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Scores
Graphics: 10
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 10
Replay: 10
Overall: 9.8


R4 Ridge Racer Type 4
Released: 19990504
Publisher: Namco
Developer: Namco
Genre: Racing

Review by: Carlo

After the Japanese R4 rolled out onto the PSX racing scene in some parts of Asia, R4 has finally seen the light of day in the West, namely in Europe and America.



Ridge Racer Type 4, aka R4, is the 4th installment of the Ridge Racer series of games on the PlayStation. While Gran Turismo ruled the PSX game sales of 1998, racing on the PSX suddenly changed as players realized the need for realism in racing.



Gran Turismo exposed a large market for simulation and realistic racing, and its success energized the Namco RR team to make R4 the best racing game on the market. Well for me, R4 is better and here's why...



GRAPHICS



R4 has the PSX 3D-polygon processor running at it limits. The cars in the game are the smoothest and most detailed looking cars in any PSX racer to date. The cars are all bogus but their designs really outshine that of Gran Turismo and Need For Speed: High Stakes (with a Bisonte, I don't see the need for all them licensed cars). In addition to the cars are "copy cars" (the Cataract is a copy of the Batmobile) as well as the Devil Cars (Hovercrafts, Rockets, etc.).



The reflections off the cars are actually better looking than that of GT. The race tracks, being designed for fast and furious play, are the most detailed in any racer too. Example, the Brightest Nite track really made me feel like I was actually racing in New York City thanks to its convincing design and detail. Lighting effects are greatly and realistically used most especially in the night races (which blows GT's night races away). You can also see the headlights of the cars pop on when in tunnels and dark areas.



Physics? There are car physics in this game. Although the physics engine of R4 is more lenient compared to Gran Turismo and NFS:HS, it's more than enough to compliment the gameplay.



Namco, known for it's visual extras, came out in full force again as they added helicopters, airplanes, birds and even a kite in the sky to give great life to the environment as the race progresses. There's no slowdown here too! Also known for it's CG, R4 has what I would call the best racing intro movie, and Reiko Nagase is the star! The CG ending's a great tribute to all you Ridge Racers!



And just when you thought that Gran Turismo's graphics were unbeatable, RR4 manages to surpass with its killer looks. R4's graphics are the best I've seen on any PSX game so far this year. You'll love looking and watching as you play. This game is the fastest car racing experience!



SOUNDS



R4's sound effects are the best in the series. Compared to GT, R4 does not sound as real or as varied but still stand out on their own. You can really hear the screech of the tires, the bump of metal (a bit weak), engine roars (listen to the Vulcano's engine...out of this world), the cheer of the crowds, and more! The game now uses a male voice over for the races. Although I miss the lady's voice in Rage Racer (could it be Reiko?), the male voice is more energetic to listen to. Music? R4's sound track is the lightest track in the series, but at least it's got a few energetic tracks (namely Burnin Rubber and The Ride) to keep you pumped for the race.




GAMEPLAY AND FUNFACTOR



Namco decided to give R4 a more realistic feeling and at the same time retain the winning formula...arcade style racing. The role of realism and physics are minute when compared to GT and NFS:HS, but they're more than enough to provide very solid arcade style play. It's like a cross between the 1st Ridge Racer and Gran Turismo...say 90% RR and 10% GT. R4's game engine is meant to attract both fans of arcade and realistic racing, and it's an awesome mix. While R4's the most realistic RR game there is, it really brings out the test and challenge in you...as if you were a real pro race driver! For old RR veterans, adjustment to the new and enhance engine is needed. For those who are new to the series, you'll learn a lot...and make great use of what you learn.



There are 2 types of cars in the game...Drift and Grip. With Drift cars, you can powerslide on command and feel the speed. With Grip cars, you won't be sliding as you'll be using your brakes frequently on turns. Grip cars have better turning ability than Drift cars. Drift cars, in my opinion, are more fun to drive as it adds depth to what I would call "suicidal driving". Imagine running at 170 MPH and you see a tough turn ahead, then you hit the brakes, turn and hit the gas, and slide (with power). Fear that your car will spin out of control or fall on its side? No fear. Your car will retain its mad speed as you recover from the slide (which are fast and furious). The sliding is unrealistic, but hey, its fun.



Cars? You got them! There are over 320 cars to win here...yes that's right! WIN! You earn your cars by performance, not by money. Winning cars is the way to go (buying cars is a spoiling act) and your perfornance and skill are pushed to a certain extent...what you learn is not wasted.



Multiplayer racing? R4 is the best here. You and your friend can play a split screen 2 player game...but what's better is the 4 way race better! Just double what you have (TV, PSX units, controllers, R4 units) and use your link cable to generate a 4 player (2 split screens per TV) race. The 4 way race opens the way for more intense racing (humans are better than computer AI obviously). You can also recreate the "clogged lanes" feel in R4 as long as you and your friends' choose cars of the same class. One suggestion, try a 4 way race with the Devil Cars! It's fast and furious!



Namco developed with one intention...FUN. Racing games don't necessarily need to be 100% realistic...they should be made to be FUN…that's what games are about. R4 is 100% pure fun!



OTHERS



You get to play as a "freelance driver" in the Grand Prix, and you'll be given choices for which team to join and which car maker to deal with. Each team has it's own story to tell, like Pac Racing Club being a rookie team led by Shinji. RTS, the elite team led by "The Lion" Enki Gilbert, who believes that anything less than a 1st place finish is worthless.



R4 has other modes for your enjoyment. Vs. Mode is where you play with your friends. Time Attack is where you run and get the best time. The Garage is where you keep all your cars. Extra Trial is where you go up against the Devil Cars in the now famous RR trademark "One-on-One Racing". You can also design or customize decals for your cars' hoods.



OVERALL



I've played Gran Turismo, NFS:HS, Wipeout XL, Sports Car GT, Gran Turismo 2 (65% complete demo), Rage Racer, Test Drive 5, Rally Cross 2...I played them all...and R4 is the one that overtakes them in the race for the PSX racing crown. R4 has got a high level of fun and replay value, you'll enjoy every second of this racer. If you have not bought this, then go get it now!



Ridge Racer Type 4 is the peak of all racers on the PlayStation. If you want realism, go get Gran Turismo. If you want FUN...hey, it's R4 that's the best!

- We have 1 review for R4 Ridge Racer Type 4 (1 Staff, 0 Member)


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