Tag Archives: Namco

Ridge Racer Type 4

Widely considered to be the best in the Ridge Racer series, its soundtrack and the opening FMV are defiantly most memorable. This would be the last Ridge Racer game released for the original PlayStation.

The game improves on the mechanics from Rage Racer and Ridge Racer Revolution, complete with eight brand new tracks and a soundtrack that’s a complete departure from the drum & bass themes from the previous instalment. Graphics-wise the game sees a shift that pushes the PlayStation hardware to the extreme, thanks to the use of Gouraud shading that gives a shade of depth to the polygons, giving the game a realistic appearance.

To keep a stable 30FPS, which was the game’s target framerate, certain changes are made to the enemy opponents, where you only have up to 4 cars on screen at the same time, of which the AI-controlled cars are more spread out across the track. In contrast to the early titles where you will pass multiple cars in the same area, in R4 the opponents feel spaced out and you pass by them in a linear fashion.

Grand Prix

There is a story mode of some sort, you can choose from four teams that will have their own unique manager representing the company. Here you have a direct dialog that gives more detail into the backstory of the teams and how they tie into the Ridge Racer Grand Prix. After every race you will have a meeting with them and their dialog is dependent on how you perform (which place you finish in). There is no dialogue for when you lose or fail to qualify, as the game will prompt you to retry or will go straight to a game over screen.
The team choice will also affect the ending epilogue (although on some emulators there is a bug that causes only the MMM epilogue to play)

The Teams

Four teams come with Ridge Racer Type 4, all of which are some reference to another Namco arcade game franchise.

Conversation with your team representative

Micro Mouse Mappy: A French racing team led by Sophie Chevalier. The easiest team in the game which is recommended for new players.
R.T.S: Lead by Enki Gilbert, He starts off as a perfectionist, expecting you to come in first place in every race but eventually softens u after learning of the Pac Racing Club’s entry. Its implied the manager looks to the player as a second son, due to his actual son being involved in an accident that cost him his life. Towards the end he wants the player to take the race easy, fearing history could repeat again like the death of his son.
Dig Racing Team: My favorite team since I like the underdog teams, They’re a struggling team that is under budget and as a result will enable to provide fast cars from a majority of the races, meaning you will need to rely on skill in order to get ahead of the competition.
Pac Racing Club: Lead by Shinji Yazaki, seems to only care about the results of the race, but will open up over time about a past Gran Prix where Enki’s son died during a race in which he was involved in.

The Cars

There are lots of cars included in the game, over 320 in fact. Many of these are unlocked by beating the Grand Prix modes across various teams and car manufacturers.

Garage cars are the cars you unlock during the Grand Prix events and can come from four manufacturers, across four different teams, giving 16 different design variations. However the game will reward you with a different car depending on your performance of the early events, ie, if you come 1st 2nd or 3rd during the first heat, will influence the type of upgrades you have, which the game counts as an additional car. Therefore in order to unlock all cars, you have to play the Grand Prix with the same manufacturer/team combo several times, coming deliberately in 3rd/2nd and 1st place for each run.
The garage can only hold a limited amount of cars, and will you have to swap out locked cars in order to play them in time attack or link/multiplayer.

There are also a few preset cars that are already unlocked for use in time attack or for two-player mode, these are also in grip or drift varieties. These don’t seem to have any defined name, other than Preset G3, Preset D4, etc. Most players will refer to them by the color, which comes in (red, black/Grey, white or yellow)

And then you have the cars unlocked using the extra trials, you can only unlock these by winning a Grand Prix with a specific manufacturer, although the team does not matter much, except for the performance tuning.

