Ridge Racer

Top 10 Best PlayStation Racing Games

Last Updated on March 1, 2024

You’re spoiled for choice of racing games on Sony’s humble grey box. That said, many crash and burn before they leave the pit lane. These are my picks for the top 10 best PlayStation Racing games. I’ve ordered these with my favorites at the bottom, but I’d recommend any of these to a retro racing fan.

10 ESPN: Extreme Games

Top 10 best Playstation Racing Games
Screenshot: RetroGamerBase

I want to start this list with an unusual title that I played a ton of. Extreme Games may look a little dated but plays similarly to Road Rash. You pick one of 4 vehicles and race to be first by any means necessary.

You can kick and punch your way to victory or hope a clean race will grant you first place. Knocking your opposition over is incredibly satisfying, and you can buy better vehicles with your prize money.

The icing on the Extreme Games cake is the cheesy live-action cutscenes. The host congratulates your wins but will absolutely twist the knife when you lose.

#9 Rollcage

Top 10 best PlayStation Racing games
Screenshot: RetroGamerBase

I’m probably showing my age here, but if you owned a Tyco Rebound RC car, you’ll love Rollcage.

Rollcage is a futuristic racer where the cars have giant wheels and can defy gravity. You can drive along walls and ceilings and either way up, as the tires are so big. Like another Psygnosis racer we will look at later, Rollcage has weapons and really nails the feeling of speed.

I thoroughly enjoy Rollcage and the sequel, but the controls sometimes feel unwieldy. Getting hit at a bad time can send you careening off the track with no way to recover. While the good outweighs the bad, Rollcage can be a little frustrating.

#8 Need For Speed 3: Hot Pursuit

Screenshot: RetroGamerBase

At first glance, Need for Speed 3 is a fun, if unremarkable, racing game with a pumping soundtrack and licensed vehicles. The title comes into its own with its ‘Hot Pursuit’ mode, where police cars try to disrupt your race and ram you off the road.

The cops usually hover nearby, waiting for you to make a mistake, but they sometimes aggressively slam you into walls and obstacles. The added randomness makes races far more exciting, and there are dozens of unlockables to keep you playing.

The physics and collisions can be a little wonky, even by PlayStation standards, but they don’t detract from what is otherwise a superb racing game.

#7 Destruction Derby 2

Top 10 best PlayStation Racing games
Yes, I was lapped by first place. – Screenshot: RetroGamerBase

The original Destruction Derby is a fun, simple racing game where wrecking your opponents is the name of the game. Destruction Derby 2 improved on its predecessor in every way possible. The graphics are improved, cars can be knocked into the air, wheels can fall off, and the crunchy metal soundtrack fits perfectly.

My only issue with Destruction Derby 2 is the difficulty. To this day, I don’t think I’ve ever won a race. Because of this, I play the original for the championships and the sequel for the spectacle.

#6 Crash Team Racing

Screenshot: RetroGamerBase

Mario may rule the Kart genre, but for a brief moment, it seemed like Crash Bandicoot could give the plumber some competition. Sadly, they utterly blew it with the sequels, but Crash Team Racing remains a solid Kart racer.

Crash Bandicoot makes a smooth transition into the racing genre with a colorful roster of characters and a soundtrack that captures the theme of the platformers. There’s a decent selection of weapons like TNT, which make a triumphant return to bully unsuspecting racers.

Racing itself feels responsive, and drifting takes skill and discipline to nail those valuable speed boosts. CTR is a fantasy racer and a love letter to the iconic platformers but stands toe to toe with the best racing games on the system.

#5 Gran Turismo 2

Screenshot: RetroGamerBase

I’ve never been a massive fan of racing sims, but it’s hard not to be blown away by Gran Turismo 2.

This racer is so ambitious it comes on 2 disks and boasts a ridiculous 600+ cars. The graphics are pretty dated nowadays, but it felt like they couldn’t get better in 1999.

The gameplay loop of winning races and spending earnings on better cars is addictive. Even as someone with little interest in real-life vehicles, it’s a treat to come first with a car you saved up for. There’s an insane amount of content in Gran Turismo 2, and it’s something you simply don’t see in modern titles.

#4 Colin Mcrae Rally

Screenshot: RetroGamerBase

The late Colin Mcrae had several games using his namesake, but the original remains my favorite. The premise is your standard rally game, but the graphics are incredible for the PlayStation.

Dirt collects on the car as you drive, and back in 1998, I’d never seen this done so well. I spent so much time covering my Subaru Impreza in mud just to see how filthy it could get and it remains an impressive effect.

I was blown away by the visuals, but I must mention the controls. Codemasters nailed the handling, and it feels completely different as you hit different surfaces. Having played recently, it’s mind-blowing how well Colin Mcrae Rally holds up today.

#3 Micro Machines V3

Screenshot: RetroGamerBase

V3 is the best Micro Machines game, which is a shame as the title is over 25 years old. There’s an impressive amount of content, including almost 50 tracks oozing with creativity.

My favorite is Splash ‘N Dash, where your car morphs between a truck and a speedboat mid-race, but there are plenty of bangers. The vehicle selection is equally solid, and you even play against a friend for keeps.

Micro Machines V3 is one of my favorite racers, but it is relentlessly difficult. Some tracks require memorization if you want to win, as the AI racers are merciless.

#2 Wipeout 2097

Top 10 best PlayStation Racing games
Screenshot: RetroGamerBase

Any of Psygnosis’ anti-gravity racers could earn a spot on this list, but none beat the 2nd entry in the series for me.

Wipeout 2097 is a high-octane futuristic racer where pilots hurtle around death-defying tracks at breakneck speeds. The steering feels fantastic with the airbrake system, and each team has a unique ship and liveries.

I love so many aspects of this game, from the creative weapons to the unforgettable soundtrack. Racing around Talon’s Reach with Firestarter by The Prodigy blaring in the background is 90s racing at its finest.

#1 Ridge Racer Type 4

Top 10 best PlayStation Racing games
Screenshot: RetroGamerBase

As we close in on the chequered flag, let me leave you with Ridge Racer Type 4. Namco’s final Ridge Racer game on the PlayStation isn’t just my favorite racer on the system; it’s one of my favorite driving games of all time.

The visuals are gorgeous, from the unique vehicles to the tracks themselves. Ridge Racer Type 4 is a treat for the ears as much as the eyes, and the soundtrack is so good you could listen to it without even playing the game.

The cars feel silky smooth to drive, and you can feel how refined the gameplay has become after 3 already excellent Ridge Racer titles.

Simply put, Ridge Racer Type 4 is a masterpiece. It’s one of the best racers on the system and arguably one of the finest PlayStation games full stop.

The original PlayStation had a phenomenal library of games, but many great titles slipped under the mainstream radar. If you want to try some hidden PS1 gems, check out our top 10 list of PlayStation games you’ve probably never played.

Weekly newsletterGet the latest retro gaming news in your inbox

About the author

Anthony is a freelance writer and has worked in the industry for four years. He's furiously competitive and is always looking for the next big multiplayer hit. Anthony is a passionate PS1 collector and firmly believes in playing his retro games rather than letting them collect dust on a shelf. He also loves speedrunning and always looks forward to the next GDQ and ESA events.

Leave a Reply

Discover more from RetroGamerBase

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading