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Ridge Racer for the PSP is an arcade racing video game developed by Namco. It is named after the eponymous Ridge Racer series video game series to which it belongs. The game was released in Japan as Ridge Racers. A sequel titled Ridge Racer 2 has also been released for the PSP.

Overview

Namco and Sony are now officially three for three when it comes to launching a new piece of Sony game hardware with a new game from Namco's Ridge Racer series. And like those previous Ridge Racer efforts, the first PSP installment in the series does a fine job of showing off the system's technical prowess while simultaneously providing more of the same smooth Ridge Racer gameplay that still holds up after all these years. Ridge Racer sticks close to the series classic formula, so fans of the series will feel right at home.While the gameplay in Ridge Racer is certainly no slouch, the real treat to Ridge Racer on the PSP is how it looks. Or, to get more specific, how it moves. This is the smoothest-running PSP game on the block at launch. The frame rate never stops to skip a beat, and all this ties in to give the game a great sense of speed. You really feel like you're burning down the track when you unlock the faster cars. On top of that, the environments all look fantastic. The roads are sharp, and you'll get different lighting reflections on the road surface from sunsets and stuff like that. All in all, it's an impressive graphical showpiece. About the only thing missing is antialiasing.

Racing in Ridge Racer is fun. In fact, it's always been fun, so there haven't been many changes made here, which is good for fans of the series. However, the gameplay isn't going to convert anyone after a decade of minor changes. Collisions merely slow you down, and powerslides are still your primary means of moving around corners. The one key difference is that powersliding now fills up an onscreen nitro meter. When you fill one of your nitro stocks (you can store up to three boosts), you can unleash it at will for a modest speed boost. The opposing vehicles also will crack open a nitro stock from time to time, usually waiting until you're about to pass before coming at you. Beyond that, the driver artificial intelligence isn't terribly impressive. The 11 other cars in the race sort of follow their own lines and don't do much to block your pass attempts. This makes most of the game pretty easy, once you've mastered the art of the powerslide, but as you proceed through the world tour mode, the difficulty (and the speed) does ramp up.

Control in the game is tight. You can play with either the analog disc or the D pad, and due to the sort of digital nature of Ridge Racer, you can get by just fine with the D pad. Beyond that, you've got your gas, brake, and nitro buttons. You can also hit another button to toggle between a first-person or third-person racing. Ridge Racer is broken up into a few different modes, all of which are standard for the genre. You can just hop into a one-off race, or you can make your races count for something in the world tour mode. Here, you'll enter into increasingly difficult series of races. You can save the game after each race, so you won't have to make it through each series in one sitting. Winning a series unlocks new cars and tracks for use in the other modes, but the different cars don't make a huge difference beyond higher-class cars being much faster than the first models. The track designs are good, but in classic Ridge Racer form, the game opens and closes different sections of track to form "new" tracks, but the end result are some tracks that share 80 percent of the exact same blacktop. Aside from the world tour, you can enter a time attack mode or race against up to three other local players using the PSP's built-in wireless support. The multiplayer mode is a lot of fun, especially since the competition from other players is often stiffer than what Namco's drone drivers have to offer.

Another big part of Ridge Racer is another staple of the series. Ridge Racer has a fantastic soundtrack that fits right in with the previous entries in the series. In fact, you'll be able to select from a handful of different playlists. Some of these consist of all-new material, but you can also dig back into the Ridge Racer archive and hear new remixes of old Ridge Racer songs, or you can just go back and listen to a selection of music directly from the old Ridge Racer games. The series has churned out some really stellar electronic music over the years, and it's great to have so much of it packed into one place. It would have been nice if Ridge Racer featured some sort of more directly accessible way to simply listen to these tunes outside of the game, though.

If you already don't like the way Ridge Racer plays, this new installment won't convert you. It's still all about huge powerslides, almost never bothering to hit the brakes, and moving as quickly as possible. But if you're unfamiliar with the series, you should know that this is a great, fairly casual racing game that delivers where a racing game counts most: bucketloads of high-speed action. If you're already a fan of the series, you'll love the way the game plays on Sony's new handheld. Additionally, the stellar presentation definitely puts it up there as one of the most technically impressive games on the PSP.

Music

The music in the game is a collection of new songs and songs taken from previous Ridge Racer games, arranged across several "discs". The "Red" and "Blue" discs contain all-new songs put together specifically for the game while the two "Classic" discs contains a collection of remastered songs from Ridge Racer titles. Lastly, the "Remix" disc contains songs from past titles remixed by the original composer.

Red Disc

  1. Highride
  2. Warp Trooper
  3. Bassrider
  4. Pulse Phaze (remix of Katamari on the Funk)
  5. Chrome Drive
  6. Synthetic Life

Blue Disc

  1. Disco Ball
  2. Night Stream
  3. Light Groove (seemingly inspired by Dave Brubeck's song Take Five)
  4. Vanishing Horizon
  5. Tunnel Visionary
  6. Tek Trek

Remix Disc

  1. Rotterdam Nation Remix - an Remix from the PSX title, Ridge Racer.
  2. Speedster Remix - an Remix from the PSX title, Ridge Racer.
  3. Drive U 2 Dancing Remix - from the Arcade title Ridge Racer 2 and the PSX title, Ridge Racer Revolution.
  4. Rare Heroes - featured in many past Ridge Racer titles.
  5. Blue Topaz Remix - an Remix from the arcade title, Rave Racer.
  6. Motor Species Remix - an Remix from the PSX title, Ridge Racer Type 4.

Classic Disc 1

  1. Ridge Racer - from the PSX title, Ridge Racer.
  2. Grip - from the arcade title, Ridge Racer 2, and the PSX, Ridge Racer Revolution.
  3. Euphoria - from the arcade title, Rave Racer.
  4. Silver Stream - from the PSX title, Rage Racer.
  5. Naked Glow - from the PSX, Ridge Racer Type 4
  6. Your Vibe - from the PSX title, Ridge Racer Type 4.

Classic Disc 2

  1. Move Me - from the PSX title, Ridge Racer Type 4.
  2. Movin' in Circles - from the PSX title, Ridge Racer Type 4.
  3. Eat 'em Up! - from the PSX title, Ridge Racer Type 4.
  4. TuiTui - from the PS2 title, Ridge Racer V.
  5. Samurai Rocket - from the PS2 title, Ridge Racer V.
  6. Daredevil - from the PS2 title, Ridge Racer V.

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