The Tracks

  • Helter Skelter: The first track you will probably play, set in Japan Yokohama and shares with Out Of Blue. A good track that serves as an introduction to the game’s drift mechanics and style. The song Pearl Blue Soul always plays on this course.
  • Wonderhill: The second track that is played on a late spring afternoon that gives a sunset sky. This track shares with the Heaven and Hell track that appears later in the game. The music on this track can differ if you are racing with the RTS team (Revlimit Funk plays), otherwise Naked Glow will usually play, and it really suits this course
  • Edge of the Earth: Set at night in an airport that leads into a small city, one of my favourite courses since you can go full speed, but also must be mindful of the courses.
  • Out of Blue: In contrast to the previous track, this one is set very early in the morning and shared with Helter Skelter, with OOB separating into its own path, which features locations near a shipping dock. Some of the scenery here reminds me of the original Ridge Racer track. The corners on this track can be brutal, so make sure you are used to the car’s handling.
  • Phantomile: It’s a very short course in comparison to the others, and the corners are rather savage. The Motor Species song always plays for this course. Also just so happens this race is set on the same day as my birthday.
  • Brightest Nite: Another course set at night time, this one also shares with Edge of the Earth. This one is set later at night and features a huge drop towards the end of the tack
  • Heaven and Hell: Shares with Heaven and hell, although it’s set earlier in the day which gives off a different feel of the track, being much brighter.
  • Shooting Hoops: The last track to race and it’s a good and simple one, set at midnight of December 31st 1999 on the eve of the new millennium. The song Movin’ in Circles always plays for this track and on the last lap you can see fireworks being set off as the new millennium is upon us (Cue airplanes falling out of the sky due to the Y2K bug)

Vs and Link Battle

Link battle adds the ability to play with up to four different players, across two consoles. This is similar to how early titles handled multiplayer where two consoles are connected together using the official link cable, along with two displays and copies of the game.
If the game detects another console connected using the serial link cable, the link battle option will appear in the main menu. Sadly in PCSX-R whilst we are able to establish a link between two instances with a Linux Virtual machine (running Ubuntu & Pop_OS), the speed is incredibly slow and unplayable, and whilst we can navigate the link mode menus, the game will display an error message when we try to start the race.

The regular VS mode can also be accessed by having two controllers connected to the console, where the game plays in a split-screen mode allowing for both racers to race at the same time through one console. You can combine this with the link battle to have a total of four players in a single race, with two players per console.

The multitap is not supported here, only a maximum of two players per console.

Further Information

Decal Editor

Like in Rage Racer, a decal can be created and applied to your team’s car which can be any pattern. Here the PlayStation mouse is best used

The Namco NeGcon is fully supported for steering and acceleration, in addition to the DualShock analog sticks.

A visual blur effect can be applied when a race is being replayed, activated by pressing the L1 or R1 buttons.

Tekken 3

The attitude era of Tekken

Taking place several years after Tekken 2 and featured several new characters and a few from the previous instalment. Tekken 3 introduces several new gameplay mechanics that take advantage of the 3D fighting environment, with the ability to sidestep

Versions

Like earlier installments, Tekken 3 was released to arcades first in 1996, then ported to the PlayStation in 1998

Arcade

The arcade version ran on an upgraded PlayStation based board, known as Namco System 12 which featured a higher clocked processor (48MHz vs 33Mhz) and slightly more VRAM (2MB vs 1MB) This game Tekken 3 had the ability to run at a higher polygon count allowing for more detailed characters, along with its background stages to me more detailed thanks to the increased VRAM. This gives a 3D-like effect to the background, and you can see them being more vibrant, especially on Howoarg’s stage. On King’s stage, there is a helicopter that does not show up in the console released, and on Xiayou’s stage, a moving carousel can be seen.
Sound is provided by the Namco C352, accompanied by the Hitachi H8 3002 processor. A unique feature of the sound is that the background music progress depending on the current round your character is on, reach round 2, and the sound changes to another verse/segment, round 3 and another segment plays before looping back to the start segment for round 4 onwards. This all depends if you have configured the game to have 3 or more rounds, by default Tekken 3 is set for two rounds (A third is possible if the opponent wins).

At the start, there are only a few characters playable, with the rest being locked/hidden. Namco implemented a time-based unlock that would unlock characters depending on the amount of time the arcade machine was left on. Thankfully there is a MAME cheat to unlock all characters instantly, so you don’t need to leave the emulator running. Also, all hidden characters share the same background music, due to how uncommon they are and the limited ROM storage, whilst the PlayStation port gives them their own unique music as part of the arranged soundtrack.


