At the time this came out, the Bemani series of Music games by Konami was taking over Japan’s arcades by storm. The Wildly popular Beatmania (and then-powerhouse DDR) were spearheading a revolution in music gaming and pushing the entire genre into the mainstream. The Wonderswan handheld console was mildly successful at the time, too. (the Wonderswan color would be moreso due to the frayed relationship between Nintendo and Squaresoft resulting in quite a few Wonderswan exclusive titles and ports for a while)
In any case, with the rapid expansion of music gaming, ports of the popular games, merchandise, and other offshoots were rampant. There were Gameboy versions of the Beatmania series prior to this, though this is the only one released for the Wonderswan, with the songlist based on the arcade version of Beatmania 3rd Mix.
The game also came with a snap-on turntable to “enhance” gameplay. This “Disc” would move a nob up and down as the disc was turned. Due to the position when the disc was fastened to the Wonderswan, the result was the same as pressing the “B” button
In the end, the unit was held vertically (perpendicular to the normal position) in which the two sets of direction buttons were pressed with the player’s thumbs, and the disc was scratched with the right index finger.
In other good news, the audio quality is surprisingly good. The Wonderswan’s sound system in general is pretty poor, but this game seems to be the exception. The music are all probably digital audio files played back in full at the highest bit rate the system could handle. If you are nefarious and looked up this game on a ROM site, you’ll also notice that this game is a whopping 16MB in size, much larger than many other Wonderswan games combined.
However, this comes at a cost. There are only 10 songs in the game, with 1 unlockable and a medley track unlockable. The other tracks are true to the arcade though, for what it is worth. Furthermore, there is a really cool “Continue” mode which lets you continue from the stage on which you last left off should you turn off the power for whatever reason.
The game itself is surprisingly good; it’s just a bit short in the content department. If anything, it made me realize what the Wonderswan was capable of in the audio department. Yeah, the turntable is kind of a gimmick though it is less awkward to use than trying to press the “B” button to scratch the turntable in-game, I suppose. The timing windows are a bit
So you’ll play along in whatever mode you wish (more on those later) and notice that there are the little animations that accompany the music just like in the arcade version. The graphics may not be great, though to be fair the original arcade visuals were nothing special. The lack of color is the only big drawback here.
Actually, there is one other drawback, and that is the controls. You can adjust them in the Config menu to select from between 3 preset layouts, but it did take a bit to get used to regardless.
However, if you are still having trouble, certain “Help” options are available. You can set the turntable to be automatically played. Alternatively, you can choose to remap all the key inputs to any key on the system excluding the turntable which you will have to scratch separately. This can be useful for working out timing in this game, (timing seems to be noticeably early in general) though this will prevent you from unlocking certain content in the game. (More on that in a bit)
Practice : The player plays through a series of 3 tutorial stages to get familiar with the game.
Normal : The player goes through a series of 4 stages. The difficulty level for each stage (measured in “stars”) is capped such that harder songs are only available in later stages. Specifically, these values are:
Stage 1 – 1 to 2 stars
Stage 2 – 1 to 3 stars
Stage 3 – 3 to 5 stars
Stage 4 – 4 to 6 stars
Note that if you wish to get the secret song “Attack the Music”, you will need to play the hardest songs available on each stage. Beating this song will unlock the “Medley” in “Free Play” mode.
Expert: In this mode the player plays through a set course of 5 songs. There are two courses “A” and “B” at first. An additional Expert course “Survival” is unlocked by clearing either course without the use of auto-scratch or any other “Help” options. The Survival course consists of 11 songs (including the hidden song)
Free Play: The player is free to select from any of the songs in the game, including hidden content if the player has unlocked it. “Normal” “Hidden” and “Auto” options are available in this mode. “Hidden” provides an extra challenge while “Auto” lets the game play itself, and can be useful to get familiar with the charts in the game.
Complete Song List
|Cat Song – Theme of UPA||UPA&NORA||funk||*|
|find out||nouvo nude||soul||*|
|beginning of life||Quadra||ambient||**|
|believe again (HYPER MEGA MIX)||DJ nagureo||j-dance pop||**|
|La Bossanova de Fabienne||staccato two-F||bossa groove||***|
|Stop Violence!||Herbie Hammock & His Band||funky jazz groove||***|
|METAL GEAR SOLID -main theme||ESPACIO BROTHERS||bigbeat mix||****|
|Queen’s Jamaica||Crunky Boy featuring Muhammad||reggae||****|
|20.november (single mix)||DJ nagureo||house||*****|
|Deep Clear Eyes||QUADRA||drum’n bass mix||*****|
|Attack the Music||DJ FX||hard techno||******|
|All songs for Wonderswan||various||medley||????|
Beatmania for Wonderswan
|Release date(s)||JP – April 28, 1999|
|Mode(s)||Single Player Only|