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Video Game / Wangan Midnight

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Roar through at over 300 kmh.note 

"Man to man. Car to car. Legend creates new legend. The Wangan story begins now..."
Introduction to the game's story mode

Wangan Midnight is a racing game based on the Japanese manga of the same name.

Wangan Midnight, developed by Genki and released in 2001 by Namco 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 released in-house by Genki. 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. The Story Mode was completely revamped and are now fully-integrated to the stories from the original manga. 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), 2016 (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 (Australia), 2017 (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), 2018 (China)) — 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. The Chinese version skipped the vanilla WMMT5 in favor of this version.
      • Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 5DX+ (2016 (Japan), 2017 (Australia and rest of Asia), 2021 (China), 2022 (North America)) — current version in North America and China —Adds two more carmakers and a new Hiroshima Expressway. The North American version skipped 5DX in favor of this version.
    • Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 6 (2018 (Japan), 2019 (International)) — Adds Porsche as a new car manufacturer after their exclusive license with EA expired, 4-way Ghost Battles, revamped Dress-Up parts, an increase in maximum HP to 840, updates to Story Mode that extends it from 60 to 100 stages, similar to 3DX+.
      • Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 6R (2020 (Japan)) — Adds two new Nissan models: The Skyline 2000 GT-R (KPGC110) and the Silvia K's Aero (S14), and adds the "Online Street Challenge", a new game mode in a similar vein as Japan Challenge. Guest players playing Vs. Battle will get to try out a fully tuned car when battling Banapassport players. For the first in the series, 6R is Japan-only, have skipped the overseas releases due to COVID-19 Pandemic postponing their development.
      • Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 6RR (2021 (Japan), 2021 (International)) — current version in Australia and Asia Pacific, —Adds the Nissan GT-R50 by Italdesign, Bingo Challenge and four new BGM tracks. The overseas version has skipped to this version.
      • Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 6RR+ (2024 (Japan), TBD (International)) — current version in Japan, —Adds the Nissan Fairlady Z Version ST (RZ34), new aero sets, and new BGM tracks. Event limited cars such as Honda S2000 Type-S and Maxi G carryover cars are now added into the base car roster.

Yes, now it begins. My TV Tropes story with examples...!

  • Achievement Mockery: Completing the first 40 stages of Story Mode with no losses, only to lose a stage in the remainder of the current loop, will "award" you with the title of "First Black Mark".
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Not with the characters but with some of the cars. For example, Kazuo Ota's RX-7 is inexplicably yellow in original games, and pink in the Maximum Tune games.
  • Adapted Out: Yoshiaki Ishida, prior to Maximum Tune 3.
  • Anachronism Stew: Downplayed outside the game's Story Mode due to real life changes to roads being reflected in game like the update to the Ikeburo course in 5DX. The game series has such problems like its anime counterpart, by having some characters driving newer cars that weren't produced at the time of its original manga writing. For instance, Tatsuya Shima drives a Nissan 350Z Z33 in the overseas version of first three games, and Kazuhiko Yamamoto drives a Subaru Impreza WRX STI GRB hatchback during 3DX and a Mazda MX-5 ND in MT6
    • Yoshiaki Ishida would be the biggest victim of this trope when it comes to video games. See Writing Around Trademarks below.
  • 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 subtly 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. From WMMT4 onwards the purpose is solely this trope, since the games switched to Banapassport cards and those cards are contactless (you just tap them against the reader instead of slotting them into the machine).
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Starting in 4, if you earn more tuning, dress-up, or shop meter than how much you need to fill the meter to 100%, the excess progress will spill over into a second meter, giving you a head start on the next meter to fill.For example
    • Another one introduced in MT4: Retiring a Story Mode chapter no longer counts as a loss despite being a Non-Standard Game Over, averting the No Fair Cheating trope.
