Video Game: Initial D Arcade Stage

A popular series of competitive racing games for the arcades by Sega, based on the manga and anime series Initial D.

Currently the latest installment of the series is Initial D Arcade Stage 7 AAX, with Initial D Arcade Stage 8 Infinity currently being developed.. There also have been a few console releases, though in Japan only: Initial D Special Stage for the PlayStation 2 (based on Initial D Arcade Stage Ver.2), and Initial D Extreme Stage for the PlayStation 3 (based on Initial D Arcade Stage 4).

Compare and contrast Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune.

These games provide examples of:

  • Battle Aura: Get enough wins and you'll get one, with the color changing as you get more wins. If you have the second-to-best aura, a white aura, and get enough consecutive wins, you'll earn a rainbow aura. Break your win streak and it reverts back to white. However, this, along with other features, has disappeared from the English-language version of 4.
    • 6AA brought this back (level the card up enough to get them), but you still have to play online mode to get two of the top auras.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory: Players used to other racing games will generally have a tough time getting used to Arcade Stage's gameplay, especially if they're fans of the simplified slides of Ridge Racer-esque games; it doesn't help that for a series famous for drifting, for the first few versions of the game cars technically can't even drift. The series itself exhibits this as well, with changes between versions ranging from slight differences in car handling, completely new physics engines, and even the location of the physical shift knob on the cabinet.
  • Final Boss:
    • Disc One Final Boss: Takumi, in every single Arcade Stage installment.
    • True Final Boss: Bunta. He challenges you to a free battle only if you have cleared all rivals in one loop of Legend Of The Streets mode. Whether you win or not, the credits will roll afterwards.
  • Difficult but Awesome:
    • The Suzuki Cappuccino is one of the most difficult cars in the game to master, with one of the worst acceleration in the game, and it oversteers like crazy. However, it was also the lightest and fastest, and once mastered, can beat every single car in the game in terms of setting fast times.
      • The Cappuccino ended up becoming a Joke Car after loads of nerfing in 7AAX.
    • The Mazda RX-8 in "Version 3". It understeers, but also drifts at the same time. Said vehicle has also been used to set the world records on both directions of Shomaru, one of the hardest courses in the game, and also is the highest ranking vehicle OVERALL in that installment. The RX-8 sits at mid-tier in later installments, however.
  • Difficulty Spike:
    • Tsuchisaka Outbound in Version 3 starts off fairly simple from the start right up to the end of the long straight tunnel to a literal rollercoaster section from there to the finish line.
    • Tsukuba in 4 and 5 goes from "fairly nice and easy" in sections 1 and 2 (assuming you're going outbound) to "oh crap what the hell is this" in sections 3 and 4.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Using automatic transmission on most tracks won't get you record times. The game's AT doesn't shift at the ideal shifting points either.
    • Worse yet, if you're using a card, you can only change transmission on card renewal, which is every 50 plays. In Initial D 4 and 5, you pay to change transmission, which makes more sense from a realistic point of view but is still kinda annoying.
  • Extremity Extremist: The Hachi-roku's forte is downhill racing. The RX-7's forte is uphill racing. Both the FC and FD RX-7s excel in dry conditions, while the GT-Rs dominate on wet pavement. The Celica GT-Four and other 4WDs that would normally understeer excel on Akina Snow, but can still be very difficult to handle.
  • Genre Popularizer: Though not the first of its kind by a long stretch, it's the game that brought the multiplayer arcade racing game scene to competitive levels on a worldwide scale.
  • Green Hill Zone: Myogi in Initial D Arcade Stage, Lake Akina in 4 and 5, Usui joins in in 6AA.
  • Jack of All Stats: The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions and Subaru Impreza WRX S Tis are both newbie-friendly and can take on all tracks in any orientation decently... just don't expect to set course records outside the home courses.
  • Joke Car: The AE85 Levin and the Prius; averted that performance-wise it is not really that different than the others.
    • Some skilled players capitalize on its reputation, though.
      • And now, the Suzuki Cappuccino joined the group in 7AAX.
    • The Honda Civic EG6 was also this in the first game.
  • Nintendo Hard: Bunta Challenge in Ver. 2 and 3.
    • Shomaru in Version 3 and Special Stage. The single-lane road makes passing opponents extremely difficult. In addition to that, it has very few straights, if any, at all, making for a grueling racing experience, especially in vehicles that suffer from bad understeer, yet the Mazda RX-8 managed to become THE fastest vehicle on either direction of this course.
  • Recurring Boss: Takumi in Legend Of The Streets Mode. He first appears as a Warm-Up Boss on Myougi (Ver. 1-2) or Lake Akina (4 and 5), then later he races you for real on Akina, then he becomes a Final Boss on the last course of the game.
    • In 6AA's Legend arc, Takumi can still be considered this since he is consistently on the higher level of difficulty while the other racers (Rin, Ryousuke, even Bunta) is not.
  • Rubber-Band A.I. : The "boost" feature. Often turned off in human vs. human matches.