RIGHT ON YOUR TAIL
Not enough games have sarcastic commentators.
“Taking your time, aren’t you?”, sneers the narrator of Ridge
Racer 2 viciously as you struggle away from the start line after a
nasty wheel spin. “What’s wrong, engine trouble?”
Ridge Racer 2 is one of the lost arcade games, the ones that were never converted to any home format. In fairness, we didn’t lose all that much – RR2 was simply a brushed-up coin-op sequel to the original Ridge Racer, adding better graphics, new music, a two-player option and a rear-view mirror, but no new tracks. A sadder loss to Ridge-loving home gamers was Rave Racer, the “true” arcade follow-up and one of the best Ridges, which was, slightly weirdly, slated to come exclusively to the PC as a flagship for a new graphics card (a Diamond something or other, Emu
Zone thinks) but never showed up.
But of course, we’re not just shooting the
breeze here. Emu Zone is perhaps the most excited it’s ever been to
announce the release of the first working Ridge Racer emulator, Viva
Nonno. Appearing out of nowhere, the emu runs the original Ridge,
RR2 and Rave Racer, and it does a phenomenally good job of it too.
Gorgeous smoothed graphics, all the great pounding techno music, and
most of all, that facetious commentator in full effect. (Though
let’s be fair – he’s not slow to give credit where it’s due too,
exclaiming “Excellent cornering!” with just a hint of
surprise as you powerslide elegantly around a demanding hairpin, or
“Brilliant driving!” as you swoop past the yellow Solvalu on
The only current fly in the ointment is a small
timing issue, whereby even though the game maintains a creamy smooth
30/60 FPS display and all the sound is played at the right speed,
the actual game is a little sluggish (though still extremely
playable). But Emulation Zone fully expects that to have been fixed
by the time you read this. Even if it isn’t, this isn’t just one of
the greatest feats of emulation to date, it finally brings to the PC
the best racing-game series in existence, and on a format badly
short of exciting arcade-style racers that’s reason enough for some
jumping up and down and whooping. So off you go.