What is beatmania IIDX

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beatmania IIDX Series

beatmania IIDX (alternately beatmaniaIIDX or just IIDX, pronounced "two dee-ecks") 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.

Cabinet information

beatmania IIDX controls consist of seven (instrument) keys (four white, three black) along with one turntable on each player's side. The turntable for the left player's side, 1Player, is on the left of the keys, while the one on the right player's side, 2Player, is on the right.

Under the 16:9 wide display are the start button, the effector button, and effector sliders. After beatmania IIDX 9th style, there is also a cardreader, in order to use the magnetic/contact-less smart card of e-AMUSEMENT. In 9th style, the effector no longer operates, but it has been revived in 10th style with modified slide switch function. Different versions of the game are traditionally referred to as 'styles', with higher numbers being the most recent machines. The series currently reaches from the first style produced all the way to 10th style. According to GOLI, 10th style was the last IIDX series with an "n-th style". beatmania IIDX 11 IIDX RED became the first beatmania IIDX game with a theme and title, followed by beatmania IIDX 12 HAPPY SKY, and so forth. Each series produced has a different mix of songs from older styles and new songs, and has a different graphical 'theme'.

The main differences in hardware between the beatmania IIDX series and the original beatmania series are the presence of two extra keys, the wide screen and the more powerful speakers. This hardware difference was never actually intended to become the standard beatmania IIDX cabinet. Originally, KONAMI had planned to develop and release two different versions of arcade cabinets, a version similar to that of its predecessor beatmania and its ill-fated successor beatmania III, and a 'deluxe' cabinet with a 'DX' suffix on the end of the name. KONAMI scrapped the standard cabinet mid-development, but the 'DX' suffix stuck and has remained throughout the series.

Home versions

KONAMI has also released home versions of the game, with 15 releases for the PlayStation 2 console and one PC release. Fourteen versions of the PS2 game are available in Japan, while one is available in the US. The game is stored in a DVD media, and can be bought with a controller that matches the arcade version very closely. The controller's key insert is detachable, so the player may attach it as preferred on the left or the right side of the turntable. The home versions do not exactly match the arcade versions, but are very similar. To date, home versions of 3rd style through EMPRESS have been released in Japan; the US release is titled simply beatmania and does not correspond to an arcade version at all.

The latest home version, beatmania IIDX INFINITAS, is a PC release of beatmania IIDX, and it uses a unique interface based on SPADA.

Gameplay

The gameplay is still the same as in beatmania, with the addition of two extra keys: there are 8 columns on the screen, corresponding to each of the keys and the turntable. While playing, small horizontal bars fall straight through each of these columns, and the player must press the right key (or play the scratch) when the bar touches the bottom of the column, no sooner and no later. The correct timings for the notes follow the beat of the music, so the player has to have a very keen sense of rhythm.

Every time a key is pressed or the scratch is played, an instrument is played to complement the song. So, in order to hear the song correctly, the player must get the bars on the right timing. Additionally, the game shows a rating (flashing Great, Great, Good, Bad or Poor) for each falling bar that's played by the user.

The objective of the game is twofold: pass songs and get a good grade. Passing a song enables you to continue playing up to a three song limit, plus possible extra stages. Grade measures your performance and is used for ranking among players. The beatmania games are very peculiar in that passing a song and getting a good score on it are almost totally unrelated; one can theoretically pass a song with an F and fail with a AAA, although this is rare in practice.

During gameplay, the player gets performance feedback from two sources. One is a life bar (often referred to as the "groove gauge") at the bottom of the screen. The other is rating text in front of the falling notes. The life bar is increased moderately by flashing Greats and Greats, slightly by Goods, depleted somewhat by Bads and heavily by Poors; the emphasis is clearly on missing as few notes as possible. To pass a song, the life bar has to be at 80% or above at the end of a song. Consequently, the only thing that matters as far as passing a song is concerned is getting the ending right, and as such a lot of songs have a sudden jump in difficulty at the end to cause the player to lose that crucial top 20% of life and fail.

