Video Game / Wangan Midnight

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Roar through at over 300 km/h.note 
Wangan Midnight is a street racing manga that also exists as a series of Driving Games.

Wangan Midnight, developed by Genki and released in 2001 as an arcade game, plays much like Shutokou Battle—the object is to drain the opponent's Life Meter by maintaining a major advantage or causing the opponent to crash into things. It got an Expansion Pack called Wangan Midnight R, and PlayStation 2 and PSP ports. A more fleshed-out Wangan Midnight game made its way to the PlayStation 3.

Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune (currently marketed as just Maximum Tune in North America), developed by Namco, is the set of Wangan Midnight games as most fans know it. Originally released in 2004, Maximum Tune features a card system not unlike that of Initial D Arcade Stage's, more lenient and drifty driving physics, more colorful graphics, a more traditional "point A to point B" racing system, and a tuning system in which you can tune your car all the way to 800 horsepower by completing 60 stages of Story Mode.

Maximum Tune has become successful enough to receive multiple sequels, with each new one adding features such as 4-player racing, a more coherent Story Mode, more horsepower, and new courses like the Hakone mountain pass and new stretches of the Tokyo expressways.

Games in the series
  • Wangan Midnight (arcade, 2001)
  • Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune series (all international arcade releases, unless noted):
    • Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune (2004)
    • Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 2 (2005) — Introduces the Hakone mountain pass. Story Mode has been revamped, expanded to 80 stages from 60 with the latter half of Story Mode following various story arcs from the Wangan Midnight manga. When a player's card expires, they can use the expired card, now a "Discarded Vehicle Card", to make up to two clones of their car with everything other than vehicle color and Story Mode progress up to stage 20 reset.
    • Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 3 (2007) — Expands the Tokyo map to include longer stretches of the Yokohane and Wangan lines, and adds the Osaka Hanshin line as a new map. Ghost Battle is introduced, allowing players within the same arcade to race against AI opponents representing past runs within the mode; winning battles in Ghost Battle earns the player Dress-Up points that can be used to make cosmetic changes to their car. VS Mode has been overhauled; on Tokyo and Osaka, instead of racing fixed circuits, certain junctions allow the lead player to choose the next route.
      • Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 3DX (2008) — Adds the Nagoya Speed Ring area. Story Mode has been extended further to 100 stages; along with 3DX+, this results in the longest and most expensive Story Mode cycle.
      • Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 3DX+ (2010) — Last version to support proprietary read/write data cards. Adds the Fukuoka Urban Expressway area.
    • Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 4 (2011 (Asia and Australia)) — current version in China — First version to use Namco's Bandai Namco ID network and corresponding Banapassport card system, with all player data being stored server-side.note  This network functionality allows players to race ghosts from other arcades, see server records when racing in Time Attack, and access player data from the web. Also introduces the Wangan Terminal, a companion cabinet that allows players to change customizations and game settings free of charge and, depending on the arcade, can sell Banapassport cards to players.note  Aside from these dramatic changes to player data structure, Story Mode has been shrunk from 100 stages back to 60, Porsche cars are officiallynote  available for the first time outside of Japan under the RUF license, Chevorlet cars were added making them the first American cars in the series, and a few new areas have been added: The Yaesu loop within C1 and the Yokohama line. Notably, this version was skipped over for non-Asian regions, marking a long six-year hiatus for North America and the end of an era everywhere else.
    • Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 5 (2014 (Asia), 2015 (Austrailia), 2017 (United States)) — current version in North America — Adds the Shibuya/Shinjuku and Ikebukuro sub-center lines, as well as the Mt. Taikan pass, and introduces two more carmakers. Non-Japanese versions notably have a large number of changes: the game uses the same hardware and interface as WMMT 4 (Namco ESA1; the Japanese version of 5 upgrades to ESA3) some exclusive cars and two new carmakers were added while removing some other ones, and the sub-center lines were not added to these versions. The U.S. version is additionally segregated from Asia regions, takes out two more cars, and is officially called just Maximum Tune 5, without the Wangan Midnight part of the title.
      • Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 5DX (2015 (Japan), 2016 (rest of Asia)) — current version in Indonesia — Adds the Kobe area's Hanshin Expressway route 3 as a new area. The Japanese versions add back two more foreign carmakers only available in overseas versions of 5. The Ikebukuro course was redesigned due to a road along its route being closed down in real life. The non-Japan Asia version adds back some of the content that went missing in vanilla WMMT 5, including the aforementioned sub-center lines, and uses ESA3 hardware and the more up-to-date interface.
      • Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 5DX+ (2016 (Japan), 2017 (Australia and rest of Asia excluding Indonesia)) — current version in Australia and most of the Asia Pacific — Adds two more carmakers and a new Hiroshima Expressway.

The Wangan Midnight games contain examples of:

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Not with the characters but with some of the cars. For example, Kazuo Ota's RX-7 is inexplicably pink in the games.
  • Adapted Out: Yoshiaki Ishida, prior to Maximum Tune 3.
  • Anti Poop-Socking: Maximum Tune games can be configured to disallow use of the card reader after a specified time. (You can continue to play with a card if you started a game before this feature kicks in, and nothing short of card expiration or running out of money to use for continues will force a card eject.) This serves two purposes: To subtlely encourage players to leave the arcade, and, if the arcade turns off machines at closing time, to prevent players from getting their cards stuck as a result of the machine powering off in mid-game.
  • Artistic License Cars: In real life, most of these cars, especially the Joke Cars such as the Corolla and the HiAce, would experience serious problems if tuned to over 600 HP, let alone 800.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: From WMMT 3 and ownwards, there are King/Top player status that are displayed in one of its Attract Mode. To become like them, players must beat previous King/Top player ghost. Default King/Top players ghosts are quite easy, but player-generated King/Top players ghosts all have various difficulty, depending on how well they beat the previous King/Top player's ghost.
  • Bladder of Steel: Want one of the titles based on continue streak? Get ready to play 10 credits in a row, at the least; the last such title is earned at 60. You'll likely want to do this when the arcade is not particularly active (as it's bad etiquette to continue when others are waiting in line), and if you're playing one of the games with expiring cards, you'll need as many plays left on your card as continued needed for the title you want, as running out of plays prevents you from continuing and therefore breaks your continue chain even if you immediately renew your card. This is alleviated with the Banapassport games since cards never expirenote , but all of the other issues apply.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation:
    • Story Mode in the international versions of all four Maximum Tune games. In fact, there are cases where text is not formatted properly (i.e. long text appears on one line going off the screen) or strange characters appear where they should not be.
    • SUDDEEN KILL! Spelling error present until the most recent update, 3DX+ . The context of the phrase is still awkward, though. Has it gained Narm Charm? Or did they just not care anymore?
    • Apparently, 10人抜きモードサウンド (10 Outrun Mode Soundtrack) means "Sound of Ten persons Pulling out Mode".
  • Boring, but Practical: In Story Mode it's best to alternate increasing the Power and Handling bars to maintain a safe balance of speed and cornering ability. And as you start to get the ten variable blocks, it's best to continue maintaining a balanced setup in Story Mode. Sure it's tempting to go 800 HP for stages ending on Wangan, but if you have to make a quick dodge in the last kilometer or of the stage you are liable to slide into what you're trying to avoid and lose. Besides, the Rubber Band AI ensures that you won't really gain any advantage from going full power.
  • Boss Game: The first two games before Maximum Tune.
  • Boss Rush: 10-Outrun mode.
  • Capcom Sequel Stagnation: WMMT 3 -> WMMT 3 DX -> WMMT 3 DX Plus. Finally reached 4 in 2012 (3 was released in 2007).
    • Now here's WMMT 5 -> WMMT 5 DX -> WMMT 5 DX+, but it is more an Updated Re-release than this.
  • Car Fu: A tactic some players of the MT games resort to when dealing with opponents in a race, popularly known as ramming.
    • Some skillful players can even use the Traffic Cars as throwing weapons by cleverly playing dodgeball with them bouncing them around the course, causing mayhem behind them. And now, in the 3DX+ update, even the AI gets in on the action.
    • Essentially the name of the game in the Wangan Midnight R games.
