Rage Racer is the third Namco title in the Racer series, and in some respects it is similar. However, the majority of the game is structured differently and this makes it an essential purchase even if you have either or both of the prequels.
Grand Prix mode
There are five classes to progress through, then five on reverse tracks then a final class with special cars.
Classes 1 and 2 (both normal and reverse) consist of three tracks, then classes 3,4,5 and 6 add an additional track to these.
To play the game you must race through all the tracks in the class and finish in the top three in each. You can play the tracks in any order to achieve this. You will get a gold silver or bronze medallion for each track depending on your position. Once you have a medallion for each track you can proceed to the next class where prize money for races is greater and more cars become available to buy.
To begin with there is only one car in your collection. After you have won some money in races you can either upgrade this car or enter the car shop
In the Engineer shop you can buy a tune up kit for your car. Every car has a maximum grade of 5. The cheaper cars start at grade 1 or 2 that gives them low performance ratings. When you buy a tune up kit, the grade is increased by one, and the performance of the car increases. In addition to this upgradeability of the cars, they each have specific handling characteristics. Not only does the performance change with tune up kits, but the cars start to get wider wheel arches and larger spoilers and air dams, etc. This makes them look much more powerful to match the performance increase.
Here you can browse through the cars that have become available and see their starting grades and performance specs. If you have enough cash you can buy a new car.
Here you can race on all the tracks you have obtained, with all the cars you have bought. Your cars will be at the highest grade you have made them during your grand prix mode. There does not seem to be a way of altering the paint colors of the cars or their grades once in this mode. Records are kept of the top five total times and lap times for each track, stating the car used for each.
|Age||Abeille||Renault Five Turbo clone|
|Age||Pegase||Lotus 7 clone|
|Assoluto||Fatalita||Fast Car featured in intro|
|Assoluto||Ghepardo||Looks like a Le Mans Porsche|
|Lizard||Tempest||Hot Rod with enormous rear wheels|
|Assoluto||Dragone||Dart like car|
All the tracks share the same start/finish straight along with a steep climb past a massive waterfall. The straight has a glass canopy housing the line, which is illuminated at night, along with a large stone archway, similar to the Arc de Triomphe.
Mystical Coast: 4641m
After passing the waterfall, a straight tunnel leads to a steep drop down to the coast. The road runs along the coast, past Mediterranean style houses and a chapel. Climbing back inland past ancient ruins, a hairpin leads back to the main straight through and curving tunnel.
Over Pass City: 6640m
The longest track is also the most spectacular. The first tunnel of the Mythical Coast track is partially blocked off and the road is taken away to the right, down a winding route before opening up at the base of the largest climb in the game. Past a working tram and various buildings the road finally reaches the summit and falls slowly through more tunnels, and winding corners. After passing over a hillside bridge, a steep drop leads under a bridge, past a lighthouse, then winds round to past over itself before rejoining the start/section.
Lakeside Gate: 6237m
Although shorter than Over Pass City, this has some beautiful scenery to admire. Now leading left from that initial tunnel, the route is laden with hills, tunnels and tight corners, along with a cable car passing overhead. The main attraction though is when the road opens up by a lake, which reflects the surrounding objects. After passing around the lakeside, you cross a bridge, and drive through a woodland scene, before a tight hairpin leads back to the main straight.
The Extreme Oval: 3074m
This simply consists of a loop that connects the two ends of the main straight. There is one long tunnel and banked corners. Don't even try to win races here until you have bought one of the Assoluto cars.
In Grand Prix Mode, you will find it necessary to repeat races in the lower classes to build up funds to either buy a new car or tune up your existing model. If you do not it becomes very hard to get into the top three, as the opposition become faster.
You need to decide what style suits you too, in order to concentrate on upgrading a particular style of car. For example, if you prefer a car with good handling that can take corners fast then you need to keep upgrading this to get a competitive top speed and acceleration. Alternatively there are cars that already accelerate fast enough, but have worse handling, so these are suited to powersliding around corners.
This describes the progress through the game, as far as I have gotten at least.
While you may only need five of the cars to complete the first five classes, it may be a good idea to buy all the cars and upgrade them to the maximum before you complete the fifth class. Once this is completed you must either reload from your previous save game slot or restart the Grand Prix mode from scratch. By doing this you can get all the cars reasonably easily with the high prize money in the fifth class, and add them all to your time attack collection.
Once the sixth class is activated, you need to buy some of the special cars to have a hope of competing against a field made up solely of these demonic vehicles.
When I raced the sixth class, I found the only way to compete was to ignore the powerslides and try to brake for tight corners. This usually meant hitting the wall but it turned out faster than trying to regain grip with these cars. You really can only afford to collide once with another car in order to finish first. Mythical Coast seems to be the hardest to win because it is the shortest, giving you least time to recover if you make a mistake.
I am at present trying to get Gold on Mythical Coast to complete my gold trophy collection, so without powersliding, the sixth class is winnable.
Anyone who has played the previous games in the series will recognize the control method and the powerslide method it the same. It seems to be easier to overdo a slide, so reverse lock is necessary sooner.
With the three class ? cars I never try to powerslide as I find I lose too much time trying to regain grip. However it seems to be easier to regain grip if you follow this method:
As I said I find powersliding too inconsistent with these cars but this method would give me the best chance if I was forced to slide.
The Trophy system works as follows:
To obtain a gold trophy for any class, you must place first in all the races within this class on your first attempt in the class. Once the class is completed you cannot return to it and retry the races. You need to start the Grand Prix Mode again from the start or reload from a previous saved game. Once a trophy is won it is kept in the saved game, no matter how many times the Grand Prix mode is restarted.
It seems likely that there will be some reward for obtaining a gold trophy in all the classes, given that it takes such an effort to do so. In fact it has been written elsewhere on the Internet that a new track is activated.
Swap trick / Music
Here are the only bits of Japanese in the whole game that I can remember, along with what I assume they mean.
This is for the benefit of those thinking of buying the game, as I'm sure those who already have it will have figured this out for themselves. There may be a few more but I can't remember them and they really are self explanatory when you buy it.
As far as music is concerned, you can get full music by swapping in the audio menu. By this I mean using a native disc, letting it spin for a while and swapping it for RR before the music tracks appear on the screen. It is easier to use a native disc that has many tracks and so takes longer to read the tracks. If done correctly, the PSX will read the boot data from the native disc, and then the track data from the RR disc.
I prefer this method because you can see instantly if it has worked. If the tracks appear for RR, and you can play them as normal in the CD player screen, then there won't be any problems in the game. If the RR disc spins very, very quickly for a while then slows, you need to try again, and wait a little longer before swapping. If you wait too long the native disc tracks will appear and swapping won't do anything.
Again this works for me and I take no responsibility for broken Playstations if you try this method.