Beatmania 2nd Mix
If you've always wanted to try your hand at dee-jaying, with Beatmania, you can. Konami's entry into the music game genre is almost all but unknown here in the States (where it can be found in arcades as HipHopMania), but in Japan, the craze is on, with some arcades featuring three or more cabinets of the game.
The concept is simple--press the keys on the keyboard or scratch the turntable as corresponding bars fall from the top of the screen, much like a player piano plays. The game features three modes--Practice, Normal and Expert, with over 25 tracks, including Hip-Hop, Reggae, House, Techno, Ambient, etc., each varying in difficulty. Luckily there's also a Training Mode to help hone your DJ skills, and a Free Mode that lets you play all the songs in any order after you've unlocked them (play them once, they're unlocked).
But wait--don't just go freestylin' and pressing any key in any order. While in some cases you can add extra touches to the songs, the objective is to play them right. There's a volume meter, like an equalizer on a stereo, that gauges performance. Get into the red, and you're rappin' cool. Stay in the green and get booed off the stage. New stages are unlocked based on your score on the main disc, and based on which songs you choose for the included "Append" disc.
Graphically, Beatmania isn't that impressive. Let's face it, CD+G discs are more high-tech--but that's not what Beatmania's about. It's about music, and in that respect, Beatmania excels.
Konami also plans on releasing expansion discs for Beatmania 2nd Mix. The game itself comes with an Append disc that features new songs, including a remix of the Metal Gear Main Theme. The 3rd Mix arcade game was released in Japan last summer, and a disc for that will hit Japan before Christmas Unfortunately, Beatmania will not be released in the U.S. for the PlayStation, so grab the import if you can.
Download Beatmania 2nd Mix
If PaRappa the Rapper and Bust-A-Gnoove didn't fulfill your rhythmic needs on the PlayStation, consider importing Beatmania from Japan. Its harder and deeper than its U.S. contemporaries--and a lot more expensive.
Like the arcade game that inspired it, Beatmania puts gamers behind the mixing board of a club DJ. Your mission: Make the patrons wanna shake their booties. To be a success, you'll not only need to trigger samples in complex sequences and scratch on a turntable at 150 beats-per-minute, but also fight off the occasional rival DJ. If you don't make the crowd happy, they'll boo you out of the club!
Two CDs full of varying styles and difficulties--from simple to simply impossible--ensure that the fun won't run out, and the music is enjoyable. While you groove, you're treated to psychedelic animations and light shows, plus two players can go head-to-head in a fierce DJ batde. All the menus are in English, so it's not hard for American gamers to figure out what's going on.
It's All About The Benjamins
Beatmania can be played with a standard gamepad, but was designed with ASCII's custom controller in mind--sold separately, of course. This key-board/tumtable device increases the Fun Factor greatly, but costs almost as much as the game. Together, expea the pair to run you around $ 150. Ouch!
Due to the steep price, Beatmania should only be investigated by hardcore rhythm fanatics--but those fanatics will be plenty pleased.
- Regardless of what you hear, one movement of the turntable counts as one scratch. You can go crazy in the Free Zones, though.
- The trickiest songs feature cues off the beat. Leam to anticipate where they're likely to appear.
- Center your left hand over the keys on the custom controller, using one finger per key. Jumping around with one finger is a no-go.
- Although the game supports Dual Shock feedback, you might want to use a non-vibrating controller. The rumbles tend to be distracting.