  • Cosmetic Award: Dress-up parts in MT 3 and 3 DX. Want to see a flamewar erupt? Ask whether or not dress-up parts do anything to your car's performance. Also, special titles.
    • Somewhat subverted in WMMT 3DX+ - the new Nissan GT-R R35 cannot be dressed up, nor have its color changed when renewing the game card. Downplayed with certain other vehicles like Honda NSX (in 5DX+), which can't be dressed up yet can have new body colors.
  • Creator Provincialism: Save for the German Gemballas, all the cars up to WMMT3DX+ were strictly Japanese. WMMT4 broke this with Chevrolets — the Corvette C6 ZR 1, the 1975 Corvette Stingray, and the 2012 Camaro SS. The fifth game WMMT5 released in mid-March 2014, continues that ground-breaking trend, adding 4 more non-Japanese makes (BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Dodge) while also giving the existing 2 foreign makers a new car each.note 
    • Now subverted again in the upcoming WMMT5DX+, as we will get Honda, the first new Japanese maker to join the roster, as well as Lamborghini, an Italian supercar maker.
  • Crowning Musicof Awesome: Phantom of Blue from the 3rd Game.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: If you are traveling from Asia to anywhere in the West that has the game or vice versa, be warned that the shifter will be on the opposite side of the cabinet from what it is back home.
  • Developers' Foresight: The game has thousands upon thousands of titles you can unlock for your cars, covering a variety of conditions, such as clearing certain Story Mode stages, winning enough VS battles, retiring in Time Attack at certain points, among many other things. Clearing Story Mode loops is something of a beast: there are individual titles for the first 256 times you clear Story Modenote .
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Automatic transmission. While MT is the preferred method by many of playing driving games, with this game being no exception, it is possible for AT players to go toe-to-toe with MT players, though more difficult. It requires sticking on the same power settings, good knowledge of the tracks and mastery of handling with the brakes and steering, but when executed properly, players can tackle corners which are hard to do using manual transmission. Pulling this off in Hakone (not the Mt. Taikan area), however, requires effort more than the rest of the tracks combined. A couple examples of competitive AT play can be found here and here.
  • Dummied Out: The aforementioned Gemballa-tuned Porsches in the international versions of MT 1 and 2. Thanks to a little hacking, some players were able to make them playable, and thanks to the "discarded card" system that allows players to make partially-tuned clones of their cards, almost any player in the world was able to get their hands on one. All traces of them were removed completely starting from the international version of MT 3. Subverted in MT 4 where the RUF Porsches are brought in.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: From the first Maximum Tune game:
    • You can only change your tuning right after you insert your card by going to the tuning page on the login screen; you can't do it right before a race.
    • There's no story arcs; you simply race one opponent after another in Story Mode. The closest there is to an actual plot is the Devil Z passing Reina and you in Stage 5, Tatsuya using you as practice in Stage 16, and the final showdown between him, Akio, and you in Stage 20.
    • In the third and final block of 20 stages, all of the stages are done on complete circuits rather than segments.
    • VS races are also done on circuits; the lead player deciding the next route at forks would not come until Maximum Tune 3.
    • There's 8 blocks of variable tuning instead of 10; consequently, the power steps from 600 to 800 horsepower are not in multiples of 20 HP.
    • In Time Attack, the start/end points of each circuit is different from later games.
  • Fake Longevity / Forced Level-Grinding: 60 stages for a full-tune in MT 1 and 4, 80 in MT 2 and 3, and 100 in MT 3 DX and DX+ . And each stage eats up one credit.
    • Not to mention 10 Opponent Outrun. Given that the first 5 levels are ridiculously easy to get an S on for any full-tune vehicle, they could've been left off entirely, or counted off as cleared upon clearing more difficult levels.
  • Forced Tutorial: In 3DX and 3DX+, when playing Ghost Battle for the first time (even if you are using a transferred card that has played Ghost Battle in a previous version!), the game forces you to play a short tutorial race.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: The game is notorious for "wheel errors" that occur if the wheel is slammed too hard to either of its physical limits. Which, given the tendency of children and ill-mannered players to roughhandle arcade machines in public arcades, happens a lot. As the error stops the game from being playable, it requires operator intervention to get the game back up and running.
