Konami Arcade Racer Features Enthusia Tracks!

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Wolfe

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EDIT: Predictably, all of Konami's links are broken, just like for Enthusia. The images I originally grabbed are also gone (sorry, this was before I turned to imgur for the task). However, the YT videos are still available.

Road Fighters
konamiroadfighters3d.jpg

Released in Japanese arcades this past September, Road Fighters is not a new IP, but rather a reboot/remake of the Road Fighter series of the '80s and '90s. From the looks of it, Konami wants a piece of the card-based arcade racer pie (currently controlled by Initial D: Arcade Stage, Wangan Midnight: Maximum Tune, and other, mostly-Japan-exclusive titles).

More importantly to some of us here, it seems they may have appropriated Enthusia staff members for the task!

History
The original 1984 Road Fighter was a 2D overhead arcade racer that was also released for the MSX and NES. It is somewhat well-known, and has subsequently been re-released numerous times, in Konami's Arcade Classics pack for the PSX and Konami Classics Series: Arcade Hits for the DS, and more recently, on Microsoft's "Game Room" service, the Wii Virtual Console (in Japan), and Japanese cell phones. A year after the original Road Fighter, Konami made a pseudo-3D sequel called Konami RF2 - Red Fighter (also known as Konami GT).

1071522661.jpg

A Mk.3 Supra edging up on a 180SX in Winding Heat

A decade later, the Road Fighter series returned in polygonal 3D with Midnight Run: Road Fighter 2, which also had a (reportedly terrible) Playstation port. I don't know much about that game, but I've actually played its sequel/update. The sequel, Winding Heat, featured a mix of '90s Japanese sportscars racing on touge-like tracks with some rather detailed physics for a game of its age (1996). Aside from Enthusia, I had never heard of a Konami racing game, so I was rather surprised when I found it at a local go-kart park.

Today
Until now, Winding Heat was the last Road Fighter game Konami made (though they made other arcade racers), and they certainly seem to have spared no expense in bringing it back. They've even thrown in the gimmick of 3D depth, using a permanent set of glasses fixed to a moving arm (the 3D effect is optional). Gimmick aside, the production values are impressive. Take a look for yourself:



That is an MX-5/Roadster at Autumn Hill. Yes, Autumn Hill.

Here are the remaining (full-size) screenshots I've found, followed by some information on the game. The track names in the original screenshots were read and translated by my fiancée, who studied Japanese in college. The rest are Google-translated.


Löwenseering (my first clue in all of this) | Dragon Range | Evo X at Shutokou


FD at Löwenseering | You can apparently flip your car | Some of the available cars

Tracks
Click to see course map, screenshot, and info:
  1. Obaru ("Oval") -- Speediapolis
  2. Kougai ("Suburbs/Outskirts") -- Autumn Hill
  3. Shutokou ("Metropolitan Highway") -- (Based on a track from another Konami racing series, GTI Club)
  4. Shigaichi ("Urban Area") -- (Variation of same GTI Club track)
  5. Saakitto ("Circuit") -- Löwenseering
  6. Kyuuryou ("Hills") -- Burgenschlucht
  7. Touge Kudari ("Mountain Pass Downhill") -- Dragon Range Downhill
  8. Touge Nobori ("Mountain Pass Uphill") -- Dragon Range Uphill
  9. Eikoku ("United Kingdom") -- Victoria Garden
  10. Doukutsu ("Cave") -- Mystic Caveway
  11. Wangansen ("Bayside Line") -- Rev City
All courses can be run forward or reverse, as well as wet or dry. Mystic Caveway is paved now (see the screenshot in the link). Other courses may be added via DLC (see quoted text below).

