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Video Game / Initial D Arcade Stage

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

Currently the latest installment of the series is Initial D The Arcade, another major Retool after Initial D Arcade Stage Zero made a major formula change to the series. Changes including 4-player battle and revised menus.

There also have been a few console releases, though in Japan only: Initial D Special Stage for the Play Station 2 (based on Initial D Arcade Stage Ver.2), Initial D Street Stage for the Play Station Portable (based on Initial D Arcade Stage Ver.3), and Initial D Extreme Stage for the Play Station 3 (based on Initial D Arcade Stage 4).

Compare and contrast SEGA Rally and Wangan Midnight.

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.
  • The Bus Came Back: "Bunta's Challenge Mode", a no-nonsense Nintendo Hard mode, was removed after version 3, with callbacks to this mode appear in 8 Infinity. However, it made a full-return in The Arcade's July 2022 update, complete with Ver.3's music and effects.
  • 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. As a result, each successive version from 4 onwards feels like playing a completely different game rather than an incremental installment.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The first game doesn't allow a player to challenge the player on the opposite cabinet in the middle of their game. They can only do so just after the already-there player logs in with their card.
  • Final Boss:
    • Disc-One Final Boss: Takumi, in almost every single Arcade Stage installment.
      • In Initial D 7AAX, Shinji Inui takes the place of Takumi for this trope.
    • 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.
  • 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.
      • Starting from Initial D 6AA, you can use your in-game credits, won from completing races, to change transmission.
  • Extremity Extremist: The AE86'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.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Every game in the series runs at a constant 59.94 frames per second. If the framerate deviates from this at all, such as during emulation on unsuitable hardware, it affects the physics and performance of the cars themselves. At sufficiently low framerates, it may not even be possible to complete a run in the time allotted as the car is going slower than normal.
  • Green Hill Zone: Myogi in Initial D Arcade Stage, Lake Akina in 4 and 5, Usui joins in in 6AA, Hakone joins the Green Hill crew in Zero, being downgraded from its "hard" difficulty setting.
  • Interface Screw: In a versus battle, if one player turns off their car's lights, the other player's "Advantage" (distance ahead/behind opponent) meter will be disabled.
  • Jack of All Stats: The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions and Subaru Impreza WRX STis 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.
  • Level in Reverse: Every course has two directional variants, whether it be Downhill/Uphill, Outbound/Inbound, or Counterclockwise/Clockwise. However, Irohazaka is a special case because it is a one-way road that's only meant to be driven downhill, so the uphill variant is instead called Reverse.
  • Nintendo Hard: Bunta's Challenge mode is a no-nonsense challenge where defeating him is a huge feat within successive levels. Losing to him will result in your points being deducted in Versions 2 and 3! The Arcade removed this point-deduction mechanic in spite of increasing maximum levels.
  • No Backwards Compatibility in the Future: 4 doesn't allow data transfer from cards used in older versions, forcing players to make a new card from scratch. This was due to it being a complete overhaul instead of a simple upgrade.
    • Downplayed with Zero; only car data aren't transferred when you transfer old data from 8 Infinity.
  • Press X to Die: The toggle that allows the player to force-quit their current play session by pressing the Start and View Change buttons at the same time.
  • 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.
  • Retool: The Arcade is another major retool of the series, allowing the 4 players (including three opponents) to race at same time, among others.
  • Retraux: Bunta's Challenge Mode in The Arcade uses the interface, BGM, and menu sounds from Arcade Stage Ver. 3.
  • Rubber-Band A.I.: The "boost" feature. Often turned off in human vs. human matches.
  • Spiritual Successor: It was somewhat related to Sega Rally.
  • Take That, Audience!: If you picked the Toyota AE86 Sprinter Trueno GT-Apex as your car and encounter the Two Guys From Tokyo, they'll openly mock you for owning (which also serves as a potshot directed at fans who want the said car because of being featured in a Manga/Anime!)
    Otaku 1: "Woah! It's an Eight Six! You bought this? Mangas are pretty influential, aren't they? I couldn't fathom getting one in real life. Note  Are you really going to race this thing? You'd better off racing it in your dreams or in a Manga with this thing!"
    Otaku 2: "Don't be so mean. It seems like they really like it."
  • Tone Shift: Prior to Zero, the games used artworks based off anime and manga's styles. However, Zero picks in the new style employed by the three-part New Initial D The Movie series. Zero also uses Japanese rock songs used in the movies, instead of usual Eurobeat as in previous installments and episodic anime series.