Sunday, December 10, 2006

DS Ridge Racer Review

As my last two posts have been of a retro flavour, I decided to drag my gaming ass into the 21st Century, and write about a title that I've recently enjoyed on my DS.

I actually got my DS by default... I had bought a PSP for myself, plus one each for two of my sons (I have three and they shall henceforth be referred to as 'the Three Gingers' whenever they get a mention.)
My house was burgled earlier in the year, and the biggest Ginger's PSPs got taken. They were devestated, so... I gave my PSP to the biggest one, and quickly found the money to buy the middle one a replacement.
As well as these items a couple of Gameboy Colours got nicked. Bah! However the insurance company replaced them with a couple of DS consoles. Hooray!

Thus I got one, and so did the littlest Ginger. And thus my household now boasts two PSPs and two DS systems. Leaving half of the gamers in my house loyal to Sony, and two loyal to gaming with Nintendo...

One of the titles I have purchased for the DS is the lovely Ridge Racer. Lovely in my eyes for two reasons... One is I got it new for a tenner (£10). Now, when the usual amount I pay for Dreamcast games is around £2.50, you can understand how it hurts to pay up to £30 for current titles! But a tenner seemed very reasonable.

The other reason is that one cartridge allows two DS owners to both play the game through wireless connectivity. Now as this feature is available for titles on the PSP and DS, it irks me when developers take advantage of gamers who want to play against each other, by making them both buy the title. No surprise then when the nazi like EA Sports decides to burn its buyers with 'Tiger Woods Golf' for example, which I had to buy twice! Bah!

"But what about the game Father Krishna, you waffling old bore?" I hear you cry... "Be patient, dear reader, I'm getting there..." I reply.

Ridge Racer is a well established title, both in arcades and as a 'home play' title on a variety of consoles, chiefly (but not exclusively) the Playstation. For a full history of the title visit the lovely Wikipedia here.

The DS incarnation, however, is the title's first foray into the world of the handheld.

Not exactly a brand new title either, as the game is actually, a port, using the engine of 'Ridge Racer 64' which was brought out on the N64. Of course the graphics have been polished and a few new features have been added, but basically it plays like the original. Visually it is very impressive.
The car and track are pictured in the top screen, whilst a steering wheel appears in the touch screen.
As in many driving games, you, as racer start last in pole position then have to battle your way past the AI drivers to get to the first place. Winning races and tournaments unlock new cars and tracks. The tiny proportions of the DS, don't particularly suit my banana like fingers, but I managed to play it OK.

Driving feels good, and you can either drive with your car on the screen or with a 'first person' perspective, as if your looking through a windscreen. I always play with the car on the screen, but hey, whatever suits you, my gaming colleagues, whatever suits you!
You can choose between automatic or mannual gearbox. Automatic makes the whole job easier!

You can even choose the colour of your car. I always choose a beautiful lavendar hue, as it makes me stand out on the track. This does not make me gay however, just apreciative of colour. Honest. (Cough!)
The one thing that kills me about the game is the 'drift' feature of the steering. Intended to allow drivers to slide into handbreak turns, or even do a 360 degree turn, it inevitably leaves me sliding all over the track, over compensating and bashing into the walls.

Another slightly annoying feature is the way the AI drivers seem to spend all their time looking in the mirrors. I know they're looking at me constantly, rather than keeping their eye's on the road, because they nip in front of me, causing me to 'rear end' them (cough!) all of the bloody time! (This isn't looking too good is it? Believe me I'm happily married... (Cough!)

Regular features of Ridge Racer have not been forgotten. There are large flat screens positioned on the bridges, so you can see Space Invaders playing, as you pass under them. Although this is something of an inconsequential feature, I actually love it!

The other is that both the box and title screen features a buxom, heaving chested 'race girl' and whilst it adds nothing to the game, stuff like that is always going to score points with this reviewer! (Am I over compensating now Gnome?) [who am I to interfere with the wise? - Gnome]

Would I recommend it? Yes! if you can pick it up for the poultry price I paid for it. However I enjoyed playing the GBA edition of Sega Rally on my DS a lot more. But, hey, that's a whole other review entirely!

Overall score? 7.5/1o For a full IGN review click here.

More from me soon... But until then, Good night children, wherever you are.

Related posts: Ti-85 on the DS, SNES and NES on the DS, a non-DS post

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  1. Excellent site you have here guys...

    Gimme some news on Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops... !

    Some day if I ever own a PSP I will probably get that game..

  2. Welcome esteemed artist!
    Check back on a regular basis...
    Deitrix in the house!!!

  3. Excellent review, now i want one.......( a psp and ridge racer....must resist...must resist)

  4. Elderly must not resist urges. Definitely not. Unless they are extremely sick....

    Welcome Deitrix. Metal Gear, huh?

  5. (having lost the ability to differentiate between sick and normal, elderly shows Gnome a photograph and surrenders his complete trust to Gnomes moral compass....)

    well what do you think, mind you in was taken just before the ping pong ball disappeared......

  6. Most impressive!

    Thai, correct?

    Morally fine. Worry not!

  7. Anything that encourages youngsters to get involved in sports is alright with me... where did you say the table tennis venue was?
    'Down South?' (Cough!)
    I hear she has a mean serve... careful though... she could take yer eye out..

    Elderly, a doctor once told me that resisting your urges can make you implode... think of the cleaning costs...

  8. (gently removes about-to-implode elderly from blog)

    (gives him a cigarette and a pat on the back)

    Now, Father. Let's talk sports. Ever been to Thailand? Have you perhaps read the "Platform"?