Inside PlayStation Network – Ridge Racer: Type 4

The digital delights of Sony’s scrumptious PlayStation Network service know no bounds. Aside from letting punters compete in online gaming, stream films, browse the Internet and more, its premier attraction rests in the copious supply of downloadable games ripe for the picking. From PSN exclusives to PSOne Classics, minis and plain old add-on content, Sony’s online space is chock full of goodies battling it out for your hard-earned digital dollars.

Welcome back to another installment of Inside PlayStation Network, where every Monday – Friday we’ll pluck a PSN release—be it new or old—and put it in the spotlight for a thorough dissection. Fancy getting a new PSN game but don’t know what one to plump for? Perhaps this feature will help. Didn’t realize that a game was available in your region until now? We’ve got you covered. Or, perhaps you were musing over what those lucky Japanese folk were tucking into over in the Land of the Rising Sun? You can be sure our coverage will extend to those rare regional exclusives as much as those firmly embedded on the public consciousness.

Today we go for a spin in the classic arcade racing romp, Ridge Racer Type 4.


Developer: Namco
Region(s) available: North America
Players: 1-2

Ridge Racer’s been around the block a few times, with the series’ inaugural outing accompanying the launch of Sony’s original PlayStation console way back in 1994. As such, it’s no surprise that the speed ‘em up remained synonymous with the brand for over a decade, before skidding onto rival formats a few years back. Ridge Racer Type 4 – dubbed R4 – marked the arcade racer’s PSOne swansong, releasing back in 1999 for one last spin around the track before shifting up a gear to PlayStation 2 the following year.

R4 sticks firmly to the series’ finely tuned paradigm like a well-oiled motor, though as you’d expect there’s been a few upgrades under the hood. Gran Prix is the main attraction, with petrol heads plumping for one of four teams and car manufacturers. Here you’ll whizz through eight tracks, each one requiring you to cruise past the finishing line in a certain place. For example, the first couple of tracks only requires you to finish third or higher, while the requests nothing short of pole position. You can always retry if you bugger up somewhere along the lines, though three strikes and its back to the starting grid to start from scratch all over again.

As you’d expect, you can obtain fresh motors as you rake in the wins, though you’ll receive flashier cars if you perform exceptionall. R4’s garage hosts two distinct types of cars: Drift and Grip. The former specialises in flashy Fast and Furious-style powersliding, while Grip excels in a more realistic approach to navigating your way around the track. Courses themselves have you burning rubber across Tokyo and New York, though many of them have a shared portion, meaning the variety of tracks on offer isn’t quite as meaty as it was in past entries.

I’d wager this has something to do with the fact Sony’s aging hardware was pushing out a then-impressive visual showcase, which probably afford little room for diversity in terms of environments. Speaking of graphics, R4 is unequivocally one of the prettiest racers to emerge from that period. Typical of any RR title, Type 4 will likely keep you glued to your telly for a while, with 321 motors to unlock – an impressive number for the day. Naturally, there’s also a two-player option for some contention-filled split-screen antics, with the solo operations further fleshed out with the addition of obligatory Time Trial mode.

Join us again next week for another glance Inside PlayStation Network.