Ridge Racer V
A hot CGI chick wants you to race hard and long... and so does Pac-Man.
I have always loved the Ridge Racer series. The ultra-fast fast speed, the very arcadey control, and the fast-paced techno music always got my blood pumping. When Ridge Racer V came out it was an easy decision for me to pick it up the day after the PS2ís big launch (It would have been the day of, but the store that I waited in line for eight hours to get the PS2 didnít have the game. Yes, Iím a nerd, but it was worth it.).
If you know the Ridge games as well as I do, then youíll be very pleased with RRV. It has the same fast, smooth speed and classic drift around corners gameplay you know.
The graphics are prettier and shinier than all the previous games and the screen is full of small but sweet touches. As you turn hard before corners you can see the brake discs glowing. Itís a subtle, yet sweet looking effect.
The tracks will be familiar to Ridge vets. They are pretty much just taken from the previous games but are given new flair with the PS2ís extra juice. Like every Ridge, Namco has added small ads from many of their other, and quite old, games. There are the big billboards around the tracks and some of the ďsponsorsĒ that appear on the cars themselves. Iíve always liked Namcoís self-promotion.
The fast-paced techno music is here, but most of the tracks this time are licensed. You probably wonít recognize any of the artists as theyíre pretty much all from Japan. All the music fits nicely with your speedy drift action.
Winning races grants you faster engines and upgraded versions of the main cars. But donít use the Oval engine for any track besides the Oval track. If you try to race any of the other tracks using the Oval engine youíll be constantly smashing into the walls because itís so damned fast.
The secret cars are pretty cool. You get a huge pink beast of a 1950ís style car that gives new meaning to drift racing, an incredibly grippy VW bug type of car, the infamous Devil and Angel cars (an homage/ad for the Tekken series) andÖPac-Man. Complete 1500km worth of racing and you unlock a new race where you are Pac-Man racing against the ghosts, with its own happy techno theme. And when you beat the race you can use the ghosts too, each with their own handling characteristics. This is a very unexpected and very cool extra.
You can also customize the look of your ďteam.Ē The color customization option lets you give all your cars your own uniform look. It's a little limited, but a nice option nonetheless.
Now the only two bad things about the game; First is the announcer. He sounds way too fruity to be announcing the progress of a mean race, which he doesnít really do anyways. He just chimes in to talk about the nice weather or how the cars sound. Second, is the two-player mode; It would have been good if there wasnít so much damn fog on the track. I like to see where the track is when Iím racing at 100km+ and taking corners as fast as I can. There is so much fog it resembles an N64 game in two-player, which is very bad.
Ridge Racer V is a very fast and very solid racing game. Fans of the series should defiantly pick it up and newcomers will find a new racing series to adore.