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Ridge Racer Type 4 was only released for consoles and does not have an arcade version. It features 321 cars and 8 tracks, all of which are fictional. The game was one of the first on the Playstation to use "Gouraud shading" on polygons, which gave objects a quality of visual depth never seen in gaming before. It also features for the first time in the series history a two-player split screen mode. Like previous Ridge Racer installments, Ridge Racer Type 4 featured two different driving models: 'drift' and 'grip' styles.
Ridge Racer Type 4 is the only Ridge Racer game to appear on Edge Magazine's 'Top 100 Games to Play Today', where it squeezed in at number one hundred. Its placement was due to it being "home to the series’ finest tracks" as well as the aforementioned "Gouraud shading". Its soundtrack and drift gameplay were also praised.
The main mode in the game is the "Grand Prix" mode. The player here takes on the role of an unnamed racing driver who is new to the game's fictional "Real Racing Roots '99" Grand Prix.
The tournament itself is divided into 4 stages which involves racing: 2 qualifying races, 2 quarter-final races, 2 semi-final races and then the final race which takes place on New Year's Eve 1999. In between the 4 stages the player will either receive a brand new car or an upgrade to their current car. The reward is based on the players performance in the stage. In order to unlock everyone of the 321 cars featured in the game, the player will then have to race with every team and every manufacturer, in every qualifying position possible. (In other words, in order to unlock every vehicle, the player will have to purposefully fix their race result and avoid placing 1st.) The longevity of the game is therefore heavily enhanced compared to other Ridge Racer titles in its time, except for the previously Rage Racer which featured the ability to purchase performance upgrades for your vehicles, and buy new vehicles, neither of which are present in Ridge Racer Type 4.
Cars in the game have one of two methods of handling. "Grip" forces the player to race as they typically would in many other racing games, braking before (or during) corners to get a good racing line. The other, named "Drift" is the returning driving mechanic unique to the Ridge Racer series and allows the player to power slide around corners.
- Helter Skelter
- Wonderhill (later included in Ridge Racer (PSP) as Diablo Canyon Road)
- Edge of the Earth
- Out of Blue
- Brightest Nite
- Heaven and Hell (later included in Ridge Racer (PSP) under the name Crimsonrock Pass)
- Shooting Hoops
Each of the courses in Ridge Racer Type 4 eventually received adaptation in Ridge Racer 2 (PSP).
- Pearl Blue Soul
- Naked Glow
- Your Vibe
- Lucid Rhythms
- Silhouette Dance
- Burnin' Rubber
- Revlimit Funk
- Quiet Curves
- Motor Species
- The Objective
- Move Me
- The Ride
- Movin' In Circles