FAQ by Liquidus

Updated: 04/02/04 | Printable Version

Ridge Racer Complete Guide
By Rob Louie

Table of Contents

1.  Introduction
2.  Menus
    a. Course Select
    b. Transmission
    c. Car Select
    d. Sound Select
    e. Options / You CAN save your game
3.  Gamemplay
    a. Launching the Car
    b. Collision Physics
    c. Drifting
       I. Basic Technique
      II. What Affects the Drift
     III. High Speed Drifting
      IV. The Reverse Drift
       V. The Flying Drift
4.  Secrets
    a.  The Floating Flag
    b.  Play Your Own Music
    c.  Unlock the 8 Bonus Cars
    d.  Unlock the 4 Bonus Tracks
    e.  Race a Mirrored Version of Each Course
    f.  Unlock the Hidden #13 13" Racing Car (The Black Car)
5.  Copyright


Namco's Ridge Racer first appeared in arcades back in 1993.  In 1995 it was
released as a launch game for the Sony Playstation.  It was a near arcade
perfect conversion.  To this day this is one of the best looking games
available for the Playstation due to its hi resolution graphics (try
smoothing the textures when playing on PS2 to see its true beauty).
The early Playstation games all had very low polygon models and simple
textures wich allowed the hardware to display the game at higher resolutions.
This game is still fun to play thanks to its simple arcade game engine, and
seems to be a somewhat overlooked classic arcade game.  This guide covers
every detail of this classic game.

Game Menus


D-Pad:  Move Cursor
X or O: Select Item
Square or Triangle: Exit/Cancel

Course Select

Select from 4 initial tracks with 4 more available to unlock.  L1 and R1 can
be used to rotate the course left and right before choosing.  Each course
has a different average max speed.  The top speed listed applies to with a
top speed rating of 5.  Vehicles with a top speed above five will break the
max speed, vehicles with a top speed below five won't reach it.


These courses are available from the beginning of the game.  The standard
courses are all rolling starts.  Your car starts off in an extra stretch
of track that becomes blocked off after you exit it.  The race doesn't
officially start until you pass the start/finish line.

The standard Ridge Racer course.
Laps: 2
Max Speed: 100 mph

The standard Ridge Racer course.
Laps: 3
Max Speed: 125 mph

The standard Ridge Racer course with a detour through a narrow construction
Laps: 3
Max Speed: 125

A time trial through the High Level course against the RT Yellow Solvalou.
This course allows you to enter your initials in the Fastest Laps page.
Laps: 3
Max Speed: 138


The extra courses are unlocked by placing first in all of the standard
courses.  These courses have a different start/finish line than the
standard courses and are not rolling start races.  The extra courses
just allow you to race the standard courses backwards.  However this
does greatly effect gameplay.  These courses are easier to navigate
once the new layout is memorized.

All extra courses have the same stats as the standard courses with the
exception of laps.  Perhaps because of a small bug in the game, the
extra courses list the laps as negative numbers due to the fact that
they are being raced backwards.


This menu simply allows you to change between manual and automatic


Automatic transmission shifts gears for you.  The automatic transmission
shifts up at the ideal time, but downshifting is usually too high.  This will
give you a sluggish start after hitting something or drifting too much.
Automatic is recommended for beginners.


Manual transmission lets you shift gears, giving you greater control of your
vehicle.  Manual transmission also makes you vehicle slightly faster.  Pay
attention to the rpm that the automatic transmission shifts up at, as these
are the ideal points.  Manual transmission is most useful when you make a
mistake during a drift.

Car Select

Ridge Racer has a total of 13 cars.  Each car has a rating between 0 and 8 in
each of the following categories: Acceleration, Traction, Maximum Speed, and
Traction.  They are layed out on a diamond graph with each corner of the
diamond representing a different statistic. 0 is the center of the graph, 8
is the point of the diamond.

Sound Select

Choose which track you want to hear during the race.  You can also put in
your own CD and select from the first 6 tracks on it.
Options / You CAN save your game.

The options screen is split between Fastest Laps, Button Config, and Music
Player.  These are all self explanatory.  Whats important is the Fastest Laps
page.  This page lists your fastest laps on the Time Trial course.  But at
the bottom you'll notice three buttons, Exit, Load, and Save.