    • Starting in the Japanese version of 5, and the other regions' versions of 5DX, the social aspect of Ghost Battle has been revamped, replacing the "Revenge" system with the "Shuttle" mechanic. Instead of only sending a notification and a challenge to the player whose ghost you challenge if you win, you'll send a stamp to the opponent regardless of if you win or lose, unless you force-quit the race. When racing an opponent who sent you a stamp, you'll add that stamp to your Stamp Card, again even if you lose, although you will get a second copy of that stamp and the x1.5 Shop Grade and Maxi G bonuses if you win. Also, you no longer need to race the opponent's ghost on the same course where they beat your ghost; you can choose any course for the rematch (even courses that the opponent has not raced on yet; they'll have a default ghost for you to race).
  • 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.
    • On American cabinets, the shifter is on the right side of the steering wheel, reflecting the U.S. being a "drive on the right side of the road" country and the driver's seat being on the left side of the car and thus the shifter being to the driver's right. However, the game takes place in Japan, which a "drive on the left side of the road" country and therefore would have the driver's seat on the right side of the car and the shifter to the left of the driver, and naturally most cars in this game are Japanese-made. There are very few cars in-game that are canonically driver-in-left-seat, such as Shima's imported Blackbird.
    • If a vehicle has more than six forward gears, then in order to accomodate them on the game's six-position shifter controller, only the last six gears are used, i.e. if a car is 7-speed, then you can only use gears 2 through 7, and if it's 9-speed, you can only use gears 4 through 9. However, they are treated like gears 1-6 by the game engine.
    • The North American version of Maximum Tune 5DX+ rebrands the two Honda NSX models to Acura NSX, due to the NSX being released under Honda's Acura sub-brand in America. It gets strange seeing "Acura" vehicles on Japanese highways since Honda does not release Acura-branded vehicles in Japan.
  • Artistic License – Geography:
    • There are no roundabouts at both ends of Hakone in real life. Mt. Taikan, meanwhile, has traffic driving on the opposite side of the road, since there are no oncoming traffic ever since.
    • The Kobe route does not go directly to the highway portion after a hairpin when starting from Nada Ohashi Ramp in real life, and there is also no roundabout at the Shinkocho end of the route.
    • One cannot go directly to Yokohane from Wangan via Ooi Junction while going westward, since the real life junction only works when going eastward.
    • Access to R3 Kobe Line in Osaka is also cut in real life, making R15 Sakai Line the only accessible junction when not going straight south.
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: From WMMT3 and onwards, 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 ghosts. 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.
  • A Taste of Power: Guest players who play Vs. Battles in 6R and 6RR get a chance to race against Banapassport players with the exact same horsepower as theirs. So if a Banapassport player has an 840HP car, guest players will also drive an 840HP car. This is used to avoid "Guest fishing" and more on Competitive Balance.
  • 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 the earlier 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 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 of the stage you are liable to slide into what you're trying to avoid and lose. Besides, the Rubber-Band A.I. 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.
  • Breaking Old Trends:
    • Maximum Tune 6 bucks several patterns from prior games:
      • Its login theme is the first one not to be officially titled "Entry Maxi(version)", instead being titled "Reborn". It is also the first login theme to have proper lyrics, as opposed to vocal samples or being instrumental. This is exclusive to this version and 6R; 6RR would introduce a new login theme again following the traditional "Entry" format (i.e. "Entry Maxi6RR").
      • It is the first game in the series not to introduce any new roads or courses.
      • It is the first game since 3DX+ where one of the Story Mode chapters took place outside of the city.
      • It breaks the trend of Story Mode completion equaling a full-tune. A story loop in this game, as well as subsequent versions, is 100 stages, but only 80 stages are needed for a full tune.
    • Exclusive to the Japanese releases: 6R is the first game not to have a new login theme, instead reusing "Reborn" from 6. (The international releases already did this one whole version prior, with 5 reusing "Entry Maxi4".)
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • The Wangan and Yokohane routes were omitted when the first Maximum Tune was released, after Wangan Midnight R. They returned in Maximum Tune 3.
    • While the RUF vehicles were in the older Genki-developed titles, they were replaced by Gemballa in the first three-ish titles. It wasn't until 4, which Genki began providing additional assistance on, bringing back RUF vehicles before they were replaced by Porsche in 6.
  • Canon Foreigner: Music-wise, "Blackbird's Theme" of the PS2 Wangan Midnight was not included in the original arcade releases, due to when Genki was unable to get the licensing for Shima's car led to him being Adapted Out in Namco-released arcade versions. The music was later included in the aforementioned PS2 port and also part of the unlockable compilation tracks starting from Maximum Tune 3.
  • 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 Plus, and WMMT 6 -> WMMT 6 R -> WMMT 6 RR -> WMMT 6 RR Plus.
  • 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.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Your car's aura changes color depending on your driving style in versus mode. Contact with other players will determine whether you're Cool or Wild, while contact with the track's surroundings will determine Smooth or Rough:
    • Cool and Smooth: Cyan
    • Neutral Smooth: Blue
    • Wild but Smooth: Purple
    • Cool Neutral: Green
    • True Neutral: White
    • Wild Neutral: Pink
    • Cool but Rough: Yellow
    • Neutral Rough: Orange
    • Wild and Rough: Red
  • Copy Protection: The online-enabled games use what's called NBLINE Points to only allow authorized arcades to run the game, since the cabinets are rented out as part of a revenue-share model. When a player logs in, the arcade's NBLINE Points are used up, and when they run out, online features will be locked out until the arcade staff reloads them with prepaid cards ordered from Namco.
  • Cosmetic Award: Dress-up parts in MT 3 and 3 DX. They have no effect on performance. Also, special titles.
  • Creator Provincialism: Save for the German Gemballas, all the cars up to WMMT3DX+ were strictly Japanese. WMMT4 broke this with Chevrolets — the Corvette C6 ZR1, 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 
    • Subverted again in WMMT5DX+, as we got Hondanote , the first new Japanese maker to join the roster, as well as Lamborghini, an Italian supercar maker.
  • 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 (on the right for American and European cabs, on the left for Asian and UK cabs).note 
  • Developer's 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 . Maximum Tune 6 takes it up to eleven with the story having 100 stagesnote .
    • In the first two Maximum Tune games, you encounter Akio in the Devil Z in stage 5 of Story Mode, and he is not meant to be beatable (you'll see an arrow over his car but not the "R" that indicates that he must be defeated to complete the stage). If you do manage to finish ahead of himnote , he has a unique line of dialogue:
      Akio: Why won't the car obey my commands?
  • 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.
  • Dump Stat: Surprisingly for a series focused on high-speed highway racing, top speed is this in Maximum Tune. At full tune, cars only differ in top speed by about 5-6 kmh at most, in order to maintain Competitive Balance. On any course that isn't the Wangan Line, this difference is absolutely irrelevant, since if you have to make even a decently sharp turn your speed is going to decrease as you go into it. To illustrate In Maximum Tune 4 and later, the Toyota Hiace and the Alcone SVX both have the highest top speed at 351 kmh, but the former is a Joke Car with poor everything-else and the latter is only a viable competitor when time attacking on Wangan.
  • 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.
    • When a PvP race is initiated, the player being challenged gets to choose the course, while the challenging player chooses whether to race in the daytime or nighttime. In subsequent games, starting course/location is determined by majority vote, and randomly if there is a first-place tie in the vote.
    • 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 second game, this same format is used for the first 40 stages, while the latter 40 stages mark the first use of story arcs.
    • 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.
    • Multiplayer is limited to two players. It was not until the second game that battles started allowing up to four.
    • There is no functional reward for completing all of Story Mode undefeated.
    • There are far fewer titles than in later games. The only titles available are based on Story Mode progress, courses where you get all the red flashes, your car model, and your driving style.
    • The VS Mode driving style graph only has one axis, based on how much your car makes contact with opponents. Subsequent games add another axis based on how frequently your car hits traffic cars and walls.
  • Fake Longevity: 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 Level-Grinding: 60 stages for a full-tune in MT 1, 80 in MT 2, 3, and 6, 100 in 3DX and 3DX+, and 59 in 4 to 5DX+. And each stage eats up one credit.
  • 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. No longer the case starting with 4 since you can press the view change button to skip the tutorial.