The arcade release would later be ported to the PS2, as part of a bonus feature of Tekken 5, This one retains all the graphic enhancements from the System 12 version.
The original Japanese arcade release had Jun as her own character, with her own portrait panel. But her character model uses Nina’s and has Jin’s move set. She will appear in the attract screen character usage statistics once you have completed arcade mode as her. Sake is another unused character but this one is more incomplete. Later arcade releases remove her and Sake as playable characters, and they do not appear at all in any home console release.

PlayStation

Compared to other Tekken arcade to console releases, Tekken 3 required some conversion time as the home console was a lot more contained compared to the arcade version. One notable difference was the change in the stage background, opting for a more flat box-like look compared to the detailed arcade background, The character models also went to a polygon diet and a minor reduction in resolution to keep the game running at 60fps.
However Namco made up for it with the added content, with a newly arranged soundtrack that remixes samples from the arcade original soundtrack, plus each unlockable character has their own background audio track.

Tekken Force is a new game mode that puts you in a beat-em-up environment. Your character has to progress through a series of stages (4 in total). Each stage has a boss character which will be one of the playable Tekken characters before they face Heiachi at the final stage.


Additional game modes include team battle mode, time attack mode, and a movie/music player that can playback ending movies for unlocked characters, and also supports Tekken 2 and the original Tekken if an unlocked save file is found.

Tekken 3 remains one of my favorite fighting games and is a joy to go back and play every now and then, for both the arcade and home versions. Whilst I still enjoy the modern Tekken games, they seem to be a bit too heavy and take a while to load and to get into a game. Tekken 6’s load times were horrible, even after installing it to an SSD.

Quick Comparison

Ridge Racer Revolution

The follow-up to the PlayStation launch classic

Ridge Raver Revolution builds upon the original Ridge Racer game, set with a new course being added with a few variations. All three tracks are similar in how they start, but branch out into different directions and are named by the difficulty of the track itself (Novice, Advanced, Expert).

As with the first game, there is support for the NeGcon controller, so make sure to enable it in your emulator if you wish to take advantage of analogue steering.

Race Modes

Race: Normal racing mode, race 3 laps around the track and finish in 1st place for each one.
Time Trial: Same as Race mode but you have no opponents, the objective is to get the fastest lap time for each track. I’ve always found these modes boarding and don’t really play these much. Completing these modes will unlock a new car.
Free: You can run as many courses as you like. When you reach 99 laps, the lap counter display will stay fixed at 99 laps.

In terms of gameplay, it’s very similar to the original game, with the same graphics style and mostly the same drifting mechanics. Therefore you could consider this as a standalone expansion pack of sorts.

The soundtrack is the exact same as Ridge Racer 2 was released for the arcade, however, Ridge Racer 2 featured only the original arcade tracks, not the ones featured in Revolution.

Secrets

Spinning Point: When selecting time trial, hold down the X and Square buttons and select Start (Note: Not the Start button on the controller, the option on the screen), then when playing the track, Spinning Point will appear where you can spin and the game will score you based on how well you spun the car. This only functions in time trial mode and the scores are not saved.


Pocket Racer: A hidden mode that is enabled when you beat the Galaga mini game without wasting a shot. This mode would later spawn into an arcade spinoff that was released in Japan arcades only as Pocket Racer.


Mirror Tracks: to play in mirror mode for every track, at the start of the game accelerate forward slightly but turn around 180 degrees, then drive into the barrier at over 66MPH and the track will be in mirror mode, along with all the road signs.
Zoom In/Out: When in third-person view, pause the game and then press either the L1 or R1 buttons to zoom in or out respectively. You can then resume the game with the new viewpoint.


Title Screen: The spotlight can be manipulated by holding both the L1 & R1 buttons, then using the d-pad to move the spotlight.

Two Player Link

Revolution included a new two-player link that allows for two players to race each other through the use of two consoles, two copies of the game and two displays. This is not the same as the split-screen modes in the later installments of Ridge Racers, with only one player per console.
A link cable is required to connect both consoles together using the serial port located on the original PlayStation models. The smaller Psone branded consoles lack this port and cannot make use of the two-player modes, but can still play the single-player modes.

You can replicate the two-player mode using the NO$PSX emulator, or PCSX. PCSX was troublesome to work within Windows as starting the emulator as a client would just cause it to crash. Under Linux we have some luck but when we are able to re-establish a link, the performance is horrendous with both games running at around 2FPS. Possibly due to both emulators trying to run in sync with each other. I tried running both in a VM, running in a LAN segment but the performance was still the same.

