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VJ Army

Beatmania IIDX

beatmania IIDX (alternately beatmaniaIIDX or just IIDX, pronounced "two dee-ecks" or "two deluxe") is a series of rhythm video games introduced by Konami in 1999. It is the direct sequel to the beatmania game series, and part of the Bemani line of music games.

Gameplay

The main playfield consists of vertical columns, with seven columns corresponding to each of the seven keys and a final eighth column for the turntable. When the game begins, horizontal bars (known as "notes") fall through these columns, and the player must press the correct key (or spin the turntable) when the corresponding note reaches a line at the bottom of the column. The correct timings for the notes follow the beat of the music, so the player must have a very keen sense of rhythm.

Every time a key is pressed or the turntable is spun, a "keysound" is played. If the game is being played flawlessly, the sequence of keysounds produces a complete song. If the player makes errors, the song does not sound like it should. So, to hear the song correctly, the player must correctly time their presses. The game also displays a timing judgment rating on-screen every time a key is pressed. From best to worst, these ratings are "Just Great", "Great," "Good," "Bad," and "Poor." The game will also judge a "Poor" for pressing unnecessary keys, deducting the usual amount from the Groove Gauge, although this does not break a combo. Therefore, it is important to press only the keys that are required, and one cannot clear a song by simply mashing all the keys. "Just Greats" are displayed as "Great", but are differentiated from standard "Greats" in that "Just Greats" flash on-screen, hence the common term "flashing Great." In more recent Styles, Just Greats are also referred to as "Perfect Greats." The U.S. version of beatmania (which was based on 9th Style), displayed them as "Perfect".

A player's performance is judged in two ways. The first way, known as the "Groove Gauge", is a life bar of the player's performance during each song. Hitting notes accurately increases the bar, while inaccurate or extra note hits reduce the bar. The Groove Gauge also determines whether a player has passed the song; the game ends if it is below 80% when the song ends. The "HARD" modifier removes the 80% passmark requirement, but fails the stage if the lifebar reaches 0% at any point. Secondly, following each song, the player is given a grade ranging from AAA to F, based on overall accuracy and performance. The grade is based on the "EX score", which is based on the number of Just Greats and Greats the player achieved; Just Greats are worth two points, Greats one point. Scoring 8/9 or more of the total possible points yields a grade of AAA, 7/9 or more an AA, and so on.

The difficulty of songs are measured in numbers commonly referred to as 'stars' or 'blocks', and the rating system has varied throughout the series. Newer versions (6th AC/CS and above) of the game do not display actual stars to represent difficulty, but the colloquial term still applies. Songs also have difficulty levels known as Normal, Hyper, and Another in Single (7 key) and Double (14 key) variants. Each variant usually has a unique note chart and different difficulty ratings, though some songs have similar ratings on each level, and some songs do not have Another charts. Older styles have the same difficulty levels, but refer to them as Light 7, 7 Keys and Another. In a few rare cases, songs from older styles will have Anothers which are easier than the Hyper chart (for instance, Special Energy in Double mode).

Game modes

  • Beginner mode consists of simplified note charts for new players. The function of Beginner mode varies greatly from version to version. In the home versions, Beginner gives an alternate note chart for nearly all songs, rated from 1-3. These alternative note charts are not available in the arcade.
  • Known as "Arcade Mode" at home, Standard is the standard play mode of three songs. Each song must be passed in order to play the next song. When a fixed condition is satisfied on the last song, the player achieves an extra stage.
  • 5KEYS mode disables the two keys farthest to the right on the controller and automatically plays the notes that correspond to those keys. This allows players to play a game that simulates the original beatmania. The functionality of 5-Keys mode varies from version to version. Starting in beatmania IIDX 7th Style AC and beatmania IIDX 10th Style CS, this became a modifier, rather than a separate mode of play.
  • Expert mode allows the player to play a set of songs, known as a course, without stopping. The gauge begins at 100% and does not refill between songs. If the gauge drops to 0%, the game is over. The gauge is the same as that used in Hard mode in normal play, but drops at a much slower rate.
  • Class mode, also known as Dan mode or Dan'inintei (段位認定, Step Rank Recognition) is similar to Expert mode, though each course has four songs (three in Double play), and only the HI-SPEED option may be selected. The purpose of this mode is to allow IIDX players to compare their skill with each other, as each Dan course is designed to be significantly harder than the one beneath. Players compare themselves based on the highest Dan course they are able to complete. Some newer versions log the player's rank on their e-Amusement profile - and may also restrict access to certain songs on certain stages without getting a specific rank.
  • Free mode is a practice mode in which players cannot get a game over by failing a song. However, the player gets one song less than in Standard mode. In CS versions, Free mode acts more like an "event mode" like setting, where the player can play as many songs as he wants without failing.

Cabinet information

beatmania IIDX controls consist two sets of seven keys on each player's side, along with two turntables. The turntable for the left player's side is to the left of the keys, while the one on the right player's side is to the right.

