Ridge Racer (video game)

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Ridge Racer
Ridge Racer
The PlayStation version's cover art.
Developer(s) Namco
Publisher(s) Namco
Series Ridge Racer
Platform(s) Arcade, PlayStation, PlayStation Portable, mobile phone, Zeebo
Release date(s) Arcade
  • JP October 7, 1993
  • EU April 26, 1994
  • JP December 3, 1994
  • NA September 9, 1995[2]
  • PAL September 29, 1995
Genre(s) Racing video game
Mode(s) Single-player
Cabinet Upright and sitdown
Arcade system Namco System 22
CPU 1x Motorola 68020 @ 24.576 MHz,
2x Texas Instruments TMS32025 @ 49.152 MHz
Sound 1x C352 @ 16.384 MHz
Display Horizontal orientation, Raster, 640 x 480 resolution, 32768 palette colors

Ridge Racer (リッジレーサー Rijji Rēsā?) is a 1993 racing video game created by Namco. It was initially released on the Namco System 22 arcade system board, and was later ported to the PlayStation console. It is the first title in the long-running Ridge Racer series of games released for arcades and home systems. In the game, the player assumes the role of a car driver and competes with other computer-controlled cars.

The first home version of Ridge Racer was released in Japan in 1994 as a launch title for the original Sony PlayStation console; the version for North America and Europe was released in 1995. The game played a major role in establishing the new system and in giving it an early edge over its nearest competitor, the Sega Saturn.[citation needed]

After release, Ridge Racer received a positive reception. Reviewers praised the graphics, audio, drifting mechanics, and arcade-like gameplay, but later criticized the lack of strong artificial intelligence.


Screenshot of a race in progress, PlayStation version.

After launching the game, the player can choose a course, transmission (automatic or six-speed manual),[3] car and song. Each course has varying difficulty. There are two modes in the game: Race, which is played against 11 other cars; and Time Trial, in which only one opponent is given. During the race, the player can observe the racetrack from the first-person perspective (or from the third-person perspective for the PlayStation version).[4]

The game consists of 4 race course modes, which are Novice, Intermediate, Advanced and Time Trial.[5] The Novice and the Intermediate consist of racing on the same circuit. The higher the difficulty level, the faster cars run.[5] The game contains unlimited restarts, and the player can restart during a race at any time. After the player wins all the race modes, the player has to go to the Time Trial race mode which turns into a three-car battle. The player has to face the final boss—the Devil 13th Racing car (which is available only in the PlayStation version).[4] This car is very fast and difficult to beat. To win, the player must learn the perfect racing line of the track. In the arcade version, after finishing the game, the winning player's score is saved in action-replay highlights.[3]

As the player progresses through the game, extra courses will be given. The player will be racing on the same tracks but in reverse directions. The extra tracks lack one checkpoint and therefore the player is at a higher risk of running out of time, making the game more difficult. If the player obtains the Devil car before playing the extra courses, it can be used to race in all the courses including extra courses in order to complete the game.

A special 'mirror mode' version of the track can be played by turning the car around on the starting line and driving into the wall behind at top speed. The car will pass through the wall and the track will revert to the mirror of the normal track.

For the PlayStation version, once the game has loaded, all the CD is needed for afterwards is to play 6 instrumental music tracks. The box encourages the player to race along to their own audio CDs by simply replacing the disc at any time during gameplay. However, the game does not update to reflect the switch: No matter what disc is inserted, there will still be 6 tracks to choose from, corresponding the starting points of the 6 tracks on the game disc.

Because the game CD is mastered in Mixed Mode CD format, it can be played in an audio CD player/computer. Track 1 is used for data.[citation needed]

Development and release[edit]

Ridge Racer had a development cycle of eight months.[6] Development for the PlayStation version began in April 1994. Because of the radical differences between the Namco System 22 board and the PlayStation, the PlayStation version had to essentially be done from scratch, and so took nearly as long as the arcade version to develop, being completed in November 1994.[6]

During release for arcade system board, Ridge Racer was called by Namco "the most realistic driving game ever".[7] The game featured three-dimensional polygon graphics with texture mapping and various types of terrain.[7] The game in the PlayStation version was shown at the 1995 Electronic Entertainment Expo event, and it was an innovation in the use of three-dimensional polygons.[8] Ridge Racer was released in North America on September 8, 1995 as one of eight launch titles for the PlayStation.[9]


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 81% (PS1)
(2 reviews)[10]
Review scores
Publication Score
AllGame 4/5 stars (PS1)[11]
CVG 8/10 (ARC)[12]
Dragon 2/5 stars (PS1)[13]
Edge 9/10 (PS1)[14]
EGM 17.5/20 (PS1)[15]
18/20 (PS1)[16]
Famitsu 37/40 (PS1)[17][18]
Game Informer 8.75/10 (PS1)[20]
GamePro 5/5 (PS1)[19]
IGN 7.5/10 (PS1)[21]
Famitsu PS 36/40 (PS1)[22]
Maximum 4/5 stars (PS1)[23]
Publication Award
Electronic Gaming Monthly Best Driving Game (1995)[24]