The original Ridge Racer tracks can be played in this mode, as this functionality was missing from the first game.

Conclusion

The game feels like what Ridge Racer should have been when it was ported to the PlayStation. Presumably a lot of content was shifted to Revolution in order to meet the launch deadline since the original Ridge Racer only featured one track with two variations.

One of the main criticism of the original Ridge Race port was its lack of content featuring only 1.5 tracks (the second being an expansion to the original) and around 12 cars, which limited replay value. Here Namco has tried to add as much content whilst still making the game accessible, however I question why certain modes are hidden behind key combinations instead of being directly accessible.

Cyber Cycles

Lets take Ridge Racer, but with bikes instead of cars

There are two main opponents and a couple of AI drone racers that done affect your rank. It’s best to stay away and avoid these since should you collide, you risk crashing and falling off your bike which will waste time and allow the over racers to overtake. As with all Namco AI it will cheat and rubberband to ensure they are right behind you.

The viewpoints in the game can be changed with the dedicated view change button, which also function as the select button in many of the games menus. There are three views in total, one close to the bike, one far from the bike and a first person view. Some players may control the game better with a certain viewpoint.

As with all Namco game, the game has a pretty good soundtrack and makes use of the Namco C352 sound chip

Machines

Anthias – Novice, easy to handle and maneuver but falls short in the top speed. I would use this bike for the first few game of a track to get a handle of the basics of the game.
NVR 750R – Intermediate, a good machine to master since is has a balance of handling and speed, turning gan be an issue due to the weight of the motor itself
Wild Hog – Advanced, a pain to handle but has quick acceleration. The name might be a pun on Wild Dog from Time Crisis, which was released in the same year
NVR 750RSP – Hidden
Black Anthias – Hidden
Peggy – A pengium who rides on a scooter, currently only playable via a MAME cheat

Handling in the game is determined by the size and weight of the machine you choose. This will affect the drifts which are required to get a good score in the game.

Courses

Green Hill – The beginner course and very reminiscent of the courses from Ace Driver or Ridge Racer. There’s plenty of scenery within the environment that gives an impressive amount of detail
Neo Yokohama – The more advanced course, set in a city an night with plenty of tall skyscrapers. This one has a few difficult turns to learning and mastering drifts is a must.

Other Info

Clips of the game were included in the music video for Republica – Ready To Go (Original, not the rock version), Virtua Fighter 2 is also shown

Cyber Cycles was not released for home consoles, and remained an arcade only title.

Namco offical page- Archived

Tekken 2

The sequel to the first Tekken game, released for arcades and was ported to the Sony PlayStation and eventually the Zeebo console

A lot of improvements have been made, with the graphics for the character models being improved and refinements to the character move-sets. The stage background have also been redesigned, featuring more detailed backdrops. Unlike the first Tekken, the stages don’t seem to be based off a specific location and the stage name no longer appears in the bottom right corner, rather they are inspired by a series of locations, e.g Jun’s stage is inspired by a European countryside, Lei is based off being at the top of a city skyscraper (Similar to Joe’s stage in Last Bronx) and King’s stage being set in a Church.

A removed feature is the view change option, In the first Tekken game you could change the viewing angle in the first 10 seconds of the match, now only one view is available in Tekken 2.

Characters

  • Lei: Jackie-Chan inspired cop, Namco forgot to give him a Time Crisis game
  • Jun: Greenpeace activist, and the only mainstream game she appears in (Also appears in the Tag Tournament spin offs)
  • Jack-2: Jack with with a upgraded processor
  • Baek: Tae Kwon Do fighter, similar to Hworang
  • Bruce: Muay Thai kickboxer
  • Roger: / Alex: Genetically altered animals who are capable of fighting
  • Angel: A literal Angel sent to save Kazuya’s soul

Most of the previous characters return from the previous game, except for the mysterious WildCard

Heiachi finding out he’s no longer the final boss

Arcade Version

Released in 1995 for the arcade and running on the same System 11 arcade platform as the previous game which allowed for operators to upgrade their machines by swapping out the ROM board.