  • 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 rough-handle 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
  • Game-Over Man: In Wangan Midnight R, usually when you lose the race, Jun Kitami taunts you at the continue screen. However, if you lose to Akio or Tatsuya Shima (or in rare occasions, Reina Akikawa at the final stage), they will taunt you in the continue screen instead.
    Jun: "So... are you giving up?"/"You wanted to challenge the Z so much... But too bad you weren't even close."
    Akio: "You can give up anytime you want. But if you step on it more you will discover something new."
    Reina: "You will have a chance to meet the car, when the time comes."/"Is that all you got? I am not satisfied yet."
    Shima: "In the name of the highway king... I'll defeat you with all my might."
  • Guest Fighter: Certain characters from Namco Bandai will make an appearance now and then, but they mostly serve as substitutes for Wangan Midnight characters:
    • Pac-Man and Blinky serve as the Final Bosses of WMMT.
    • The Taiko Drums serve as racers in Chapter 210 of WMMT 3.
    • In the PlayStation 3 title by Genki, a portion of rivals from Shutokou Battle franchise (also from the same developer) serve as a "bonus" such as Setsuko Kuroe AKA "Dejected Angel", Motoya Iwasaki AKA "Jintei" and Keiichi Oda AKA "Death Driver".
  • Have a Nice Death:
    • Each stage in Story Mode has a unique line for losing (in addition to one for winning).
      (Stage 4) Kou-chan: "You're a stubborn idiot, too!"
      (Stage 5) Harada: "Are you a racer? What a laugh."
      (Stage 13) Kitami: "Just go..."
      (Stage 16) Masaki: "I don't like your car." (until 5DX+)/"Your tech are unbalanced with such a car." (6 onwards)
      (Stage 26) Shima: "Nobody gets ahead of the Blackbird."
      (Stage 34) Sonoda: "You're the one with lame skills!"
      (Stage 43) Eiji: "Moron!"
      (Stage 58) Kijima: "I'm not as low-level as you thought I was!"
      (Stage 61) Goto: "I don't care if you're some young punk, I'll do this right."
      (Stage 78) Akio: "Did I go a bit overboard? Hehe, sorry..."
      (Stage 95) Yoshii: "Hey, you alive?"
    • 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".
  • Hitbox Dissonance: The cars' hitboxes extend infinitely along the Y-axis, intentionally so to prevent one car from ending up on top of another.
  • 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.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: In several Story Mode stages, there are opponents too fast for you to beat (often the Devil Z or Blackbird), and which you are not required to defeat, indicated by an arrow appearing over the car but no "R" over said arrow or any information on them on the HUD (portrait, name, car model, your distance to them). Zigzagged, as in all instances there is still at least one additional opponent that you do have to beat.
  • 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.
    • As mentioned above, any joke car can become this when fully tuned and driven strategically. A seasoned player driving a Toyota Hiace van can easily defeat less experienced players driving far better cars.
  • Level in Reverse: Extreme VS Mode, in which in addition to the Interface Screws, all of the roads are raced on backwards, 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. Hakone gets a more extreme treatment: The map itself is mirrored! Later games remove Extreme VS, but allow for the selection of reverse variants of C1 and Osaka and the mirrored variant of Hakone in VS matches. This feature was removed in MT 6.
  • 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.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Mazda 110S can be regarded as one of these. Its handling is very nimble, has good acceleration and top speed and despite its small size, it has a surprising amount of weight to it, which makes it useful for blocking and pushing against other cars.
  • 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 to 5DX+ 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. Ditto for "Avatar's Alert" from Maximum Tune 6, which is 3'20" long on original soundtracks, but this is also downplayed since the player can extend their menu time back to 99 seconds if they pick one ghost of a certain name and select another name for the next ghost.
  • Lost in Translation: In the second game, one of the titles you can unlock (specifically, by losing on Stage 79 of the second loop) is "Oh! Bear Z", or Ah, Kuma no Z in the original Japanese. This hinges on the fact that in Japanese, the Devil Z is called the Akuma no Z; Akuma means "devil", while kuma means "bear", so the pun doesn't work in other languages, especially not translating it literally.