Cars
Click to see a screenshot, color options, and basic info:
  1. Audi R8 4.2 FSI quattro
  2. BMW M3 Sedan (E90)
  3. Ford Focus RS ('09)
  4. Ford GT
  5. Ford Mustang GT ('05-'09)
  6. Hino Dutro (commercial truck)
  7. Lexus IS F
  8. Mazda Roadster RS (NC)
  9. Mazda RX-7 Spirit R (FD)
  10. Mercedes-Benz S600*
  11. MINI Cooper S
  12. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X GSR
  13. Nissan GT-R Spec V (R35)*
  14. Peugeot 207 GTi
  15. Ruf CTR*
  16. Subaru Impreza WRX STi ('08+)
  17. Toyota Sprinter Trueno GT-Apex
  18. Toyota Supra RZ (JZA80)
  19. Toyota VELLFIRE
In the links, those boxes/circles on the side are visual upgrades, which offer up to three different choices. From top to bottom, they are "Wheel," "Rear Spoiler," "Aero Sets," and "Paint" (* = The S600 can't be painted, and the CTR has limited options. The GT-R doesn't get any visual upgrades at all). Other cars may be added via DLC (see quoted text below).

Game Modes
"Road Fighter Challenge"
Basic career/story mode. According to the official site, there are "over 100" challenges with unique characters and different types of missions (not just racing?). Completing these will earn you visual upgrades and tuning points.

"National Online Match"
Online multiplayer against a single opponent. Losers can request a rematch. Winners earn "game points," which accumulate toward a ranking. If you reach the top rank, you earn a medal. If you defeat another top-ranked player, you take their medal. More medals earn special ranks; if you lose all of your medals, you get demoted to a lower rank.

"Versus"
Local multiplayer against up to three opponents (4-player). You can use any of the cars on your e-Amusement Pass.

"Time Attack"
Basic time attack mode. Because of the online connectivity, there are national leaderboards, visible in-game.

"Event Mode"
Special events held over a limited time period, updated through the internet. There are two types of events -- time attacks, and something else Google Translate can't figure out.

Card System/Tuning
The game uses the e-Amusement Pass card system. Your card can apparently hold up to three cars, each with tuning and visual upgrades. You earn tuning points from all modes, but you earn the most tuning points (and visual upgrades) from the "Road Fighter Challenge" mode. After your car gains tuning levels, it seems like you can change the settings like in Wangan Midnight: Maximum Tune, using points split between "grip" and "power."

Akihabaranews.com
...Konami ROAD FIGHTERS concept is not something new per se, basically you have here a basic arcade racing game where your goals is to go from point A to point B the fastest possible on different tracks with seven different level of difficulties (With more to come soon)...

...To make things even more interesting, Konami decided to add to ROAD FIGHTERS its e-AMUSEMENT PASS system allowing to not only keep up your score data, best track time but also giving you the possibility to fine tune your car and to allow you to get first hands on Konami latest ROAD FIGHTERS goodies and future cars...

Finally, a gameplay video on YouTube. Keep in mind this is an arcade game, not a sim.


Having a better race to watch would help, but personally, having extensive experience with Initial D: Arcade Stage (1-3) and Wangan Midnight: Maximum Tune (also 1-3), I'd say the physics look pretty detailed for this genre.

The best news of all of this is that we finally (possibly) know what the Enthusia guys have been up to since 2005. Will Konami do anything a little more...simulation-like with those new, HD versions of Enthusia's tracks? I wouldn't count on it. But the chances of that happening have risen from 0%, even if it's now 5%...or 1%.

EDIT: As a part of their official time attack challenges, Konami has been uploading the top replays to YouTube. There's no sound, but better video quality than the video above:

Links
http://www.konami.jp/am/roadfighters/ -- Official Game Website
http://www.konami.jp/products/am_roadfighters/ -- Official Product Website
http://game.watch.impress.co.jp/docs/news/20100922_395699.html -- Road Fighters Game Watch Page
http://en.akihabaranews.com/69636/h...-gen-3d-arcade-cabinet-is-now-waiting-for-you -- Akihabara News Article
 
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39,007
It would be nice to know if Konami didn't unceremoniously gut the dev team because the game did poorly like Capcom did with so many of their studios in the past few years.
 