The difficulty of songs is measured in 'stars', however the system has not remained concrete. The newest styles often contain songs harder than the star system can accurately represent, and as such is constantly revised which each new style. Originally, the difficulty ratings ranged from one to seven "stars". In beatmania IIDX 5th style, a "flashing seven" difficulty debuted, although they would not actually flash until 6th style. beatmania IIDX 9th style introduced new difficulties by Level, in which "flashing 7's" are replaced with Level 7+. In 10th style, the maximum difficulty was raised from Level 7+ to Level 8. beatmania IIDX 11 IIDX RED debuted Level 8+. As of beatmania IIDX 12 HAPPY SKY, the difficulty system was completely overhauled, and all songs are now rated on a scale of Level 1 to Level 12, Level 1 being the easiest, Level 12 being the most difficult.

Many players consider a pass to be rather arbitrarily determined, and so the usual focus is on getting as high a grade as possible. Grades (a feature that came about as of 6th style) are determined by the player's "EX Score", which is the number of Flashing Greats (also known as Just Great or Perfect Great) times two plus the number of Greats. 8/9ths of the maximum or above yields a AAA, 7/9ths or above is a AA, and so on down to a minimum of F. Getting the maximum possible EX Score on a song(i.e. all Flashing Greats) is generally considered an unrealistic goal, if not impossible. Despite this, some very good players have been known to achieve this feat, albeit on some of the easier songs in the game.

beatmania IIDX has long been a 'cult' game because of the sheer learning curve of the game for new players, unlike other BEMANI games like DanceDanceRevolution. The machine is often found in Japanese arcades, but they are rare in American and European arcades.

Difficulties

BEGINNER
This difficulty was added as a game mode in 9th style (5th style for home version). Designed for newcomers to the game, the BEGINNER difficulty uses alternative note charts that are rated from Level 1 to 3. Not all songs have BEGINNER charts, thus the selection of charts available for this difficulty is limited.
SIRIUS includes select BEGINNER charts from home versions to the arcade series; since copula, these charts can also be played in any non-course mode.
NORMAL / LIGHT7
A degree of difficulty lower than HYPER.
HYPER / 7KEYS
This is the standard difficulty.
ANOTHER
Most players will agree this is the hardest difficulty by far. The key configuration and 'charts' are similar to that of HYPER, but are often harder and not as straight forward. Even if you can complete a song on HYPER, you may not even be able to get too far on ANOTHER. To play a song on ANOTHER on IIDX RED and before, you must select 7KEYS from the menu and then select the song while holding down the VEFX button (for IIDX HAPPY SKY and later, just press the VEFX button to change the difficulty to select ANOTHER). Songs in ANOTHER difficulty were not given separate difficulty ratings in IIDX 1-11, which was often misleading as the difficulty meter showed the same rating as the 7KEYS/HYPER variation. As of HAPPY SKY, songs in ANOTHER difficulty were given a separate rating. Not every song has an ANOTHER chart. Some tracks have an Another that sounds different from the original song.

