August 10, 2008

Initial D Arcade Stage 4

After a poor mood during the morning, I decided to pack up, and head on over to Tokyo Game Action to play some Wangan Midnight. Upon arriving, oddly enough... I decided to try Initial D 4. Let me tell you a little bit about this little gem that very few arcades have in America, and my feelings towards it.

For starters, you get a plastic card that is just like a credit card, that holds all the information of your character and cars. On the top, it shows the touge passes you have beaten, and shows your characters face. The card also holds up to 3 cars at once...Not bad if you get bored of one car.

Once you make a card, choose your car and start racing, you have to play either story mode, time attack, or in-store battle. Time attack is self explanatory, in-store battle is to battle someone next to you, and story mode is where you go through the touge courses 1 by 1, following a similar story to Initial D's main character, Takumi; except you are yourself. When you beat a racer, you earn battle points that you can use to purchase parts for your car.

It can be really fun at times, especially the dynamic tuning of the cars, ranging from tons of name brand body kits and wheels, to various levels of tuning of the engine, suspension, etc. What is NOT cool, is to get to tune your car, you have to quit after each turn. Every 3rd quit, you can visit the customize shop to edit settings on your vehicle. Every 5th quit, you can get a random dress up item for your driver. Just gets annoying, quitting after each race, pulling out your card, then putting in money, and doing it again.

My main dislike about this game is the physics. At first, they felt decent, the car felt grippy, extra fast but grippy. But then there are these turns that if you go in too fast, or at an awkward angle... Your rear literally kicks out completely, and you slide into the wall, then ALONG the wall..and you can't get out. Once your car slides off the wall, you are in second gear going about 30MPH. If you brake hard, you make up for it, but still, it gets really aggervating when you're doing good, and suddenly you go sideways and your car becomes a magnet to the wall.

All in all, it's a fun-terrible game. Fun because of the up to date selection of cars, the in depth tuning - especially the name brands from Japan, and the touge courses. Bad, because the terrible physics, computer cars pushing you aside and/or driving through you if you're in the way, and again, the ice skating physics. Apparently they are beta testing Stage 5 in japan now, and from what I hear, it gets rid of that lame slide and fixes a lot of things. We can only hope for a better game!
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