  • 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 additionally 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.note 
  • 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.
  • Mighty Glacier: Luxury sport cars like the Toyota Celsior are generally slower and harder to handle, but are often very wide and very heavy, making pushing past them or defending against one rather difficult.
  • New Game Plus: 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.
    • As of Maximum Tune 6, the unlock conditions for racing tachometers has changed from clearing an entire story loop unshaded to clearing 100 story chapters in a row without losing once. There's also six additional tachometers to unlock in addition to the previous four from 4 to 5DX+. Clearing 1 loop of story mode here also unlocks soundtrack from Maximum Tune 5 / 5DX / 5DX+, 2 for Maximum Tune 4, 3 for Maximum Tune 3 / 3DX / 3DX+, 4 for the 10 Outrun Mode soundtrack, 5 for Maximum Tune 1 / 2, 6 for Wangan Midnight R), but once again, they do not require undefeated status.
  • Nintendo Hard: The first two games (especially R), as well as Story Mode in MT 1 and 2.
    • 10 Opponent Outrun in 2 tops the latter two. Simply clearing all 10 stages of any one course is a massive challenge ala Wangan Midnight R.
  • 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 Multiplayer Battle, and you have the Retire Option turned on in your game save in your card.
    • Since it doesn't count as either winning or losing, many players pull this in Ghost Battle mode to avoid losing. However, since this is an arcade game, players need to insert coins to play again.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: The first Maximum Tune game has an exploit called "gacha"note , 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.
  • Oddball in the Series: Maximum Tune 5 is by far the strangest release in the series, featuring a lot of deviations from the series' norms that would not be present in later installments.:
    • It is the only version of the game to be significantly different between regions. The Japanese version is a new version proper, while the international and North American versions are effectively updated versions of Maximum Tune 4 (even reusing "Entry Maxi4" for the login theme rather than the new "Entry Maxi5" theme) with much of the content and mechanics of 5 absent. Later versions instead maintain content parity with the exception of some online events and a few cars (due to licensing reasons).
    • It is the only title to be released in both Japan and the Asia/Oceania region at the same time; later versions go back to the pattern of the Asia/Oceania version being released some time after the Japanese versions.
    • The Japanese version features the Yamate Tunnel course, which was never used again in later versions due to a road along it being closed in real life, necessitating a new variation of the course.
    • The Japanese version has a Metro Highway course that combines the Sub-Center routes, which was not used again in any later versions.
  • 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).
    • Driving Instinct in MT6 as well, in a similar vein to Black Zone.
  • 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 version 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).
    • Subverted with 6. Thanks to the Wangan Navigator app, you can update your title at anytime with any of the last 10 titles you acquired. So in case you get a new title that can be obtained once, you can simply change it to that one before it gets erased from the list.
  • 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.
    • This was revised starting with the Japanese version of Maximum Tune 5 and the international version of Maximum Tune 5DX, where the Dress-Up system is replaced with a Maxi Shop system which, when filled, instead grants you a set of three cosmetic upgrades for your vehicle, and you have to pay Maxi G for it.
    • Once again revised in Maximum Tune 6, where Maxi G was dumped in favor of a system similar to that of the original Dress-Up system, however it caters a lot to the new 1v3 Ghost Battle system that is now in place. Points are earned based on how many ghosts you defeat in a single race. You also gain additional points if you defeat a crown ghost, even more so if you claim said crown for the first time.
  • Power Creep, Power Seep: No car is allowed to start with more with than 350 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, such as Corvette ZR1 that has 639 HP in stock form. 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).
    • Played With with the Nissan GT-R R35, being one of the earlier cars which has real life stock horsepower exceeding 350 HP (480 HP), had its horsepower censored and replaced with Step-Up Stage instead, though its performance in game is still made to be on par with 280 HP cars. No longer the case in Maximum Tune 6, however.
  • 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."
    • And another line that would be directed towards Reina in Maximum Tune 4 onwards:
      "A girl's driving that white 32R. And they say nobody's with her. We R200s can take her down!"
