Sunday, May 18, 2014

The 20 most memorable machines in the Ridge Universe

This week, there's a 20th anniversary special music CD to celebrate 20 years of Namco's high-octane, powersliding, racing video game franchise known as Ridge Racer. But what's the most memorable machine in the franchise in the last 20 years?

20 years of Ridge Racer

The first installment of the Ridge Racer series was launched in 1993 as an arcade and at the end of 1994 on the Sony PlayStation console. Of course, 1994 is the year the PlayStation was born in Japan and 20 years on, the legacy still lives on. It is one of the most anticipated games in the decade and in this game, players get to choose one of 10 racing machines and there are four ways to play this game; either solo or two-player.

Anyway, no time for brief history lessons, time for me to celebrate it's (too-late or advanced?) 20th birthday to the Ridge Racer series by showcasing 20 of the most memorable machines you can only see in the world of Ridge Racer.

1) F/A Racing (Ridge Racer/Ridge Racer Revolution) - It is one of the most memorable machines when the Ridge Racer game was born. 20 years later, you can still enjoy the F/A racing under its real name, the Kamata Fiera, in other installments of the series.

2) 13th Racing (Ridge Racer/Ridge Racer Revolution) - The devil car in the first game. Harder to corner, but one of the quickest in a straight line.

3) Gnade Esperanza (Rage Racer) - Known to be as the sequel to the popular RIDGE RACER franchise on the PlayStation, Rage Racer delivers arcade-style racing at the comfort of their homes. This is the first time the mascot character, Reiko Nagase, made her appearance in this installment. Of course, the only beginner car to start in Rage Racer is the Gnade Esperanza, a two-door saloon car that is somewhat reminiscent to...either the first BMW M3 or a Mitsubishi Diamante...well, it's a mash-up but it's still the one to start if you're playing Rage Racer.

4) Age Abeille (Rage Racer) - Before the Abeille was the Ridge Racer equivalent to the real-life Renault Clio V6, because of its midship-engined rear-wheel drive powertrain that you expect from it, the first Abeille was basically more of a lookalike to the real-life Renault 5 Turbo hatchback but what made me surprised that it is one of the best handling cars in Rage Racer.

5) Lizard Bayonet (Rage Racer) - Long before the Bayonet is labeled as a Danver, it was labeled as the Lizard Bayonet in Rage Racer and by the looks of it, it's the equivalent of the Chevrolet Corvette C3 in real-life.

6) Lizard Hijack (Rage Racer) - Yes, there was a pickup truck in the Rage Racer game but don't underestimate the looks of it because it's a muscle in the straights but in the corners, you need to be highly focused as well as the gear change because it's MT ONLY and it takes a skilled driver to send this pickup truck to the corners.

7) Assoluto Fatalita (Rage Racer) - The Fatalita served as the cover car of Rage Racer and it's essentially built for speed and nothing else. Handle this stuff with care.

8) Lizard Bulldog (Rage Racer) - It's definitely one of the scariest of the secret machines in Rage Racer and apart from its boxy hot-rod shape, it's the rumbling sound of its engine that really is the work of the devil.

9) Assoluto Squaldon (Rage Racer) - Forget the Bulldog, this is the ultimate of the secret machines in Rage Racer and one of my favorite stuff about the Squaldon is the demonic whine when you put your foot down on the pedal. It's definitely one of the quickest machines on the straights especially The Extreme Oval.

10) Assoluto Bisonte (R4: Ridge Racer Type 4) - Actually it's the Bisonte with the RT Solvalou livery is what got the crowds enjoying. Even though it was classified as a HARD difficulty setting in the RRR Grand Prix, the RT Solvalou is most picked by players because it's focused on power and when you watched the intro, the RT Solvalou Assoluto Bisonte is the star of the show. Judging that the front view looks more like an Aston Martin, it's one of the most beautiful machines in the game.

11) Age Ecureuil (R4: Ridge Racer Type 4) - Don't let the small size fool you with this special machine. Yes, it maybe small in size but what makes it is its incredible handling and its ridiculously fast top speed.