    Please call an attendant
    E2206 STR PCB over current error
    STRPCB eddy current
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: One of the unlockable titles in the English-language versions of the Banapass Maximum Tune games is "Bullshit".note 
  • Have a Nice Death:
    • Each stage in Story Mode has a unique line for losing (in addition to one for winning).
      (Stage 16) Masaki: "I don't like your car"
      (Stage 26) Shima: "Nobody gets ahead of the Blackbird."
      (Stage 34) Sonoda: "You're the one with lame skills!"
    • If you clear the first 40 stages of Story Mode with no losses, but then lose anywhere in the remainder of the current Story Mode loop, one of the titles you'll "earn" is "First Black Mark".
  • Hollywood Darkness: Hakone zigzags this trope.
    • Averted in Maximum Tune 2; it's completely dark at night, with the only things visible outside of your headlights being your opponents' car lights.
    • Played straight in Maximum Tune 3; Hakone is brightly lit at night for no reason whatsoever. Even a full moon on a clear night cannot possibly provide that much illumination on its own.
    • In Maximum Tune 4, the issue is avoided altogether because there are lamps along the road providing illumination.
  • Hilarity Ensues: In MT 4 Story Mode, the chapter when Gatchan is your opponent. In the intro cutscene he drives so recklessly he crashes in to a barrier, then some time into the race the two of you are joined by his nagging wife in her own car, resulting in funny banter between the couple while racing so dangerously.
  • Important Haircut: An odd example; At the beginning of MT 4's story mode, Reina first appeared based on her appearance in the manga (long, curly hair). After her accident, when she encounters Koichi and Harada in the latter's Fairlady Z31, she reappears with long straight hair, similar to how she appeared in the anime. Previously, she either only had her manga appearance or her anime appearance.
  • Interface Screw:
    • One of the stages involving Gatchan borders on this prior to MT 4. Near the end of the route, Gatchan lets off four HUGE blocks of text that take up a majority of the screen, making it easy to get distracted and crash into something, causing you to lose.
    • Extreme VS Mode. The remaining distance counter and advantage counters are hidden, and you are only given a catch-all "!" warning for any sort of turn or structural hazard rather than specific indicators.
    • If you are using the third-person view in a non-Hiace vehicle, when you race a Hiace and it comes up right behind you, the inside of the Hiace's model will block your view.
  • Joke Character: The Toyota Celsior, known in North America as the Lexus LS series. WMMT 2 adds the Corolla and the Hiace van to the mix, WMMT 3 adds the 64-horsepower Subaru R2 keicar, and WMMT 4 throws in the Mitsubishi Pajero SUV. All of which can go as fast as any other car in the game, by the way; anyone wanna see a van drive at 340 kilometers per hour? And if you're skillful enough with them, you can humiliate seasoned opponents with them when they use more "conventional" cars and you still beat them.
  • Leitmotif: Any song with "Blue" in the title for Akio, any song with "Black" in the title for Tatsuya. And if a song is sung by Paula Terry, it's most likely one of Reina's themes.
  • Lethal Joke Character: The Celsior and the Aristo (aka the Lexus LS and GS in North America, respectively), in MT 3 and 3 DX, are the heaviest cars in the game (by the game's physics), which has led many to regard them as good cars for versus battles.
  • Level in Reverse: Extreme VS Mode, in which in addition to the Interface Screws, all of the roads are raced on backwards (except on the non-divided Hakone course), meaning that you're driving such that the opposite direction of the route is on your left rather than the rightnote , racing on the "Inward" side of C1 in the "Outward" direction, etc. This may not seem like much of a hassle at first, but some routes have unique hazard in one direction only, and the Osaka and Nagoya courses become very different beasts as outside of Extreme VS Mode, there's no counterclockwise variant of either route.
  • Life Meter: The non-Maximum Tune games, unusually for Driving Games, have them. They're lifted straight out of the Shutokou Battle series, made by the same developers.