The Ridge Racer package does not list any support for memory cards, and the
instruction booklet doesn't mention this, but you CAN SAVE YOUR GAME.  Not
only can you save high scores on this page.  All your unlocked cars, tracks,
your fastest times on every course, what races you've won,
and your fastest laps on every course, including the hidden and mirrored, can
all be saved using this menu.

After unlocking something new just go to this page and hit Save (Playstation
memory card required).  Next time you play come back to this page and hit
Load.  It will bring up a very primitive Load Select screen where you choose
your fastest time Load.

When you come back to your car and track select, everything you unlocked will
be there!

Controlling the car:

X: Throttle
Square: Brake
R1 or R2: Shift Up (Manual Transmission Only)
L1 or L2: Shift Down (Manual Transmission Only)
Triangle: Change Views
D-Pad: Steer

Launching the Car

Getting off of the starting line the fastest is the best way to gain an early
lead.  Due to the collision physics (explained next), if you can get in front
of a car it is easy to block the car from passing you. I've found the fastest
start is between the 5000 rpm to 6000 rpm range.  The way I normally do this
is to rev it up to the redline and hold it there until the countdown timer
reaches 1, as soon as it shows one let go of the throttle and let the revs
drop. As soon as the countdown timer says GO, your rpm's should be between
five and six thousand, so hit the gas again as soon as it says go and you
should take off.

If you just sit and wait for the countdown to reach GO, and then hit the gas,
will peel out and waste about a second before you catch traction.  The same
thing will happen if you just redline it the whole time.

This is most useful on the time Trial Level, if you launch correctly you will
get in front of the yellow car.  Switch to the behind the car view and you
can line yourself up in front of the yellow car and he will hit you from
behind causing him to lose lots of speed.

Collision Physics

All of the physics in this game are extremely simple, only very loosely based
on real physics.  The biggest concern is the collision physics.

If you so much as graze a wall you will bounce off of it and lose lots of
speed.  Even if you just hit the course boundry (the white line where the
pavement and the width of the road ends), you will bounce off of it and lose
lots of speed.  The most important aspect of the game is to not hit any walls.

Hitting other vehicles will have one of two actions, either you will be
slowed down considerably or your opponet will.  The way it is decided is who
is in front.  If you hit a car from behind, you will lose speed and they will
be unaffected.  If a car hits you from behind, the will lose speed and you
will be unaffected.

You can't actually hit a car from the side.  For instance if you are running
along side another car and you veer into him, the game will just figure out
who is slightly in front of the other and the collision will be the same
as front and back.


Drifting is really the basis of the whole game.  None of the good cars can
take sharp turns at high speeds without it.  The drifting physics are very
simple, and are described in detail.

I. Basic Technique

Drifting is very simple.  Turn the corner as you normally would by holding
the direction of the turn.  If you are using a fast car you will know you
can't normally make the turn this way.  So as soon as you start turning let
go of X, press square, and get back on the gas, while still holding the
direction of the turn.  So while turning just hit gas, brake, gas, as fast as
you can.  Now you will see the car start to turn sideways, and follow the
corner right around.

Make sure that once you start the drift to stop pressing too much in the
direction of the turn, otherwise you will spin the car all the way around and
lose lots of speed.  Just keep slightly tapping in the direction you are
turning to keep the drift going.

Once you are out of the corner just use the D-pad to straighten the car back
out, you'll regain traction and continue on.

II. What Affects the Drift

Only two things will affect your drifting.  The speed that you enter the
corner at and the angle your car is at during the drift.

The first and most simple thing that affects your drifting is the speed you
enter the corner at.  This is really only a problem on really sharp turns
when using the hidden black #13 car.  If you are going too fast, even
drifting won't stop you from hitting the wall.

Even though you won't have to worry about hitting a wall during a drift until
you unlock the black car, it still is important to know that the speed you
enter the corner at affects the line your car takes through the turn.  If you
are going really fast you may drift around the corner way to the outside, if
you are going slightly slower than that you might just go through the middle
of the road.  If you are going slightly slower than that you can keep the car
right along the inside of the turn.

Just remember you have to be going extremely fast for this to affect you.

Next and more important (as well as slightly more complicated) is the angle
you have the car at while drifting.  The basis for understanding this is that
as long as the car is in drift mode (you've let go of the gas and then got
back on it, making the tires lose traction), the car will follow the corner
perfectly based on the speed you enter it.