Wolfe

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Well, as others have noticed, Polyphony Digital seems to have hired Yutaka Ito, Enthusia's physics programmer, so I doubt the Enthusia staff has remained completely intact. I'm inclined to believe the dev team didn't throw Enthusia tracks into this game just for :censored:s and giggles, so Konami either assigned the remaining staff members to this project, or they dispersed, just as you fear, and the track modelers or whoever happened to end up working on this.

At any rate, it's clear there was actual work involved in reviving these tracks; they weren't just "ported" over. Other clues exist too, such as the apparent carryover of Enthusia's tuning levels ("CAR Lv.7" or "CAR Lv.10" on the righthand side of the action shots) and, possibly, its black flags (upper-right corner, next to "1st/2" or "2nd/2," which are neither race position nor lap indicators).

Even the car selection is similar, in both its US/Euro/JP ratio and in specific models (eg. Ruf CTR, the same '05 Mustang as Enthusia instead of the facelift). I think you're already familiar with the games, but Initial D: Arcade Stage and Wangan Midnight: Maximum Tune have never included american cars, and the European cars that Maximum Tune and other arcade racers (like Battle Gear) have included were much more limited and less pronounced.

Considering this is probably all we'll ever see of Enthusia again (with maybe a 50/50 chance of further arcade sequels, a la Initial D and Wangan), and the fact that its unlikely to make it over to the states, at least in great numbers (with its fancy online connectivity and e-Amusement Pass system), I'm not sure whether to be relieved or aggravated. :confused:

(Edit: I took a look at the video again, and that "1st/2" or "2nd/2" is the race position indicator after all; the black flag seems to be a coincidence)
 
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Azuremen

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Not what I had been hoping for. Really wish we could've gotten a proper sequel to EPR but it never had commercial success :(

Though at least some of the development team exists... maybe separate project so other time, in a galaxy far, far away.
 

Wolfe

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Well, Konami's already sent out DLC to their machines, and I found the official game website, with plenty of new information. I've updated the OP with what I could figure out, and fixed some errors.

Another four tracks have been added, and all of them are Enthusia tracks. I discovered the origin of the two mystery courses (Konami's GTI Club racing series), which led me to believe they're just using a mish-mash of fictional courses from past Konami racing games...but now nine of the eleven tracks are from Enthusia, and the two GTI Club ones are just variants on the same course. It's a strange thing to see. :confused:

I've filled out the complete car list, and added links to all of the track and car webpages. Now you can see screenshots and course maps for each of the tracks; the new, paved version of Mystic Caveway is an interesting addition.

I guess I'm the only one that cares about this...but I figure it's a suitable future resource for any Enthusia fans who might wander by. If we type "Enthusia 2" enough in here, it could take over this thread as the top Google result for that search term. :sly:
 
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Sad to see such excellent tracks in an arcade racer. I really hope one day Konami understands what went (commercially) wrong with EPR and releases Enthusia 2
 

Wolfe

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Rev City? Oh boy! It makes me wish that we had an Enthusia 2.
Hey, I can't do anything about what Konami decides to do with its IPs. Sorry if this thread bugs you...

Sad to see such excellent tracks in an arcade racer. I really hope one day Konami understands what went (commercially) wrong with EPR and releases Enthusia 2
They're so lovingly and tantalizingly recreated, too. Their appearance seems to raise more questions than they answer, but if there's one thing to conclude from this, it's that any future simulation-based console game would likely be called "Road Fighters," or something else. I don't think Konami wants to touch the "Enthusia" name ever again.
 