  • Lighter and Softer: On a cosmetic level, Maximum Tune is this to the original Wangan Midnight arcade games. The original games look fairly dark and mostly use white and orange lighting with not a lot of visual fluff, while in Maximum Tune buildings look a lot more vibrantnote , and there's a gratuitous fireworks show that happens when rounding the corner west of the Rainbow Bridge. Also, Maximum Tune allows racing during the daytime, unlike in Wangan Midnight where the closest you can get to daytime is starting a race at 4:55 AM so that there's a distinct pink glow in the sky. Gameplay-wise, Maximum Tune is much more forgiving than original Wangan Midnight, though the first two Maximum Tune games are hard.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: Maximum Tune 3 is infamous for this in versus battles, particularly ones set in Tokyo—players often get stuck at a still loading screen for about 30 seconds before the race begins. 3 DX onwards seems to have fixed this.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: "Who's Your Rival?" from Maximum Tune 4 onwards is 4'33" long on original soundtracks, which is as long as a handful of race tracks...but it's actually a menu track, specifically for Ghost Battle mode. Most likely downplayed, as the menus for Ghost Battle can take a while to navigate, depending on the player.
  • Marathon Level:
    • The Metropolitan Highway time attack courses; the Kanagawa version is 35 kilometers long, and the Tokyo version is 59.8 kilometers; the latter in particular takes over 12 minutes to finish, and that's with a full-tuned vehicle. However, if you get challenged during one of the Metro Highway courses, and win, you have to insert additional credits again. Thus you pretty much must turn on Refuse VS if you choose either of these courses. The Japanese version of Maximum Tune 5 also has the Sub-Center Metro Highway course, the longest course in the game at 69.7 kilometers.
    • Arc-ending stages tend to be somewhat longer than usual, at 25-30 kilometers.
    • If you clear all 10 levels of 10-Outrun mode on one course, you gain access to a special 28-opponent (or 32 in MT 3) level. It takes at least 7 minutes to finish.
  • Market-Based Title: The U.S. version of Maximum Tune 5 notably does not have the "Wangan Midnight" part in its title or logo, and additonally all of the previous games whose soundtracks are represented in the game are given Retronyms that get the same treatment, with the sole exception of Wangan Midnight R which is called Midnight R (just calling it R would look extremely silly). Conspicuously, Wangan Terminal is left as is.
  • Mercy Mode: In the original games, losing a stage and restarting it causes the opponent's life meter to start lower. In Maximum Tune, the opponent becomes weaker.
    • In MT2, if you lost the same stage three times in a row, on the fourth attempt the opponent would slow down to a crawl in the final kilometer. There were several stages that, were it not for this, would be impossible to beat for many, many players.
  • Meta Multiplayer: Ghost Battle mode, in which you race against cars representing players' most recent runs through each course. From Maximum Tune 4 onwards, Ghost Battle is upgraded to have online functionality, letting you challenge any ghost on the network instead of just ones from your arcade.
  • Metagame: There are many blocking gameplay in this game.
  • New Game+: After the player has completed Story Mode, fully tuning their car, they can go through Story Mode again with their fully-tuned vehicle, with perks varying from game to game:
    • In Maximum Tune 2, from the second loop onwards each stage has unique titles for winning and for losing the stage. Additionally, the player can earn "engine overhauls" that slightly improve performance by clearing loops.
    • In Maximum Tune 3, if the player loses their Story Mode "undefeated" status, they can try again on the next loop. Clearing a loop undefeated is required to unlock the Wangan Midnight R soundtrack; in Maximum Tune 3DX and Maximum Tune 3DX+, the player can also win a special tachometer in this manner.
    • From Maximum Tune 4 onwards, the player earns a new racing tachometer each time they clear a loop of Story Mode undefeated on the same car, with four different colors of racing meters available, the entire collection requiring clearing Story Mode undefeated four times. Losing at any point pushes all meter unlocks back by one loop. Soundtracks are also unlocked by clearing loops (1 loop for Maximum Tune 3 / 3DX / 3DX+, 2 for the 10 Outrun Mode soundtrack, 3 for Maximum Tune 1 / 2, 4 for Wangan Midnight R), but they do not require undefeated status.
  • Nintendo Hard: Story Mode in MT 1 and 2.
    • 10 Opponent Outrun in 2 tops both. Simply clearing all 10 stages of any one course is a massive challenge.