12) Rivelta Mercurio (Ridge Racer V) - The arrival of Playstation2 in the new millenium welcomed the first Namco game in this console and that is none other than Ridge Racer V. This is the only game in the franchise that has the Rivelta machines in it; namely the Mercurio and the Solaire. The Rivelta Mercurio, the one that looks like the Mitsubishi GTO in reality, is the hero car in RRV.

13) Himmel EO (Ridge Racer V) - Mostly picked by players in RRV, the Himmel EO is simply the equivalent of reality's Porsche 911 because the engine's in the back and because of its rear-engined rear-wheel drive drivetrain, the handling of the EO is remarkably mild but menacing.

14) Kamata Angelus (Ridge Racer V) - The devil car that was known as 13th Racing was given a name, the Rivelta Crinale (later known as Soldat Crinale in later installments), and it was now rivalled by an angel car known as the Kamata Angelus. In RRV, the Angelus looks more like a Ferrari F40 but when you put your foot down, the exhaust note's as lyrical as a harp and it's definitely one of the best handling of the special machines. While the Crinale is focused on speed, the Angelus balances speed and handling into one.

15) Soldat Raggio (Ridge Racers) - In late 2004, the Sony PSP was launched in Japan and in tradition, every new console or portable game has a Ridge Racer dedicated to it and the PSP game, Ridge Racers, gives players the freedom to play wherever they go. The thoroughbred V12 Italian stallion, the Soldat Raggio, is the hero car of the game and even though I find this car to be tricky to handle because of the drift type is Dynamic, it's one of my favorites in the game.

16) Soldat Meltfire (Ridge Racer 6) - When the XBOX 360 was launched in Japan in 2005, this is Namco's first offering for this console. Ridge Racer 6 introduces a new generation of gameplay thanks to the modernized graphics, online connectivity, challenging races that pits players to the test, and a wide array of machines that can be unlocked as they progressed to the game's World Xplorer mode. The Meltfire, which is loosely the equivalent of the Ferrari F430 in real life, the hero car of the series and one of my favorites.

17) Monstrous (Ridge Racer 6/Ridge Racer 7) - The Monstrous is notably one of the most wicked machines in the world of Ridge Racer and it's definitely one of the most mysterious machines ever existed in the franchise. At first, it looks more of a luxury limousine but when the driver hits the nitro, it's becoming more of a reminiscent of something that you saw from most sci-fi movies. Scary, but unique...

18) Kamata RC410 (Ridge Racer 7) - When the Playstation3 was launched in late 2006, the folks from Bandai Namco Games welcomed the arrival of the PS3 with their launch title of the console known as Ridge Racer 7. While it has some of the cars from X360's RR6, RR7 features customization, better online connectivity, UFRA Special Event DLC, and of course, tracks and cars exclusive to the game, including the hero car, the Kamata RC410. Yes, it's that one that look like...well, you know but forget about what I told, it's one of my favorites in this game and I spent hours driving with it in RR7.

19) Lucky & Wild Evolver (Ridge Racer 3D) - The Nintendo 3DS was launched in the first quarter of 2011 and one of Namco Bandai's launch title is Ridge Racer 3D. In RR3D, this game now comes with muscle cars in the lineup, especially the Camaro-lookalike hero car, the Evolver. Yes, I said it because they're really do look-alike but like any muscle car driven, the Evolver is pretty much tricky to master because it's too dynamic but with practice, the Evolver will surely behave like what every hero cars would do.

20) PAC-MAN - Yes, PAC-MAN maybe a character but in the world of Ridge Racer, he's a special machine to get and he's been in numerous installments starting from; R4, Ridge Racer V, Ridge Racers, Ridge Racer 6, Ridge Racers 2, Ridge Racer 7, Ridge Racer 3D, and the PSVita Ridge Racer game (under the PAC-MAN SP machine based on the SYNCi). Eat 'em up!

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