Genre: Racing / Driving
Perspective: 1st-person, Behind view
Gameplay: Arcade, Vehicle Simulator
Vehicular: Automobile, Street Racing
Published by: Namco Limited
Developed by: Namco Limited
Platform: PlayStation (PSX, PS1)
No matter what, Ridge Racer, like the very first game released on the now legendary PlayStation platform, will now forever remain in the history of video games. After all, thanks to her, SONY was able to simultaneously show the potential of its first gaming system and, at the same time, the direction in which it will further develop. And even though it had only one track, and its gameplay was already boring the next day, at that time nobody wanted to notice it. In those early years, everyone was saying only about her insane graphics for those times, the magnificence of polygons and other nonsense, while completely forgetting about the old-fashioned concept of gameplay. In general, it was a real revolution with all the ensuing consequences.
Four years have passed. During this time, we all have grown noticeably. The whirlwind of the revolution, sweeping everything and everything, has noticeably subsided, and we, at last, remembered such an old-fashioned, but still eternal concept, like gameplay. With the change of landmarks, our preferences began to change. We are no longer driven into the trance once by the revolutionary polygon graphics, and we can not be deceived by cheap special effects and beautiful video screens. In other words, after the revolution there came the so-called "reaction" time.
And in this turbulent time of the next change of landmarks, Namco, which always knew how to keep its nose to the wind, released its latest creation from the Racer series, which received the stylish and concise name R4. In this work, the company faced the truly titanic task of turning Ridge Racer into a game corresponding to the new realities of our time. And with this task Namco, unfortunately, so completely failed to cope. As a result, we got an insanely stylish, beautiful and high-quality race, which in its appearance seems modern, and in its content it turns out to be too primitive and outdated. Furthermore. In its fourth incarnation, this series, in pursuit of fashion, almost completely lost its individuality, turning from a kind of gay 1994 model hilarious into a simplified and unfinished clone of Gran Tuirismo. And we just did not expect this from Namco.
But no matter how dissatisfied we are with the ability of this company to follow the latest fashion and the inability to create it last time, in its Ridge Racer Type 4 this company once again showed everything that only it can do. This is, of course, the design of this game and its graphics, which today on the PlayStation is simply no equal. Fans of the works of this company will meet this game with a magnificent introductory video, which fully conveys the whole spirit of this series. A stylish and newfangled interface, even if taken from the pages of the latest issue of the magazine "Contemporary Design", will further immerse you in the world of this game. And, having started, finally, to the races themselves, you will simply be overwhelmed by the quality of graphics that programmers from Namco could achieve. In front of your eyes are incredibly detailed and delivering a genuine aesthetic pleasure trails, which will pass at a decent speed, the same beautiful and stylish cars. And all this splendor will be accompanied by really fashionable dance music, which was famous and all the previous games from this series. However, after getting acquainted with magnificent landscapes, beautiful typewriters, stylish interface and fashionable sound, all the rush from Ridge Racer Type 4 somewhere disappears, because no, even the most perfect form, you can not cover up the lack of a decent game in the game. And it's just in this game and not enough.
The first thing that catches your eye is the simplistic physical model used in this game, to the limit, which was inherited from the first Ridge Racer. Undoubtedly, Namco tried to improve it a little, however, in any case in this game you again have to ride on glued to the track lightweight rubber cars, which when entering the turn and pressing the brake go into an uncontrolled drift. Four years ago, such a "physics" in the arcade race somehow could match the demands of the time, however, today all these simplifications look quite ridiculous and very quickly get bored. The second problem, which R4 got from his progenitor, also starts to get on your nerves already on the second lap. It's about the camera used in this series of games, or rather, about its production. In Ridge Racer Type 4 you are given the opportunity to choose the perspective from the first person (this is when the camera as it rides on the road in front of the car) or a third person view, when using which the camera remains glued just above the luggage compartment. And in the first and second cases of the feeling that you are driving a car, you are unlikely to get, because such a setting of the camera, rather, sets you up to contemplate the tracks, rather than on the race itself. As for the routes themselves, their number and quality will not be disappointing. For the first time in this series, Namco decided to give us a set of four tracks, each of which, as in the good old Ridge Racer, has 2 routes.
Nevertheless, even an inexperienced player will immediately notice that almost all of them, in one form or another, were already present in the same GT, and we generally confused the night route in the city with a similar circuit in the epochal race from Sony. Unfortunately, this is not the end of copying the ideas of Gran Turismo in R4. Just like in GT, in this game you can find just a huge number of machines, which, however, all were taken from the ceiling, and not licensed from real manufacturers. And just like in GT, in this game you will be given the opportunity to choose two different driving modes, in this case Drift and Grip, the difference between which we, however, did not notice. Unfortunately, this list of what Namco took from Sony to develop its game, can continue indefinitely. However, if Sony in Gran Turismo clearly put the quality of the gameplay first, Namco, for whatever reason, in R4 paid its full attention only to the design and graphics, putting the gameplay in the last place. However, with the exception of the aforementioned details, the fourth Ridge Racer, in principle, is ready to give you some pleasure. In it you will not find any problems with the management, its tracks were built with the utmost for Namco thoroughness, and, having got at their disposal powerful machines, you even will be able to feel all the buzz from the ride "with the breeze", which was always famous for the original Ridge Racer. Having found on each route the optimal route prepared by the game's creators, you will soon also receive a constant pleasure from easy victories, which is also very important. And if you get tired of it, you can, for example, paint your car (like in Rage Racer) or compete in the knowledge of tracks with friends in split screen mode. And if you remember that the original version of the game went on sale right away on two discs, one of which you can find an improved graphically the first Ridge Racer, then you can safely say that R4, as a tribute to this series of games, and indeed just as a gay and non-binding gon, justifies its existence by 100%.
However, summing up, we still have to state a disappointing fact for Namco and its fans. Released a year ago, Gran Turismo has remained an unconquered top among the races on the PlayStation, while the R4 described here (which, moreover, is its explicit clone) has remained an unpretentious but attractive race, whose virtues end where and begin. Yes, playing it for a while is very fun, and, yes, her beauty can briefly overshadow all her problems. Nevertheless, if you waited for something more from Namco, then when you get to know this game, you will really be disappointed.