There are a few versions of the arcade version, the original released and a Ver.B update that has a few game-play changes in regards to the AI behaviour. The title screen has also been amended indicating the new release.

MAME is able to run both versions of the game without any issues, although it has the imperfect graphics flag set. Zinc, a high level System 11 emulator is also capable of emulating Tekken 2, but was last updated in 2005 and its plugins are very outdated but they do enable bilinear filtering and upscaling.

Namco would later port this version to the PS2 with the release of Tekken 5, along with Tekken 1 & 3. This is not a direct port as some changes have been made. The audio from the PSone versions have been used since Namco System 11 uses its own custom sound hardware that the PS2 does not emulate. I’m also not sure if these games run on the PS2 I/O CPU, tapping into its native backwards compatibility or if Namco ported these games onto the PS2 Emotion Engine.

Zinc emulator

The Zinc emulator can be configured to apply texture filtering to reduce the blocky artifacts and enhance the overall image quality, resolution can also be increased too.

Unfortunatly where the Zinc emulator falls short is the emulation itself, suffering from various sound issues due to lack of mature Namco sound emulation. As such the music sounds out of tune and many sound elements are missing.

PlayStation

The game was ported to the PlayStation with some additional features added. The soundtrack was also revised with an arranged remix making used of the PlayStations CD audio, the arcade original music also exists and can be selected by the user.

Like the first Tekken home port, FMV endings have been added for each characters that details their backstory. Namco expanded these to have their own soundtrack, compared tot he first game where every characters would have the same music playing over the FMV.

Additional game modes have been added such as survival, training and team battle mode. Also, when pausing the game you can view the character move and command sets. These would also be carried over to future home releases of Tekken games.

Most emulators wont encounter any issues playing Tekken 2, but there are a few issues with PXGP being added. Polygons have a tendency to warp with this enabled, and the character portraits can go off model.

Zeebo

The game was ported to the Zeebo console in 2008 and was similar to the PlayStation version but with slightly improved graphics. The textures appear to be cleaned up from the PlayStation version with some filtering enabled. The music however was butchered beyond repair due to the limited ROM sizes of the game. Zeebo games were distributed over the mobile network using UMTS, which meant games had to be of a certain size in order for them to be downloaded quickly which limited the music of these game to polyphonic like sounds.

I’m also not aware of any emulators or known dumps of this version, so the only footage exists that was uploaded on Youtube.

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Rave Racer

The third arcade instalment of the Ridge Racer series, and the first actual sequel/spin-off, since Ridge Racer 2 was mostly the same as the original except for the revised soundtrack, a revised HUD and multiplayer support.

The music has also been revised with some completely new tracks covering techno/house and electronica genres, and some familiar ones – rare hero returns as a remix. Sadly this gets ruined by the two race announcers who insist on polluting the sound-waves with their rambling takes. The first one is a female sounding voice who is supposed to be the main announcer and has a tendency to repeat the same lies constantly (Go GO GOO This race is yours!!!) She also voices the attract screen. The second announcer is a male voice who seems to be one of the rival cars.

Emulation

Vivanonno

The original emulator for the game that was released in 2002, now has been eclipsed by MAME. Vivanonno could emulate most of the effects but has issues with the car shadows which can dissapear. Like Ridge Racer 2 however, there are a few geometry inaccuracies.

Texture Filtering

Left has filtering disabled and is how it would have appeared on the actual system, right has filtering enabled.

Other

Cars are slightly sunk into the track, but lift up when the race starts

Nintendo 64 Version?

Possible leaked build of the game running on the N64?

Its just the Vivanonno version with the texture reduction set to the highest option, but if it did come to the N64 it may have looked soomething like this.

Mjolnir

This was a fork of MAME and had the goal of emulating the Namco System 22/21 games with hardware acceleration. This had the benefit of better emulation performace since the graphics processing was offloaded onto the GPU.

Sadly Mjolnir was abandoned and the latest build is based off a very old version of MAME, which means System 22 emulation is very primitive and many graphics issues are present with the emulation being incomplete. As a result its difficult to play givern the graphics issues with this build. Also it uses an older ROM set which makes it incompatable with the currernt MAME sets.

