"Ridge Racer is back.Namco are about to repeat history.Or are they..."

1995.Sony launch the PSone.They chose top arcade developers to make launch games. And Namco came along and released Ridge Racer. It was a top hit, with great graphics (at the time) and addictive gameplay. And now history is about to repeat itself. Or is it?
The first thing you'll notice when you boot up Ridge Racer V is how darn fast the game really is. Forget these screenshots you've seen in magazines-this is the real deal. Sparks fly, cars shunt and bump, and graphics, sound, gameplay and lifespan combine to make the ultimate arcade racer.
Every vehicle is unique, with the Fiaro's impressive handling, and the E.O, the complete opposite, which steers like a car with no steering wheel. The customisation options are almost unlimited, with the exception that there are no window ornaments to put on the car (which is quite a shame, really).
The graphics are impressive for a launch game, apart from the fact that anti-liasing was promised but Sony didn't let anyone use the new tools until 2001 (spoilsports). The large borders, which appear from the 60-50fps conversions, are hardly noticeable, unless you are actually on the lookout for them.
Presentation is superb, with the nice little idea of a mini radio station, although the DJ isn't the best of radio personalities.
The more you play Ridge Racer V, the more addictive it gets. Never since Tony Hawk's 3 has the 'one more go' franchise been so well composed, so the game is as playable as ever.
The music is upbeat and suits the game's style, and the car engine noises sound better than ever.
The art of tackling corners in Ridge games has always looked impressive (and feels cool when you're doing it), so Namco have upped the challenge slightly. Let’s not forget the invented the powerslide, now famous in over 200 arcade driving games, including the Ridge games themselves, and the great Sega game 'Super GT Circuit 24h'.There is a slightly different way of tackling corners with powersliding, and grip cars from Ridge Racer 4 make a welcome return to the series.
Play time lasts ages, as there are six different Championships, Free Run Mode, Time Attack, Versus and the Paint Shop.
Now I must go onto the slight niggles of Ridge Racer V.Firstly, the graphics with added jaggies aren't exactly the best the series has ever seen. They don't exactly grab your face and shout 'Next-Gen!' at you, and the two player mode fogging is terrible. Hitting opponents sends you far, far behind, and the DJ is incredibly irritating.
Apart from that, Ridge Racer V is THE arcade racer to get.

Graphics: OK, but could be better- 8
Sound: Great music, irritating DJ- 8
Gameplay: Addictive and fun- 10
Lifespan: Tons of modes keep you entertained for ages- 10

TOTAL: Ridge Racer V-9

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 06/01/02, Updated 06/01/02

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