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Ridge Racer: Type 4

  Mountains may crumble into the sea, oceans may boil over, but when it comes to racing games for the Playstation, well... there's one born every minute. Amongst all the sub-standard stuff though, there is a rare occurrence - a sparklingly fantastic racing game which rewrites the rules - Wipeout 2097, TOCA 2, V Rally, Gran Turismo... and now, Ridge Racer Type 4.

   The first thing on everyone's mind is obvious - "Is it better than Gran Turismo?!". Well, it's like comparing Antz to A Bug's Life. You can't say one is better than the other because each has it's own qualities. Gran Turismo has realism in spades, though Ridge Racer Type 4 is THE arcade racer for the Playstation.

   Gran Turismo is an obsessive's game of games - the harder-than-hard license tests and the sheer number of cars proves this. R4 could also be accused for it's 320(!) cars to collect, but its instant appeal and pick-up-and-play qualities is what makes it an absolute gem to play. Each track is gorgeous to look at, as are the cars, which look much nicer than GTs offerings. There are some super-special cars which have to be raced and beaten to be won in extra trials, plus there is a demonic two-player option, superb music and amazingly arcadey control - I find the none-realistic drift method more fun than the realistic GT cornering.

   The presentation is first rate as well, though there are some irritations (accidentally choose "Start" instead of "Continue" on Grand Prix mode, and expect to go through a load of menus - why isn't cancel enabled?!. Also why isn't the PocketStation released here in the UK, when it's an option on the load/save section?!

   Still, an incredible achievement for Namco, pushing the Playstation to its very limits and giving us an intense experience as well. Oh, and the FMV is unbelievable...! But better than Gran Turismo? Put it this way - if you want an instant racing fix with some incredible cars, R4 is for

5/10/1999 Steven Pick

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