More Information

A fork of MAME now allows for link play with selected System 22 games. Unfortunately it is far from perect and only seems to work with only 2 players reliably.

Track selection screen with link play enabled

Meanwhile other linked machines will advertise that they are able to join in, the top two are displayed on the idle machines whilst the bottom is displayed on the machine that initated the link paly.

Left: the test mode configuration. Each machine needs to have a unique car colour and CPU number, which allows each machine to identify each toher. On the right the attract screen when link play is detected

A two player game from both players view. The time is different on both machines because the right has the difficulty settings set to easy mode (H). Seems each machine can have their own independant game configuration. Infact you can have one machine set to complete three laps, whilst the other has to complete five, which does not seem fair. Perhaps Namco would assume the operator had to ensure all systems had the same configurations set?

One has 3 laps, the other has 5. Also both are marked as lap leader

Whilst its possible for two players to play this way, when trying to play with four players there seems to be a few issues. I would assume System 22 networking works on the basis it transmits network packets in a broadcast fashion, like UDP. When playing a ‘four’ player game it seemed that one machine was sending data to one machine, whilst receiving data from another which caused some interesting effects with the map display. Despite setting each machines IP address (emulated through MAME instance, the arcade board has no TCP/IP support) to be unique. It works on some sort of token ring like topology where one machine recieves data and then sends it on a different physical port to another machine, basically every machine has an input and output.

Its also possible that this is due to the early emulation, and may be improved in later releases.

More Information

Boundary Break

Namco always put a lot of detail into the track environments of their Ridge Racer games, and there are many references to their other arcade and console titles via the use of track billboards or building signs. A lot of this detail gets missed do to how fast paced the game is, and the arcade nature of the game. Many players are not going to stop and admire the buildings close up, which is where MAME and the no-collision cheats comes in.

Once nice detail that gets over looked, in the demo attract sequence, you can see the brake discs heat up as they are applied!

Novice Track

This is the same novice track from the first Ridge Racer game, but has updated textures which give it a more detailed look. Some buildings have been altered but the layout of the track remains the same.

The crowd looks different compared to the Ridge Racer version.

The end of the alternative tunnel path, which is normally blocked off and inaccessible. Seems to lead into the abyss…

Outside of the bridge in the first segment of the track

Closer view of the shops,

Getting a closer view of the shops near the beach

Driving in the grass, the peds here are unanimated

Hotel Ghost?

Out of the track and a view of the tower in the background, unfortunately we cannot drive to it since it disappears

Laperopter?

Building that reads Nyanta Nyanta, unsure what that means

On the novice track there is a section that is blocked off, which leads to a track on the Advanced course, driving past here just leads to a empty void, since the world here isn’t populated

Another view from a out of bounds perspective

Namco advertising their TR3 chipset that was Co-developed by Evans&Sutherland. Billboard reads Texture mapping Real-Time Real-Visual rendering system

An advert for that other fighting game Namco is known for

Driving on the sea, a closer look at the boats

City

A new track that was previously exclusive to Rave Racer but has since reappeared in the PSP version of Ridge Racer, This one is set in a more urban environment with a rolling highway.

At the start of the track you can turn around 180 degrees and drive through a highway, you can do this without the use of cheats. You can drive until you reach a tunnel, where the game teleports you back out of the tunnel at a higher speed.

A no-clip like view of the world

A look at the city, and a Pac&Pal store

Another system 22 advert, namco were really pround to show their arcade technology off

Another TR3 billboard

Mappy.png

I don’t know if the transparency was intentional or they just forgot

Another noclip like view, except im nearly colliding with a helicopter. Theres no collision data so your car just clips right through the heli

View of the stadium, where LiberoGrande takes place

Mountain

An alternative view of the mountain track, which normally cannot be seen within the game

Carefull…

I later learnt that this is an invisible wall, but when your collides with it at a certain speed the game teleports you to the bottom section, Driving into it at 10mph would just cause the car to bounce back to the track.

Some sort of casino??

Roadside Sign

A gas station for when you need to refill your car, although this inst a game mechanic, cars in Ridge Racer do not have fuel

Who’s that?

Cup Ball, some sort of bowling center?

