Ridge Racer DS
Racing on the Nintendo DS was only possible with Need for Speed Underground 2 DS from EA, until Namco showed up with Ridge Racer DS. In Japan and the US, this game was a launch title and thus I wonder why it got held back so much in Europe. Let’s say that we’re used to stuff like that and just accept we’re always the last to get anything. Namco has had a couple of months extra to work on the game so it has to be good, right?
There have been quite a lot of Ridge Racer games on PSOne, PS2, but also the Nintendo64. Let the DS now be equally powerful as the N64, very handy for ports! That’s what Namco probably though when they started working on this game as it’s the same as the original N64-version. But ok, ports can be good as well and since I never had played the original, I’ll have fun checking it out.
When we start up the game and have made a profile, we can choose from the standard racegame stuff; Time Attack to set the fastest time, Quick Race for a random game, and the Grand Prix Mode which is the center of this title. Here you need to compete with other racers and make sure you finish first. If you manage to do this, you get a gold cup. These are the simple but honest rules of any racing game. Next to the standard mode, there’s also Car Attack in which you have to race against one competitor. When you win the race, you get your opponent’s car and can use it in future races. There’s also multiplayer of course which thanks to game sharing only needs 1 cassette.
The typical sense of speed as we know it from Ridge Racer games is once again present and the same goes for the slippery handling. One can either choose to drive around a corner like a grandma would or you can do it in style, Ridge Racer style … as that gives you a perfect opportunity to check up on what is going on behind you. Races go so fast you’ll think you got a jet-engine in the back but that does mean one tiny error can have fatal consequences. The rest of the grid is quite competitive so there is another reason for you to really put the pedal to the medal if you want to finish first. Quite annoying however, is the fact that when they hit you from behind, you’ll slow down and they pass you by at huge speed.
Namco couldn’t bring just an ordinary port on the market without adding something new. Unfortunately for them, the exclusive Nintendo DS addition sucks. You can control your car with the touchscreen which simulates a steering wheel, but it’s almost impossible to do a race like that without banging into the wall every 5 seconds.
The graphics are – for the DS – very good. When you stand still, you’ll see that the textures aren’t too sharp, but at full speed, you won’t notice it much. Next to that you can compare the graphics with the other top titles for the DS.
One unfortunate thing is that the devs didn’t put much effort in creating the levels. There are 3 maps where you constantly drive in a different way and also the usual reverse maps are present as well.
The music is doable but isn’t anything super, the cars sound like loud vacuum cleaners rather than fast racing vehicles.
For racing fanatics, this title is a must-have. With beautiful graphics, good racing feeling and a single-card multiplayer mode this title will keep you busy for some time.