Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Ridge Racer 64 (N64 review)

Developer: Nintendo Software Technology
Publisher: Nintendo
Released: 2000

Ridge Racer 64 is a racing game and the first title in the series to appear on a Nintendo console.


There's 20 stages split across four courses and it features an exclusive desert location called Renegade. Modes include Grand Prix (compete against 11 other opponents) and Car Attack (race against a single CPU driver to win their vehicle). The main feature here is the corner drifting and while it can be tricky to get the hang of it's absolutely thrilling when you do; screaming up to a corner, sliding your car around with barely any loss of speed and then levelling out never gets old! The courses are another high point with their intricate designs, and gorgeously detailed and entrancing scenery. The presentation is excellent too, with lots of nice flourishes that point to Namco's history (such as Galaga gameplay appearing on the racetrack big screen). And then there's the uptempo music which matches the adrenaline filled action perfectly and gets you totally amped for each race. My main gripe with the racing though is that you always seem to take the most damage when your car collides with another vehicle; this is even the case when you're in front and they bump you from the rear-side, as you'll usually slam to a crawl while they merrily drive off with barely any lost momentum. It feels cheap and can cost you several places in the blink of an eye. On a related note, the AI is very unforgiving as they'll frequently spread out across the road to make your life extremely difficult; this clustering means plenty of annoying zigzagging at the start of races as you basically have to navigate through (what feels like) gang territory! Also, annoying rubber banding is prevalent, as the CPU will weirdly accelerate and then slow down at times.

Ridge Racer 64 is a compelling Arcade title with first-rate course design, terrific presentation and a seriously gratifying drift mechanic. However, it never quite reaches its full potential due to its reliance on rubber banding and overly aggressive CPU drivers that seem gung-ho on ruining your day at every opportunity!



Random trivia: A revised port called Ridge Racer DS was released on the Nintendo DS in 2004.

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