Ridge Racer Type 4 Review

For PlayStation

By Contributing Writer Jimmy Payne

Rating: Awesome
   Ridge Racer Type 4 is a game that racing fans will either love or hate.
If you are a hardcore Gran Turismo fan, then you may not feel it has enough
options, upgrades, etc.  On the contrary, if youíre a fan of arcade-style
racing games, then youíll fall in love with this game the second after you 
indulge in the intro sequence.  My opinion is that R4 is a game that canít 
be missed.
   The graphics in R4 are top notch, especially considering that they're on
a four-year-old system.  Yes, R4 even has better graphics than Gran Turismo
does.  If you couldnít help but say "Wow!" when you saw your first race 
replay in Gran Turismo, youíre going to drool all over the floor when you 
see R4.  The lighting is excellent, with beautiful streetlights and shiny 
new cars that reflect pretty rays of light if the camera hits them at the 
right angle.  Oh, and who could forget the streaks of light your tail-
lights give off when drifting on a big U-turn?  The environments are also 
superb, with helicopters, bridges, and mountains as far as the eye can see.  
One complaint with the graphics is that sometimes the tail-light streaks of
other cars can be seen through solid objects in the road like hills, but 
it's easy to ignore this glitch.  Also, it doesnít bother me at all that 
the cars arenít real licensed cars.  I prefer cars that can be damaged over
cars with meaningless little logos on them any day.
   Control is tight and responsive in R4.  I had a chance to use the new 
Namco Jogcon controller with the game (Iím still trying to figure out what 
the Jog in Jogcon means), and it definitely takes the control to a new 
level.  Some may think that itís not worth it, but I found myself winning a
lot more races when I used the Jogcon than when I used my regular analog 
controller.  Thatís not to say that the regular analog controller can't be 
used to play this game (because it definitely can), it's just much smoother
with the Jogcon.  The little wheel in the center of the Jogcon is really 
cool to steer with, and it lets you know exactly when to push the pedal to 
the metal when coming out of a drift.  Any way you slice it, R4ís control 
is probably the best Iíve felt in any racing game.  The control is the 
number one reason R4 is so fun to play.
   Namco can boast about R4's 300+ cars all they want, but the truth is 
that they took about 50 different cars and just gave them all about six 
different paint jobs.  For some reason, this is supposed to make you want 
to keep playing the Gran Prix mode until you get all 316 cars.  The 
question is, "Who cares?"  I didn't feel compelled to get all 260-some cars
in Gran Turismo, so what makes Namco think they can entice me to collect 
316 cars when most of them are just minor variations of other cars?  This 
is a very weak attempt at giving the game more replay value.  
   The tracks in R4 also leave something to be desired.  Taking the same 
track, giving it multiple paths, and blocking off all the paths but one in 
any given race is something I am beginning to see a lot in racing games.
Attention developers: THIS IS A BAD THING.  Itís just plain lazy and 
unforgivable to re-hash the same track over and over again instead of 
making a decent amount of tracks.  Still, Namco doesn't commit this sin in 
R4 anywhere near as badly as it did in the original Ridge Racer.  Also, the
tracks that are here are very imaginative and feel fresh when compared to
Gran Turismo's tracks.
   The music tracks in R4 are your typical Ridge Racer fare.  However, it 
seems to me that the tunes are a little more mellow and not as techno-
oriented as the original game's music.  This change is a welcome one if you
consider it a change in the first place.  The sound effects are average.  
The engines are semi-convincing and the screeches are a nice addition, but
itís nothing that hasnít been done time and time again in other racing 
games.  Since the cars aren't licensed and don't have to be 100% realistic,
I would have liked to hear more powerful engine roars to get me more 
excited about the races, but I was still pretty excited as it was.
   R4 is the best racing game I've played all year.  The lack of licensed 
cars doesnít take away from the game tremendously as the majority of racing
game fans would think.  Focus on the excellent control and graphics and 
you'll find that this game stands out among all the stale, boring racing 
games infesting the PlayStation and the Nintendo 64.  If you love arcade-
style racing games, Ridge Racer Type 4 is more than likely going to be in 
your PlayStation for the majority of the summer.  

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