Each set of keys is arranged in a pattern of four white keys beneath three black keys. The black keys are offset from the white keys so that each pair of adjacent white keys has a black key above and in between them. This arrangement mimics the F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B keys on a musical keyboard, though beatmania keys, being about twice as long as they are wide, do not resemble piano keys. The keys are commonly numbered 1 through 7, from left to right. The four white keys are numbered 1, 3, 5, and 7; the three black keys are numbered 2, 4, 6.

Under the 16:9 wide display are the start button, the effector button, and effector sliders. The effector button and sliders control various sound volume levels within the game, and do not affect scoring or difficulty. The specific effector features available vary from version to version. Starting with DJ Troopers, new cabinets began being shipped with CRT displays instead of the previous LCD monitors from previous cabinet revisions.

Modern machines (after beatmaniaIIDX 9th style) are equipped with card readers for e-Amusement cards. From 9th Style to HAPPY SKY, this was by way of a magnetic card and reader. From IIDX 13 DistorteD onwards the newer type Contactless smartcard Konami e-Amusement Pass system has been used.

Different software versions of the game are referred to as 'styles', with higher numbers being the most recent releases of the software. The term 'style' was dropped with the release of IIDX11, though the colloquial term 'style' is still in use. Styles vary mainly in their songlists (with each new style containing dozens of new songs) and graphical interfaces.

The most recent version of the game is beatmaniaIIDX15: DJ TROOPERS. It replaced the previous version of the game, beatmaniaIIDX14: GOLD, on December 8th, 2007. The next release in the series, beatmaniaIIDX16: EMPRESS, is undergoing location testing in Japan.

Originally, the game was named beatmania II. The beatmania II cabinet was similar to the beatmania cabinet, save for the presence of two extra keys (one white, one black) that form the familiar 7-key panel. A standard BeatmaniaII cabinet also has a shorter distance from the 7 keys to the turntable compared to the BeatmaniaIIDX cabinet. Konami had planned to develop and release two different versions of arcade cabinets: a standard beatmania II cabinet, and a 'deluxe' cabinet with a 'DX' suffix on the end of the name, hence "IIDX". Konami scrapped the standard cabinet after the release of 2nd Style, but the 'DX' suffix stuck and has remained throughout the series. The original Beatmania II can be seen in the tatsujin videos included with BeatmaniaIIDX 6th Style CS.

The IIDX cabinet features a widescreen 16:9 display, more powerful speakers, and a bass platform transducer that vibrates beneath the player's feet to the beat of the music being played.

Home versions

Konami also releases home versions of IIDX for the PlayStation 2 console in Japan. The home versions are known as CS (consumer software or console) styles, while the arcade versions are known as AC (arcade) styles. The CS games can be played with a PS2 dualshock controller or with a special controller from Konami that recreates the arcade experience. Konami manufactures two forms of home controllers, which are known as Konami Official Controllers (KOC) and Arcade Style Controllers (ASC). The KOC, pictured above, is much cheaper than the ASC, but is smaller than the ASC. In addition, KOCs look very different from ASCs and have a smaller space between the turntable and the keys. Konami purports the ASCs to be "arcade-accurate," in that they both resemble and feel like a controller on an arcade machine. For example, the controller itself is much larger and has the turntable further away from the keys. Both styles have a detachable key panel that can be placed to the left or the right of the turntable as the player desires. Aftermarket controllers are also readily available, often containing lit turntables and keys.

Each CS style corresponds to an AC style of the game and contains every song that debuted on its respective AC style, with the exception of certain licensed songs on 1st-3rd AC (released collectively as 3rd CS) that Konami was unable to secure the rights to again. In addition, CS styles may feature a selection of "revivals" - songs that appeared on previous AC or CS styles, "preview songs" - songs that appear on AC styles that do not yet have corresponding CS styles, and "CS exclusive" songs that appear only on CS styles. As of May 2008, CS versions of 3rd Style through 14th (Gold) have been released (note that 3rd CS contains songs from 1st through 3rd AC; thus, there are no 1st style, 2nd style, or substream CS titles).

Music

Music is an integral part of the beatmania IIDX series. Featuring a wide selection of genres and artists, both licensed and in-house, the beatmania IIDX series is well-known for its original music. Konami produces an original soundtrack of each game, usually a few months after release, due to the appeal of the music. Konami also releases original albums by beatmania IIDX artists through its online store, Konamistyle.

Each new AC release typically features around 60 new songs, with a selection of songs returning from previous versions. The current release, beatmania IIDX15 DJ TROOPERS, features a library of around 500 songs. CS releases feature all of the songs of their corresponding AC versions, 5-10 CS exclusive songs, around 25 "revival" (returning) songs, and 1-3 preview songs, for a total of around 90 songs. Note that newer AC versions have a much larger songlist since they are running off of a hard drive, rather than a DVD, and thus have more space in which to store data.

Releases

The Beatmania IIDX series has been released in the home video game market in addition to its arcade releases. To date, the only video game system to have seen a IIDX game is the Sony PlayStation 2. All versions of Beatmania IIDX have been released on the Japanese PlayStation 2 with one exception; the American Beatmania.

See also

External links

References

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