Ridge Racer received mostly positive reviews. In a review of its Japanese release, GamePro called the PlayStation version "a near carbon copy of the original" and praised the graphics, soundtrack, and the fact that the entire game is loaded into the PlayStation's RAM, thus eliminating mid-game loading and giving players the option of removing the game disc and using the PlayStation as a music CD player while playing the game. However, they criticized that the game suffers from graphical glitches and slowdown, though they gave it an overall recommendation.[19] Their review of the later North American release judged that the game surpassed competitor Daytona USA in graphics, audio, and control responsiveness, and called it "The best racing game to date for home systems".[25] The game was reviewed in 1995 in Dragon #221 by Jay & Dee in the "Eye of the Monitor" column. Jay did not rate the game, but Dee gave it 2 out of 5 stars.[13] The two sports reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly gave it scores of 9 and 8.5 out of 10, praising the addictive gameplay and the outstanding music.[15] Maximum commented that "Ridge Racer isn't without its bad points - basically, there is only one track and the game lacks the awesome crash sequences of Daytona USA, but everything else in the title is sheer class." [emphasis in original] They commented positively on the "feeling of smoothness and speed", the "distinctly European" dance music, the engine sounds, and the unrealistically exaggerated driving maneuvers.[23] In 1996, IGN gave Ridge Racer 7.5/10, saying that despite two years of release the game "has definitely stood the test of time". However, they complained that "there is no two-player mode" and that "the cars don't really vary in performance that much".[21] In the April 1994 issue of the UK magazine Computer and Video Games, the arcade machine (based on the full-scale unit) was rated 80% overall by writer Paul Rand. Graphics received 97%, sound 95%, and gameplay 80%.[citation needed]

Despite the positive reviews of the game, it was later criticized by 1UP.com for the arcade style of gameplay. The lack of artificial intelligence has also received criticism—the movement of the computer-controlled cars is restricted to predetermined waypoints.[4] AllGame's Shawn Sackenheim praised the game, particularly the graphics and audio, and concluded that it "is a fun title that racing fans [...] will love."[11]

Ridge Racer was awarded Best Driving Game of 1995 by Electronic Gaming Monthly.[24]


Ridge Racer has been followed by many sequels and helped establish the position of the PlayStation console. IGN stated that Ridge Racer had been "one of PlayStation's first big system pushers" and "an excellent port of the arcade version that showed the true potential of Sony's 32-bit wonder".[26] UGO Networks's Michael Hess and Chris Plante said that the game had "set the stage for Gran Turismo by adding an option to choose between automatic and manual transmission".[8] John Davison of 1UP.com said that Ridge Racer was an "unbelievable demonstration of what the PlayStation could do."[4]

Ridge Racer is also mentioned in the song My Console (1999) from the Italian electronic dance group Eiffel 65.

Other releases[edit]

Ridge Racer Full Scale[edit]

Ridge Racer Full Scale

A Full Scale arcade version of Ridge Racer was released alongside the standard arcade version in 1993. Players sat inside an adapted red Eunos Roadster,[27] the Japanese right-hand-drive version of the Mazda MX-5 Miata, and controlled the same car on-screen. The game was played in front of a 10 ft/3 m-wide, front-projected triple screen (which benefited from dimmed ambient lighting), with the car's wheel, gear stick and pedals functioning as the game's controls. The ignition key was used to start the game, the speed and RPM gauges were fully functional, and fans blew wind on the player from inside the air vents. Speakers concealed inside the car provided realistic engine and tire sounds, while overhead speakers provided surround music. In almost all locations, an operator stood by a console, to collect payment and control the operation. The game's P.C.B. was located under the hood of the car.

The steering wheel could be re-linked to the rack and pinion steering of the car, making it easier to move.

Ridge Racer: 3 Screen Edition[edit]

A version of Ridge Racer with 3 screens was also released in the arcades to give a peripheral vision effect. The machine used multiple System 22 arcade boards to drive the additional monitors and was only available in the sit down version.[28][29]

Pocket Racer[edit]

A super deformed version of Ridge Racer with cars look like Choro-Q model cars. The game was only available in upright cabinet version, and has ported to Ridge Racer Revolution under the name Buggy Mode.

