Ridge Racer Type 4

Namco's Ridge Racer franchise is in a rather odd place right now. With the recent Ridge Racer Vita port failing to get pulses racing and Ridge Racer Unbounded on home consoles looking more like a Burnout clone than a traditional Japanese arcade speed-fest, it would appear that the series is slowly running out of fuel.

If you need to be reminded why this iconic brand is relevant you need only download Ridge Racer Type 4 on your Xperia Play.

Arguably one of the finest entries in the entire rubber-burning lineage, this 1999 offering took the famous power-sliding gameplay and embellished it with more tracks, more cars, and vastly superior visuals.

Alongside Gran Turismo - which launched at around the same time - it represented a new standard in racing games on the PlayStation.

Gentlemen, start your engines

Naturally, the years have taken their toll on the visuals, and in 2012 Ridge Racer Type 4's slightly primitive shaded polygons and rudimentary lighting effects look less striking. Still, it remains an alluring sight at times, and if anything it serves as a reminder of just how good some 32-bit titles could look if created by the right team.

One element of the package that hasn't aged at all is the gameplay. While Ridge Racer has always repulsed the hardcore simulation addicts with its unrealistic handling and emphasis on immediate gratification, to every other right-minded individual it ranks as one of the most entertaining driving franchises you can ever hope to experience.

The trademark powerslide is alive and well in Ridge Racer Type 4, and becomes instrumental in getting your car over the line in first position. Knowing when to execute the manoeuvre becomes a fine art, and the act of getting your vehicle sideways around a particularly treacherous bend remains one of video gaming's most satisfying moments.

Podium finish

With four teams to race with and more than 300 different cars to collect there's plenty of longevity in Ridge Racer Type 4 - something that can't be said for other instalments in the franchise.

Sadly, although the two-player split-screen VS Battle remains on the options menu, it's inaccessible on the Xperia Play as there's no way to connect a second controller.

With its appealing visuals, toe-tapping soundtrack, and extensive replayablity, Ridge Racer Type 4 is one of the PlayStation's finest arcade driving titles. That makes it a highly recommended download for the Xperia Play, even if it has been surpassed in many respects by subsequent examples of the genre.

Ridge Racer Type 4

Cited by many as the best entry in the entire Ridge Racer bloodline, Type 4 effortlessly qualifies as a must-have purchase for any dutiful Xperia Play owner
Damien  McFerran
Damien McFerran
Damien's mum hoped he would grow out of playing silly video games and gain respectable employment. Perhaps become a teacher or a scientist, that kind of thing. Needless to say she now weeps openly whenever anyone asks how her son's getting on these days.