What is SOUND VOLTEX
SOUND VOLTEX Series
SOUND VOLTEX is part of the BEMANI series of music games. The game series combines traditional button gameplay with the use of analog dials and sound effects, creating a unique sound and game experience.
Cody and TAG are the current sound directors of the series, while dj TAKA is the current sound producer, with DJ YOSHITAKA as the head producer.
All the series' BGM is composed by Sota Fujimori.
What makes SOUND VOLTEX different from the other game series is that regular BEMANI artists (either KONAMI in-house or commissioned ones) are not prominent in the song list. Instead, artists renowned in the doujin and beatmania simulation scene are more common here, plus licensed EXIT TUNES songs and Touhou Project arrangements. There are also remixes of original KONAMI songs.
While at first the song list mostly consisted of original songs or licenses involving VOCALOIDs, late in the first game's release the artist selection greatly expanded thanks to what it is supposed to be the most important pillar of the series - the FLOOR section.
SOUND VOLTEX FLOOR refers to the group of competitions posted in its website where Japan-based artists can participate in, with a chance of their songs or remixes appearing in the games. Music contests have their own themes and rules, such as remixing a selection of an artist's songs, or using synthesized vocals. There are also contests related to designing jackets for brand-new songs or to replace pre-existing ones in the game.
Thanks to the FLOOR contests (and also to the presence of Touhou Project arrangements), the game quickly gained a lot of success, prompting the production team to focus as much as possible on these in the future. Contest winners may also be invited to provide original songs in SOUND VOLTEX itself or in other BEMANI games (most notably, five of the seven beatnation RHYZE members debuted in BEMANI via SOUND VOLTEX FLOOR).
From April 16th to May 15th, 2015, the first SOUND VOLTEX FLOOR contests (for original songs and appeal cards) exclusive to the rest of Asia were held. However, due to delays in communication between KONAMI, Korean distributor UNIANA and participating artists, the winning contest songs and appeal cards weren't added to the game until over two years later, on February 1st, 2018. (On December 21st, 2016, UNIANA stated on Twitter that it has sent out confirmation emails to all winning artists.)
As first seen in SOUND VOLTEX II -infinite infection-, new games of the series are released as huge online updates.
Unlike other BEMANI games, regular soundtracks are not released for the SOUND VOLTEX series. Instead, soundtracks tend to focus on ones from FLOOR contests. Listed below are the soundtracks that have been released so far:
- SOUND VOLTEX ULTIMATE TRACKS - 東方紅魔郷REMIX -
- Released on July 30th, 2014 (released early on May 11th, 2014, at the Reitaisai 11 doujin event).
- Contains all the songs from the Touhou Project Embodiment of Scarlet Devil Remix Contest, plus two new arrangements.
- SOUND VOLTEX ULTIMATE TRACKS -LEGEND OF KAC-
- Released on March 4th, 2015.
- Contains songs from the first two KONAMI Arcade Championship contests (KAC 2012 and KAC 2013).
- SOUND VOLTEX ULTIMATE TRACKS -FLOOR ANTHEM- EP.01
- Released on February 24th, 2016.
- Contains select FLOOR songs from SOUND VOLTEX BOOTH and SOUND VOLTEX II -infinite infection- as voted by the community, plus five new original songs.
- SOUND VOLTEX ULTIMATE TRACKS -東方妖々夢&輝針城REMIX-
- SOUND VOLTEX ULTIMATE TRACKS BOOTH LEGACY - 壱 - and SOUND VOLTEX ULTIMATE TRACKS BOOTH LEGACY - 弐 -
- Released on July 21st, 2017. Only obtainable at select arcades for 800 VP each for a limited time.
- Both soundtracks contain almost every KONAMI original song/remix from SOUND VOLTEX BOOTH.
- SOUND VOLTEX ULTIMATE TRACKS Dimension Gates Ω -Phase.1-
- Released on July 12th, 2018. Only obtainable at select arcades for 800 VP for a limited time.
- Contains all original songs from the first phase of SOUND VOLTEX IV HEAVENLY HAVEN's Ω Dimension unlock system.
- SOUND VOLTEX ULTIMATE TRACKS Dimension Gates Ω -Phase.2-
- To be released on December 20th, 2018. Only obtainable at select arcades for 800 VP for a limited time.
- Contains all original songs from the second phase of SOUND VOLTEX IV HEAVENLY HAVEN's Ω Dimension unlock system.
Other original SOUND VOLTEX songs may occassionally appear in soundtracks for multi-game BEMANI events.
SOUND VOLTEX is also the first BEMANI game series to have licensed BMS songs (BEMANI Simulation files). In SOUND VOLTEX IV HEAVENLY HAVEN, it also added songs from major doujin labels such as HARDCORE TANO*C, S2TB Recording, and C.H.S.
For simplicity, the games will be referred to by their subtitles (BOOTH, infinite infection, GRAVITY WARS, HEAVENLY HAVEN).
SOUND VOLTEX's gameplay is similar to other rhythm games like beatmania IIDX and GuitarFreaks & DrumMania. When a note reaches the judgment line in time with the beat, you press the corresponding button or turn the corresponding dial.
The game interface has 4 CHIP BT note lanes, and 2 LONG FX note lanes that each occupy 2 BT note lanes. BT notes are white and FX notes are yellow/orange.
In addition to the standard SHORT and LONG buttons, SOUND VOLTEX also has 2 analog dials, one on each side. By default, when a blue trail (left side) and/or a pink trail (right side) appears, you have to turn the respective dial(s) to "follow" the trail(s). These are known as ANALOG CHAINS.
The effects in the songs are game-related and are caused by LONG FX notes (distortion effects), ANALOG CHAINS (woosh effects), and special CHIP FX notes (added FX effects).
infinite infection introduced the following gameplay mechanics:
- SHORT note lanes can now have hold notes, known as LONG BT notes. Conversely, LONG note lanes can now have short notes, known as CHIP FX notes.
- The HARD-gauge style EXCESSIVE RATE is added. Drop to 0% and the stage fails immediately.
- The INFINITE BLASTER unlock system/folder is added (since HEAVENLY HAVEN known as BLASTER GATE). It unlocks most game-specific special charts (e.g. INFINITE). This folder used to be available once the BLASTER ENERGY gauge is at 100%. Using the EXCESSIVE RATE gauge charges the BLASTER ENERGY gauge by 6.67% a stage (15 plays will fill it).
GRAVITY WARS added even more mechanics:
- Any combination of the BT and FX notes is now possible.
- ANALOG CHAINS may start from anywhere and go in any direction, and also extend beyond the chart lane.
- New charts may include zooming, moving, and even disappearing of the chart lanes.
- Colors of the ANALOG CHAINS can now be changed. Two new colors are also available: yellow and green.
- Hi-SPEED values can be tuned to an exact BPM value. They can also be stored by pressing 6 on the keypad for easy Hi-SPEED changing.
- EARLY/LATE indicators for NEARs can be shown in-game. They have 4 possible positions: LOWER, STANDARD (default), UPPER, and UPPER+.
- Timing can be adjusted to be earlier or later by holding START and then pressing 3 or 9 on the keypad, respectively. Values range from -8 to +8. Increase this value if you are getting many EARLYs and decrease it if you are getting LATEs.
- The ALTERNATIVE RATE SYSTEM (ARS) is added to selected modes. This gauge starts with an EXCESSIVE RATE gauge, but when depleted (a TRACK CRASH normally), it will be switched to a EFFECTIVE RATE, at a level as if it were active.
HEAVENLY HAVEN introduced the following mechanics:
- A new default difficulty, MAXIMUM, is added.
- MIRROR and RANDOM note options are added. MIRROR flips all input horizontally, while RANDOM makes all BT notes appear randomly (and sometimes mirrors FX notes). They cannot be used in SKILL ANALYZER.
- Special CHIP FX notes (colored yellow) produce added sound effects when hit. These vary from claps to bass drops.
- A new Extra Stage system, the EXTRACK, is introduced. By filling the BLASTER GAUGE to 100% or playing on BLASTER START, the EXTRACK will appear after the FINAL TRACK. The BLASTER GATE folder is now only accessible on EXTRACK or the BLASTER START modes. "Ω Dimension", a new EXTRACK-only folder, contains EXTRACK-exclusive charts available to unlock.
To clear a song, your EFFECTIVE RATE must be 70% or higher (for all other gauges, never let the rate drop to zero). This does not affect charts rated Level 7 or below, however, as you will automatically be saved.
Initially, BOOTH only had two modes: ONLINE (single player) and FRIEND (local matching with 1-3 other players).
infinite infection added SKILL ANALYZER mode, that offers various 3-stage courses, most of which determines a player's Skill Level, and the rest being special commemerative courses. It also split all its modes to credit and PASELI/premium sub-modes when KONAMI further integrated PASELI into all its eAUMSEMENT games.
GRAVITY WARS, upon the launch of its SOUND VOLTEX GENERATOR -REAL MODEL-, added new GENERATOR-exclusive modes.
HEAVENLY HAVEN merged the SKILL ANALYZER mode into its main modes; now it can be selected while on your first stage. Normal and GENERATOR modes are now split into their individual sections. GENERATOR BLASTER, a GENERATOR-exclusive BLASTER START mode, was added. It also removed the FRIEND modes, as local matching can now be accessed by waiting out a timer after selecting a mode, like jubeat's local matching system. In addition, with the EXTRACK system added on August 10th, 2017, the number of playable stages has increased, and less emphasis is placed on BLASTER GATE.
The game currently has the following modes:
- Normal modes
- LIGHT START
- - Up to 3 stages plus EXTRACK (4 total). Normal gameplay; the game is over when a song is failed if it is above Level 7. Song level selection is limited by the player's current Skill Level in SKILL ANALYZER.
- STANDARD START
- - 3 stages plus EXTRACK (4 total). Has no level limit; ARS is also available (as of December 28, 2017). The BLASTER ENERGY gauge also increases by an additional 1.33% per stage. Requires PASELI.
- BLASTER START
- - 3 stages, including EXTRACK, guaranteed. The BLASTER GATE folder is also available on all stages. ARS is also available. Requires PASELI.
- GENERATOR modes (Only on machines with a GENERATOR)
- GENERATOR LIGHT START
- - Up to 3 stages plus EXTRACK (4 total). Same as LIGHT START, and prints one Genesis Card.
- GENERATOR START
- - 3 stages guaranteed, plus EXTRACK (4 total). Same as STANDARD START, ARS is available, and prints 1-5 Genesis card(s). Requires PASELI.
- GENERATOR BLASTER
- - 3 stages, including EXTRACK, guaranteed. Same as BLASTER START, and prints 1-5 Genesis card(s). Requires PASELI.
SOUND VOLTEX has four main difficulties: NOVICE, ADVANCED, EXHAUST, and MAXIMUM (the latter introduced in HEAVENLY HAVEN).
Since infinite infection, the new games also have their own "special" difficulty, each named after their subtitles:
- infinite infection added the INFINITE difficulty, with a light purple hue (previously rainbow).
- GRAVITY WARS added GRAVITY, with an orange hue.
- HEAVENLY HAVEN added HEAVENLY, with a cyan/blue hue.
These difficulties are equivalent to each other, and these charts are usually added to songs from previous versions, adding the respective games' new gimmicks to otherwise old and outdated songs.
Difficulty ranges from 1 (the easiest) to 20 (the hardest) since SOUND VOLTEX IV HEAVENLY HAVEN. Previously, it was 1 to 15 in BOOTH, and 1 to 16 in infinite infection and GRAVITY WARS.
Note that newly added songs (except for most original songs) have the NOVICE and ADVANCED charts always available by default. The other difficulty charts usually must be bought with BLOCKs. If not, they can be unlocked via BLASTER GATE, or through MISSIONs (in the case of GRAVITY WARS).
All notes are judged as CRITICAL (perfect), NEAR (good; only for CHIP BT and CHIP FX notes), or ERROR (miss; breaks combo/chain). The maximum score of a TRACK is 10,000,000 (10 million).
Each note, when hit with CRITICAL timing, is worth (10,000,000 / total chain) points. Each NEAR note is worth half of a CRITICAL note.
Every BT note is counted as 1 combo chain. Every analog right-angle turn or "slam" also counts as 1 combo chain.
For LONG notes and analog chains, the combo chain starts counting after one beat from the start of the note/chain and ends one beat before. Each LONG note and analog chain counts as 4 combo chain per beat (2 per beat if the song's BPM is more than or equal to 256 at any time).
From BOOTH to GRAVITY WARS, your performance can be rated from D (lowest) to AAA (highest). The grade depended on both score and EFFECTIVE RATE level (or its equivalent level). The calculation of the "grade score" was:
The final grade then can be determined from this table:
|Grade||"Grade Score" Range|
|AA||9,400,000 - 9,799,999|
|A||8,900,000 - 9,399,999|
|B||8,000,000 - 8,899,999|
|C||7,000,000 - 7,999,999|
In HEAVENLY HAVEN, the grade range is expanded, adding the A+, AA+, AAA+, and S ranks. The rank requirements are also revamped, now basing it on score alone. See the following table:
|AAA+||9,800,000 - 9,899,999|
|AAA||9,700,000 - 9,799,999|
|AA+||9,500,000 - 9,699,999|
|AA||9,300,000 - 9,499,999|
|A+||9,000,000 - 9,299,999|
|A||8,700,000 - 8,999,999|
|B||8,000,000 - 8,699,999|
|C||7,000,000 - 7,999,999|
In addition, if a player hits all notes (i.e. a full combo), it is an ULTIMATE CHAIN (UC); and if they hit all notes with a CRITICAL rating, it is a PERFECT (formerly PERFECT ULTIMATE CHAIN, or PUC).
Fulfiling specific play conditions, like achieving an ULTIMATE CHAIN or a AA rank, can be requirements for buying certain charts for songs.
SDVX Station is the section of the game where you can buy in-game items using Blocks or Packets. You gain Blocks and Packets by playing the game. Blocks (Blc) are used to purchase song charts, while Packets (Pc) are used to purchase Appeal Cards.
Since NOVICE charts are always unlocked, you will only buy ADVANCED, EXHAUST and INFINITE ones. In SOUND VOLTEX BOOTH, you could buy single charts; in the sequel, you can choose to buy only the ADVANCED chart for a song, or all of them (except INFINITE) at once. Another difference between the two games is the absence of RANK requirements in SOUND VOLTEX II -infinite infection-.
Besides purchase costs, often there will be conditions that need to be fulfilled. These can range from clearing a certain number of songs to getting ULTIMATE CHAINS.
Since HEAVENLY HAVEN, you can buy charts direct from the track select screen. As such, the SDVX Station will only have the Appeal Card generator and POLICY BREAK sections.
A list of purchasable charts can be found here:
- SOUND VOLTEX BOOTH Station Item List
- SOUND VOLTEX II -infinite infection- Station Item List
- SOUND VOLTEX III GRAVITY WARS Station Item List
Note that when playing new game versions, older charts must still be bought if you haven't done so before.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The following section is obsolete due to the RANK system being removed in SOUND VOLTEX II -infinite infection-.
The purpose of the RANK System in SOUND VOLTEX BOOTH is to limit what song charts players can buy from the SDVX Station. There are 20 ranks in total, and you can raise them by accumulating Rank Points (RP). To accumulate RP you need to play songs and clear songs (getting ULTIMATE CHAINS or PERFECT ULTIMATE CHAINS makes the process faster). Once you gain a new Rank, you need to accumulate a new amount of RP for the next one.
The RANKS are:
- Nameless Grass (0 RP)
- Young Bud (30 RP)
- Tree Leaf (70 RP)
- Verdure (80 RP)
- Cherry-blossom (80 RP)
- Water Lily (150 RP)
- Chinese Bellflower (250 RP)
- Setsugekka (250 RP)
- Small Drizzle (250 RP)
- Fog Drizzle (400 RP)
- Murasame (500 RP)
- Drizzle (600 RP)
- Iridescent Clouds (550 RP)
- Purple Clouds (550 RP)
- Gyoun (550 RP)
- Kong Cloud (550 RP)
- Blue Sky (350 RP)
- Sky (350 RP)
- Absolute Sky (400 RP)
- Void (500 RP)
- The SOUND VOLTEX series is the first to utilize the eAMUSEMENT Participation system, which requires game cabinets to always be connected to the eAMUSEMENT network; if it doesn't, the game will not boot up.
- It is also the second game overall (after TAITO's MUSIC GUNGUN series) to officially license Touhou Project arrangements from Team Shanghai Alice, developer and publisher of the Touhou Project series of games.
- Game size re-arrangements of the system BGMs of the SOUND VOLTEX games have always appeared as playable songs:
- BOOTH's BGM, titled VOLTEXES, first appeared in REFLEC BEAT limelight.
- infinite infection's BGM, titled VOLTEXES II, first appeared in REFLEC BEAT groovin'!!.
- GRAVITY WARS Season 1's BGM, titled VOLTEXES III, appears in SOUND VOLTEX III GRAVITY WARS.
- Initially titled VOLTEX III, it was played at the EXIT TUNES DANCE PARTY ～beatnation RHYZE music council～ concert by Sota Fujimori during his Expander act. During the EXIT TUNES DANCE PARTY beatnation summit 2015 concert, however, it was corrected to VOLTEXES III and credited to Sota Fujimori.
- HEAVENLY HAVEN's BGM, VOLTEXES IV, appears in SOUND VOLTEX IV HEAVENLY HAVEN.
- infinite infection is the first full BEMANI game to be released as an online update.
- infinite infection is the first BEMANI game to have a location test in a doujin-related event (Reitaisai 10).
- The SOUND VOLTEX series had no removals until GRAVITY WARS, with サイバーサンダーサイダー being removed on June 1st, 2016 due to its expired license. The SKILL ANALYZER course containing the song, 6th B course for Skill LEVEL 06, was also removed.