Get ready to drift around mountain passes and speed through checkpoints as we unveil the 10 best ridge racer games of all time!
Ridge Racer needs no introduction; ask anyone to list the best racing games of all time and the name will crop up without fail. They’re nostalgic behemoths that stem back from arcades in the early 90s and have provided us with tonnes of thills and spills ever since.
Spanning over 23 years, we’ve had 22 games in the series in total over arcades, consoles, and on mobile.
But which titles raced ahead of the pack and took home a trophy, and which one took home pole position?
Start your engines; its time to check out the best Ridge Racer games of all time!
Table of Contents
1. Ridge Racer 64 (2000)
The chequered flag has been waved, the slow-motion footage reviewed, and Ridge Racer 64 is officially the best Ridge Racer game of all time.
It might not be the most graphically impressive, but we go back to our favourite console and our favourite RR game time and time again when we want some nostalgic Ridge Racer vibes.
I think for the same reasons that I love Smash Bros on the N64, RR64 just seems so simple in comparison to later racing games. There’s only 9 tracks and 25 cars to choose from – you can’t be spoiled for choice here.
Don’t see that as a bad thing, however; it just means you can get into racing much quicker instead of messing around deciding who you’re going to race as for half an hour.
This was the first time that Ridge Racer appeared on a Nintendo console, 6 years after the first game dropped onto the PS1. It wasn’t the last, however, as you’ll find out as you move down this list.
I think for someone that spent a lot of time playing racing games down at the bowling alley where all of the arcade machines were as a kid, RR64 gives me the most ‘arcade racing feels’ of beating the clock and and watching the seconds tick down like my life depended on it.
That and i’ve got so many memories of playing this game as a 10-year-old that could fill about 15 pages!
2. Ridge Racer 2 (2006)
From the Nintendo’s 64-bit marvel to Sony’s iconic handheld, Ridge Racer 2 is up next!
When Ridge Racer hit the PSP back in 2004, it was an absolute marvel. I’d like to think that it was one of those games that people took to the streets in amazement, just like that crowd chasing that Vaporeon in central park that time.
Rather than being a direct sequel, however, it was more of an updated version of the original. I know the 2 kind of throws you off the mark a little bit, but just think of it as doing the same thing Kart 8 has been doing for the last 10 years.
So what came in this updated version of the game, then?
Well, in true ‘classic compendium’ form, there were lots of tracks (both in racing and music form) from previous RR games for fans to reminisce over.
Don’t worry – there was tonnes of new content too, so if you’ve just picked up a PSP And the first Ridge Racer, then don’t panic – it still makes perfect sense to grab this one too!
Special class cars made an appearance, as did new modes, settings that made the game more difficult, and checkpoints in an all new ‘Arcade Mode’. There’s also a new beginning and end to the game too – it’s basically the gift that keeps on giving!
3. Ridge Racer 7 (2006)
I know what you’re thinking; how can all of these Ridge Racer games be so different? Well, in the same way that Fifa bring out a new title every year with minuscule changes or extra additions, so too did Ridge Racer.
One of those new features in the 2006 PS3 title RR7 was slipstreaming, something that you might be aware of if you’ve played as much Mario Kart as I have over the years.
It’s essentially getting in behind as close to the other driver as you can in order to get an extra boost and race past them!
There are, of course, even more upgrades and cars to sink your teeth into. While RR64 only had 25 cars, RR7 brings 50 to the table and throws in a whopping 375,000 different items that players can choose to customise their look.
Modifying how the car handles was a new feature to the series too, with over 7,000 different options to tweak and soup to your hearts content.
That was always too much choice for me, but my Dad used to spend hours and hours souping up his cars on RR7, Need for Speed Underground… all the racing games of the time.
I never explained to him that there was online racing on the PS3 – he would never have gone to bed, or to work… or out of the house!
4. Ridger Racer 3D (2011)
Nintendo caught the Ridge Racer bug back in 2000, or rather, we caught the bug for the games on Nintendo.
3D racing in the Ridge Racer world was amazing, as was trading cars between other players.
Come on; you didn’t think that Nintendo wouldn’t make a game without a trading element in it, did you?
Streetpass allowed players to trade ghost cars between 3DS devices. There was even a mode where you could race against the cars you had collected too.
As for the gameplay, it’s that same Ridge Racer classic gameplay that we’ve come to know and love over the years, and having it portable made it 10 times better.
And, while I prefer the last PSP outing overall, the 3DS version outsold it globally, meaning that it was a definite commercial success and one of the best launch titles for the 3DS.
Plus look at those graphics; I know I said earlier that it wasn’t all about how games look, but you can’t deny that the 3DS is a very clever little machine. If you’ve still got your 3DS and haven’t immortalised it in a shrine yet, then pick up a copy and let us know what you think of it!
5. R4: Ridge Racer Type 4 (1998)
R4: Ridge Racer Type 4 isn’t just one of the best Ridge Racer games on the market, it’s one of the best PS1 games ever made!
The RR series primarily lived in Sony’s world, despite its original beginnings being in arcades back in 1993. It’s been a Sony stalwart for years now despite its foray onto Nintendo and Microsoft Machines and was super popular with PS1 owners.
And R4 was only ever made for Sony, so if you wanted in on the action, then you had to have a PS1.
I think everyone I knew had a copy of R4; it felt so real back in the day, so exciting. When I look at stills now I can’t believe how old it looks and how it seemed like the best thing since sliced bread back then!
The championship mode was always the main goal of the game, ‘the big show’ as it were. Taking a team all the way with your choice of car and making it to the finale made it feel like you’d actually become the greatest driver in the world.
