Ridge Racer Revolution

a game by Namco Ltd.
Platforms: Playstation PSX
Genre: Racing
Editor Rating: 8/10, based on 4 reviews
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See also: Ridge Racer Games
Ridge Racer Revolution
Ridge Racer Revolution
Ridge Racer Revolution
Ridge Racer Revolution

Ridge Racer, perhaps the best racing simulation for the Sony PlayStation, is flying off the shelves as we write this. Little do these unsuspecting software buyers know that the sequel, tentatively titled Ridge Racer Revolution, is being readied for a December release in Japan. Presently (late September), the game is only about 30 percent done but as the screen shots show, it looks hot and is taking shape very quickly.

Also, this is not a translation of the arcade Ridge Racer 2. We were told that to put the game in perspective, this could almost be called RR 2.5 as Namco has gone beyond the modest upgrade that was done from RR to RR2.

New to this version is a new mode of play. In Free Run, the player will get to pick the course (there is more than one in this version) and have a free run at it. This is available so that the player can get used to the course. In addition, there is a one-on-one race with the computer and also a time trial scenario (storable on the memory card).

We also have been told that the black car will be back, so look for an even harder opponent in this version.

Of course, this game will be with Namco's Japanese Nejicom racing controller. (Come on Namco, bring it out in the States!) There will be the option to link up two PlayStations (and two monitors) to go one-on-one with your friend!

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Game Reviews

Pushing the envelope of racing intensity, Namco returns to the pole position with Ridge Racer Revolution (pictures from Japanese version shown).

This sequel to the ever-popular Ridge Racer boasts up to 15 cars, 3 race modes, and link-cable compatibility for two-player action on separate TVs. Clean, sharp graphics and crisp audio put a shiny bow on this tight racing package, but the meat of the game remains the same-outstanding gameplay.

Unlike its predecessor, Ridge Racer Revolution provides a wealth of sharp climbs and drops, adjustable curve speeds, and a rear-view mirror in the first-person perspective to show opponents. What's more, in the two-player mode, you can race on the new tracks, plus the original tracks of the first Ridge Racer.

Without a doubt, Ridge Racer Revolution's most outstanding feature lies in the ability to link two PlayStations and go head-to-head against a human opponent.

The impossible has happened: Ridge Racer just got better. Ridge Racer Revolution tops all the sights and sounds of the first PlayStation game with what looks like considerable ease.

Revolution's Evolution

This latest version of the hit arcade racing game is no mere clone. One of the differences you immediately notice is the rearview mirror. Initially, this feature seems distracting, but you soon learn to use it defensively. Another difference is the two-player head-to-head mode, which links you with another PlayStation to race against a friend.

Revolutionary Graphics

Ridge Revolution looks awesome! The track redraws so far ahead you can't even see it happen, and the racing is faster and more frantic than in the original. The action never slows down, despite the constantly changing light sources that mark different times of day or tunnels. The motion is always fluid.

Tacked on Tracks

The game opens with three tracks, but if you finish first on these, you can race three extended, more difficult versions of these courses. The initial tracks offer three game-play modes: Race (you against 12 cars), Time Trial (you against 2 cars), and Free Run (basically a practice mode with unlimited laps).

The only problem with the tracks--as in the original Ridge Racer---is the lack of variety in the environment. These building-and-palm-tree-lined tracks are challenging, but a change of venue would have been nice.

Supercars

Also tucked away in Ridge Revolution are three new supercars: the black 13th Racing, the 13th Racing Kid, and the real prize, the White Angel. To get to any of these cars, you must beat it in a Time Trial race--and only after you finish first on the first three tracks. This compels you to learn the tracks: One false move allows your competitors to zip ahead of you, and once that happens, it's almost impossible to catch up. But once you beat the special cars, they bring their superior speed and handling to your lineup.

Racer Tradition

Ridge Revolution certainly upholds the Ridge Racer tradition by doing exactly what it should: It surpasses the original. Ridge Racer and Tekken made Namco king of PlayStation racing and fighting; the sequels extend the company's reign.

ProTips:

  • Super Deformed mode alters more than the cars' appearance. For example, you don't fly through the air when you take a small hill at high speeds.
  • To get the best start, wait until the red line just touches the outside of the arrow at the number 1. Then floor it.
  • Take advantage of the rearview mirror. Whenever an opponent gets too close, slam on the brakes to break his speed or cut him off.
  • When racing against the black or white car, the first lap isn't important; it's during the last two laps that you need to stay ahead.

Graphics

The track redraw is phenomenally smooth. The extra visuals, such as the planes and helicopters that fly by, are a nice touch.