Ridge Racer Turbo[edit]

R4: Ridge Racer Type 4 includes a bonus disc containing a new version of the original Ridge Racer, called Ridge Racer Turbo (known in Europe as Ridge Racer Hi-Spec Demo). It featured improved graphics, runs at 60 frames per second, as opposed to the original 30, and supports vibration feedback.[30]

Handheld versions[edit]

On December 31, 2005, a version of the game for mobile phones was released.[31] It received mixed reviews. GameSpot's Jeff Gerstmann gave the game 6.1/10. He praised graphics as "somewhat impressive for a mobile game", but he criticized too easy steering, saying that "it doesn't take long to master the game."[32] Levi Buchanan of IGN gave Ridge Racer 6.2/10, complaining about the problematic controls and saying that the game without the analog control "feels really lacking".[33]

On August 5, 2010, a port of Ridge Racer was released for PlayStation Portable via the PlayStation Network.[34]

Zeebo version[edit]

On August 11, 2009, a version of the game was released for Zeebo.[35] This version is a port of the mobile phone version.


  1. ^ "Ridge Racer (1995)". IGN. Retrieved 2012-01-07. 
  2. ^ "Ridge Racer (1995) – PlayStation". IGN. Retrieved 2012-01-07. 
  3. ^ a b "Ridge Racer (3)". The Arcade Flyer Archive. 1993. Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  4. ^ a b c d Davison, John (2006-09-13). "Ridge Racer". 1UP. Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  5. ^ a b "Ridge Racer (2)". The Arcade Flyer Archive. 1993. Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  6. ^ a b "Namco Discuss the Making of Ridge Racer for the Sony PlayStation!". Electronic Gaming Monthly (Ziff Davis) (66): 170–171. January 1995. 
  7. ^ a b "Ridge Racer (1)". The Arcade Flyer Archive. 1993. Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  8. ^ a b Hess, Michael and Plante, Chris (2009-04-27). "E3 Retrospective: Past Games of the Show". UGO. Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  9. ^ Cifaldi, Frank (September 9, 2010). "This Day in History: Sony's PlayStation Launches in the U.S.". 1UP.com. Retrieved January 19, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Ridge Racer for PlayStation". GameRankings. 1995-09-09. Retrieved 2012-11-09. 
  11. ^ a b Sackenheim, Shawn. "Ridge Racer Review". allgame. Archived from the original on 2014-11-15. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  12. ^ http://www.solvalou.com/subpage/arcade_reviews/206/564/ridge_racer_review.html
  13. ^ a b Jay & Dee (September 1995). "Eye of the Monitor". Dragon (221): 115–118. 
  14. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20120414035816/www.edge-online.com/reviews/ridge-racer-review
  15. ^ a b "Ridge Racer (PlayStation) by Namco". Electronic Gaming Monthly (Ziff Davis) (74): 114. September 1995. 
  16. ^ Electronic Gaming Monthly, 1998 Video Game Buyer's Guide, p. 74
  17. ^ PLAYSTATION CROSS REVIEW: リッジレーサー. Weekly Famicom Tsūshin. No.333. Pg.21. 5 May 1995.
  18. ^ おオススメ!! ソフト カタログ!!: リッジレーサー. Weekly Famicom Tsūshin. No.335. Pg.114. 12–19 May 1995.
  19. ^ a b "PlayStation ProReview: Ridge Racer". GamePro (IDG) (68): 37. March 1995. 
  20. ^ http://web.archive.org/web/19970811124906/www.gameinformer.com/sep95/rracer.html
  21. ^ a b "Ridge Racer". IGN. 1996-11-26. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  22. ^ PlayStation Cross Review: リッジレーサー. PlayStation Tsūshin. No.1. Pg.13. 9 December 1994.
  23. ^ a b "Ridge Racer". Maximum: The Video Game Magazine (Emap International Limited) (1): 150–1. October 1995. 
  24. ^ a b "Electronic Gaming Monthly's Buyer's Guide". 1996. 
  25. ^ "ProReview: Ridge Racer". GamePro (IDG) (84): 42. September 1995. 
  26. ^ "Top 25 Games of All Time: Complete List". IGN. 2002-01-23. Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  27. ^ "Ridge Racer: Full Scale (3)". The Arcade Flyer Museum. 1993. Retrieved 2012-06-01. 
  28. ^ "Youtube video". 
  29. ^ "System16 website". 
  30. ^ "R4: Ridge Racer Type 4 Overview". allgame. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  31. ^ "Ridge Racer (2005) – Wireless". IGN. Retrieved 2012-01-07. 
  32. ^ Gerstmann, Jeff (2005-12-15). "Ridge Racer Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 2012-01-07. 
  33. ^ Buchanan, Levi (2006-01-11). "Ridge Racer". IGN. Retrieved 2012-01-07. 
  34. ^ Butler, Tom (2010-08-05). "PSN Store Update: Unleash Bullet Hell". IGN. Retrieved 2012-01-07. 
  35. ^ http://jogos.uol.com.br/ultnot/multi/2009/08/12/ult530u7173.jhtm

External links[edit]