Iíve already written about my history with rhythm games
. I love them but they treat me so badly. I hit ďhardĒ difficulty like itís brick wall reinforced with rods of failure. However, like a mouthy redneck bride, I keep coming back for more abuse. I usually meet each blow to my fragile ego with a smile and the knowledge that despite my sucking Iím having fun. Sometimes though I come across a game so frustrating that I have to stop and say ďThatís it! Iím not going to take it anymore! Iíll play Katamari instead.Ē One such game is Beatmania on the PS2.
Beatmania follows your typical rhythm game formula. Pick a song, do some kind of action in time to the music, and receive a grade based on your performance. Like any good rhythm game it comes with a complicated peripheral that lets you pretend youíre a music superstar. Beatmaniaís key to the world of imagination is something that resembles a turntable and a synthesizer mashed together. This is a bonus for me as I get to pretend that Iím some Bizarro World hip-hop version of Geddy Lee. Unfortunately I can only delude myself into thinking Iím DJ Modern Day Warrior for so long before the simple fact that Iím not having any fun rears its ugly head. The tool of the devil.
How the gameplay itself is simple in concept but tough in execution. Lines quickly fall down from the top of the screen. When these lines reach the bottom you either press the corresponding button or spin the turntable. Sounds easy yes? Well it doesnít take long before the lines are moving too fast for the human eye to detect. It doesnít help matters that you are trying to lineup a small section of a line on a longer line with little room for error, which makes the scoring system seem unnecessarily brutal. LinesÖ So many linesÖ
Usually when it comes to rhythm games, no matter how much I suck or how frustrated I get I can at least enjoy the music. Unfortunately the PS2 version of Beatmania has a horribly generic song list. A list that includes the most empty and soulless version of Virtual Insanity I have ever had the misfortune of hearing. One of the few exceptions is Funkytown by Lipps Inc. which I not only love but is one of the main reasons I bought the game to begin with, it was so much fun on the demo.
STOP MOCKING ME!
Like I mentioned before this game has an absolutely brutal difficulty curve. I have a hell of a time keeping up with the notes. The game allows you to switch between five and seven key setup, naturally I thought that the five key would be easier, but no. The notes simply come by faster as theyíre heading to two less buttons. I was confused as to how a game so annoyingly difficult could be so popular but on my previous blog
BahamutZero clued me in with the following nugget of wisdom, ďDude, Beatmania was constructed in the fires of hell by Japanese robots, for Japanese robots.Ē I have to agree with him, though I would drop the Japanese label, I'm sure robots of all nations love Beatmania.
Only robots can do this:
God that clip upsets me. Watching it reminds me of how obnoxious that game can get. Oh god, I canít stop shaking. Why are there so many lines? Ok, Iíve got to calm down. Iíve got to relax. I gottaÖ I-IÖ
Gotta make a move to a town that's right for me:
WhewÖOk, Iím good now. Iíve stopped hyperventilating and now I can carry on.
Iíd like to point out that my opinions are based entirely on the North American PS2 release of Beatmania. This version was very poorly received by both reviewers and Bemani fans. I have absolutely no experience with the other versions of this game either in console or arcade form. I also know that this game has its fans, some people like its high difficulty and the lightning reflexes it requires. I would just like all of the Beatmania fans that read this to know I donít fault them for enjoying this game, but I would also like to add that I will refuse to bow to you and your soulless robotic brothers when the android revolution comes.
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