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Ridge Racer DS - Review part 2

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As you move up through the difficulties, the courses become harder and harder. Some of the courses with more narrow sections, such as "Revolution Expert" feature extremely narrow course sections and are very difficult to negotiate without constantly hitting the sides. In spite of my difficulty staying away from the track side, I was still able to complete the basic game in a couple of hours. Although the end credits roll at this point, there are then three more "extra" difficulties to unlock. These feature the courses in reverse, with faster opponents and are considerably more challenging. Complete the extra difficulties and there are two special challenges to try.

For the sake of completeness I should mention that it is also possible to control your car via two touch screen modes. However, try them once and you'll quickly realise that they are pointless and fiddly, so let's not dwell on that.

Ridge Racer DS screenshot

In fact the DS version of Ridge Racer is almost identical to the version produced for the Nintendo 64, though the visuals look a little crisper on the DS.

The opposite of pointless and fiddly might be useful and fun and that's a fair description of the multi-player mode. With just one game card, you can race up to 6 friends around any of the tracks. We tried a 1 on 1 race with a single card and the experience was fun, free of any lag and download times were short. If you have friends with their own copy of the game you can even use multi-card mode to eliminate download times altogether.

So, does Ridge Racer DS take the chequered flag or crash and burn on the first lap? Neither really. Graphically this isn't the greatest DS game, the fiddly controls will put less patient players off, but the game is rewarding for those who take the time to master it. The soundtrack is good, but the sound effects are poor and the engine noise sounds more like an old vacuum cleaner. As a fan of the series I enjoyed racing around the courses very much, but after a couple of hours, I'd reached the end of the main game, with only one defeat. That still left the advanced difficulties which are much more challenging, perhaps to the point of frustration for many players. Mastering all the courses is not easy and dedicated players might get some enjoyment out of tackling the most tricky stages without constantly shunting the sides. Most of us will have given up and moved on to another game by that time though.

In spite of its flaws, Ridge Racer DS is still an enjoyable racer. The game is quite old now and can easily be picked up for under £10/$15 from many on-line retailers or even E-bay. If you enjoyed Ridge Racer on other platforms, chances are you'll get your moneys worth from this game. So, in that case add a point to our final score. If you don't have fond memories of drifting around mountainside circuits in imaginary indestructible cars, then Ridge Racer DS isn't the greatest game in the series. It is unlikely to create any new fans on it's own, not bad, but I know you can do better, Namco.


Adjusted Scores

  Guys Girls
Kids 3/10 2/10
Teens 6/10 4/10
Adults 6/10 4/10

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