Ridge Racer was the first in a long series of arcade and home console racing games. The original arcade game was released late in 1993 and the PlayStation port followed about a year later and was one of the launch titles for that system in Japan. The North American release came in 1995. Ridge Racer was one of the early titles for the PS1 that helped to make that system the success that it was.
The game starts by allowing you to choose the car you want and the music you want to listen to. Each car has different characteristics such as differing top speeds, acceleration, turning ability, etc. The original arcade game can only be played 1st person but the PlayStation version also allows the game to be played from a third person point of view from slightly above and behind the car. The goal is ultimately to defeat your opponents but you must pass each checkpoint with time remaining to gain more time and continue. Ridge Racer was one of the most technically impressive racing games created up to that point.Since the original Ridge Racer, a vast number of sequels have been released though the popularity of the series has faded over recent years. There were at least 7 arcade games bearing the Ridge Racer name, at least 12 console games, and at least 10 games on portable systems or mobile phones. A few of these were only available in certain regions. The last console release was Ridge Racer Unbounded for Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 released in 2012. A Ridge Racer game was one of the launch titles for many systems including the original PlayStation (Ridge Racer), the PS2 (Ridge Racer V), the Nintendo DS (Ridge Racer DS), the PlayStation Portable (Ridge Racer), Xbox 360 (Ridge Racer 6), PlayStation 3 (Ridge Racer 7), Nintendo 3DS (Ridge Racer 3D), and PlayStation Vita (Ridge Racer).
While at least a few of these are better than the original, it’s worthwhile checking out the original to see where it all started and it is still a fun game to play. The easiest way to play the original is to get one of the various PlayStation releases. It was re-released as part of a few different “best of” lines. As far as more recent remakes or re-releases, I’m not aware of any good options. R4: Ridge Racer Type 4 was released in 1999 and it included an updated version of the original. There was also a mobile phone version in 2005.
The above ad is from the August 1995 issue of Next Generation.