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Initial D: Special Stage (PlayStation 2)

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MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.0
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  NightKid32 (39)
Written on  :  Jun 30, 2005
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Summary

My Favorite Racing Game EVER.

The Good

It pains me to see such a good racing game lost among the Need For Speed Undergrounds and all other street race games. It is also a shame that this game may never come to America. Lucky for me I was in Japan one day and played it.

I have always been a fan of the Initial D manga and anime and was excited to play an Initial D game and I wasn't disappointed.

You can play as the main character Takumi and race in his "Eight-Six" or play another mode where you race various characters of Initial D in various courses. What I love about that is that it takes you into the Initial D universe and you get to see all of your opponents home courses. They look alike, but they are very different. I also like how you have to race under their rules. It makes for an interesting race. After a certain amount of time, you can even play as different characters to get different cars.

What I love the most about this game is that how the car looks doesn't matter at all. Some cars in the game may make some race game lovers go "ewww that car is ugly!" The cars aren't exactly pretty, but who cares? In the manga and anime, they only care about its performance. That's what I love so much about the game, looks don't matter. While on this subject, unlike most racing games, you don't use Nitrous Oxide at all. You use pure skill and drift to race.

Something that amazes me is that in the game, it captures the same feeling you get when you watch Initial D. You get all of the classic Eurobeat music from the series and you get all of the characters. You see Ryosuke, Keisuke, Mako and Sayuki, etc. Another thing that amazes me every time I watch Initial D is how the Eight-Six Trueno stacks up against cars with turbos and such. It may make Western gamers go "That is so fake, it can't happen one bit!". They clearly explain how it is possible in the series and it is true. An Eight-Six (if driven properly) can beat tuned up cars.

Enough of my jumbling about the Eight-Six, now on to gameplay. The gameplay is some of the most fluid race gameplay I ever encountered. It is smooth and it acts like the real car. The drifting in the game is simple to pick up. The racing is fun to do because there are many choices you can to race.

What amazes me in the car selection is that there a lot of cars. This game may have enough cars to stack up against Gran Turismo. All of the classic Initial D cars are here, and there are some new ones. You can choose to tune up engines, put in turbos, etc.

The Bad

What I didn't like was the fact this game was only in Japan. It should be brought to America so gamers who love racing games can enjoy a game where they don't depend on Nitrous Oxide and stuff. And since it is only released in Japan, if you can't read Japanese, you're pretty much screwed. I had to have one of my friends translate for me.

Something that bothered me in this game (and in the Initial D manga/anime) is that the characters are ugly. You can see in the cover of the game. Some of them are horribly drawn and some are downright disturbing.

Another thing that annoyed me is that there are no voice-overs. It is just text. You have to read everything. And on the subject of text, if you can't pronounce their names, you are once again doomed. They won't give you the English names (Which I thought were horrible) so you better know a thing or 2 on how to pronounce their Japanese names. Other than those stuff, the game is a great racer.

The Bottom Line

This is a great racing game. If it was released in the U.S., racing games may have a different approach. Who knows, with the Initial D series and the Initial D movie, this game may come to the U.S.