Buildings have no rendering data at the back of them, so the textures just disappear

Same Laperopter building in the first track

Better view of the spooky hotel ghost, seems Namco recycled building models to conserve ROM space

Going up the ramp, however the car clips through it

These tracks would remain exclusive to the arcade, and would not appear in any console version until the PSP version of Ridge Racer, I wonder what changes were made and if any buildings were kept?

Other Information

Rave Racer Fan Site (Archived)

Namco Rave Racer (Archived)

Ridge Racer 2

Ridge Racer 2 was a slight update to the series, adding linkable multiplayer and a revised soundtrack with several new tracks in addition to remixed versions of the original.

The announcer voice has been altered slightly, and has several new links in response to the players driving ability.

Some graphic effects have changed, whilst the textures are mostly similar to the original, the lighting effects have changed with RR2 using a hue/fog effect to simulate the day to night cycle, rather then the original which dimmed and changed the Sky texture.

Lastly a rear view mirror has been added, which required a redesign to the HUD.

Emulation – MAME Vs Vivanonno

Emulation for the game has improved over the years with the MAME System 22 core benefiting from being years in development, whilst Vivanonno has not been updated since 2003. Between the two emulators there are some diferentces in the rendering, with there being some unique advantages between the two.

Mame is considered to be more accurate to the arcade version, but Vivanonno has some advantages like texture filterning which System 22 is not capable of. This gives the game textures a less blocky appearance.

Comparison

Vivanonno on the left, MAME (238) on the right

Night Time Effects

The MAME version now has a black ‘fog’ effect that covers the track at night, compared to Vivvanonno which misses the effect and leaves the track at full draw distance.

Billboard

This flickers on Vivanonno but works fine on MAME

Cars not aligned correctly on track

The cars on the Vivanonno version are sunk into the track slightly and are missing the shadows. The brightness is also different, also notice the curve of the car, above where it says RIDGE

Score screen error

Not all of the textures appear on the Vivanonno version

Texture Bleeding

Some of the road textures bleed or overlap, causing the effect

Chevrons

On Vivanonno the chevrons will dissapear at a cetain angle, noticable when you are drifiting.

A fork of MAME allows for limited linked play with both instances of MAME, at the moment this is currently running on one machine but should be possible over a local area connection. However latency will be tight since these arcade machines were meant to be linked close together which rules out internet play.

Screen this is displayed when waiting for other players to join, the attract screen on the linked machines changes to indicate players can join.

Starting position for both machines in one game

Boundary break

Thanks to MAME and a few cheats (Drive Anywhere), the car can escape the track, allowing us to get a better view of the scenery.

Another look at the audience at the start of the track, exactly the same as the first Ridge Racer

A look at the buildings outside the track

The fake cars in the other side of the tunnel have changed slightly, they seem to have more detailed textures, but are now lacking wheels. Unless these are floating. anti-gravity cars?

View of the city at night, the game simply swaps the textures rather than apply lighting effects, and the skybox has changed

More information

Ridge Laser – Remix album by Namco

Ridge Racer

One of the first textured 3D racing games, and mostly known of being a launch title on the first PlayStation console. However it appeared a year earlier in the arcades. The arcade version runs on much more powerful 3D hardware, runs in a higher resolution, a higher framerate (60fps vs 30fps on the PS1) thanks to it’s Evans & Sutherland 3D hardware, which was previously used to power their simulations and CAD hardware.

Arcade

Released to the arcades in 1993 and running on the System 22 hardware, which was in direct competition with Sega’s Daytona USA and Midway’s Crusin USA.

PlayStation

The game was ported to the original PlayStation in 1994 as a launch title, and was considered to be an acceptable port of the arcade despite the downgrade made in order to run on the PlayStation hardware. The PlayStation port has support for the Namco neGcon controller, that allows the player to replicate analogue steering by twisting the controller as at the time the dual analogue controller wasn’t available.

Ridge Racer Hi-Spec

Runs in a resolution of 320×480 which is higher than the original release but less than the arcade version. The main attraction to this version is the 60fps upgrade and the gouraud shading, which enhances the graphics greatly. However there are only two cars on the track, with only 1 in time attack, and the texture quality has been reduced slightly. I had to disable texture filtering and display then unfiltered since it just looked like an N64 game. The polygon count of the cars and track may also have been educed, since the guide mentions optimised textures and polygons.

