, but removing that would make them work for a console as well. They’re usually non violent, letting a lot more kids play them than shooters made, making them easier buys to get. And in the era we’re looking at now, the early nineties, they do drive innovation, providing a good source to use 3D gameplay while constraining the area enough that you can use rendering and loading tricks to make sure you don’t know need as much power as other genres might demand.

Ridge Racer is an example of this – an early 3D racer and Playstation launch game, although Wipeout would get more attention in this regard. It had plenty of further adaptations and sequels and is listed as being a system seller, so at this point I would hope we can get the same.

Our Thoughts

Let’s get my own bugbear out of the way: As this is originally an arcade game, there is a time limt on your races. There isn’t an option to remove it and I didn’t actually finish a race because of it, even if I did okay otherwise. The arcade elements of the game got in the way, which still restricts my enjoyment of the game, and I’m still annoyed it’s such a trademark of the age.

When you take that away, this game creates a decent driver. Everything in the game is 3D – early 3D, but the environments are as much 3D as all of the objects. It creates a more realistic feel and you can interact with everything else. Colliding with them feels good as well – they behave as they should, slowing you down when needed, some stopping you, but it all feels right. It’s another part where going 3D feels like it pays off – billboarded sprites wouldn’t have worked as well, even if I’m sure the collision data here is still pretty rough.

Final Thoughts

Ridge Racer becomes a good racer, one that feels good to drive in and that shows why the genre would push for a 3D setup. However, it’s helpd back by being an arcade racer, limiting gameplay too much work when playing at home.

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