Ace Driver


Ace Driver is one of those great arcade games of the 90s that despite being hugely popular vanished into obscurity, for no good reason at all.
Released by Namco in late 1994, it is a superbly playable formula racing game set in the near future, a subtle mix of Virtua Racing (1992) and Ridge Racer (1993).
Presented in a sit-down cabinet with force feedback steering and Bose speakers kicking out crisp Namco beats, Ace Driver presents 3 modes (Beginner, Expert, Pro), with 'Pro' being the fastest but hardest to control. It's an amazingly stylish and enjoyable game in every sense. So what went wrong?
Simple: by the end of 1994, Sega's Daytona USA (1993) had taken the world by storm. It dominated the racing genre so much it edged out all competition, forever condemning them as second rate.
You could only feel sorry for Namco. Despite producing AAA quality content they could only play catch-up. Sega were on top of their game, and once Daytona had finished swallowing Ace Driver whole they did it again the following year with Sega Rally (1995) versus Dirt Dash (1995).
The final nail in the game's coffin was that it never got a home conversion, despite being produced on the same 'Namco System 22' arcade hardware as Ridge Racer.
Another great loss, since the extra tracks and point-based championship of sequel Ace Driver Victory Lap (1996) showed that the game had all the ingredients necessary for a superb PlayStation release.
But it was not to be. Emulation of the arcade is still in its early stages, so it might be a while before Ace Driver gets the long-term audience it deserves.



Ace Driver Series Arcade Soundtrack 005
エースドライバーシリーズ アーケードサウンドトラック005

Format Audio CD
Released 19 Sep 1997
Publisher Wonder Spirits
Product ID WSCA-00003
Size (cm) 14.2 x 12.4 x 1
Weight (kg) 0.10
Official Namco soundtrack for:
- Ace Driver (1994)
- Ace Driver Victory Lap (1996)
Features the complete arcade scores plus 4 bonus mixes. Minimal / ambient techno; dem Namco sounds.

CD case, 25-track audio CD (59:50), booklet, spine card.


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