Hey Mr. Console DJ
I didn't think Beatmania would ever hit our shores. It has been out in Japan for awhile now, and I have heard hardly anything about it. Every so often I'll see it being played in a video game gathering at some random convention or event, but nothing more than that.
These days when you think music games, Dance Dance Revolution and Karaoke Revolution come to mind. Not other series like Guitar Freaks, Bust A Groove, and Beatmania. But lo and behold, Konami's putting Beatmania to the test. Beatmania will join alongside Dance Dance Revolution and Karaoke Revolution in the freshly popular strain of rhythm action video game titles. However, Beatmania requires no voice and no foot movement.
Unlike DDR and KR, Beatmania is a DJ simulation title. Instead of the traditional Playstation 2 controller, you'll use a special turntable-like control pad that will allow you to mimic the actions of a DJ. By striking the keys correctly and keeping up with the tempo, you'll be able to pull off combos as you sync up with the notes on the screen. The special controller comes packaged with Beatmania for a little more money than the game by itself, but the game can be purchased alone as well.
Fans of DDR's high-energy trance and techno soundtracks will adore Beatmania's score. Beatmania's soundtracks are extremely popular in Japan, and there are many different mixes available. Beatmania's US version only includes a small sampling of all the series has had to offer, but with over fifty different tracks, you'll keep yourself busy. Some songs you may already be familiar with and may have seen in past editions of Dance Dance Revolution. Others will be a brand new treat.
Beatmania will prove to be challenging. Like Dance Dance Revolution, you won't be able to beat it in a day. A skill must be developed and mastered, then you'll be able to move on to the bigger and badder stuff. If that isn't hard enough, Beatmania has ways of making you think otherwise; the game software options can be changed so that notes appear briefly, or sometimes not at all.
The graphics are flashy and eye-catching, like in most music games. Bright colors, energetic design, and flashing lights illuminate the screen as you play. The game's difficulty can be adjusted, so once you've got the easy stuff down, you can move up to more complicated gameplay. Beatmania will also take advantage of the network compatibility for PS2 with an Internet ranking system. You'll also be able to playback your best songs.
If this has got you excited, there is no need to worry. Beatmania is expected to release on March 1st, which isn't too bad of a wait at all. It's nice to see Konami release more Bemani titles, and I hope this isn't the last we'll see of Beatmania in the United States.