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SummaryA great start
The GoodRidge Racer is the first title of a series that started on arcades about fifteen years ago. Long has passed since it came out, and now is mainly remembered as the first Playstation title. It was a great title back then, but let's see how it looks and plays today. First thing you'll notice is the graphics: they may look dated, and indeed they are, but the overall feeling is nice. The course is really detailed, stylish, with some nice touch like the helicopter and the bridge near the start. Not bad for a 1994 title, considering the hardware was fresh and mostly unknown.
What makes this game great, though, is its driving system. Forget brakes, forget tuning, forget trajectories: Ridge Racer is a driving game based on his own physics, with great speed and frenetic battles with other cars. Once you've mastered fish tailing (loosing traction control in order to slide into sharp turns), you'll forget brakes and drive at maximum speed trying to beat your record. Controls are sharp, even using a digital pad, but if you can you better get a NegCon controller, a strange looking pad made by Namco specifically for this game (and supported by many Playstation 1 and 2 racing games), which brings you analogic control by twisting his centre. Sounds weird at first, but once you get used to its surprisingly accurate. Buttons are analogic too, but you'll eventually find its totally irrelevant for most games. Anyway, let's stick to the game: you basically have only one track, and four car to choose from. If you beat a Galaga round while the games load, however, you gain access to twelve cars in total, each one with his own characteristic.
Once you win the race in two different levels, you can drive again in an extended version with an additional portion, and then in a race head-by-head with another car. Beat it, and you'll have to repeat the entire process but on the reverse tracks, which gives you a total of eight races. Last two are difficult to win, especially the last when you'll race against a black car: defeating it means you can have it, and the main game is basically over. But it will take sometime, since is really fast, although polite enough to wait for you to pass it by on the first to laps.
While you drive through, a great techno soundtrack will please your ears, and you'll find yourself humming some melodies while driving your real car (but please, don't do fish tailing in real life, since is dangerous and definitely not worth it). You can put your own audio cd while playing, but this feature is somewhat faulty and tedious since tracks are played from half for some unknown reason. And besides, the original soundtrack is great as mentioned, so stick up with it.
The BadSo, the game has only one track. This may represent a downside, considering there are many racing games for PSX with plenty of courses and cars to choose from, but if you get to love it you'll find that one is more than enough. The only other thing you may not like is the soundtrack. I personally don't like techno, but even so I immediately loved it, so I guess it's just a matter of taste. Obviously, if you're searching a realistic driving game, you better look elsewhere, but even then you may give this little marvel a try.