  • Non-Indicative Name: "Mode Select Maxi5" doesn't actually play on the mode select screen (besides if it did, you'd hear only 15 seconds of it); it instead plays in Extreme VS menus.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: Driving the cars into wrong way for a timer countdown will cause an instant retirement, but it is possible only if you aren't playing Story Mode nor Multiplayer Battle, and you have the Retire Option turned on on your game save in your card.
    • Since it doesn't count as either winning or losing, many players pull this in Ghost Versus Battle mode to avoid losing. However, since this is an arcade game, players need to insert coins to play again.
  • Obvious Beta: When the Kobe course was added in 5DX, it was playable in Time Attack only in night mode. Morning was selectable in versus mode, however - in a clearly unfinished state.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: The first Maximum Tune game has an exploit called "gacha", in which the player momentarily shifts back to the previous gear and then back up to gain brief bursts of acceleration. This was not how developers wanted players to play the game, especially due to the potential accelerated wearing out of the shifter. From Maximum Tune 2 onwards, attempting to do this will force the player's gear into neutral.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Black Pressure in MT3, Shima's theme song.
    • Black Zone in MT4 to a lesser degree (the chanting is softer, but it's there).
  • One-Woman Wail: Reina's theme from R features it throughout the song, fitting as she is one of the game's two Final Bosses.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: The overwhelming majority of tracks in the Maximum Tune series are trance or at least have electronic elements, but "The Race Is On" from Maximum Tune 5DX is the first track composed for the series to be entirely rock.
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • Many special titles (e.g. those based on mileage and those based on how many wins) are only offered once; decline them or overwrite them later and they're gone for good for your car.
    • Played with regarding "undefeated" status in Story Mode. In the original verison of Maximum Tune 2, if you lose a single stage with a particular card, that car will never be able to achieve the second bonus tuning point or achieve the "Undefeated Winner of the Highway" title ever again. The "Ver. B" update allows a car that has lost in Story Mode to gain the second bonus point simply by racking up 5,000 kilometers of mileage, but you still will lose undefeated status permanently, as well as the bonus tachometer for transferring an undefeated-in-Story-Mode card to Maximum Tune 3. In Maximum Tune 3 onwards, every time you finish Story Mode, you'll be given another chance to achieve undefeated status and its perks if you lost it; said perks are primarily cosmetic (the Wangan Midnight R soundtrack in 3 and its updates, racing meters in 4).
  • Pimped-Out Car: The Dress-Up system. Completing Ghost Battle races fills up a meter that, when full, grants you new cosmetic upgrades for your vehicle, such as tires, spoilers, decals, and even neon underglow. These parts don't influence your car's performance, so you can be as plain or as ricey as you want.
  • Power Creep, Power Seep: No car is allowed to start with more with than 336 HP in its stock form. This means that cars whose engines, even in stock form, produce more power than that limit will have their engine outputs nerfed accordingly to 300 HP. Also, any car with a transmission with more than 6 forward gears will only have the upper six speeds usable due to physical hardware restraints in regards to the arcade cabinet as the physical shift lever only has 6 positions, not counting neutral (eg. A 7-speed gearbox will only have gears 2 through 7 usable).
    • Averted with Nissan GT-R R35, which has its horsepower censored and replaced with Step-Up Stage instead despite its real life stock horsepower do exceed that.
  • Player Versus Player: In addition to multiplayer, there's also the Ghost Battle mode, which simulates this through players' past runs in this mode.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: "CCR" Motoki of the rather adversarial R200CLUB delivers one to the player in Maximum Tune 1 and 2:
    "Our club R200CLUB will destroy you."
  • Real Money Trade: Some players buy pre-tuned cards from other players as opposed to tuning them from scratch, to avoid having to spend hours doing the latter.
  • Retronym: The North American version of WMMT 5, to maintain the format caused by renaming the game to Maximum Tune 5, renames all prior Maximum Tune games to exclude the Wangan Midnight part and Wangan Midnight R to just Midnight R.
  • Rice Burner: From 3 onwards, it is possible to have a completely Pimped-Out Car through playing Ghost Battle races to earn Dress-Up parts...without touching Story Mode at all, resulting in a car that looks utterly awesome but still has stock power and handling (if you're using the S30, you'll have a flashy-looking vehicle with only 130 horsepower).