This build of the game was bundled on the Ridge Racer Type 4 bonus disc, and was not a standalone version of the game. It was meant to showcase a 60fps game on the original PlayStation hardware, and what sacrifices were needed no be made, as Namco were keen for later Ridge Racer titles to be running in 60fps. Ridge Racer V for the PlayStation 2 would be the first home game to be running at 60fps.

Zeebo

The game was ported to the Zeebo, a home console released in Brazil by TecToy and QUALCOMM, graphics have been slightly altered and the music is rendered entirely in MIDI.

Comparison

PSone on the left, using moderate enhancements in the Duckstation emulator with the Mame emulation of the arcade in the middle and the Hi-Spec version on the right, I wanted to see if I could get the PSone version to match the arcade in terms of image quality by upping the resolution to 640×480 and enabling texture filtering, something with System 22 lacked.

Arcade emulation seems to have issues rendering the flag, which is supposed to flap freely, maybe a physics issue with one of the Texas Instrument DSP?

The game isn’t a straight port and some design changes had to be made, the HUD has been changed around and the track objects have also changed. Some buildings have also been changed to be in line with the PSone limitations. On the right you can see the effects of the shading which affects the art style slightly, giving a more realistic look. The ground textures have also been altered.

It’s worth mentioning that System 22 also supported gouraud shading, but Ridge Racer did not utilise it until Rave Racer in 1995.

Sunset differences between the two ports, The Hi-Spec mode does not have a night time version.

Game over is rendered in 3D for the arcade version, a static image on both PSone versions.

Comparison of the night sky, In the middle of a race the sun will set on the intermediate and time trials courses, to simulate a Le Mans race, the arcade shot is taken from one of the attract demos.

Boundary Break (Arcade)

With the help of some cheats in MAME, we are able to disable the collision detection, allowing us to move outside of the track. This gives some interesting close ups of some in game environment buildings.

Ridge Racer System 22

A look of the city from a different angle

Ridge Racer System 22

In the first tunnel, there is a path that is blocked off and is inaccessible

Ridge Racer System 22

A closer look at the other tunnel, with a view of the cars, normally these aren’t directly accessible. Namco used lower resolution models of the cars, since you typically see these driving in a distance.

Ridge Racer System 22

Another closer view of the cars, the tunnels ends abruptly to the outside, and the cars just disappear, and respawn at the other side after a few seconds.

Ridge Racer System 22

Before the end of the tunnel, theirs an intersection to another tunnel, which leads to a dead end

Ridge Racer System 22

The ground near the bridge, you can see the low detail textures, since System 22 didnt support texture filtering, giving a minecraft appearance

Ridge Racer System 22

Another shot of the beach, sometimes if you break out of a track early on, your car remains on a higher evaluation allowing for a top down view for later sections of the game

A look at the buildings near the beach

Ridge Racer System 22

A closer look at the crowd at the start of the game

Tire Garage Starblade, one of the shops near the overpass. Starblade was a 3D rail shooter

The buildings lack modelling towards the rear, since this view would not be available normally in the game. Also note the gap in the Sky where a bit of the blue sky is visible. Seems Namco displayed an overlay across the sky when it was night time, something the MAME emulator has issues replicating accurately.

Italian tomato, some sort of resturant or obscure namco game?

A closer view of the construction site, the trucks are levitating…

Ridge Racer System 22

View of the city, some of the building’s are quite long

The boats in the beach section

One of the many restaurants near the beech, this building appears multiple times. Also this game predates lightning effects, as the game is supposed to in night time mode but the building appear as if its daytime, however in the starting section, the buildings do change to a night time effect.

A distant island, near the marina

Another restaurant building

Ridge Racer System 22

Alternative view of the dead end tunnel, I’d like to try and do this to the PSOne version.

Todo: Mjlonir emulator was capable of running the system 22 versions of Ridge Racer with graphics acceleration, but as it was based on an older version of MAME it suffered from a lot of emulation and graphics issues, and uses an outdated rom set. Vivanonno was another emulator that was worth a look at.