  • Press X to Die: Maximum Tune has a retire toggle; when it's enabled, driving the wrong way for three seconds will end the current play session. This actually has a practical use other than quickly starting up a new round: In Maximum Tune 4 and beyond, retiring a Story Mode stage does not count as a loss for the mode despite being a Non-Standard Game Over (as opposed to the opponent crossing the finish line, which is obviously a loss); this is important, because there are some rewards for completing a loop of Story Mode without losing on any stage at all.
  • Rank Inflation: Each player has a rank that increases with gameplay. The range of these ranks has increased with successive games:
    • WMMT: N Class, C Class, B Class, A Class, A+ Class, then various car-specific ranks.
    • WMMT2: N, C7 -> C1, B7 -> B1, A7 -> A1, S7 -> S1, S, SS, SSS.
    • WMMT3: N, C9 -> C1, B9 -> B1, A9 -> A1, S9 -> S1, SS9 -> SS1, SSS.
    • WMMT5: Split SSS into SSS9 -> SSS1 and added SSSS.
    • WMMT6: Split SSSS into SSSS9 -> SSSS1 and added SSSSS.
    • WMMT6RR: Split SSSSS into SSSSS9 -> SSSSS1 and added SSSSSS.
  • Re-Release Soundtrack: The soundtrack to Maximum Tune 2, the series' first soundtrack release, does not include "Stream of Tears (more tranced mix)" from the first game. The track could be downloaded off of the official game website, albeit only in 128 kbps audio. A lossless version of the track would not appear until the 10th anniversary Compilation Re-release of the first five games' soundtracks.
  • 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 WMMT5, 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.
  • Remixed Level: The only real difference between the Yaesu courses and the C1 courses in time attack is a particular fork in the northeast corner of the C1 loop. Other than that, both courses are the same.
  • 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 A.I.: 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: Can a Toyota Corolla really be safe and stable with 840 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 300kmh on a cornering race course?
  • Scenery Porn: The Maximum Tune series' courses are pretty well-saturated in color.
  • Secret Character: The traffic cars, except the truck (starting MT2), taxi variants of the Toyota Aristo and Toyota Celsior (MT3/DX), a high-ride Hiace (MT3DX), 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 Evolutions up to VIII (complete with no-frills steel wheels), you would select Scotia White (Evo III, V, and VI) or White Solid (Evo VIII only). To get the Impreza WRX STI Spec C ("Blob Eye"), you would select Pure White or Solid Red as the car's starting color. And to get the Impreza WRX STI Type RA Version VI, you should select Pure White or Cashmere Yellow.
    • The Chevrolet Camaro SS RS in an early Japanese version of MT4, which requires collecting special scratch stars to obtain. No longer the case in the recent update.
    • The Honda S2000 Type S AP2 in MT5DX+, which could only be obtained as a participation reward for the World Championship Qualifying event during the leadup to the WMMT5DX+ World Championships in June 2018. But in MT6RR+, Honda S2000 is now selectable in car rosters.
    • In Maximum Tune 6, all traffic cars except truck, 2 Nissan R35 variants, Honda NSX-R, Fairlady Z Nismo, Taxi cars are now obtained in Terminal Scratch with fully tuned as prized car per page.
    • Also in Maximum Tune 6, due to Maxi G system abolished, the Mazda MX-5 RF (ND), Nissan Fairlady Z (S130), and Nissan Leopard are rewarded based on total accumulation in Maxi G from MT5DX+. But in MT6RR+, these 3 cars are now selectable in car rosters.
    • In MT6R in Japan and MT6RR in Asia, BMW M4 G82 and Toyota GR Supra are unlockable for limited time only event in this version. But in MT6RR+, these 2 cars are now selectable in car rosters.
    • Also in MT6R and MT6RR, Lamborghini Miura and Diablo, Nismo Vehicles in Pearl White, Nissan Silvia S13, Chevrolet Taxis, BMW Z4 Safety Car, Mercedes-Benz taxi, and Other vehicles in Matte Black are unlockable by Wangan Navigator scratch-off, selected fully-tuned car per specific month like S13 for December, yet you can win scratch cars as many as you can, but 3% of odd winning.