If only my car insurance took into account my gaming driving past; my rates would be super low!
As you can see from the game case picture above, there are copies floating around that come with a graphically refined version of the original Ridge Racer to play through too.
So, once you’ve unlocked the 300+ cars in R4 (yeah, you read that right!), then you can take a drive down memory lane and revisit the game that started it all!
6. Ridge Racer (2004)
Let’s head now to the game that started the portable Ridge Racer experience, aptly titled ‘Ridge Racer’.
I love how inventive Namco got with their names – I guess the old saying of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ really applies here, huh!’
Eight people can play multiplayer on this game with just one disc – that’s what multiplayer dreams are made of, isn’t it?
Plus it meant that Ridge Racer was more accessible to more people than ever before, which is an incredible marketing tactic to coax other people into buying it when the friend who owned the game wasn’t around to host.
Ridge Racer for the PSP is simple, just like its 2006 follow up and the N64 title at the very top of this list. There are only 58 cars to choose from and 24 tracks, with all the standard ‘arcade-esque’ features making an appearance .
Of course, all those 58 cars aren’t available from the very beginning; oh no, that would be far too easy! Players unlock them by competing in the single-player mode after completing courses.
Graphically, it still holds up today as being a stunning game, another testament to how the PSP was way ahead of its time and remains such a powerful gaming machine today!
7. Ridge Racer (1994)
Here we are folks, the game that started it all and one of the original PS1 launch titles, Ridge Racer!
This was the console port of the arcade version and the title that started the Sony phenomenon off.
There were only 6 tracks and 13 cars (9 of them to unlock if you completed a minigame of Galaxian), but this fast-paced, extreme racer was everything back in the day. For many, this was the closest they would ever get to racing in a supercar, and it blew many young minds including ours!
Picking the song you listen to while picking your car and course is something that has completely disappeared from the world of gaming these days, though it was a defining factor of the game back in the day.
Plus, having the chance to play your own music tracks while racing was great too, adding a personal touch that gave you the ultimate driving experience. It’s mad that you could take the disc out and put in your own CD!
If any of you have a NegCon controller kicking about in the attic too, then this game is actually compatible with it too, as is the next title in our list, giving you motion controls way before the Wii was even a twinkle in Nintendo’s eye!
8. Ridge Racer Revolution (1995)
Ridge Racer Revolution takes the 8th spot in our best Ridge Racer games list, dropping one year later than the original launch title.
There’s no denying that Ridge Racer Revolution was a classic title, but it was very similar to the first Ridge Racer game. It ‘expands’ on the classic title, and I’m using that word with as much grace as I can here.
The main reason that this game became such a hot-seller was because of the multiplayer mode, and boy did we play the heck out of it!
Using the PlayStation Link Cable, players could connect two machines up and compete against each other. The devs thought that this would be be better than going split screen and potentially ruining all their hard work with the graphics.
It was a little bit of a chew on compared to just plugging in two controllers to one machine, and I bet some of our younger readers can’t actually believe that this was a thing people had to do!
Just count yourself lucky that you never had to use the Game Boy worm light, either!
9. Ridge Racer V (2000)
Ridge Racer V officially marked the shift to the PS2, waving goodbye to the PS1 games of yesteryear. It was, for many, the end of a golden era, and not everyone enjoyed the new offering on Sony’s now most popular console.
Some people loved the fact that the game went back to a simplistic approach when it came to being in control of the vehicle, while others thought it was a little lacklustre and wanted to be wowed more.
Much like the battle between Oasis and Blur in the 90s, there were many gamers that were either Team Ridge Racer or Team Gran Turismo, and when GT3: A-Spec came out the following year, there was some real competition for Ridge Racer to square up against.
Still, the game scored incredibly well in Japan and just missed out on numerous awards during gaming awards season. It was graphically impressive and, as is the same with most of the games in this list, appealed instantly to RR fans.
Which makes complete sense – if you love CoD or Tekken, then it doesn’t matter how many changes are made, if any. You’re still going to buy the new title regardless, and that’s why we love all of you hardcore fans out there.
And considering that this was a launch game and taking the previous success of the PS1 RR titles, it’s strange that this was the only Ridge Racer game on the PS2 in the console’s twelve year reign!
10. Ridge Racer DS (2004)
The final title in our list of the best Ridge Racer games is Ridge Racer DS, the Dual Screen racing marvel.
Without even meaning to, I’ve essentially bookmarked this article with two versions of the same game. RRDS is a remake of Ridge Racer 64 for the portable players, adding new vehicles including some Nintendo specials for players to use.
And, in true Nintendo Form, the touchscreen can be used to drive your car if you’re a dab-hand with a stylus! I guess all of the practice playing The Legend Of Zelda: Spirit Tracks will finally come in handy here!
Like the PSP, players could take part in multiplayer races over WiFi with only one person having the game.
But was this enough to win over the RR community and make the love the DS iteration of their beloved franchise?
People didn’t really enjoy the touchscreen idea, with many classing it as a little convoluted. It’s nowhere near being the best ‘realistic’ racer for the DS (Need For Speed Underground 2 takes that crown), but if you’re an RR fan, then I already know you’re going to be hitting up the retro gaming stores in search of it!
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Seb Santabarbara has bought every Nintendo console that has ever been released in his 33 years on Planet Earth. His favourite game franchise is Zelda, and he’s patiently waiting for Banjo-Kazooie to come back to the fold. When he’s not playing games, he’s travelling the world in his self-converted camper van.