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Video Game: Ridge Racer

"Riiiiiidge Racer!"
— Sony Computer Entertainment president Kaz Hirai at E3 2006

"No one knows how the race began or how the contestants became known as Ridge Racers..."

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 Flat Out 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, GameCube 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 PS3 games to run at 1080p and 60 FPSnote 
  • Ridge Racer 3D (2011), for Nintendo 3DS
  • Ridge Racer (2012), for PlayStation Vita (Launch game)
  • Ridge Racer Unbounded (2012), for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC
  • Ridge Racer Driftopia (2013), a new Free To Play game by Unbounded developers Bugbear for Playstation 3 and PC
  • Ridge Racer Slipstream (2013), for iOS and Android devices, developed to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the series

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 A.I. 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 by Namco's sound team, which includes notable game music composers such as Kohta Takahashi and Shinji Hosoe. Lampshaded with a track in 7 named "Bad House Music".
  • A bunch of fictional cars made by fictional brands such as Kamata (Japanese, similar to Nissan and Toyota), Danver (American, similar to Chevrolet and Dodge), Soldat (French-Italian, similar to Lamborghini and Pagani), Assoluto (Italian, similar to Ferrari), Age (French, similar to Renault and CitroŽn), Lucky & Wild (Canadian, similar to Ford and Chrysler), Terrazi (Japanese, similar to Honda), Himmel (German, similar to Porsche) and Gnade (German, similar to BMW).
  • Very fast, crazy and improbably cool hidden cars: the most recurring ones are the Kamata Angelus and the Soldat Crinale, which are cars based on the angel and the devil.
  • And Reiko Nagase. Beware the Fandom if she's not included. See V's Ai Fukami and Unbounded's Kara Shindo for notable examples.

This series provides examples of:

  • 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.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Soldat Crinale is considered to be one: according to its description in 7, it can cause heavy addiction at the first race with it already, and if not handled well, the results can be deadly. Scared?
  • Brutal Bonus Level: The MAX Tours in the North American version of Ridge Racers and in Ridge Racers 2.
  • Cool Car: In R4, your cars become cooler and more badass depending on how well you finish during the storyline races.
    • The Special cars in all games. Some of them are pimped out hot-rods, others are little speedsters, others are Formula One car look-a-likes, others are antigravity racers, others are tremendously weird, others are rocket cars , but, let's just say it, these cars are absolutely epic. There are also the Kamata Angelus, the Angel car, which is very fast and easy to handle, posing a big threat even to the more experienced players, and the (badass) Soldat Crinale, the Devil car, which is the fastest car in the game, but handles like the road's made of ice.
  • Crossover: In the Vita Ridge Racer: "REEDGE RAYSORE... ALL OF US... Do do-do do do do do do DO doooooo..."
    • One of the machines you can get in Ridge Racer 2 for PSP is from an old arcade game called Rally X. You get a pixel perfect version of it.
  • 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,a single gear little bugger 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.
    • Some of the nitrous types in 7 breathe this trope. Example given, the GeneralResource Reverse Charge nitrous, which only charges when the boost is active during a drift. Use it wrong, and the rest of it is gone for the duration of the race, but use it right, and you can have endless level 3 nitrous boosts.
  • 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.
  • Fanservice: The hidden menu look in the PS Vita version has quite the sexy Reiko Nagase in the background, wearing a skimpy latex racing suit based on the Soldat Crinale. The normal menu isn't safe from this either.
  • 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. And it has the longest and most powerful Nitrous Boost in the game.
    • The Vita game features the Hornet Stock Car from Daytona USA as DLC. Yes, a car from a completely different series gets an appearance in this game as DLC, as well as its own track. This is also the first time that a car from a series not owned by Namco appears in the Ridge Racer series.
      • Didn't we mention that Ridge Racer and Daytona USA had a Fandom Rivalry back in the days?
  • 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 FlatOut creators at Bugbear Entertainment, with a major emphasis on destruction and a Need for Speed Underground-ish vibe. Fans couldn't cry "Ruined!" 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.
  • Irony: Reiko was first featured in Rage Racer. Her voice and looks portray her as anything but angry, and as the series went on she only got sweeter.
  • Marathon Level: Many racetracks in the series are 6 or 7 kilometers long, however, the game's exaggerated drifting physics let you tackle the circuits in times that are impossible in Real Life.
  • Mission Pack Sequel: Ridge Racers 2 is the same thing as Ridge Racers with a few new courses, modes, and music tracks. Even the menu interface is perfectly identical to the original.
  • Nitro Boost: Introduced in the PSP games, where you earn nitrous by drifting, and you can have up to 3 tanks at once. Starting from Ridge Racer 6 was the ability to use multiple tanks at once, to a maximum of 3. The more tanks you use, the longer and more powerful is the boost. Unbounded also has Nitrous, but in two forms, you only get one bar, and straight-on jumps now also charge them (in previous games, you had to be drifting just before the jump for charging to take place). 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. Inversly, Ridge Racer Unbounded was released in North America, Europe, and Australia, but not Japan. The latter could also apply to Ridge Racer 64, with 64 being the first Ridge Racer title not to see a Japanese relase.
  • 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.
  • Our Angels Are Different: The Kamata Angelus. A divine-looking FIA GT Series racer look-a-like, it is the four-wheel embodiment of an angel, as it is fast, easy to handle and with the utter absence of weaknesses.
  • Our Demons Are Different: The Soldat Crinale. A badass-looking matte black Le Mans Prototype with a frightfully tremendous top speed, but it is very punishing to drive.
  • Palette Swap: Used by the majority of cars in the PS1 games. However, these palette swaps also have some performance variations, from subtle to really blatant.
  • Pimped-Out Car: The Extra and Duel cars in V, the Class 4/5/6 cars in the PSP releases and the Class 3/4 cars in 6. However, in 7, this trope is taken Up to Eleven: there are over 375k possible combinations of modifying each of your vehicles visually with front and rear bumpers, hoods, wings, liveries, rims and much more, and over 2k possible tuning combinations for engines, tires, suspensions and Nitrous. These are numbers that can challenge even games such as Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport!
  • 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.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: V had "Fogbound" by Japanese electro rock band Boom Boom Satellites as its theme song. You can hear it here, and wow, just wow, it's so epic!
    • Unbounded had a lot of real life songs, which is kind of weird for this series. The soundtrack has various songs by drum n bass, house and dubstep personalities such as RuN RiOT, The Crystal Method and even Skrillex; however, Bugbear didn't forget the amazing Namco music team, and had some new songs made for the game and even songs from older Ridge Racer games, especially from 6 and 7. In fact, the track that was used the most in trailers for this game was "Road Mauler" from 6, which is an amazing industrial metal tune, and is really fitting for Unbounded. You can hear it here.
    • 7 had together with the amazing music by the Namco music team, a nice amount of real life songs of artists signed in the Japanese electronic music label King Street Sounds.
  • Rubber Band A.I.
    • 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.
  • Scenery Gorn: In Unbounded: after destroying many scenery objects or in the Ghost Bay scenery, which is the final world of the game.
  • Scenery Porn: Most of the racetracks from 6 and 7, such as Mist Falls, Sunset Heights, Lost Ruins and Island Circle, have scenery which is amazing to look at. Lost Ruins and Mist Falls for example, have heavily detailed ruins and monuments. Sunset Heights, despite being one of the toughest racetracks in the series, is Scenery Porn from start to end, as it has an absolutely lush forest in it (which, unfortunately, might catch people off guard). And the Rave City tracks (Rave City Riverfront, Downtown Rave City, Crossbay Tunnel)... Gosh, they are even BETTER! Not only they are some of the longest tracks in the series (all of them are 7 km long circa!!!), but they are also very fun and they are COMPLETE SCENERY PORN, thanks to the neons, the amusement park, the big shining billboards and the beautiful moonlight shining on the track.
    • The new triad of circuits that appeared in 3D and Vita, Oceanfront Cruise Way, Silver Mountain Skyway and Redstone Thunder Road are no exception to this trope: Oceanfront Cruise Way is set on a city similar to Seattle, Dubai or Seoul, then near an airport and finally, there's an underwater tunnel! Silver Mountain Skyway is set instead in a lovely snowy scenery reminiscent of Aspen and Switzerland. Redstone Thunder Road instead is set in an abandoned Far West city and in a mine inside a canyon.
  • Shout-Out: Everything Namco has ever done, period. Dig Dug makes car parts, SoulCalibur 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.
  • Updated Re-release: 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.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: According to the intro, 7 is set in a fictional nation called Ridge State, in which car racing is oh-so popular.
  • X Meets Y: Unbounded is Ridge Racer meets Burnout, which would make sense considering the developers (Bugbear Entertainment, who did the FlatOut series) with a dash of Split Second and blur.

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alternative title(s): Ridge Racer
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