Ridge Racer (series)
|Platforms||Arcade, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PSP, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo 64, GameCube, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, Xbox, Xbox 360, Mobile phones, Microsoft Windows|
|Platform of origin||Arcade|
|Year of inception||1993|
|First release||Ridge Racer
October 7, 1993
|Latest release||Ridge Racer Slipstream
December 19, 2013
Ridge Racer (リッジレーサー) is a series of arcade racing games developed and published by Namco for both the arcade and various gaming systems. In each of the games, players take part in street races set in and around the fictional Ridge City while utilizing the concepts of drift racing to quickly traverse corners. The series is inspired by Megalopolis Expressway Trial film series, which had the similar theme.
While there are differences among the various games, the basic gameplay in the Ridge Racer series has remained relatively consistent. Races take place on tracks laid out on city streets and other public roads. Starting in last place, players have a limited number of laps in which they can overtake opponents and ultimately win the race. As many of the turns on the course were not intended to be taken at race speeds, players drift through the corners, attempting to maintain as much speed as possible.
In the arcade games (and the home versions based on those games), the players also race against a timer, with time extended for each successfully-completed lap of the course. The race will end if the timer expires or the player completes the final lap of the race, whichever occurs first. In the console-exclusive versions, players must finish the race in a minimum assigned place in order to advance through the game.
Later games in the series expanded these basics by introducing cars with different drifting characteristics; some cars could be made to drift quite easily, but were more challenging to control, while other cars were harder to initiate drift yet easier to control. Another recent addition was "nitrous", which would give the player's car a short burst of additional speed and could be replenished by drifting through corners at high speeds.
The tracks in the Ridge Racer series are located in and around Ridge City, a fictional coastal metropolis. Ridge City's environs are geographically diverse, including beaches, forests, grasslands and mountains. The actual scope of Ridge City has changed over the series, with new regions and new tracks added continually. Most versions of the game incorporate the original courses from the Ridge Racer and Ridge Racer 2 arcade games. Many of the tracks in a given game share components, with sections added or removed to alter the course layout, and some games allow the courses to be run in the opposite direction.
The Ridge Racer games generally use fictional cars with styling inspired by real-life cars of the day. Later games introduced fictional auto companies that offer multiple vehicles; for example, "Kamata" is a Japanese manufacturer specializing in sport compacts, while the Italian "Assoluto" produces high-performance supercars and the American "Danver" marque makes muscle cars, trucks and SUVs. Cars in the series have taken their names and sponsors from various Namco-produced video games.
Reiko Nagase (永瀬麗子 Nagase Reiko?) is the name of the series' most prominent race queen mascot. Initially appearing as an unnamed grid girl, and later in a full motion video intro for Rave Racer directed by Kei Yoshimizu from Keica, the character was named officially in Rage Racer.
In 1998's R4: Ridge Racer Type 4, she was given more prominence, as the opening animation, which used a Kimara Lovelace song, was a short story starring her, and introduced a redesign to her 3D model by Kei Yoshimizu. This is when Namco started giving more exposure to the character, heavily using her image to promote the game. In the same game, she is identified as the sender of a fax mail to Pac Racing Club, an Easter egg triggered by completing a specific in-game task.
Due to her newfound popularity she went to make many appearances in games outside of the Ridge Racer series (see list below), most of them featuring her white and red outfit from the R4: Ridge Racer Type 4 promotional artwork. In 2000, she also appeared in the Nintendo-developed Ridge Racer 64.
Namco decided to replace Reiko in 2000's Ridge Racer V with newcomer Ai Fukami (深水 藍). In 2001, Namco created an image girl for their Namco Sports line named Hitomi Yoshino (吉乃ひとみ), and while the Ridge Racer series doesn't belong to that line she was featured in a Ridge Racer trailer shown in the 2002 edition of the E3.
Since her popularity with fans still was strong, Namco decided to bring back Reiko Nagase for 2004's Ridge Racers. Featuring a revamped 3D model for the introductory animation, again by Kei Yoshimizu, who would also provide the reference for Reiko's appearances in Ridge Racer 6 (as shown at right), Ridge Racer 7, Ridge Racers 2 and Ridge Racer Accelerated.
Reiko is prominently featured in a Ridge Racer-themed pachislot, along with a PlayStation 2 port of that machine. She has also been featured in other products licensed by Namco, including the first and sixth wave of Namco Gals gashapon. A character named Kei Nagase, with a notable resemblance to Reiko and identified as Reiko's sister, plays a role in games in Namco's Ace Combat series.
- Ridge Racer (7 October 1993), for Namco System 22.
- Ridge Racer Full Scale (1994), for Namco System 22, controlled by a real automobile.
