Ridge Racer

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
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"It's Ridge Racer! Riiiiiidge Racer!"
—Sony Computer Entertainment president Kaz Hirai at E3 2006

Ridge Racer is a series of racing games created by Namco and initially released in arcades in 1993. They found greater popularity on the PlayStation, where the first Ridge Racer game was announced as a launch title, owing much of its success to its emphasis on fast-paced racing over super-realism. Each game has multiple tracks that take place in the same city, with the same start/finish line but different vantage points. So far, seven official games have been released on PlayStation consoles (except for Ridge Racer 64, which was a Nintendo 64 game, and Ridge Racer 6, an Xbox 360-only title), with side-games and remakes on the PSP and Nintendo DS. An eighth game, dubbed Ridge Racer Unbounded, was released in 2012 and developed by Bugbear Entertainment (developers of the first two Flatout games).

There are currently 7 main titles in the series and many portable versions and spinoffs. It's become a tradition for a new PlayStation console to have a new Ridge Racer game as a Launch Title, and the 3DS, DS and Xbox 360 were launched with one as well.

  • Ridge Racer (1994 - Japan, 1995 - USA/EU), for arcades and the PlayStation.
  • Ridge Racer Revolution (1995 - Japan, 1996 - USA/EU), for PlayStation.
  • Rage Racer (1996 - Japan, 1997 - USA/EU), for PlayStation
  • R4: Ridge Racer Type 4 (1998 - Japan, 1999 - USA/EU), for PlayStation.
  • Ridge Racer 64 (2000), for Nintendo 64, features tracks from Ridge Racer and Ridge Racer 2 and its very own set of desert tracks exclusive to the N64.
  • Ridge Racer V (2000), for PlayStation 2.
  • R: Racing Evolution (2003 - Japan, 2004 USA/EU), for PlayStation 2, Game Cube and Xbox.
  • Ridge Racer DS (2004 - USA, 2005 - EU), for Nintendo DS, a port of Ridge Racer 64.
  • Ridge Racer(s) (PSP) (2004 - Japan, 2005 - USA/EU), for PlayStation Portable, mixed new vehicles with tracks from the previous games.
  • Ridge Racer 6 (2005), for Xbox 360 (Launch Game)
  • Ridge Racer(s) 2 (PSP) (2006), for PlayStation Portable
  • Ridge Racer 7 (2006), for PlayStation 3 (Launch Game) - Allowed complete customization of vehicles from body kits to engine parts and paint jobs. One of the few Play Station 3 games to run at 1080p and 60 FPS[1]
  • Ridge Racer 3D (2011), for Nintendo 3DS
  • Ridge Racer (2012), for Play Station Vita (Launch game)
  • Ridge Racer Unbounded (2012), for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC

Not to be confused with Cliff Racer.

A Ridge Racer game will typically have:

  • Ridiculously unrealistic, dramatic drifting, to the point where turning is almost automatic and the brake button is rendered obsolete. The main draw of the series, and what separates it from other racing games.
    • Later games added a nitrous boost (which is charged by drifting quickly) and slipstreaming (implemented as an almost literal Rubber Band AI that also benefits you).
  • Multiple tracks with identical start and ending points, but with completely different paths. You can even see the path of one track while racing in another.
  • Numerous references to other Namco games. Since Namco owns the patent for minigames on loading screens, Ridge Racer games typically let you play games like Xevious or Pac-Man while the game is loading.
  • Tracks shamelessly copy and pasted between games, sometimes blurring the line between a new game and an Updated Rerelease.
  • A techno/house soundtrack done in-house by Namco. Lampshaded with a track in 7 named "Bad House Music".
  • And Reiko Nagase. Beware the Fandom if she's not included. Take Unbounded for example, where she's replaced by a newcomer named Kara Shindo.
Tropes used in Ridge Racer include:
  • Announcer Chatter: Ridge Racer 64 had a terribly overenthusiastic announcer, Ridge Racer Type 4 had a calmer, much better announcer with a deep echo on his voice, and Ridge Racer V had a not-so-bad radio DJ. Rage Racer had Reiko.
  • Cool Car: In R4, your cars become cooler and more badass depending on how well you finish during the storyline races.
  • Crossover: In the Vita Ridge Racer: "REEDGE RAYSORE... ALL OF US... Do do-do do do do do do DO doooooo..."
  • Darker and Edgier: Unbounded is this compared to the other games in the franchise.
  • Difficult but Awesome: A lot of the special machines, particularly in Ridge Racers 6 and 7 when there were numerous ones of them, qualify. Oh, sure, cars like the Kamata Angelus/Angel are good at everything, but there are some quirky special machines out there, each with their own perks, including:
    • The long-running Soldat Crinale/Devil, which turns as if the car is constantly driving on ice, but consistently boasts one of the highest top speeds in the game
    • The Ridge Racer 6/7 Terrazi Terrajin, a rocket car with only two gears which can get ridiculous rocket starts precisely for that reason
    • The Ridge Racer Type 4 Age Ecureuil, which looks like a BMW Isetta and corners so absurdly tight at top speed that it can be hard to avoid smacking into the walls when learning to drive it
    • Type 4's Assoluto Vulcano and Ridge Racers 6 and 7's Pronzione, which can hover around corners at absurd speeds and somehow still need a transmission with separate drive gears
  • Dynamic Loading: The PS1 port of Ridge Racer and Ridge Racer Revolution have Dynamic Loading Mini Games, the former being a shortened Galaxian stage, and the latter being one of the "Galactic Dancin'" Challenging Stages from Galaga '88. This led Namco to patent mini-games during loading times.
    • Ridge Racers has Rally-X during the initial load screen (though this can be disabled via a menu); scoring 50,000 points or higher and completing PRO Tour 18 unlocks the Rally-X secret car mentioned under Guest Fighter. Similarly, Ridge Racer 6 has Pac-Man.
  • Easter Egg: R4 has one if you win five races with PRC, a sweet fax praising your success from none other than Reiko.
  • Gaiden Game: R: Racing Evolution. It's actually very close to Toca Race Driver/Pro Race Driver, with real cars, real tracks and a story mode with cutscenes.
    • To some extent, Unbounded.
  • Guest Fighter: The player car from Rally-X in Ridge Racers. Starts off the line with rather slow acceleration, but soon reaches a very high top speed, even outrunning series mainstay supercars like the Angelus and Crinale.
  • Hood Ornament Hottie: Starting with Rage Racer, where Reiko Nagase became an unofficial mascot for the series.
  • In Name Only: Ridge Racer Unbounded, from the Flat Out creators at Bugbear Entertainment, with a major emphasis on destruction and a Need for Speed Underground-ish vibe. Fans couldn't cry "Ruined FOREVER" fast enough.
  • Insistent Terminology: Some entries in the series refuses to call cars "cars", using "machines" instead, as some of the unlockable vehicles aren't actually cars.
  • Internal Homage: Every course in Ridge Racers.
  • Nitro Boost: Introduced in the PSP games, where you earn nitrous by drifting, and you can have up to 3 bottles at once. Starting from Ridge Racer 6 was the ability to use multiple bottles at once. Unbounded also has Nitrous, but in two forms, you only get one bar, and jumps now also charge them. The first is the plain old Boost bar, available in the Shindo Racing events. The second is the Power bar, which is seen in every other game mode, where it's used not only to boost speed, but to destroy parts of the environment or take down other vehicles.
  • No Export for You: Ridge Racer 2 on PSP was released in Japan, Europe, and Australia, but not North America.
  • Nostalgia Level: Ridge Racers and its sequel on the PSP, full stop.
  • NTSC-U Bonus: The US version of Ridge Racers adds the Max Tours, the hardest tours in the entire game.
  • Palette Swap: Used by the majority of cars in the PS 1 games.
  • Preorder Bonus: Pre-ordering Unbounded would give players a few cars from previous Ridge Racer games, including the Kamata RC410 from 7, and the original incarnation of the Assoluto Bisonte from 64.
  • Rubber Band AI
    • Taken to the nth degree in the above-mentioned Max Tours from the US version of Ridge Racers. You only race against 3 CPU players rather than the standard 11...and they're the hardest CPUs you'll ever face.
    • 7 gives you and the AI a much more literal version of the trope in the form of slipstreaming.
  • Shout-Out: Everything Namco has ever done, period. Dig Dug makes car parts, Soul Calibur characters make wheel mods, Phantomile is a track in Type 4, Ridge State has a Xevious tournament...
    • The tracks are also littered with Shout Outs to other games. Pay close attention in Ridge Racer V and 64, for example, and you'll see the logos of the factions from Ace Combat 3 Electrosphere.
  • The Jimmy Hart Version: The song "Pulse Phaze" sounds a lot like "Katamari On The Funk" with any reference to Katamari taken out. The lyrics become "Let's get together! Lalalalalalala",
  • Updated Rerelease: Ridge Racer Turbo was a prototype 60-frames-per-second version of the original that was released as a bonus disc with Ridge Racer Type 4.
  • X Meets Y: Unbounded is Ridge Racer meets Burnout, which would make sense considering the developers (Bugbear Entertainment, who did the Flat Out series) with a dash of Split Second and Blur.
  1. Even Wipeout HD, which claims it can, cheats by adjusting the resolution when things get too hectic.