The first Ridge Racer has been redesigned for mobile phones with the release of Namco's new driving game. Simply titled Ridge Racer, the game looks quite a bit like the old arcade and PlayStation game. But it also looks ugly in a lot of spots, and the gameplay, while attempting to capture some of the Ridge Racer-style over-the-top handling, isn't much fun, either.
Ridge Racer is your standard, arcade-style racing game. Your goal in each race is to finish first. However, these are also checkpoint races, so you can lollygag and take your time. If time expires, your game is over. And if you finish in any place other than first, you won't get anything to show for it. There are four races to try out at first, all of which take place on two variants of the same track. Once you finish first in all four of these, you open up a little more racing. But if you're dedicated, you'll see most of what there is to see almost immediately. The default control scheme in Ridge Racer auto-accelerates, so you won't need to hold down a button to move. This reduces your interaction with the game to steering and the occasional braking. Woah, hold up...braking, in a Ridge Racer game? Yes, it's true. While the more recent Ridge Racer games staunchly shun braking, it's a must in this one, because with the auto-acceleration turned on, tapping the brakes is how you start your powerslides. Sliding out and drifting around corners is how Ridge Racer is played. Your ideal goal is to lose just enough traction to whip around the turn and then regain control without losing much of your speed. It works reasonably well here, but the action of occasionally steering and tapping the brakes isn't too involved and isn't much fun. Considering the lack of track variety, it doesn't take long to master the game.
Ridge Racer's graphics are somewhat impressive for a mobile game. The action is fully rendered polygonally, and it manages to look enough like the track from the original Ridge Racer to get by. But you never get any sense of high speed, because it all runs at a fairly low frame rate on the LG VX8100. You'll also notice things like disappearing textures and how you can see the other cars through solid objects, like mountains and such. The audio is limited to a rendition of a classic Ridge Racer theme, which is decent, but quickly gets annoying. All in all, being able to hear things like screeching tires would have been preferable.
Ridge Racer on mobile phones is a good theory, but it doesn't work so well in practice. You'll probably be fairly impressed that a good deal of the Ridge Racer experience has been captured on a mobile phone, but that doesn't translate into a compelling or long-lasting game experience.