  • Rubber Band AI: The handicap feature. Unlike Initial D Arcade Stage players, most WMMT fans leave it on.
    • Justified; MT's multiplayer races are between Fragile Speedster cars without handicap on. Crash even slightly, and the lead car will leave you in the dust; you'd only have a slim chance of catching up if the lead car crashes later on. By contrast, Initial D Arcade Stage's crash penalty was easier to recover from.
  • Rule of Cool / Rule of Fun: Can a Toyota Corolla really be safe and stable with 830 horsepower? How about the Hiace, the R2, and the Pajero? In fact who in their right mind would drive a vehicle like the high-ride version of the Hiace at over 300km/h on a cornering race course?
  • Scenery Porn: The Maximum Tune series' courses are pretty well-saturated in color.
  • Secret Car: The traffic cars, except the truck (starting MT2), taxi variants of the Toyota Aristo and Toyota Celsior (MT3/DX), a high-ride Hiace (MT3 DX), a training car variant of the Mazdaspeed 6 (MT3 DX), and the Spec-V variant of the Nissan GT-R (MT3 DX+). Obtainable by entering codes using the shifter when highlighting the right car in the vehicle selection screens.
    • The Toyota Celsior used to be a Secret Car in MT2, complete with its own hilariously redone Story Mode with Gatchan as the "tuner". It became a normal selectable car in subsequent games, but then gave birth to its Taxi variant which is a Secret Car.
    • Choosing certain colors on certain cars allows you to have a "variant model" of said car. For example, to get the Nür variant of the Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec II (R34), you would select Millennium Jade as your R34's paint color. To get the RS variant of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII (complete with no-frills steel wheels), you would select Scotia White.
    • The Chevrolet Camarro SS in an early Japanese version of MT 4, which requires collecting special scratch stars to obtain. No longer the case in the recent update.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: Clearing Story Mode without losing a single stage. Known as "unshaded" status, after the hollow "stage cleared" marks you get if you haven't lost a stage (as opposed to filled if you have). In Maximum Tune 2, this comes with a gameplay-affecting award: instead of getting one extra tuning block for clearing Story Mode with any losses, you get two.
    • This is especially prestigious when importing from MT 2 to MT 3 - "unshaded" MT 2 cards, when imported to MT 3, get a special tachometer that's absolutely not obtainable by any other means. Considering what few arcades still have MT 2, this special tach could be lost depending on where you live, unless you can find someone who sells pre-tuned MT 2 cards.
    • MT 3 and MT 4 will also award new tachometers for the same achievement. 4 takes it further: a yellow meter on the first loop, and a red one the second loop.
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop: WMMT3's Story Mode and 10 Outrun CPU is much easier than WMMT2's.
  • Sequel Escalation: Each game expands the accessible driving area:
    • WMMT 1: C1 and the New Belt Line, the latter including a 6-kilometer stretch of Wangan and about a 4-kilometer stretch of Yokohane.
    • WMMT 2: Adds the Hakone mountain pass.
    • WMMT 3: Expands the drivable part of Wangan to over 22 kilometers, Yokohane to 14-15, and adds yet another new area: the Osaka Hanshin loop.
    • WMMT 3DX: Adds the Nagoya speed loop.
    • WMMT 3DX+ : Adds the Fukuoka Expressway.
    • WMMT 4: Adds the Yokohama loop, plus the Yaesu course after the latest update.
    • WMMT 5: Adds the Mt.Taikan area of Hakone, which is a separate track. Also, it adds Sub-center Area in Japanese version, which couldn't be seen in overseas versions until...
    • WMMT 5 DX: Adds the Kobe Expressway.
    • WMMT 5 DX+: Adds the Hiroshima Expressway.
  • Shout-Out: Losing story stage 22 on an even-numbered loop in 4 or later will give you the title "Idol master".
  • Spiritual Successor: Dead Heat, a new arcade racer by Namco, which uses the same game engine as MT3. The game however plays differently, it has No Plot? No Problem!, has no upgrade mechanic, focuses on global scenic route, features various cars with supercar focus, had a stereoscopic 3D graphics update, and a motorcycle-based sequel.
