Retro Recap: Rage Racer

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A game that is very dear to my heart is this one. Alongside Crash Bandicoot, this was one of the very first PlayStation One games I ever owned. Way back when dualshock wasn’t a thing and all control was dictated via the directional pad. For those of you who remember playing racing games during this time knew how difficult the vehicles were to control with this scheme, especially in comparison to today’s omnidirectional thumb sticks. But yet, even through the average graphics , simple gameplay and lack of a real control scheme, I still had hours of fun playing and completing this game, and the few of you who also played this, hopefully did too.

Rage Racer is the third installment in the Ridge Racer series and contains somewhat of a basic plot line. To quote the opening scene “No one knows how the races began or how its drivers became known as Rage Racers.” There were 4 different car makes in game, the Gnade which you started with, then the purchasable vehicles Age, which was most superior in handling, the Lizard which provided lots of torque and high acceleration and the Assoluto which was designed for speed. I always wanted a Lizard when I grew up, they looked so awesome! Sadly fate is cruel and it turns out they’re fictional vehicles. Sad times.

It goes really fast!

You play through a series of classes, racing opponents through 3 tracks (4 when you reach Class 3). The tracks each favoured a particular vehicle manufacturer; Mythical Coast was the balanced track which the Gnade was the best choice, Overpass City had many steep inclines thus the Lizard was the optimal vehicle. Lakeside Gate was a very twisty track, but provided no problems for the handling ability of the Age vehicles. Extreme Oval in introduced in Class 3 and as you could probably guess, it’s an Oval. From my experience, the Assoluto isn’t just the best choice; it’s the only choice if you ever plan to win on this track. The other racers are just too fast otherwise.

Perhaps I should mention the AI in this game, namely one set of particular annoyances. Each vehicle you pass is always in a set order. Like for instance, in Class 1, there’s always a blue car you overtake first and there’s always a pink car in 6th. However, there is one damn driver who becomes the bane of your life. That damn green car. His car does change throughout the classes, yet the AI always remained the same. This particular racer does not like to conform to the set position given to him and actually attempts to overtake and challenge you for the lead. Yes, that does mean the other vehicles do not overtake any other AI racer, just you. But the green racer, he doesn’t half want that victory. You know how bad this can be when you’re first getting to grips with the game and you over shoot a corner and crash into the barrier. This is the guy that will always overtake you, no matter what. At least the game has some challenge, right?

Just look at that colour scheme!

I case you hadn’t caught on, a lot of retro games I tend to cover always have a damn good soundtrack and RR is definitely one of them. Given that it is a racing game, you need a piece of music that amps you up and gets you pumped as you casually drift around a corner and past your opponent. Rage Racer delivers. Not only is the music very fitting for the races, but they have the most epic names to boot. During the loading screen for the race, you can cycle through the tracks and decide upon your chosen track. There are 10 in total and most of them when you see them they undoubtedly give the reaction of “Dude” simply from the name alone. I mean, who can turn down tracks such as “Lightning Luge” and “Mech Monster”?

Rage Racer facts section:

  • Rage Racer was the first game in the Ridge Racer series to contain a CGI animated introduction
  • Reiko Nagase, the mascot girl for Ridge Racer was shown for the very first time in Rage Racer
  • The incredibly epic names for all the tracks are: Rage Racer, Mathemabeat, Lightning Luge, Industria, Hurricane Hub, Mech Monster, Silver Stream, Stimulation, Volcano Vehicle and Deep Drive
Just look how sexy this car is!

In case you hadn’t gathered, I thoroughly enjoyed playing Race Racer, yet it seems to only amass those who actually owned the game as a youth. No-one I knew owned this game, thus the novelty of going to school and discussing it with your friends is generally lost, yet I still maintain that my time was well spent playing such as title as this. The game definitely has a bland and repetitive nature, but given that it was one of very few PlayStation One games I first owned, I loved it and still enjoy playing it to this day. Hopefully, there will be those who agree.

Did you ever play this game? What did you think of it? Let us know in the comments section below!

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