Rage Racer

released on Dec 03, 1996
by Namco

Rage Racer is the third title in the Ridge Racer series of racing games. For the first time in series, Rage Racer introduces a brand new advanced single player career system which uses credits that player can get after winning races, then it can be used to buy or upgrade cars.

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Much less pretty than its predecessors, but is actually playable and the music is great too.
I'd say the handling is worse than in Rave Racer but better than the first two Ridge Racers. It's responsive enough to be playable, but constantly feels unbalanced. Like the amount of effort to take the more difficult turns is not proportional to the amount it takes for the easier turns. As a result you end up always either understeering or oversteering, and occasionally you send the car drifting even without using the handbrake. Like, it's not fun to control the car here, but it's doable.
So I finished the first tournament, which consists of three very similar-looking tracks, and then the second tournament is doing the same tracks but with different opponents. I have a feeling there are only three tracks in the game. And while the environments are pretty detailed, they're so bland, like the game was drained of color compared to the previous entries. One thing I liked about the tracks though is how the time of day changes dynamically throughout the race.
But after beating the first four tracks, I felt like the game was starting to repeat itself. There is an upgrade system and other cars to buy, but you earn ridiculously little amounts of money per race, which would turn this game into a grindfest. Although maybe that's because I finished 3rd on every race. Speaking of which, the game's difficulty is so weird. You start the race behind everyone and then gradually outrun them one by one. And it feels like the opponents are not living entities, but rather just visual representations of how much you fuck up. It seems like, if you manage not to hit anything, you will finish 1st. Like the actual speed and your decisions on the track don't matter, as long as you just don't hit anything. Oh, and the collision model is still horrendous. You still bounce off of things like a pinball, even you as much as graze them.

shrink that fucking speedometer oh my lord

The drifting is still very off, but these are three absolutely incredible tracks, with an equally amazing soundtrack.

the weird one out of the original games, duller grayer artstyle but the handling is pretty good, the campaign is a strangle but honestly neat addition to the formula at least for one game, extremely unfair difficulty spikes though and can be infuriating, at least the music is really fucking good

Rage racer is the third game in the ridge racer series, and once again we have an aboslute vibe of a game. The game has a more muted and grey color palette, which kinda makes it the first one to really set its cloudy-day mood that later games like the PSP era of ridge racer and beyond will get into, which is pretty cool to see on a PS1. The racing itself can be a little weird and the difficulty is a bit unbalanced, but ridge racers always more about the vibes than anything else, and the vibes here are definitely of the good variety. This game has Silver Stream in it, impossible to be bad.

fantastic handling and sense of speed, a true arcade racer