  • Spiteful A.I.: In Story Mode, if an opponent is to drop out of the race, they will boost ahead of you on purpose just so that when they spin out, back off, or break down, they can potentially block you and cost you your victory.
  • Temporary Online Content:
    • Starting with Maximum Tune 4, you can get one of six different "daily titles" depending on how many times you cycle through your car info after logging in. Each day has a set of titles for doing the info cycle on an odd-numbered year, and another set for doing it on an even-numbered year; you can only obtain titles from a particular set once every two years.
    • The Japanese version of Maximum Tune 5 is notable in that it has two courses that are not in any other region-installment combination: the Yamate Tunnel which uses part of what would become the Sub-Center Ikebukuro course in 5DX and an upper section not shared with any other course, and Metro Highway - Sub-Center Area which combines the above with the Sub-Center Shibuya/Shinjuku course. Since all Maximum Tune games from 5 onwards are released as online updates and these courses were deleted in 5DX, both of these courses are gone for good.
  • The Cameo: Pac-Man and the Ghosts make appearances as guest AI drivers in Story Mode in MT2 and MT3DX+ and use the Traffic Cars, though judging from the dialogues, they in fact merely substitute for other Wangan Midnight characters (eg Pac-Man usually subs for Akio, since the Corolla he uses gets introduced as the Devil Z when it appears mid-race).
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: In a matter of speaking. The Ghost Car in Ghost Battle is basically a replay of that player's run down to every turn, braking, and collision made. When playing against it, it will try to stay true to its recorded course to the point of easily pushing away traffic cars (whereas you tend to get mucked up trying the same thing), and if you and it collide, it will most certainly get away scot free while you are left in the dust (unless you are in front of it). It's become especially bad when you race against the Top Ghost Car of the course you are challenging or against a car in Japan Challenge mode in WMMT4 and onward, which could potentially reach Unwinnable by Design levels. As such, many players pull a Non Standard Game Over as means of quitting the race to avoid losing.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Since WMMT 3, in Story Mode, if someone enters the race in mid-stage (particularly on the last stage of a story arc), their theme music will replace the current background music.
  • Timed Mission: Of course, it's an arcade game series after all. However, in Maximum Tune the timer is noticibly lenient and only exists to kick off idling players or end abandoned games, except in 10 Outrun Mode where having a strict time limit is a major element.
  • Writing Around Trademarks:
    • A variation. Tatsuya's Blackbird, a highly-modified 964-series Porsche 911 Turbo 3.6, causes some issues when it needs to be portrayed in a Wangan Midnight video game, since up until 2017 Porsche had a 20 year long exclusivity agreement with Electronic Arts that blocked Porsche's trademark from being featured on any videogame series other than Need for Speed, thus preventing Namco (who handles the Maximum Tune spinoff) or Genki (who handled the first arcade game, its PS2 and PSP ports, and its own Wangan Midnight game for the PS3) from being allowed the rights to represent Porsche in any video game adaptation of the manga. As a results, these two companies have turned to Porsche tuners RUF or Gemballa for help. In the Genki-produced games, the Blackbird is represented by the RUF CTR. Known as the "Yellowbird", it's a highly modified 930-series 911 Turbo. In the first 3 of the Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune games, Namco used the Gemballa 3.8RS, another modified 930-series 911, but uses a 3.8L non-turbo engine from the rare 964-series 911 Carrera RS 3.8. RUF made their Maximum Tune debut in the fourth game with the CTR and the 997-series version of the RGT, with the CTR once again representing the Blackbird.
    • In the North American version of Maximum Tune 5, since the Celsior and the Aristo are not available for use, Gatchan and Mrs. Sasaki's cars, the Celsior and the Aristo, are replaced with the Crown Athlete and the Chaser Tourer V, respectively.
  • You All Look Familiar: Every traffic car in the Namco-published games is either a Corolla, a Hiace, an R2, or an SUV. All of which have the exact same yellow-with-Namco-logo paintjob.

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Alternative Title(s): Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune, Maximum Tune

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/VideoGame/WanganMidnight