Monday, July 5, 2010

Taiko no Tatsujin DS: Dororon! Youkai Dai Kessen! Special Import Review

Written by pikaby

Alright, I said I'd review it, so here we are! Since the songlist is the lifeline of any rhythm game, and most especially Taiko no Tatsujin, I'll make that the most important point of my review. But first, everything else.

Graphics-wise, it would be unfair to expect major changes out of a genre that doesn't need it. Taiko no Tatsujin is as cute as ever, the menus are identical to those of the previous iterations, and the Don-chan sprite will never, ever change. Eagle eyes will notice different placements of the song title and ranks on the top screen, but it's nothing major. The graphics in the RPG mode are passable at best, with a top down view and movement in square units like many old RPGs. Enemies are cute(or, as cute as Japanese folklore monsters go), especially some of the bosses.

Speaking of the RPG mode, it's meatier than you'd expect from a sidequest, but it's mercifully kept short so anyone who wants to unlock all the hidden songs from this mode quickly can still do so. After all, filling up that songlist is still the top priority. Fun while it lasts, it uses a lot of tricks in the rhythm game rulebook and assigns each different monster a different technique. One makes notes scroll at double speed, another has bomb notes, yet another makes the notes invisible, and so on. Quite refreshing, and adds a dash of creativity to the genre. Rhythm-RPG is no longer an impossibility, people. Nothing to complain about here.

As for the other modes...they're identical to all previous games in the series. Some might call it recycled, but it just doesn't feel that way when all the songs used are new. And that's why it's the most important aspect. Now let's look at them by genre.

Gake no Ue no Ponyo
My Neighbor Totoro
Saikou Everyday
Alright! Heart Catch Precure!
Tensou Sentai Goseiger
Hapi Hapi
Odore・ Dore・Dora Doraemon Ondo
W-B-X ~W‐Boiled Extreme~
Uchuu Senkan Yamato

Taiko no Tatsujin suffers from the same lacklustre anime selection each time a new console version comes by. There's almost always a new Doraemon song (Doraemon Ondo), a new Precure song (Heart Catch Precure), a new Naruto song (Sign), and a Kamen Rider song (W-B-X), together with some random Power Ranger spoof anime theme song (Goseiger in this case). However along with this never-changing trend there's one more that never changes: there's almost always one or two awesome anime songs in the mix. It was Lucky Star and One Piece for the Wii, then Neo Genesis Evangelion for Wii2, and now we have My Neighbor Totoro, Ponyo on the Cliff, both mega-popular Studio Ghibli hits, and Saikou Everyday from Pokemon D/P, which is surprisingly good. So, it's all balanced out on the anime scene.

Choo Choo Train

Poor selection, but I never did care much for J-POP anyway, aside from a few token songs (why didn't they add in the ultra hard 'Punishment' by 9mm Parabellum Bullet?), Kiseki is a good song, but recycled from Taiko Wii's library of songs and the rest are either somewhat good or forgettable. Except Melt, the sole Hatsune Miku song. I know a few fans who would buy into Taiko just for this song. Helps even more that Miku herself makes a cameo in-game holding Taiko sticks. Fans go nuts!

Maneki Neko Daaku no Uta
Rhythm and Police
Okashi Deka no Uta

Great variety for the Variety genre this time (see what I did there?). MJ's Thriller cover is fine, and a good challenge on Oni mode, Okashi Deka no Uta is by the Japanese 8-bit music band YMCK, crafted by CoroCoro magazine readers exclusively for this game, which is cool. Maneki Neko Duck no Uta is one of the cutest songs to be featured in Taiko (look it up if you don't believe me). Everything's great, except one thing. Didn't they just put BAROQUE HOEDOWN in the previous Taiko game? Why again? Urgh.

Classic (9)
Beethoven's Ninth Symphony
When the Saints Go Marching In
Turkish March
Hungarian Dances No.5
Symphonic Medley 1
O Vreneli
Funikiri Funikura
Le Tombeau de Couperin

Nothing to complain about, it's the same as always, the Classic genre. In bold are the unlockable songs. Le Tombeau de Couperin is a new classic song making its debut here, and it's pretty good. The rest? Let's just say 'When the Saints Go Marching In' will surprise you like no other. Good choice of songs here.

Game Music: (7)
Nanori (Tenjyou)
Knuckle Heads ~Ouburoukou~
Metal Hawk BGM 1
Symphonic Valkyrie
Tatakae!T3 Booei Tai

relations? The new Idolmaster song? Alright, sweet! Nanori (Tenjyou), another one of my personal faves! Great! Symphonic Valkyrie is also good, but I'm not satisfied with T3 Booei Tai. A game music with stereotypical 'superhero anime' voices singing it out? No.

Makes it up with Metal Hawk BGM1, the new super tough game music song that'll have you in a daze just looking at the notes. Seriously, it's hard as balls. And KAGYUKIYO? Pure lulz. A previous staple song of the series, KAGEKIYO, is slowed down to snail's speed. You'll know once you listen to both.

Namco Original: (13)
Dororon Girl
Total Eclipse 2035
Youkai Dochuu Ki Ondo
Sweet Lay
Lovely X
Bubbly Queen
Hyakki Yakou
Tenyou no Mai
Tokoyami no Mori
mint tears
Daidara 8551
Jigoku no Daiou
Hataraku 2000

Now, this is the most important genre. Fail in this sector and all the hardcore Taiko fans leave. Good thing this time it doesn't disappoint, featuring 13 (thirteen!) Namco Originals. That's a lot! The previous DS Taiko games had only a maximum of ten of these! This is a treat.

mint tears, Jigoku no Daiou and Hataraku 2000 are the three torture chambers fans love from the series (as in ultra hard. As in super bastard. As in....plain impossible for any normal person). Watch a video of Hataraku 2000 in action(below) and tell me you can clear it.

Dororon Girl is a pleasant theme song for the game, Total Eclipse 2035, Tokoyami no Mori and Lovely X are favorites. I went nuts for Hyakki Yakou and Tenyou no Mai, continuations to 'song series' within the Taiko games. The new songs, Bubbly Queen and Sweet Lay are great listening too. Everything checks out!

Well, except one. Youkai Dochuu Ki Ondo. This is just my personal preference, but I really prefer my songs to not sound like people are chanting religious mantras. Religion is important, but keep it out of my Taiko. It's an old song revived for Taiko DS3, but I wouldn't have liked it even if I was around during the time it was first introduced.

Well, what do I think, overall? You would've already guessed it based on all the positive remarks I made, but aside from a few duds in song choice (out of 50, four of them I'll never play again after I perfect combo them- Youkai Dochuu Ki Ondo, T3 Booei Tai, W-B-X, Choo Choo Train), I can't find any other flaws with Taiko no Tatsujin DS: Dororon! Youkai Dai Kessen!, and proudly it stands alongside, or rather on top of, the other Taiko no Tatsujin games for DS. It truly is something you have to check out.

Score: 9.5/10
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