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 inside.)

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.






Some of the most famous videogames scenery ever.

Ridge Racer always 0wned Daytona USA.

“The next corner’s tough – watch yourself!”



Ridge Racer 64 (N64)

And here’s another of the more secret Ridge games – Ridge Racer Renegade. Renegade isn’t really a Ridge Racer in its own right at all, but exists as the notional sequel to the Playstation-only sequel Ridge Racer Revolution. RR64, which appeared right at the end of the N64’s life, includes all the tracks from the original Ridge, all the tracks from Revolution, plus a new set under the Renegade banner, placed in a dusty frontier town in the rocky, windswept desert outside Ridge City. And just for laughs, RR64 throws in lots of the cars from the PS’s Ridge Racer Type 4 as well, to finish off an extremely well-rounded and complete package that might have completely changed the racing-game-starved N64’s fortunes had it been released earlier in its life.

More important than that, though, RR64 plays absolutely beautifully, with a whole range of different handling styles selectable and a pace that leaves every other Ridge game trailing in the dust. The only way RR64 could be improved, in fact, would be if you could somehow play it in razor-sharp 1024x768 resolution, and on your PC. And what do you know, thanks to the latest incarnation of top N64 emu Project 64, that’s exactly what you CAN do. So what are you waiting for? Christmas?



(Left) The fastest, smoothest Ridge ever.


Emulation Zone is brought to you in association with the International World Of Stuart Foundation.