So let just say you enter a corner at top speed in the RT Yellow Solvalou.
It's top speed isn't high enough to make you hit the wall during the drift,
so you don't have to worry about that.  Now lets say you are approaching the
sharp corner on the begginer track (the announcer says "Next corners tough,
watch yourself!").

Instead of drifing it like normal, line your car up on the right side of the
road (the corner is a right turn).  Now right before you get to the corner,
hold left and hit the brakes, then back on the gas as fast as you can to get
the car to drift.  Even though you turned to the left, the car will follow
the right turn perfectly.

As long as the car is drifting it doen't matter witch way you turn it, it
will follow the road perfectly!

Now, even though the direction doesn't affect the drift, the angle of the car
does.  While the car is drifting through the corner you are no longer
steering the car, you are just rotating it as if follows the designated path
around the course.  You can rotate if to the left or right, it doesn't

The angle of the car does matter.  As in 10 degrees, 45 degrees, 90 degrees,
and so on.  It doesn't matter whether it is to the left or right, just how
many degrees you have rotated the car.

The more you rotate the car, the more you will be slowed down.

Lets say during the drift you turn the car so much that the side of the car
is now traveling forward instead of the nose of the car.  This means you have
rotated the car 90 degrees.  This is going to slow you down alot.

Then lets say you rotate the car so much that the rear of the car is now
facing forward and that the nose is facing backwards.  You've now rotated the
car 180 degrees.  Now your going to lose all of your speed and end up facing
the wrong direction when you stop.

However lets say you do a 360 degree turn just for fun.  You do a full 360
right through the corner.  When the car is at 90 degrees you are doing fine,
then at 180 you lose most of your speed, you keep losing speed until you get
past 270, because after that, your car is facing forward again.

Just remember that once your car is facing backwards, you can correct it by
spinning back the way you came, you by just going ahead and doing a 360.  The
closer to forwards the car is facing, the faster it will go.

III. High Speed Drifting

If you made it through the last long section, you know that the rotation of
your car slows you down.  You also know that as long as the car is drifting,
it will follow the corner perfectly.

So here is how you do a high speed drift.  Just don't rotate the car during
the drift.  As soon as you start drifting keep the nose of the car forward.
Don't completely straighten it out, or you'll regain traction and hit a wall.
Just keep the car turned about 10 degrees to the right or left.  Remember, it
doesn't matter wich direction, just make sure it is slightly rotated one way
or the other.

Since you are only barely rotating the car, you won't lose any speed.  You'll
know you have it down when you can drift the car around a corner but it
doesn't look like your drifting.  It just looks like the car is steering
around the corner perfectly.

Also, when you take a difficult corner perfectly, the game will give you a
speed boost as a bonus.  You'll actually gain speed after the drift!

You'll be able to hear the engine rev just a little higher than when you
started the drift.  And gain that extra little speed boost because of it.

This usually happens when the announce says, "Your one heck of a driver, you
gotta teach me!"

IV. The Reverse Drift

This is really just for showing off (with one exception explained later), and
it looks really awesome.  Since the simple drifting engine lets you defy
physics, you can do some really cool looking stuff.

The reverse drift lets you turn the car between 180 and 270 degrees without
loosing as much speed as you normally would.

Basically all you do is drift the wrong way into a corner and keep turning
untill you face the right direction.  So on a right turn you would rotate the
car to the left while drifting and then end up facint the right way again.

To better understand pretend your car is in the center of a compass facing
North.  Now, the road is going towards the north, and you are approaching a
right hand turn.  So you are going North and want to end up facing East.

Normally, you would just turn right and drift around it.  When you were done
drifting you would be facing East and could follow the road.  But we want to
show off a little.

Instead, right before the corner turn sharp left and begin the drift.  The
car will still follow the path through the right hand turn, but check out the

Since you turned a little before drifting you probably start the drift facing
NorthWest.  Keep holding left and you will then face West, then South, and
then you will be facing East.  The direction you want to go.

Since the car is moving around the corner to the right while this is
happening, and you aren't doing a full 360, you don't loose much speed.

