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 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 Even Wipeout HD, which claims it can, cheats by adjusting the resolution when things get too hectic.
Pachislot Ridge Racer (2008), for PlayStation 2. A pachislot Role-Playing Game developed by Yamasanote They are also known for creating a real-life reproduction of the Soldat Raggio, the cover car of the PSP releases. This reproduction appears as the Lethal Joke Character in Ridge Racers 2.
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).
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.
Starting from Ridge Racer 6, there are multiple announcers: 6 lets you choose between a normal, ultra-hammy announcer; Heihachi Mishima and Reiko Nagase; 7 and 3D have both a normal male announcer and Reiko Nagase at the same time; Vita, instead, lets you choose between Reiko and the normal male announcer.
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?
Big Bad: Monstrous in Ridge Racer 6 and 7, and Devil Trailer in Pachislot Ridge Racer.
The Soldat Crinale, earlier on known as the 13th Racing, comes across as this in most of the series.
True Final Boss: Devil Trailer in Pachislot Ridge Racer where it is a supporting truck of Soldat Crinale. The player must destroy it.
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.
Darker and Edgier: Rage Racer and Unbounded are 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 — and implied Big Bad — 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.
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.
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.
Easy-Mode Mockery: In Rage Racer, new cars from Grade 4 onwards do not have automatic transmission, forcing you to use manual. This does not apply to Grade 4 cars that are upgrades of lower-grade cars.
Fake Longevity: After completing Classes 1 through 5 of Rage Racer, your reward, aside from being awarded 99,999,999 eg, is the Extra GP, which is...all five prior classes all over again, only with the tracks in reverse. Completing the Extra GP is required to unlock Class 6. Oh, and all that eg you earned for completing the standard GP? It doesn't carry over to Extra GP. Time to start with the Gnade Espinoza all over again!
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.
Faux Symbolism: The logo for one of the fictional sponsors in the game is an Ouroboros (that is, a dragon eating its own tail, which is a symbol of eternity).
The Kamata Angelus, the Angel car, and the Soldat Crinale, the Devil car, are rather blatant examples of this. Hell, their logos are in the shape of an angel and a demon, to boot.
Final Boss: The Soldat Crinale/13th Racing in the original, 7 and Unbounded; the Kamata Angelus/White Angel in Revolution; the Assoluto Squaldonnote known in Japan as the Assoluto Dragone in Rage Racer; the four hidden cars in Type 4 and V; the Screamin' Eagle in 64; the Monstrous in 6; the Rally X player car in 3D; and again the Kamata Angelus, now known as the Zihua Archangel, in Vita.
Four Is Death: R4 and V have exactly four boss cars.note Well, theoretically there are 16 boss cars in R4 due to the game's team mechanic, but the car models themselves are actually 4.
Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Monstrous. Since this machine has no maker stated, it makes this machine even more mysterious. Racers have to wonder if where did this machine come from. Even Kamata Angelus and Soldat Crinale users don't know about it.
The maker Zihua from Vita does count as this, but it's not completely out of nowhere.
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 gamenote Although it does take forever to charge..
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.
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. In contrast, the Pachislot Ridge Racer is exclusively sold in Japan.
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.
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.
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: Sure, it might be an arcade game which puts its emphasis on gameplay rather than realism and graphics, but goodness gracious, the tracks are absolutely gorgeous. This is especially the case with V, 6 and 7.
Second Place Is for Losers: In R4, your team representatives treat anything short of a first-place finish as completely unacceptable, even if you qualify for the next race.
Sequel Difficulty Drop: Throughout the lifetime of the series, the drift mechanic and the collision physics have become more and more forgiving. In the mid-90's games, colliding with anything will cause your car to bounce off with a sharp loss in speed, often bumping into other cars or walls if there isn't enough space, and drifting often slows you to a crawl afterwards. Later games make it trivial to drift with only a negligible loss in speed, and are far more forgiving on smacking into objects, although continuous wall-smashing is still very punishing. This is especially evident in 3D.
Spiritual Successor: 6 could be regarded as one to Revolution and the PSP installments; 7, instead, is definitely regarded as one to Rage Racer, as both games share customization mechanics and a credits system, plus the career modes in both games are very similar to each other.
True Final Boss: It is revealed that the Devil Trailer in Pachislot Ridge Racer is behind the Soldat Crinale of the entire series. And the player must destroy it in order to complete the battle.
Unstable Equilibrium: In R4's GP Mode, do well in each race and you'll get the top-of-the-line cars that will help you secure even more first-place finishes. Do poorly, and you'll get bad upgrades that make winning the next races horrendously difficult, on top of being trash-talked by your team.
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.
Rage Racer gives you seven lives per GP. Retiring a race or failing to place third or higher takes away one life. Lose all your lives and you'll lose all of the medals you've earned for the current GP, although you'll retain all of your other progress.
R4 allows you to fail up to three times per heat; the fourth time results in a Game Over and you will have to restart the entire heat.
What the Hell, Player?: In R4, your crew will berate you in the first two heats if you don't finish in 1st, as well as give you inferior new cars instead of better ones. Dig Racing Team is somewhat of an exception; your crew is particularly nice to you, but the owner (who is never shown on-screen) has a differing opinions of you.
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.