Initial D (Arcade) hates You

December 25 03:10 2008 Print This Article

As with most racing games of the type, the difficulty on Initial D arcade games are mostly artificial and in some cases, unrealistic. The driving and drifting itself is fun and rewarding. As a person who spent more than enough time and money on his Cappuchino to sweep corners without leaving the inside, I can vouch for its impeccable sense of speed and grace when played to the full. Its just too bad that in most cases that Initial D gives too much leeway in its non-drifting forms of physics, most notably the collisions. Therein lies the artificial difficulty in this game.

Versus modes against real people are decent enough, and if you turn off the rubber-banding default option before the race, it becomes mostly a skill based game on who can zip corners the fastest without hitting a wall.

The main problem is the computer AI you fight in lieu of a human opponent, because they just flat out cheat. There is no way, shape or form, that any car can catch up more than 500 meters of lead when you’re driving perfectly fine and in line. For that matter, there is no way, shape or form, that they can execute perfect lines like they do every single race. At the higher levels, any small mistake will leave you eating so much dust that Wile E. Coyote would laugh in your face. Fighting these AI foes tends to be a game of memorization instead of driving skill.

Simply put: If there are 10 ways to pass through a corner, only one will work. 9 times out of 10, you will lose at this corner until you get that one version that works perfectly. Now, imagine there are 30 corners in a race. Assuming you can memorize the exact way to drive through the previous corners as soon as you find out which version to use, then you’re going to retry this race an average of 5 per corner times 30 corners. That’s 150 games of Initial D. That’s assuming you never make a mistake after knowing how to tackle each corner.

Further, collision with the AI cars are completely illegal. Any contact between the cars, regardless of physical position and realistic physical effects, will just give the AI car a major speed boost and your car a trip down first gear lane. Imagine barreling down a corner and pushing the enemy car out of the way to give yourself better turning traction, and it will literally give you a nudge to the wall and send the enemy zooming into the next corner, while you look at a face full of wall. Hitting a wall means losing the game, with pretty much no exception.

Well, you think, maybe it works both ways. Nope. Whatever the circumstance in Initial D, even if you’re ahead, behind, beside, inside, outside, when you touch that AI car, you lose. Sad too, that in most cases, you start off behind the AI cars, forcing you to try and pass them without any form of contact every single retry. Don’t think they won’t hit you either, if they catch up to you, they won’t slow down and tailgate you, they will touch you and you will get a face full of wall.

Initial D is a great game with some amazing moments, but its also a game that cheats, quite badly.

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