Game modes

STANDARD
The typical game mode. Select a song per stage and try to clear the stage with a Groove Gauge of at least 80% (except when using an alternative gauge).
EXPERT
This mode is one in which you can play a course of songs in a row without stopping. You start with the gauge at its maximum; if it 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.
HAZARD
This mode was added in IIDX EMPRESS. This mode is available by highlighting FREE mode and pressing the three black keys. In HAZARD mode, breaking combo will result in instant stage failure. However, the player is guaranteed four stages regardless of clear/fail status on the first three. A Poor with no notes on the line will drop the gauge by 25% and there is no gauge increasing.
CLASS / DAN / Step Rank Recognition
This is basically the same as EXPERT, but as for options, you can only select HI-SPEED, and each course has four songs. The combination of songs differs for every difficulty, which is the difference between this and EXPERT.
FREE
Practice mode. You can play to the end of a song and won't fail, but you get one song less than if you were to play LIGHT7 or 7KEYS. (Usually, you'd get 3 songs if you played LIGHT7 or 7KEYS; you only get 2 with FREE.)
4KEYS
Replaced in 3rd Style by LIGHT7, this was intended as a beginner-friendly mode that used only the four white keys. Available only on 1st, Substream, and 2nd style.
5KEYS
Available for home versions as a specific mode, this plays exactly as 7KEYS, except for the idea that the last two keys farthest from the turntable are not used. This is probably a compatibility issue with original beatmania controllers, so that owners of the original could still somewhat play beatmania IIDX, only having the 5-key controller at hand. In arcade versions of IIDX, 5KEYS has been available from the start as a special gameplay option, most likely as an attempt to help players of the original series make the transition. Starting with 7th style AC (and 10th style CS), 5KEYS can be used with notecharts other than the ordinary 7KEYS mode.

Furthermore, when DOUBLE is selected in the options selection screen before the game starts, "7" changes to "14", and you use both sides to play.

Gameplay modifiers

[NOTE: Due to the sheer number of modifiers available in beatmania IIDX, this section will divide the modifiers according to the category that each is placed in-game (as of SINOBUZ). Older modifiers no longer seen in recent arcade games are also described here.]

BASIC ASSIST MODIFIERS

From tricoro onwards, these modifiers are displayed first for guest players or new eAmusement Pass users.

  • ASSISTED EASY - a variation of the EASY gauge (see below). This lowers the Groove Gauge passing requirement from 80% to 60%. Introduced in copula.
  • 5-KEYS - This disables the two farthermost keys of the player's side, thus essentially making it a 5-key chart akin to the original beatmania.
  • AUTO-SCRATCH - When enabled, this automatically plays all scratch notes in a chart.
  • LEGACY NOTE - Introduced in SIRIUS, this converts all Charge Notes and Backspin Scratches into regular notes. If there are no Charge Notes in a chart played with this modifier enabled, that counts as a normal clear rather than an Assist Clear.

STYLE MODIFIERS

  • RANDOM - Each column of notes is assigned to a random key. Scratch notes are unaffected, however.
  • S-RANDOM - Same as above, but individual notes are scrambled instead.
  • R-RANDOM - Notes are frequently rotated.
  • MIRROR - The notechart is flipped horizontally.

GAUGE MODIFIERS

  • ASSISTED EASY - See above.
  • EASY - The Groove Gauge refills faster and depletes slower. Same passing requirement as the normal gauge.
  • HARD - The gauge starts at 100%, but when fully drained, the stage ends. Depletes faster on every BAD or POOR.
  • EX HARD - Same as HARD, but with a greater penalty on missed notes.

ASSIST MODIFIERS

  • This includes the 5-KEYS, AUTO-SCRATCH, and LEGACY NOTE modifiers, which can be enabled individually, in a combination of two, or all three (FULL ASSIST).

RANGE MODIFIERS

  • SUDDEN+ - A lane cover is placed at the top of the screen. To adjust the range, hold the START button then turn the turntable in the corresponding direction.
  • HIDDEN+ - A lane cover is placed at the bottom of the screen. Adjusting method is the same as SUDDEN+.
  • SUD+ & HID+ - Combines the last two modifiers. The shutter window can be adjusted in the same fashion as the individual modifiers.
  • LIFT - This moves the judgment line up the screen.
  • LIFT & SUD+ - Combines the LIFT and SUDDEN+ modifiers.

ADVANCED OPTIONS

From tricoro onwards, this can be accessed by pressing the VEFX button while on the Standard Modifier screen.

