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Byline: Cheryl Mullin

Ridge Racer Unbounded (Bugbear, XBOX, PS3, PC) AS regular readers of this column will know, I'm not the biggest fan of racing games. I leave that particular genre to Mr M. But I've always been willing to make an exception for the Ridge Racer series. It's fast, it's furious and once you've mastered the art of drifting round those corners, it's great fun.

The one problem is that there are only so many time you can race your way around a track without craving something a little different.

For Unbounded, Namco Bandai decided to hand over development to Bugbear (the people who brought you the FlatOut series) in a bid to bring the franchise bang up to date.

And they have, quite literally.

As part of the Unbounded team, a group of lawless racers causing havoc and destruction on the streets of Shatter Bay, you must race and win to help expand your gang's territory and earn yourself respect.

But don't expect an easy ride. Your aim is to simply finish in the top three, and those AI cars will jostle and fight you every step of the way.

Flex your driving muscles in one of the various different modes. Domination pretty much sticks to the tried and trusted Ridge Racer formula, but switch gear and try out one of the attack modes.

Drift Attack has you drifting to collect points and time bonuses, while in Frag Attack mode you try to take down your opponents.

Shindo Racing strips the action back to good old fashioned racing, while Time Trials brings out your inner stunt driver - thank you Bugbear.

But I think my favourite new feature is the destructible environments.

Taken the corner too wide? Shave a corner of the building with your bumper to make the route a little easier for you.

The collision will slow you down a little, but not enough to threaten your position in the race - but do it too often and you'll fatally damage your car, then it's game over.

You've not experienced racing until you've razzed your way around a track littered with bouncing debris and flipping 'civilian' vehicles into the path of your competitors.

Steady and solid progression unlocks new tracks and features, expanding the Unbounded empire as you go.

Other features I love on Unbounded is the track editor- a truly vast and monstrous thing of beauty which is a joy to behold. RATING: 9/10 - Pulse racing ? BARGAIN BUY: pounds 37.99 at www.amazon.co.uk

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TAKEDOWN!: High speed action in Ridge Racer
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 6, 2012
Words:429
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