This is a feature article of franchises that is considered as PlayStation franchises from the yesteryear that should make a comeback! When I say considered as PlayStation franchises I mean that these are not necessarily exclusive for the PlayStation platforms but more like when you ask people about them they usually perceive them as PlayStation games.
This is going to be multipart series and in this first part we take a look at one of the most iconic classic PlayStation franchises even though some of its games have been on another platforms and that is RIIIIIDGE RACER! Or just Ridge Racer. I had to do it.
Ridge Racer is known for few things. One of them being Sony’s answer to Sega’s arcade and later Saturn games like Daytona USA. Its drifting mechanics even though at least in the originals in arcade and on PlayStation if your car started to drift you were doing it wrong. And last but not least of course from the lovely Reiko Nagase mascot girl introduced in Rage Racer on PlayStation in 1996.
Below is the list of all the games released in the franchise in chronological order.
1993 – The very first game in the series were released in 1993 for the arcades using Namco’s System 22 arcade board that itself is based on the same architecture as Sony’s at that point new video game console called the PlayStation. So, it was easy to port the game over to PlayStation and it was one of the launch games in 1994 when the console first launched in Japan and year later in 1995 in North America and Europe.
1994 – Ridge Racer 2 was released in arcades for the Namco System 22 in 1994 as an update to the original game and third incarnation of the arcade game Rave Racer in 1995. It had two new tracks and feature eight player multiplayer.
1995 – Ridge Racer Revolution was released in 1995 for the PlayStation and it was too more of an update to the original game and was based on Ridge Racer 2 arcade game but had new music and additional vehicles and also supported multiplayer via PlayStation Link Cable.
1996 – In 1996 Rage Racer was released on the PlayStation and the game’s arcade roots started to disappear. Also, the series’ mascot and everybody’s favorite girl Reiko Nagase made her debut in 1996 in Rage Racer on PlayStation! This was also the game that had a darker tone to it which some people didn’t like. I’m in different, I enjoyed it as much previous and later installments. Also in 1996 Pocket Racer was released in Japanese arcades and was basically just Ridge Racer but with super-deformed Choro-Q-esc vehicles.
1998 – R4: Ridge Racer Type 4 as it was known in the North America or just Ridge Racer Type 4 in Europe was released in 1998 and is the last installment on the original PlayStation console. It featured brand new graphics and debut the racing teams that became the stable for the series. It had split-screen multiplayer. Type 4 is also available in PlayStation Classic that was released in 2018, though, that is not the version I recommend to play because PlayStation Classic’s emulation isn’t very good. This is also probably the most loved game in the whole series or at least one of them and it may be the best game in the series on the original PlayStation objectively speaking.
2000 – In year 2000 Ridge Racer was released for the first time other than PlayStation platform for home video gaming market as Ridge Racer 64, yes, you guessed it, for the Nintendo 64. This game wasn’t developed by Namco themselves but Nintendo Software Technology. The game featured tracks from Ridge Racer and Ridge Racer Revolution alongside some new vehicles and tracks.
2000 – Ridge Racer V for the PlayStation 2 or PS2 was released also in 2000 and it was the Namco proper game for the at that point already long running series. It was a PS2 launch game and actually the first ever PS2 game to go gold. Also Ridge Racer V is one of the most loved in the series and very challenging game after Type 4 that was a little on the easy side. This game also saw an arcade release one year later and it was subtitles Arcade Battle.
2003 – This was the point when Ridge Racer started to appear more and more often also other than PlayStation consoles and in 2003 R: Racing Evolution, known as R: Racing, was released on GameCube and Xbox alongside the PS2. This game also feature 33 licensed cars and 24 hours of Le Mans and Super GT. Very weird game in the franchise for sure.
2004 – Ridge Racer DS was released in 2004 for the Nintendo DS, duh. It being the first hand-held installment in the series. It was a Nintendo DS launch title and is a remake of Ridge Racer 64.
2004 – Another portable game was released one year later on Sony’s first hand-held console the ever popluar PSP or PlayStation Portable. In Japan it’s known as Ridge Racers and just Ridge Racer in the west. It feature vehicles and tracks from the earlier games in the franchise.
2005 – In 2005 there was a spin-off game called Critical Velocity released only in Japan for the PlayStation 2 that features Ridge Racer vehicles and settings in a more adventure-type game with a storyline. I’m not familiar with these more obscure games in the franchise at all. For example I had never heard about this one before writing this article!
2006 – Ridge Racer 6 was released in 2006 as a Xbox 360 launch title and is the first in the main series that didn’t release on PlayStation console at all. This game had like 130 cars, 30 tracks and 14 player online multiplayer. Also, in 2006 Ridge Racers 2 was released for the PSP, and again it was called just Ridge Racer 2 outside of Japan.
2007 – In 2007 saw the release of Ridge Racer 7, this time as a launch title for the PlayStation 3. Which is basically PS3’s Ridge Racer 6. Not quite but kind of. And unfortunately also the last proper game in the franchise. When I’m talking about this franchise making comeback I have been waiting since 2007. Even Vita game was disappointing with all the micro-transactios.
2008 – There was another weird spin-off in 2008 called Pachi-slot Ridge Racer in Japan which is pachi-slot machine and it was released as a PS2 game also. Only in Japan.
2009 – 2009 Was the dawn of the mobile game in the series and Ridge Racer Accelerated was released on IOS devices.
2011 – Ridge Racer 3D was… A 3D enabled game for the… 3DS. It was released in 2011 as a launch title for the Nintendo 3DS. There was another launch title in that very same year and that was Ridge Racer Vita, for the PlayStation Vita. Sony’s second unfortunately probably the last hand-held game console.
2012 – Last console/PC game in the series was released in 2012 as Ridge Racer Unbounded but it really wasn’t what the long-time fans were waiting for. It’s a vehicular combat game instead of a proper racing game. It was released on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.
2013 – In 2013 and 2016 there was couple of IOS mobile titles called Ridge Racer Slipstream which was on Android as well and latter was called Ridge Racer Draw & Drift only on IOS.
As you can see there was lots of games released in this franchise over the years but not so many actual proper Ridge Racer games in the main series which have been absent since the 2007’s Ridge Racer 7 on PS3. That means we haven’t got a proper Ridge Racer game in the whole current console generation, that being PS4 and Xbox One at the time of writing this article.
I really miss this series, yes, that includes the lovely Reiko! This is just the first part of this series of articles I’m planning to write about forgotten game franchises that was considered PlayStation games. If you have any suggestions of game series and franchises to make one of these about let us known down below in the comments or on Twitter @PSFANNET.