  • Ghost Score Display Position - This enables a display of the difference between the current score and a previous high score as well as the position of the number in the gameplay screen.
  • Judge Mode - When enabled, this displays a small table counting the number of judgments (PGREAT, GREAT, GOOD, BAD, POOR, and COMBO BREAK) obtained in a current stage.
  • Judgment Name Display - This adjusts the distance of the judgment name from the judgment line.
  • Judgment Timing Indicator Display - When enabled, this shows the FAST/SLOW indicator as well as the position of said indicator.
  • Timing Adjustment - This sets the delay offset between the screen visuals and player's input for better accuracy and/or to suit a player's preference.
  • Judgment Number Display - This toggles between the combo number and EX SCORE for the number displayed besides the judgment name.
  • Target Score Display - If a PACEMAKER is enabled, this changes the display method of the target score.

SPECIAL OPTIONS

The following options can be enabled by using the numerical keypad installed in eAmusement-connected cabinets.

  • BATTLE [1] - If on Double Play, this uses the Single Play notecharts instead on both sides.
  • H-RAN (SAMURAI S-RANDOM) [2] - Same as S-RANDOM, but repeat notes on the same key are less likely to occur.
  • EXPAND-JUDGE [3] - Introduced in PENDUAL. When enabled, the timing windows for PERFECT GREATS and GREATS are quadrupled. Scores and clear lamps are not saved with this enabled, but EXTRA STAGE and Tran Medals are still obtainable.

Other Modifiers:

  • HI-SPEED - increases the scroll rate of the note chart. It is important to point out that the actual notes do not have to be pressed any more quickly; the scroll speed is simply increased and the notes become further apart. Most beatmania IIDX players use Hi-Speed to make the notes easier to read. Most versions of beatmania IIDX have more than one Hi-Speed setting, differentiated by numbers (a higher number means a faster speed.) The Hi-Speed modifier is traditionally abbreviated HS with the number immediately following. For example, Hi-Speed 2 is abbreviated HS2. In styles from DistoreD and IIDX RED CS onward, the player is able to change High Speeds during actual gameplay. Starting with HAPPY SKY and 10th Style CS, Hi-Speed options are expanded to .5 intervals ranging from normal speed to Hi-Speed 4 or 5. Starting in SPADA, the Hi-Speed setting can only be changed on the main gameplay screen.
Hi-Speed is traditionally adjusted by holding the START button during gameplay and hitting either a black or white key. tricoro introduces the Floating Hi-Speed, in which adjustments are done by one-hundredth decimal intervals by spinning the turntable in a corresponding direction. A player can switch between the traditional and Floating Hi-Speed by pressing the EFFECT button while the Hi-Speed window is open.
  • RANDOM+ - introduced in IIDX RED AC and 8th style CS, this is similar to Random, except that the scratch column is included in the randomization process, so the scratches usually end up assigned to a key, and a key gets assigned to the scratch. This modifier usually completely changes the character of the note chart, so scores obtained using this modifier are not recorded.
  • MIRROR+ - introduced in 9th style CS, this is like Mirror, except the scratch column is included. Like Random+, scores obtained using this modifier are not recorded.
  • SUDDEN (old) - notes only become visible when they enter the lower portion of the screen. The visible portion is approximately a third of the screen. It can be enabled at the same time as Hidden, causing the notes to briefly blink in the middle of their respective lanes.
  • HIDDEN (old) - notes are only visible in the upper portion of the screen (again, approximately a third of the screen). It can be enabled at the same time as Sudden, causing the notes to briefly blink in the middle of their respective lanes.
  • REGUL-SPEED - Introduced as a secret modifier in GOLD, this negates the effect of tempo changes by setting the scroll speed to a constant 150 BPM. The player can then select an appropriate Hi-Speed mod accordingly. To enable this option, open the options menu by holding Start and press the keys "2-3-5-7-4-6". This constant scroll-speed setting is analoguous to Stepmania's C-Mod, and standard gameplay settings in GuitarFreaks/DrumMania as well as Guitar Hero. Scores obtained using this modifier are not recorded.