  • 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 MT2 to MT3 - "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 MT2, this special tach could be lost depending on where you live, unless you can find someone who sells pre-tuned MT 2 cards.
    • MT3 and MT4 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.
    • The challenge got escalated in MT6, where the yellow meter is instead obtained from scoring 100 consecutive story mode victories, with the red one being obtained for scoring 200 consecutive wins.
  • Sequel Escalation: Each game expands the accessible driving area:
    • WMMT: C1 and the New Belt Line, the latter including a 6-kilometer stretch of Wangan and about a 4-kilometer stretch of Yokohane.
    • WMMT2: Adds the Hakone mountain pass.
    • WMMT3: Expands the drivable part of Wangan to over 22 kilometers, Yokohane to 14-15, and adds yet another new area: the Osaka Hanshin loop.
    • WMMT3DX: Adds the Nagoya speed loop.
    • WMMT3DX+ : Adds the Fukuoka Expressway.
    • WMMT4: Adds the Yokohama loop, plus the Yaesu course after the latest update.
    • WMMT5: 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...
    • WMMT5DX: Adds the Kobe Expressway.
    • WMMT5DX+: 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".
    • Story Chapter 51 (from WMMT4 through WMMT5DX+) features two wannabe racers driving a particular yellow Mazda RX-7 FD and white and carbon-hooded Toyota Sprinter Trueno AE86. Perhaps the fake Project.D retreated to the highways after being humiliated by the real thing? May also double as a Take That!.
    • The high lift version of Toyota Hiace has its tires made by Terrazi
  • Socialization Bonus: Discards from WMMT5DX and 5DX+ could only be gifted to another player. If you wanted to get one yourself, you better ask your friends or local players for one. No longer the case in MT6 as players may now use their own discards.
  • 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 three courses that are not in any other region-installment combination: both directions of the Yamate Tunnel which uses part of what would become the single-direction Sub-Center Ikebukuro course in 5DX and an upper section not shared with any other course, the clockwise version of the Sub-Center Shibuya/Shinjuku 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), and if you thought you could just punt the ghost into a tollbooth, think again, as the ghost will quickly free itself and re-accelerate to in excess of its top speed in order to re-sync with the recorded run. 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 from WMMT4 through WMMT5DX+, 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 WMMT3, 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 noticeably 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. Shima'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-esque builders RUF or Gemballa for help. In the Genki-produced games (and later games Genki have assistance on, read below), the Blackbird is represented by the RUF CTR. Known as the "Yellowbird", it's essentially RUF's take on a modified 930-seris Turbo. In the PS3 Wangan Midnight game, the Yellowbird was joined by the RCT, based on the 964-series 911 Turbo, allowing players to choose which depiction of the Blackbird they'd like to use. 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 (in which Genki started providing assistance on) with the CTR and the 997-series version of the RGT, with the CTR and RCT once again representing the Blackbird. Porsche finally made their debut in Maximum Tune 6, with the introduction of the 718 Cayman S, the 930, 964, and 991-series 911 Turbo models and the 928 GT.
    • The similar case went to Yoshiaki Ishida, whose cars (a Ferrari 512TR in the original manga, anime and a Ferrari F355 in the live-action film) caused him to get Adapted Out from the first two Maximum Tune games. When he debuted in 3, he drives a 997-based Gemballa Avalanche in the Japanese versions from 3DX/3DX+, which made him a victim of Anachronism Stew (he drives a Subaru Alcyone SVX in English versions, which is more time-appropriate). 4 onwards have him driving Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1, which isn't time-appropriate (produced 16 years later) instead of the more appropriate C4, and 6 also have him driving a Lamborghini Aventador (produced 20 years after its original manga writing) instead of time-appropriate Countach or Diablo.
    • 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.
    • The worst of all is the Devil Z. During 6RR's release, Bandai Namco lost the rights to RS Watanabe tires since Maximum Tune in 2004 and was replaced by Work Wheels Japan brand. This caused the rims for Devil Z to change from a Watanabe 8-Spoke to a Rays TE37.
  • 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