It seems odd that Konami would bother to release Beatmania, a game that’s been in arcades for several years now, but release it they did, and they’ve included a massive controller to mimic the arcade experience. The question is – is Beatmania worth the price of admission with so many other rhythm games out there, especially in an age where Guitar Hero seems to be the known ruler of the genre?
As mentioned, Beatmania comes with a massive controller that’s supposed to give the player the feeling of being a club DJ while playing the game. Problem is, the “scratch” disk is slow and sluggish, and the seven buttons that you press won’t remind anyone of a DJ’s toolkit. The controller is cool in that it lets you switch around the layout in case you’re a lefty. Other than that, it’s big, clunky and isn’t worth the real estate you’ll have to give up to play this game. Trying to play with the controller on your lap is frustrating due to its size, and who wants to bring a table into their gameroom just for one game?
Controller issues aside, this is one of those games that readily shows its age. Beatmania was originally a very popular arcade game before DDR and other rhythm titles hit it big. Alas, it’s fame is fleeting, as now it simply feels dated, as you tap black or white buttons to the beat, and “scratch” on demand. It’s an exercise in tedium that can barely appeal to fans of the genre as a whole.
This game gets difficult quickly, leading to frustration early on, and flat-out controller bashing later. In the basic Beatmania mode, the game does a respectable job of matching the gameplay to the player’s skills, but switching to Beatmania DXII mode is an exercise in frustration, as you’ll need to use all seven keyboard keys to keep up with an insanely fast beat.
The visuals in Beatmania are appropriate to the game and genre. Lots of bright, rave-ish characters and backgrounds abound, bopping along to the beat. But the game interface itself is so flat and dull, it’s easy to get lost in the backgrounds and thus lose track of your game.
While the music has been chopped up into bite-sized bits to fit each game round, it’s still got a great selection. There are plenty of remixed 70’s tunes, along with more modern techno-industrial fare. The remix of Britney Spears’ “Toxic” is 10,000% more tolerable than the actual radio release of the track.
Beatmania might not be a bad game for fans of the genre, but most other gamers would be better served by Amplitude, DDR or the new reigning champ – Guitar Hero.
- Gameplay: 6
- Pretty basic beat-keeping fare that gets too difficult too quickly
- Graphics: 5.5
- Dated graphics from the late 90’s arcades
- Sound: 8
- Good tunes
- Replay: 5
- Multiple gameplay modes, but the gameplay itself is so stale, you’ll tire of it quickly
- Overall: 6.5
- For fans of the genre (or the arcade game) only