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Ridge Racer Type 4


Well, today we're going to talk about on of the best racing games ever released on PSX - Ridge Racer Type 4. RR4 is a game by NAMCO, released back in 1998, so when you read this, please note that 2 years had passed since then.

Gameplay

Actually RR4 is a circle-type racing game. You drive different cars on several courses. As almost all such games, RR4 has different game types like Grand Prix, VS Battle, Time Attack. You also can study your car in Garage mode.
The main game mode, of course, is Grand Prix, so let's talk about it more. You're given a choice of four teams to play for: USA, France, Japan, of Italy. The choice of team is actually the choice of a difficulty level of the game, France goes for easy, then goes Japan (normal), Italy (hard), and finally - USA is expert. After choosing the country, you must choose the car type, you'll be driving. Again, you've got four choises - Assoluto, Lizard, Terrazi, Age solo. The style of driving depends on your choise here. The first two give you a car, that does not holds firmly on the road. This means that it is very easy to make slides with them for passing sharp corners fo the road with great speed. But this laso means, that you'll need to go into a slide in almost all turnings. The last two choises will give you a car with strong grip. It's rather hard to drive it into a slide, but instead of this you can pass many turnings wihtout hearing your wheels screaming. As for me, the last two car types are preferrable, but on some courses there are problems with them, on almost 180 degree turning. After choosing yourself a team and a car, you choose between auomatic and manual transmission and the Real Racing Roots' 99 championship begins.
The championship consists of three parts: First Heat, Second Heat and Final GP. The First heat consists of two roots, each with two laps to go, and you need to make it at least to 3rd place to be qualified. The Second Heat also has two roots, but with three laps each. And you need to finish at least second to pass further. Final GP has four roots with three laps in each, except final one. The final course has six short laps. In Final GP you'll need to finish first always, or you'll get dropped. Thrice in a game (after the first heat, the second heat, and the third root of final GP) you'll get a new car, capable to go faster then your previous one. So each of the teams has four different cars, which goes for sixteen cars in the game. Quite nice, isn't it?
Now about driving. In RR4 the unique balance between realism and arcade interest is caught perfectly. You feel every movement of your car, and still it is not so real that you cannot pass a 120 degree corner with a speed of 150km/h or so. There are no obstacles in the game, which can stop you completely (like houses in Need for Speed for example), that means you will not loose your speed even if you'll try to drive straight into an onstacle, and this gives you more arcade feeling during the game.

Graphics

First of all - the introduction. It's one of the most beautifull intros for a racing games I've ever seen! Well, I guess I'll say no more, you must see it yourself...
The in-game graphics in RR4 is really nice. Trees has shadows, cars of your opponents are displayed using motion blur, e.t.c. Surroundings are not so detailed, like in Need for Speed, but this is compensated by some special effects. I mean, that in RR4 outer world is alive, unlike NFS' one. Planes, helicopters and birds are flying in the sky, people are working in ports. In the final root, you can even see a fireworks in a night sky of Los Angeles, and it looks so beautifull, that I lost the race, when I saw it for first time! But enough words, let's just have some screenshots:
The first screenshot was taken from ePSXe, others - from VGS.

Sound

In-game sound effects are rather ordinary. All I can say about them, that they are not boring at all.
The music in the game is simply perfect! There are 14 different tunes, that you can hear while racing, and all of them are very nice. Most of these tunes are funk-style. You can choose any of them before starting each race, so you can always hear your favourite one. If you want simply to hear the music, without playing the game (many people do), you can use Music Player mode from main menu.

Bleem!

This emulator is not recommended for playing RR4. It has bugs in sound effects, music and graphics, which makes the game completely unplayble.

VGS

VGS runs RR4 perfectly. No bugs in sound and music, and no bugs in graphics too. Using this emulator you'll be able to feel the game like it meant to be. But don't try to save the game, it will hang VGS!
Currently, you'll be most satisfied with this game using VGS, because all glitches and bugs, which are present, if you'll use other EMUs, will spoil the "virtualizing" effect. I mean you will not be able to feel, like you're actually driving a car... However, the graphics is far more real and beautifull in ePSXe, so I think I'll stick with it, after a new version arrives, which possibly will remove some incomatibilities.

ePSXe

This one runs RR4 rather well. And the graphics is more pleasant, then in VGS, because of hardware 3D support. Just look on these two shots and understand what I mean:
The red car was taken from ePSXe, and the blue one - from VGS.
However, the speed of ePSXe 1.00 is not enough to run RR4 (I use Athlon 700 with 256Mb RAM). And in case of racing game, the speed is of the essence, so let's just wait for the next release of ePSXe.

Conclusion

Ridge Racer Type 4 is a classic PSX game, a must have for every person, who has a VGS and likes racing games. The game is a little bit short, but this is even an advantage, if you can't save your progress.

Quick facts

Ridge Racer Type 4
Buy for $xx.xx

 Motivation
5
 Graphics
4.7
 Sound
5
 Gameplay
5
   
 Bleem!
2
 VGS
4.8
 ePSXe
3


Pro
Pleasant graphics
Great music
Balanced gameplay

Contra
A little bit short
Runs good only on VGS


Result
Must have!


       
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