Sound

Squealing tires, the enthusiastic announcer, and your revving engine receive excellent audio treatment. The jazzy techno-inflections of the pleasant music add to the overall effect. The ability to select music tracks is also a big plus.

Control

The controls can be excellent, depending on the car you choose. Each has different attributes that affect the controls-one car may have excellent handling but poor acceleration.

Fun Factor

This is the best racing game for the PlayStation by far. Six tracks, several cars, hidden goodies, and intense driving easily run the competition off the road.

Overview

The first racing game I ever bought for my Playstation was Ridge Racer. I loved that game. Why? I'm not really sure, but I think it was because it was the first real racing title to hit the market and there was nothing else to love. Here we are, over a year later, and Ridge Racer is collecting dust on my shelf -- but wait, is it true? A new Ridge Racer? Yes, that's right, Namco has taken the game I played for so many hours, added new tracks, and spit our Ridge Racer Revolution. Is this game worth the price of admission if you already own the first? Yes, if you loved the original, but if not, you may not be too impressed with the second.

Let's talk about what is new in the second installment of the series. Well, there are three new tracks and better graphics and, umm, well, that is about it. The cars are virtually the same except for maybe a few more hidden cars, but on the whole, your original four cars are the same as the original four cars in the first. Except for a few minor additions such as new music and a rearview mirror, the game is virtually the same.

Gameplay

For those of you that passed on the first Ridge Racer, let me explain the game. It is a car racing game. That about explains it. You have the choice of four cars from the beginning, each with characteristics unique to the car, and the object is to cross the finish line ahead of the 11 other cars. Sounds simple but it is not always that easy to do.

Since this section is titled gameplay, let's jump right into the racing action. Ridge Racer Revolution (RRR) is a fast, winding, screeching, slamming ride to the finish line. The thing that I liked so much about the original is the level of competition. It is not too hard and not too easy. You will always be able to pass the first wave of cars but the battle for the top spots is a bit more difficult. This keeps the game challenging and fun.

We all know that what makes or breaks a racing game is the controls of the vehicle. If the vehicle is not responsive enough, the game just wont cut it. On the flip side, if the vehicle is too responsive, driving becomes too difficult and the game gets assigned to shelf duty. Where does RRR fall in this mix? It really depends on the car you choose. Some are too responsive, some are not responsive enough and some are just right. Each car has a learning curve that gets you to the point where you feel comfortable racing the car. The cars with the tight grip and excellent handling are almost too responsive to the point where if you breath too heavy near the controller, you will smash into a wall. Basically, when you unlock all of the cars, there is bound to be one that fits your driving style.

The biggest change from the original game is the tracks. Unfortunately, RRR has the same problem as its predecessor. Not enough tracks. When you start the game, you have three choices for tracks; a short Novice track with mild corners, a longer Intermediate track which includes most of the Novice track but adds a detour section with rougher cornering and increased total length, and finally, an Expert track which includes most of the Novice and Intermediate tracks but adds some serious hairpin corners. So what does this all mean? You really only have three tracks and they are all derivatives of each other. Well, that is not entirely accurate. You can race each track in the wrong direction, which makes the tracks completely different. So I guess you could say that there are six tracks, sort of. This is the same problem that plagued the first title. We want more tracks!

On a positive note about the tracks, the ones that are in the game are always challenging and fun to race. Every race, from Novice to Expert, is a dogfight to the finish line. The action is always hot and heavy and the feeling of speed is quite well done. Even after you memorize every twist and turn, it is still a bit of a challenge to hold out the course of a race.

The game does offer three different modes of racing. The first is an all out race to the finish. This is a three lap race against 11 other cars to the finish. The second is the time trial. This is a three lap, one on one race against the clock. If you finish first against the other car and your time is in the top six, you get to enter your initials and save the record. The last race type is called free run. This is a practice mode that goes unlimited laps as long as your race time never reaches zero. This is a great way to learn the tracks before digging in and racing against the rest of the field.

Graphics

The graphics in RRR seem to be cleaned up a bit from the original with less break up. The racing environment is excellent and it definitely gives you the feel of rushing through a mountain pass. The cars are all well-drawn, and from the different racing views, there is a view that will satisfy just about everyone's racing preference. There is an occasional break up problem but it is minimal. The one major glitch is that at times, you will drive right through one of the other cars, but once again this is fairly minimal.

Bottom Line

If you really liked the first one, you will love this game. I think it is one of the more intense racing games on the market. If there were only more tracks to select from, this game would be top-notch. The developers must have been thinking that the first one was successful with only three tracks, so why change? Unfortunately, that was my gripe with it as well. If you have not played the first one, you will definitely enjoy RRR. I just wish there were more changes from the original, instead of a cleaned-up version of the same game with new tracks. On the whole, though, this is a fun game that racing fans should enjoy.

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