39,007
Hey, I can't do anything about what Konami decides to do with its IPs. Sorry if this thread bugs you...
I don't think you got the joke. You mentioned how we should say Enthusia 2 in order to increase the page rank on Google. So I figured I would do my duty by happily mentioning Enthusia 2. Also, Enthusia 2
 
I'm not feeling so enthusiastic anymore about Enthusia 2. There.
I wonder ... the car list - the car list - of Enthusia 2 was smaller than.
I wonder whether I should enthuse 2, and whether that'd be equivalent.
Also, Enthusia 2.
 

JohnBM01

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So is this how Enthusia lives on (or its legacy, at least)? I was probably hoping for a true sequel to Enthusia, but this arcade racer sounds pretty cool.
 

Wolfe

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I wish we could do more than flag that this is all Enthusia has left, but it's solidly the #2 result for "Enthusia 2" on Google, and judging from the last few responses, people have noticed. 👍

I'll come back to update this thread if anything substantial pops up, but Konami seems to be done with track additions for now, and are focusing on local time attack contests. Oh well.
 
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Granted, nobody really cares here about it, but I love how the soundtrack to this game is completely made up of DDR and beatmania songs.

I kinda want some arcade to import one over here now, but there's no way we'd get any extra DLC because no arcade outside of Japan (except for one somewhere in Ohio) has the e-Amuse system that they love using.
 

VXR

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Enthusia 2 could do well to offer another eclectic car selection. Loved going from something like a smart car to MGB to Citroen DS via a Lancer.
 
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That, and improve the track selection. Don't get me wrong, I loved the tracks, I just felt there weren't enough of them.
 

Wolfe

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I've played this in my local arcade. But since e-Amusement Pass was only available in Japan, and the one here is imported, I can't see how the customization features work, but fortunately like WMMT, power and grip handling is available. You get one point for every 1-UP.

The tracks are very nostalgic. Enthusia is a game I wish I had (I played this at a friends house), and it gives me memories. Also with the GTi Club track.

It's a great thing Konami is doing this for their games. How awesome it's that? It's like what Namco does in every game they make!
 
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I rent it many years ago to play it on my PS2 and loved it. I forgot it as GT4 occupied me after a while. When GT5 came out and realised the difference in driving physics, I searched for a while and found out that Kaz hired the specialist in this area from Enthusia. Then I fully understood why I liked GT5 physics so much. After so many years, I bought Enthusia for PS2 a week ago for 15. It is a marvelous game which has a career project much better than GT. I like it very much and I am to try it out with my DFPro to see how well they made the feedback.
 

Wolfe

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Another thread reminded me of this one, and I've forgotten to share that I've played this game! After getting Wangan Midnight: Maximum Tune 5 going on my new gaming PC, I was determined to track this game down if at all possible. After a painstaking search, I did!

Unfortunately, there's not a lot to say about what it's like to play. What you see is pretty much what you get. The handling could be worse, but is very much in the neighborhood of the Initial D: Arcade Stage games. The game is kind of wacky, trying to have a sense of humor, and the damage system is annoying. Overall, it's not very compelling. I cannot try everything anyway, because the emulator doesn't emulate the card reader.

On the plus side, seeing Enthusia's tracks in HD for myself is still a treat, and there's something I've been sitting on:

map_files.png


Yes, Rev City is named Rev City in the files. Interestingly, this dig reveals that Burgenschlucht was always inspired by Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany. And surprise -- Dragon Range also takes place in Germany, somewhere nearby. Its textures include German signs, with one that says, "Rothenburg 12km." I always knew it was a European setting based on the assets in the original. Now we know exactly where.

Did I say textures? You bet -- they're DDS files. There are also Havok Physics HKX files, and then BIN files (some named with a gti3model suffix, probably in relation to GTI Club; all the BIN files for the cars have that tag). I presume the BIN files are encrypted; I have little to no idea what to do about that, and understandably it's not something we can really talk about here on GTPlanet.

So here's the part where things should be communicated carefully -- wouldn't it be neat to have these tracks as mods for Assetto Corsa?
 

