Do forgive my bluntness, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to convert Ridge Racer for today’s handhelds. Either you can use the quite excellent Ridge Racer Type 4 as the template for all your actions, allowing you to create roller-coaster tracks, cars that look as likely to take off and fly as take to the road and an effortlessly sophisticated atmosphere, or you can bung together a cheap remake of Ridge Racer 64, charge thirty quid for it and heavily market the fact that one of the game’s tracks is raced upon at night as the game’s most attractive feature. Unfortunately, this game leans towards the later.
The game’s other major problem is a difficult to master control system. Aside from the option available to use the stylus to manipulate a steering wheel on the bottom screen, it’s much easier to use the pads. So, the amount of time taken to steer to full lock becomes absolutely crucial to accurate control of your vehicle. Sadly, even in cars rated highly for grip, it is impossible to make any sort of attempt at correcting small errors in steering, at any point. Time after time you’ll find yourself flying into the side walls whilst simultaneously shouting at the top of your lungs ‘that wasn’t my fault!’, or something more blue. Although the perfect race that is thus required for victory is a goal that tempts you to return time and again, it is only to once more cast your DS aside to find more satisfying entertainment. Like chewing a brick.
In the game’s defence, all of its faults detailed above often create a sense of heart-pumping tension in the final few laps of any particular race and in addition, the game is graphically functional to pleasing. Trackside scenery flies by at a dizzying rate on occasions, with no trace of slowdown or visual errors anywhere to be found, so at least it’s not broke.