The sharper the turn, the better this works.  Imagine if the turn were a
hairpin.  You would start out facing north and as the car turned, you'd end
up facing south.  Then all you'd have to do during a reverse drift is to
face West, then South.  As the car turned you'd end up in the right direction
after doing a 180.

Because the car is turning while you do this you are never actually facing
backwards and you don't lose any speed!

Now, I mentioned that this was useful in one place.  The black car.  Once you
have it, you won't be able to make the sharp corner (the same one i mentioned
a while back, the one the announcer warns you about).  Your entrance speed
will be so high that while drifing it you won't make the turn and you'll hit
the outside wall.

Your first instinct would of course be just slow down by hitting the brakes.
The problem with this is that this game is drift happy.  After hitting the
brakes, if you are turning just a little bit when you get back on the gas you
will start drifting.  It's very hard to just slow a car down in the game.

So instead just do the reverse drift.  You'll lose just enough speed to make
it through the corner.  No more, no less.

You could just turn the car backwards or sideways for a long time during the
drift, which would also slow you down.  But the problem is its very easy to
loose to much or not enough speed because you must adjust the angle very

With the reverse drift just hold the opposite direction of the turn and thats
it.  Much more reliable.

This maneuver is a little hard to describe but after you see it in action you
will understand.  Just drift the wrong way around a corner and keep holding
the wrong direction until you've spun all the way around and are facing the
right direction.

IV. The Flying Drift

This is just hitting a jump while drifting.  Only really useful in one spot.
Just as you are exiting the construction zone there is a short sharp right
turn followed by a jump, and then a sharp long left turn.

Since you can't turn your car while its in mid air, its best to start a drift
to the left right after you make the short right turn.  Then you'll hit the
jump while drifting and as soon as you land the car will follow right around
the corner.  Plus if you drift to the left the car will end up facing the
right way as soon as it lands.

The Floating Flag

The floating flag at the press start screen can be manipulated in different
ways.  Holding L1, L2, R1, or R2 will change how wavy the flag is.  As long
as you are holding at least two of the above buttons, you can rotate the flag
with the d-pad.  Also, as long as you are holding two of the above buttons
you can make the flag transparent by pressing Start.

Play Your Own Music

You can play any CD in your Playstation while playing the game, simply take
the Ridge Racer CD out and put in a music CD.  The game will play your CD as
background music instead of the standard Ridge Racer background music.

Unlock the 8 Bonus Cars

You can unlock the 8 other cars you race against, making a total of 12.  To
do this you have to play a perfect round of Galaxian while the game is
loading.  You have to destroy every enemy without missing a single time and
without getting hit.  Make sure you save your game after unlocking them!

Unlock the 4 Bonus Tracks

To unlock a reverse version of every track simply beat the game by getting
first place on every course.  You will race the course backwards and you
don't get a rolling start.

Race a Mirrored Version of Each Course

To race a mirrored image of each course you have to turn around right after
starting the race.  Right behind where you started there will be a wall.  You
have to drive through the wall at 60 mph (anything less and you will just
bounce off of it).  You'll drive right through it and come out the other side
in mirrored world.  All left turns are right turns, all right turns are left
turns, and all the signs are backwards.

Make sure that in all the rolling start courses you don't go too far before
turning around, the starting portion of the track gets closed off as soon as
you leave it.

Unlock the Hidden #13 13" Racing Car (The Black Car)

The legendary #13 black car is by far the best car in the game.  It's
handling and traction go off the chart, and it has the highest top speed in
the game.  The yellow #2 car and the red #7 car accelerate a little faster.

To unlock the black car you must first beat the game.  Then when you go to
the time trial course you get to race it and the yellow car.  The black car
waits just ahead of the start/finish line.  He'll give you a decent head
start on your first lap.  If he passes you he will wait for you again in the
same spot, and this time give you an even greater head start.

The easiest way to beat him is to race him in the Reverse Time Trial course.
The course is actually easier backwards because of what comes before and
after difficult corners.  As well as how much entrance and exit room you get
for each corner.  I won't try and write out the difference between each
corner's exit and entrance, just play it until you get used to it and you
will see the differences.

Also, it might even be possible that in reverse mode he gives you an even
greater head start on the second lap.  The first time I beat him I hit the
wall three times and still stayed ahead in reverse mode.  That would never
happen in the standard Time Trial course.


Copyright 2004 Rob Louie

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