|Developer|| Nintendo Software Technology|
|Platforms||Nintendo 64, Nintendo DS|
|Modes|| Single player|
2-4 players (N64)
2-6 players (DS)
|Media||N64 Game Pak, DS Game Card|
Ridge Racer 64 is a racing game developed by Nintendo Software Technology with support of Namco and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64 console in 2000, making it the first game in the series to be release on a Nintendo system. It features tracks from Ridge Racer and Ridge Racer Revolution and its very own set of desert tracks called "Renegade", exclusive to the Nintendo 64. This is the first Ridge Racer game that is not released in Japan. In 2004, a remake called Ridge Racer DS was released for the Nintendo DS handled system.
Ridge Racer 64 makes a return to the fast-paced, pick-up-and-play arcade mechanics of the early games of the series, allowing any player to jump into the game in a simple and fun way. NST designed a new drift and "progressive" collision detection system; Ridge Racer Revolution-based drift and collision systems, as well as a drift system reminiscent of the original Ridge Racer, were added for veteran players as well.
- Quick Play: allows players to immediately run a 3 lap race with default settings (Revolution Novice curse, driving the F/A Racing, Class S, automatic transmission).
- Grand Prix: the main mode of the game. There are 3 main stages: Revolution, Ridge Racer and Renegade. Each one subdivided into 3 difficult level races through the Grand Prix (Novice, Intermediate and Expert). After complete the 3 stages and the staff credits are shown, the Reverse stages of the previous ones are available and the Grand Prix continues. When reverse races are completed in 1st place, the 6-lap final stage Ridge Racer Extreme is available (with its respective reverse mode).
- Car Attack: when a level is completed, 3 cars with better stats are available to race against (except for the two final stages, which award the player with only one car each). If the player is able to beat each car, it will be selectionable for the Grand Prix, Car Attack, Time Attack and Multiplayer modes.
- Time Attack: this is the classic time trial mode to beat records or master a course.
- Multiplayer: from two up to four players can race, thanks to the capabilities of the Nintendo 64 system and its 4 controller slots. This is the first Ridge Racer game in the series to exceed the 2-player barrier and offers a true multiplayer experience, although play with 3 or 4 players makes a downgrade to the graphics and frame rate.
- Garage: a gallery option to see owned cars and trophies.
There are, in total, 32 cars in the game. As in the older arcades, the player has four to choose from at the start:
20 cars are available to be unlocked through Car Attack mode as the player progresses through the game:
- Stage 1
- #15 RT Pink Mappy
- #5 RT Blue Mappy
- #16 Galaga RT Prid's
- Stage 2
- #6 Galaga RT Carrot
- #18 RT Bosconian
- #8 RT NebulasRay
- Stage 3
- #7 RT Xevious Red
- #17 RT Xevious Green
- #14 Dig Racing Team
- Stage 4
- #83 Micro Mouse Mappy
- #13 13th Racing Kid
- #0 White Angel
- Stage 5
- Stage 6
- #94 Atomic Purple
- #56 Extreme Green
- #12 Terrazi Terrific
- Stage 7
- #13 Lizard Nightmare
- Stage 8
- #01 Screamin' Eagle
The other eight cars are unlockable after meeting certain requirements in the game:
- #64 Ultra 64 (unlocked after beating the game in the Z-Class category)
- #00 00-Agent (unlocked after winning Ridge Racer Extreme in a 2-player race)
- Galaga '88 (unlocked after winning the Galaga '88 minigame)
- Blinky (unlocked after driving 99 laps in Time Attack)
- #26 Red Shirt Rage (unlocked by hitting the helicopter after flying off the track in any Ridge Racer course)
- #99 Crazy Canuck (unlocked after defeating Screamin' Eagle in the mirrored version of Ridge Racer Extreme Extra in Car Attack)
- #4 Caddy Car (unlocked after beating the reversed Ridge Racer Novice track)
- Pooka (unlocked after setting a new course record on any Ridge Racer Extreme track in Time Attack)
There are a total of 10 courses based on four different stages, which are used in 20 races total: each track has an "Extra" stage in which the race is done in the reverse direction.
- Ridge Racer
- Renegade (new stage exclusive to the game)
- Ridge Racer Extreme (new stage exclusive to the game; also takes place in Ridge City)
Music and sound
All the music in the game was composed by Keith Arem, where the Techno sound and rhythm are predominant. While each track type has its standard BGM, the player can select which he wants at the start of the race or allow the game to pick a track randomly. The tracks are as follows:
- Revolver (standard BGM for Revolution Novice and Ridge Racer Expert)
- Motion Blur (standard BGM for Ridge Racer Novice and Intermediate)
- Evolution (standard BGM for Renegade Intermediate and Ridge Racer Extreme)
- Cruise Control (standard BGM for Renegade Novice and Expert)
- Ridge Racer Roots (standard BGM for Revolution Intermediate and Expert)
- Gunn Runner
- Speed Nation (standard BGM for Ridge Racer Extreme Extra and only BGM for replays)
- Manual Override
- Galaga Pac Jam (available once Blinky, Pooka or Galaga '88 are unlocked; becomes the standard BGM for every race if the player selects them)
- Dirty Air (DS only)
- Downforce (DS only)
Ridge Racer DS
Four years later, Ridge Racer DS was released in the lauch window of the Nintendo DS, based on the N64 version of Ridge Racer 64. The game was remade to make use of features on the DS such as the touch-screen and wireless multi-player while providing otherwise a very similar experience to its original counterpart. Noticeable differences are:
- Turns are easier to negotiate, allowing for less need to brake
- Trophies are given out of order
- There is no option to choose the drift and/or collision mechanics
- The cars's stats are somewhat different
- Reiko Nagase is replaced by Gina Cavalli from R: Racing Evolution
- Speed loss after colliding with other cars is more moderate
- Graphics are update with DS logo on cars instead of 64
- There is no rearview mirror when racing in first-person perspective
- The announcer has a different voice
- Some of the special bonus cars have been altered into cars that feature Mario, Luigi, DK, Shyguy and others on them, rather than their original 64 versions
- Also, a bonus "Mushroom Kingdom II" song (from Super Mario Bros. 2) is included as well
Critical reception of Ridge Racer 64 was very favorable. Metacritic holds 82 of 100, while GameRankings 84.55%. Overall, the game was praised for a polish presentation, accesible gameplay, brilliant frame rate, multiplayer mode, the new features and the sense of speed. The main critic was regarding the lower amount of three stages, null customization of cars and the relatively short Grand Prix mode compared to other racing games of the era. The DS version also was recognized for the multiplayer mode, that allows up to 6 player to race even with a single DS Game Card through Download Play (features are limited), while the touch-screen wheel control was targeted as the least favorite control mode for being unintuitive. Dated graphics were also noticed.