Shutokou Battle series
The series is based on illegal highway racing on the Shuto Expressway's Bayshore Route in Tokyo with custom tuned cars, a common occurrence at the time of the series' debut. However, since then Japanese police have begun cracking down on street racing and the hashiriya scene. Anti-street-racing legislation have also been enacted, levying heavier fines for street racing infractions.
Despite this, the underground cultural phenomenon of illegal street racing has seen its popularity steadily growing in Japan since the mid-80's with its own dedicated manga (Shutokō Battle's biggest inspiration being Wangan Midnight), anime series and video games franchises (C1 Circuit, Wangan Trial, Naniwa Wangan Battle, etc.). Perhaps the most influential popular works spawned by the phenomenon were the six Shuto Kousoku Trial films (a.k.a. Freeway Speedway: Megalopolis Express Way Trial) released from 1986–1996, which were an obvious source of inspiration for the Shutokō Battle series.
The game series' influence can be measured by the number of North American and European driving video games inspired by its iconic features, such as cosmetic tuning (Midnight Club, Need For Speed Underground, Juiced, and Supercar Street Challenge among many others), a wide selection of Japanese import cars, or the choice of Tokyo as the game setting, which has even influenced films like The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Indeed, the trailer of the first movie in The Fast and the Furious franchise was included in western editions of Shutokō Battle Zero.
History & Sidestories
The series is known under many names through localizations, such as Tokyo Highway Battle when published by Jaleco & THQ International; Tokyo Xtreme Racer by Crave Entertainment; Tokyo Highway Challenge and Import Tuner Challenge by Ubi Soft; and even Street Supremacy when released by Konami.
The series was originally subtitled "Drift King", after the trademark nickname of street racing and professional racing driver Keiichi Tsuchiya who is featured in the first Shuto Kousoku Trial episodes and endorsed the game with, then team manager, Masaki Bandoh of Bandoh Racing Project.
Sega Saturn Side-stories
During the 1990s Genki produced a highway drift/adult content oriented Shutokou Battle Side-story series for the Sega Saturn, Wangan Dead Heat, and a circuit/tune edition unique episode for the PlayStation, Kattobi Tune, which oriented the Shutokou Battle series through a new direction, leading to the Dreamcast version and it's a worldwide recognition and distribution. "Kattobi Tune" was compiled under the supervision of Rev Speed, a popular Japanese car tuning magazine and features seven licensed professional tuners, RE Amemiya, Spoon, Mine's, Trial, "RS Yamamoto", Garage Saurus and Jun Auto, appearing years later in Racing Battle: C1 Grand Prix and also in the influential Gran Turismo series by Polyphony Digital.
Recently, the popular illegal highway racing series "Shutokou Battle" has been extended to illegal touge (Japanese for "mountain") racing with the Kaidou Battle series, the third Kaidō episode being a crossover between the two series. Touge racing grew exposure in the western culture during the 2000s with the international broadcast and video release of the popular Japanese animated series Initial D. However in the 1990s, the Japanese popular touge-based racing video games such as Taito's Side by Side (aka Battle Gear series) and Atlus' Touge series were not released abroad.
The D1 Grand Prix drifting championship inspired the new series Racing Battle: C1 Grand Prix released in 2005 and remembering the 1997 drift circuit based Shutokou Battle Gaiden and the continuation of the "Shutokou Battle circuit + RPG" concept introduced in Kattobi Tune, a genre close to the Zero4 Champ series by Media Rings.
The first episode is taglined "C1 Grand Prix" which is a double reference to the D1 GP and the Route C1, the latter being the Inner Circular Route of the Shuto Expressway and the circuit for most episodes of the Shutokō Battle series.
- 02/24: Shutokō Battle 2: Drift King Keiichi Tsuchiya & Masaaki Bandoh (Bullet-Proof Software, Super Famicom)
- 12/15: Wangan Dead Heat (JVC/Pack-In-Video, Sega Saturn) CERO+18
- 03/22: Tōge Densetsu: Saisoku Battle (Bullet-Proof Software, Super Famicom)
- 05/03: Shutokō Battle: Drift King Keichii Tsuchiya & Masaaki Bandoh (Bullet-Proof Software/Genki, PlayStation)
- 08/30: Wangan Dead Heat Plus Real Arrange (JVC/Pack-In-Video, Sega Saturn) CERO+18
- 12/20: Shutokō Battle Gaiden: Super Technic Challenge - Road To Drift King (Media Quest, PlayStation)
- 02/28: Shutokō Battle '97: Drift King Keichii Tsuchiya & Masaaki Bandoh - New Limited Ver.97 (Imagineer SPD2/Genki, Sega Saturn)
- 04/25: Shutokō Battle R (Genki, PlayStation)
- 04/23: Kattobi Tune (Genki, PlayStation)
- 06/24: Shutokō Battle (Genki, Dreamcast)
- 06/22: Shutokō Battle 2 (Genki, Dreamcast)
- 12/21: Daytona USA 2001 (Amusement Vision/Genki, Dreamcast)
- 03/15: Shutokō Battle 0 (Genki, PlayStation 2)
- XX/XX: Shutokō Battle H" (Genki Mobile, Feel H" Mobile)
- 02/XX: Shutokō Battle I (Genki Mobile, i-mode Mobile)
- 02/XX: Shutokō Battle EZ (Genki Mobile, EZweb Mobile)
- XX/XX: Shutokō Battle (Genki Mobile, Vodavone Live! Mobile)
- 03/28: Wangan Midnight (Genki, PlayStation 2)
- 01/09: Shutokō Battle Online (Genki Racing Project, Windows)
- 02/27: Kaidō Battle: Nikko, Haruna, Rokko, Hakone (Genki Racing Project, PlayStation 2)
- 07/24: Shutokō Battle 01 (Genki Racing Project, PlayStation 2)
- 2003/11/19: Tokyo Xtreme Racer 3 (Crave Entertainment)
- 08/06: Shutokō Battle Online Special Pack "SpeedMaster" (DigiCube/Genki Racing Project, Windows)
- 02/26: Kaidō Battle 2: Chain Reaction (Genki Racing Project, PlayStation 2)
- 04/04: Shutokō Battle Evolution (Genki Mobile, i-mode Mobile)
- 04/21: Shutokō Battle (Genki Racing Project, PSP) CERO+12
- 05/26: Racing Battle: C1 Grand Prix (Genki Racing Project, PlayStation 2)
- 07/28: Kaidō Battle: Tōge no Densetsu (Genki Racing Project, PlayStation 2)
- 09/06: Shutokō Battle Evolution Plus (Genki Mobile, i-mode Mobile)
- 01/26: Shutokō Battle Evolution (Genki Mobile, EZweb Mobile)
- 07/27: Shutokō Battle Ten (or Shutokou Battle X) (Genki Racing Project, Xbox 360)
- Tokyo Xtreme Racer Advance (2005) was not designed, nor produced by Genki but by "David A. Palmer Productions" in UK for Crave Entertainment (Game Boy Advance).
- Kattobi Tune official website
- Street Supremacy Release Information for PSP - GameFAQs
- Shutokou Battle Mobage for iPhone and Android
- Kaidō Battle series
- Shuto Expressway
- Shuto Kōsoku Trial
- Wangan Midnight
- Initial D
- The Fast and the Furious (2001 film)
- Import scene