#336 Beatmania

Posted: 2nd October 2012 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , ,

183rd played so far

Genre: Music
Platform: Arcade
Year of Release: 1997
Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami

Music games started out in the arcade. I think we can all agree on this since all the home peripherals that we have grown to love (by storing them on top of a wardrobe alongside that dragon kite you have no explanation for buying) started out chained to a box in a dark room where joy could be bought with quarters/50ps/100 yen coins. It’s such a pity the arcades are shutting down… they were a great place to waste money until the storm clouds disperse.

Our Thoughts

This is not our first dabbling with turntable games. In fact one of the best music games I have ever played (DJ Hero) featured a far more elaborate turntable controller than this one… but this was a whole lot more difficult.

This controller is an odd mix of keyboard and turntable, as such the majority of the inputting is done via the five keys rather than a simple scratch of the deck. Gameplay itself is what we have now come to expect of music games; press the keys or scratch the deck as instructions reach the bottom of the screen.

The reason that this is harder than other music games? Well, the layout of the keyboard section is rather confusing. 3 white keys, 2 black keys and all in a fairly small area where it is easy for your fingers to slip accidentally. The on-screen instructions also have the black keys be half of the white keys, rather than having five seperate ‘tracks’, creating just enough confusion when you have to think quickly.

The music selection itself is a little bit pants. The highlight is a remix of Moloko’s ‘Sing It Back’ which will be the first track you play… other than that there are one or two more famous tracks and a number which make you think “huh?”.

Visually this is very much a trippy game. The intro movie features dancing Maoi heads and the videos that accompany the songs include sad rubber ducks, Legend of Zelda-style parodies and 8-bit side-scrolling shoot ’em ups. Oh those silly Japanese. They are all rather strange although it is hard to appreciate the craziness of it all when you are focused on hitting a multiple-note streak. The frequent interspersed ‘miss’ graphics dont’ help it much either.

The PS1 version we played was clearly ported straight from the arcade, much like Tekken and many other games from this era, which meant we could get as authentic experience we could… before reselling this on eBay. God bless eBay.

Final Thoughts

Trippy, tough and, I’m sorry to say, not always as much fun. The game gets frustrating quite fast and the controls hinder you more than they help… not helped by them not really being relatable. Hitting notes on a guitar just gives you more opportunity to look cool than playing a mini-keyboard nobody sees.

It’s an amazing predecessor that shows how many awesome games there were to come, but as a rhythym game, this is clearly still underdeveloped.