LeGeNd-1

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It would be a dream to have Enthusia tracks ported to AC. I never played EPR but from watching videos their fictional tracks look as good as GT's.

@RMi_wood maybe your next project? :D
 
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401
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Another thread reminded me of this one, and I've forgotten to share that I've played this game! After getting Wangan Midnight: Maximum Tune 5 going on my new gaming PC, I was determined to track this game down if at all possible. After a painstaking search, I did!

Unfortunately, there's not a lot to say about what it's like to play. What you see is pretty much what you get. The handling could be worse, but is very much in the neighborhood of the Initial D: Arcade Stage games. The game is kind of wacky, trying to have a sense of humor, and the damage system is annoying. Overall, it's not very compelling. I cannot try everything anyway, because the emulator doesn't emulate the card reader.

On the plus side, seeing Enthusia's tracks in HD for myself is still a treat, and there's something I've been sitting on:

View attachment 1069343

Yes, Rev City is named Rev City in the files. Interestingly, this dig reveals that Burgenschlucht was always inspired by Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany. And surprise -- Dragon Range also takes place in Germany, somewhere nearby. Its textures include German signs, with one that says, "Rothenburg 12km." I always knew it was a European setting based on the assets in the original. Now we know exactly where.

Did I say textures? You bet -- they're DDS files. There are also Havok Physics HKX files, and then BIN files (some named with a gti3model suffix, probably in relation to GTI Club; all the BIN files for the cars have that tag). I presume the BIN files are encrypted; I have little to no idea what to do about that, and understandably it's not something we can really talk about here on GTPlanet.

So here's the part where things should be communicated carefully -- wouldn't it be neat to have these tracks as mods for Assetto Corsa?
Hate to break it to ya, but how the boppin' luck did you get WMMT5 to work on your PC!?!?
 
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cutback73
Another thread reminded me of this one, and I've forgotten to share that I've played this game! After getting Wangan Midnight: Maximum Tune 5 going on my new gaming PC, I was determined to track this game down if at all possible. After a painstaking search, I did!

Unfortunately, there's not a lot to say about what it's like to play. What you see is pretty much what you get. The handling could be worse, but is very much in the neighborhood of the Initial D: Arcade Stage games. The game is kind of wacky, trying to have a sense of humor, and the damage system is annoying. Overall, it's not very compelling. I cannot try everything anyway, because the emulator doesn't emulate the card reader.

On the plus side, seeing Enthusia's tracks in HD for myself is still a treat, and there's something I've been sitting on:

View attachment 1069343

Yes, Rev City is named Rev City in the files. Interestingly, this dig reveals that Burgenschlucht was always inspired by Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany. And surprise -- Dragon Range also takes place in Germany, somewhere nearby. Its textures include German signs, with one that says, "Rothenburg 12km." I always knew it was a European setting based on the assets in the original. Now we know exactly where.

Did I say textures? You bet -- they're DDS files. There are also Havok Physics HKX files, and then BIN files (some named with a gti3model suffix, probably in relation to GTI Club; all the BIN files for the cars have that tag). I presume the BIN files are encrypted; I have little to no idea what to do about that, and understandably it's not something we can really talk about here on GTPlanet.

So here's the part where things should be communicated carefully -- wouldn't it be neat to have these tracks as mods for Assetto Corsa?
I've actually been to Rothenburg - beautiful place. The Christmas museum/shop is unbelievable - you can get lost in there for hours!
 

Wolfe

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Hate to break it to ya, but how the boppin' luck did you get WMMT5 to work on your PC!?!?
In practice, both games are actually PC games. Many coin-op games are on regular Windows- or Linux-based systems these days. So the only things that are really being emulated are any other circuit boards and stuff; I haven't peeked inside of a WMMT5 cabinet, but as of WMMT3 there were still other circuit boards aside from the main computer.

In the arcade I worked in, we had The Fast and the Furious by Raw Thrills for a time. It was on Windows XP and would occasionally BSOD. :lol: