Saturday, January 21, 2012

Initial D Appreciation Post

In case you haven't noticed, I added an Initial D pic to the sidebar.  For great justice.

To tell you the truth, if there's one Sega series I've stiffed that I regret, it's Initial D.

Let me explain.  Around 2005, when my beloved Daytona USA 2 cabinet was taken away from my local arcade, it was, in about a month or so, replaced by Initial D.  At the time, I had a bit of a grudge against Initial D.  Some reasons:

1. I saw Initial D as some "evildoer" that infringed on my ability to play Daytona USA 2.
2. It's not Daytona USA 2.
3. Because it's a "lousy" anime/manga game and that kind of turned me off at the time.

That's what so funny about Initial D.  Unlike Outrun, Daytona USA, and Sega Rally, Initial D is not an original Sega IP.  The manga/anime was introduced in 1995--the arcade version in 2001.  I have nothing against anime but it usually has to do with catgirls/robots/kamehameha's but this anime has nothing to do with it so that's great.  I know next to nothing about the plot but I can sum it up like this: "The Little AE86 That Could."


Now the AE86 has become synonymous with drifting.  And that's okay.  It's a cool little car.  It "trains the driver."  Drifting around the Akina and Happogahara.  That's grand.  There's some 30 Japanese cars in the game like the Skyline, Lancer, Supra, Miata--all the usual suspects.  But DAMN, I really wanted to go drifting in my '68 GTO...'s Fujimi Kaido all over again.

Initial D has already gone through six "stages" (remakes)--the latest in March 2011 (geez!!).  It still has a decent following in arcades.  I still believe there's an Initial D cabinet at my old arcade at Northshore Square Mall in Slidell, LA.  I've only played the game twice in my life.  Wow that's many Wonka bars did you buy?  TWO???  What do you mean you only opened two???

I wish I could get back into the game again, but I don't think I can go back to arcades.  For one, the game costs about 75 cents at least to play once.  Then there's the cards you can purchase for $1.50 that lets you save your car's data for any other Initial D cabinet out there.  I like it more than the local cabinet save games from Fast & Furious/Rush 2049 since you're stuck to one game and should the arcade operator wipe out the data, it's gone forever.  But I still question the durability of these cards.  I heard if you accidentally stick a magnet to it, it corrupts the data.  EDIT: Plus they can bend easily (they're not credit card thick).  There's no way to "backup" the cards elsewhere like files on your PC--when they're gone, they're gone.

I have one of these cards...some guy left one lying around in the arcade--a Honda S2000 with the name "MUNKY."

A shiatload of cards that aren't mine.  Well, even if the cards are useless, they still look cool.  Like baseball cards!

Now about the gameplay.  Initial D was developed by Sega Rosso, the same studio that made Sega Rally.  And what a coincidence--it handles most like Sega Rally.  You drive a car about 140 mph and the drifting is very subtle and not "forced" like in Daytona USA or OutRun.  You still use brakes/shifting/hard cornering to initiate drifts.  It feels like Gran Turismo but obviously much more drifty.  And you can bounce off the walls all willy nilly and you can't damage the car.

Game looks awesome.  My main complaint about the game is there's only two camera views, just like Sega Rally Revo (HA!).  The chase cam is too close to the car and it obstructs your vision too much.  The bumper cam is much more practical but I don't know...I hate not being able to see my car while driving.

Oh yeah, you check out these sweet Initial D deluxe cabinets?  They're 1:1 size car cabinets like you're actually there in the car!!  While Bunta is smoking a cigarette.  You can only find these cabinets in Sega Gameworks or Joypolis...they're that awesome.

EDIT: Now that I think about it, the drivers in this show are so ridiculous like Dragonball Z...but with cars instead of power levels.  Do they ever wreck in this show?  Does anyone die???

Initial D's funny.  Bear in mind that Namco has an Initial D equivalent called Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune.  Instead of racing through Japanese mountains, you race on highways.  Now this game ain't bad's not a Sega racer so it's automatically not as good, sorry.  Don't worry about the cops...if you go fast enough, they won't chase you.  Lousy cops need some police Porsches & McLarens, that's what they need.

THIS GAME HAS THE '71 SKYLINE IN IT???  Your move, Sega.

Back to Initial D.  I hope there's a good console equivalent to the arcade version.  From what I've heard, most console versions have subpar handling.  Though there's the "Extreme Stage" version on PS3...I don't know if it's the same thing.  I don't even have a PS3 at the moment.

There's not much else to say about the game.  I don't know enough about it but this game seems radical.  I should play it more.  Too bad the Fast & Furious pinheads are all over this game because it contains "epic drifting."  FnF Tokyo Drift ruined everything.  Sorry kids, but putting flame/drift decals on your car won't increase your horsepower by 50%.  But I know the Eurobeat soundtrack is groovy.  I'll leave you with that.



  1. If you have not seen it, Initial D the movie which is a Japanese Film, (real actors & cars) and will have English sub titles is worth watching! Your be soaked in heaven with the car appreciation factor only Japan knows how to do and your sprite will be up lifted making want to race mountain stages fast and in style. Next thing your be doing is playing Forza on the mountain stage, or playing Import Tuner Challenge just to capture some of that Initial D magic and once again your be questioning having so much respect for Initial D why did Sega skip this cool game from home ports to the wider world... :(

    Still... Scud Race and Daytona 2 come first as always in the most wanted list. ;-)

    VituaRacing, F40, Gamefaqs. :)

  2. Hi Eric, should point out Wangan Midnight MT has no cops cars chasing you and there is a mountain course (called Hakone).

  3. Hell yeah, I saw pics of that movie but I didn't know what it was all about. Really like true appreciation of cars & racing--none of this "street tuner" or "burnout/crash" nonsense. Which is why Sega racers strike home for me.

    And I know Wangan Midnight MT doesn't have was a joke from FnF Tokyo Drift, rofl.

  4. thanks for note about this,
    never played or heard of it..

    will look into getting the ps2
    version.. i have a swap disc just
    to play sega rally 2006!(deluxe
    version which includes port of
    arcade sega rally)

    you should check that out too!


  5. Have you played Initial D Arcade Stage 6 AA?

    The tag team was so awesome IMO

  6. Never even seen an Initial D cabinet in ages...