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Ridge Racer 3D

For: Mobile

It's Ridge Racer!! Riiiiiiiidge Racerrrrrrr!

Product: Ridge Racer 3D (mobile) | Publisher: Namco Bandai Networks Europe | Format: Mobile | Genre: 3D, Conversion, Racing | Players: 1 | Format: J2ME | File size: 371KB | Reviewed on: K750i other handsets | Version: Europe
Ridge Racer 3D (mobile) Mobile, thumbnail 1
Originally released in Japan in 1994, Ridge Racer was arguably responsible for bringing the first PlayStation to the masses. A perfect adaptation of the arcade legend, Ridge Racer was the game that forced the public to sit up and take notice of Sony's behemoth in training, proving to the world just how powerful its new hardware was.

Of course, over a decade later, there's been a lot of changes. Whereas once it was an incredible feat to fit Ridge Racer onto the PlayStation hardware, now Namco has ported the game to your mobile phone.

Yes, the whole game. From the original course and the cars to the "Riiiidge Raceeerrrr!" voiceover guy who went on to become something of an internet legend, the arcade experience has been recreated and squeezed tighter than Beth Ditto in a bikini to fit onto your mobile.

If you've ever played a Ridge Racer game before, you'll know what to expect. Pure, undiluted arcade racing at its finest, Ridge Racer is all about the driving: it's the speed and the tyre squealing rather than the under-bonnet nonsense that the game focuses on. This is a motor racer that throws the Haynes manual out the window and reverses over it for good measure.

As is standard for mobile racing games, the car automatically accelerates and reaches some blistering speeds, with '4' and '6' steering your vehicle, and the '5' key only really used when taking corners, to initiate a drift.

Oh yes, the drifts. Ridge Racer just wouldn't be Ridge Racer without drifts, but sadly it's here where the game hits a pot-hole. Pulling off a drift is just far too difficult – most times you try, you'll either bounce off some scenery that you were nowhere near (thanks to some poor collision detection) or the camera will have a minor spasm, leaving you completely unable to see where you're going.

Of course, pulling off a signature 180º drift is still a fantastic thrill (when you manage it), it's just a shame that the moments where drifting is possible are so few and far between. In fact, the game ends up feeling more like a basic racer than a true Ridge Racer game.

Alright, so it was almost a given that Ridge Racer on your mobile phone would struggle to offer the same legendary experience as its arcade or console cousins, and visually at least, it's actually very hard to tell the difference. The game is presented in full polygonal 3D and runs at a very solid frame rate, with only minor clipping as you go through heavily populated areas.

Aurally, the game is almost perfect, too, with the sublime theme tune recreated perfectly and even a number of voice samples that count down to the start of the race. Also worthy of note is the way Ridge Racer utilises your handset's built-in vibration feature, helping you feel every bump, grind and smash as you zoom your way around the course.

Now, the more eagle-eyed readers will notice that we said course. Singular. You see, the main problem we have with Ridge Racer is that there's just not enough of it. There's just one course, with two variations – a long and a short version. And that means it can get very old, very quickly.

While this is a problem that the arcade version shared, it wasn't so crucial, since you'd only play a handful of times until your pocket money ran out. But on a mobile phone, when you can re-play without any financial penalty, it leaves Ridge Racer feeling a bit like a one trick pony.

It's this you'll have to consider when it comes to a purchasing decision; if you're a drift fanatic and long-time Ridge Racer fan then this undoubtedly is worth a punt (although as we said above you'll have to accept this isn't quite the game you're used to). But if you're a more casual racer, there are other great racing games with much more depth that are therefore more deserving of your money.
Ridge Racer 3D
Reviewer photo
Ian Morris | 17 May 2007
It's an incredible technical achievement, but a lack of course variety lets Ridge Racer 3D down
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