- Ridge Racer 2 (16 June 1994), for Namco System 22, an update to the original arcade game with multiplayer support, remixed soundtrack, and a rear view mirror.
- Rave Racer (16 July 1995), for Namco System 22.
- Pocket Racer (1996), for Namco System 11.
- Ridge Racer V: Arcade Battle (2000), for Namco System 246.
- Pachi-slot Ridge Racer (2008), pachislot parody of Ridge Racer series. (only released in Japan)
- Pachi-slot Ridge Racer 2 (2009), pachislot parody of Ridge Racer series. (only released in Japan)
- Ridge Racer (1994 - Japan, 1995 - EU/USA), for PlayStation, similar to the arcade with an optional 3rd person view (Launch Game). Début of 13th Racing ("Devil" car).
- Ridge Racer Revolution (1995 - Japan, 1996 - USA/EU), for PlayStation. 13th Racing Kid and White Angel made their grand début in this game, challenging you in the game's Time Trial mode. Soundtrack was taken from the Ridge Racer 2 arcade game.
- Rave Racer (1996), for Microsoft Windows. (cancelled)
- Rage Racer (1996 - Japan, 1997 - USA/EU), for PlayStation. This game marked the début of the retries rule and customization aspects.
- R4: Ridge Racer Type 4 (1998 - Japan, 1999 - USA/EU), for PlayStation, following the Rage Racer formula, but instead of customization, there are four racing teams to choose from.
- Ridge Racer Turbo (1998 - Japan, 1999 - USA/EU), for PlayStation. (known in Europe as Ridge Racer Hi-Spec Demo) A new version of the original game which featured a reduced number of game modes but run at 60fps and featured gouraud shading which had been absent from the original. Was given away as a bonus with R4: Ridge Racer Type 4.
- Ridge Racer 64 (2000), for Nintendo 64, features tracks from Ridge Racer and Ridge Racer 2 and its very own set of desert tracks ("Renegade") exclusive to the N64. (not released in Japan)
- Ridge Racer V (2000), for PlayStation 2 (Launch Game) - Allows slight customisation, R4-style Grand Prix races are present rather than the original's free-form structure.
- R: Racing Evolution (2003), for PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube - the spin-off title in the series to feature licensed cars from vehicle manufacturers.
- Critical Velocity (2005), for PlayStation 2 - formerly known as Rune Chaser. Plot-based spin-off game featuring Ridge Racer cars (only released in Japan).
- Ridge Racer 6 (2005), for Xbox 360 (Launch Game).
- Ridge Racer 7 (2006), for PlayStation 3 (Launch Game) - Allowed complete customization of vehicles from body kits to engine parts and paint jobs.
- Pachi-slot Ridge Racer (2008), for PlayStation 2. (only released in Japan)
- Ridge Racer Unbounded (2012), for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 (not released in Japan).
- Ridge Racer Driftopia (2013), for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3. (not released in Japan)
- Ridge Racer DS (2004 - USA, 2005 - EU), for Nintendo DS, a port of Ridge Racer 64 with the additional feature of being able to steer by using the touch screen. (not released in Japan)
- Ridge Racer (2004 - Japan, 2005 - USA/EU), for PlayStation Portable (Launch Game), mixed new vehicles with tracks from the previous games.
- Ridge Racer 2 (2006), for PlayStation Portable followed the same formula as its predecessor with tracks featured in previous games of the series.
- Ridge Racer 3D (2011), for Nintendo 3DS (Launch Game).
- Ridge Racer Vita (2011), for PlayStation Vita (Launch Game).
Mobile phone games
- Ridge Racer (2005), for J2ME
- Ridge Racers Mobile (2007)
- Ridge Racer Accelerated (2009), for iOS
- Ridge Racer Drift (2010)
- Ridge Racer Slipstream (2013) (Android, iOS)
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (May 2008)|
- Keica inc. website
- Ridge Racer Retro Special at Club Skill
- All About Reiko at 1up.com
- R4: Ridge Racer Type 4 official website
- Lo Magazine #8 interview
- R4: Ridge Racer Type 4 desktop calendar 1999
- Reiko Nagase 2000 calendar
- R4: Ridge Racer Type 4 promotional wallpapers
- Press release for Ai Fukami[dead link]
- Press release for Hitomi Yoshino[dead link]
- GameWatch coverage of the E3 2002
- RR7 Team Speaks at 1up
- Ridge Racers promotional wallpapers
- Ridge Racer pachislot press release[dead link]
- Ridge Racer pachislot article at Gamewatch
- Namco licensed products - Ridge Racer section
- Namco licensed products - general section[dead link]
- Fahey, Mike (3 December 2013). "Ridge Racer Stops Trying To Launch Consoles". Kotaku. Gawker Media. Retrieved 3 December 2013.