|The music menu. A glimpse of things to come.|
During gameplay, the Groove Gauges eschew the jumping pills from previous core series games and instead look like wavy bars. Well, anything to avoid unintented drug references, I guess. The background animations have also been re-done again, and follow a general color theme to match the song's genre. Also, for those who care, while the display resolution was cut back to its previous level (240i), the frame rate runs at the traditional maximum speed of 60 frames per second. For those of us wowed by the first wave of 60fps 3D games (for me they were Mortal Kombat 4 and F-Zero X), you'll really notice the difference, but everyone else, whatever.
|You should see this in motion.|
The other big change brought on by 5thMIX is not necessarily a positive one, however. Going from 3rdMIX to 4thMIX, only two songs were cut ("Strictly Business" and "So Many Men") due to specific requests from the artists. On the other hand, 5thMIX cut out a sizeable chunk of songs from previous games, mostly from 1st and 2ndMIX. The reasons for this could be to make room for the new content, or to cut down on licensing fees, since it's mostly licenced songs that were affected, or some other third thing. Sadly, there are no nonstop course modes in this game either. That said and done, the total songlist of 5thMIX still comes out to be roughly the same size as 4thMIX's. Genre-wise, there's towards trance and eurobeat which will only get stronger over the next couple of games, and content-wise, there are a lot of songs with Maniac charts ranked at 9 out of 9 in difficulty. This means that on the whole there's more challenge in 5thMIX than anything that's come before in the series - and this progression will only continue. Think about that. Notable songs from 5thMIX include:
- "Can't Stop Fallin' In Love (Speed Mix)" by Naoki feat. Paula Terry. A speed-rave remix of the song from Solo 2000. The Maniac chart is infamously known for its "machine gun" sequences, which are chains of eight notes using only one arrow - meaning you have to tap one foot repeatedly. At 170 BPM, these can be way tough to nail down. Commonly abbreviated as 'CSFILSM' by fans.
- "Dive" by BeForU. This is the first song released by BeForU, a J-pop girl group founded by Konami. BeForU would become mainstays in the Bemani games over the next few years, and to my knowledge they were one of the first Bemani-based acts to release albums commercially outside of game soundtracks. Also, this and "Sana Mollete Ne Ente" are the first songs in the core series with Japanese lyrics.
- "Ecstacy" by D-CompleX (Naoki Maeda). A trance song with not one, but two pauses.
- "Healing Vision" by De-Sire (Naoki Maeda). An ethereal drum'n'bass song which switches to double and half speed at different points. The Angelic Mix from the home version (by 2MB) keeps a mostly constant tempo apart from the aforementioned pause near the end, but that is immediately preceded by a 20-second rush of high-speed, high-density notes.
- "INSERTiON" by Naoki Underground (guess who). A trance/techno song with a pause and slow section in the middle, and a speed-up at the end.
- "PARANOiA Eternal" by STM200. This remix of PARANOiA was actually made by a fan outside of Konami, who one a contest and had it put it into the game. It experiments with 7/4 time signatures in some parts, and the Maniac chart has "machine gun" sections like in CSFILSM, but 30 BPM faster.
- Eight unlockable songs are transplants from beatmania IIDX, including "Absolute" and "Abyss" by dj TAKA, and "Electro Tuned (The SubS Mix)" and "Radical Faith" by TaQ.
- There also three songs transplanted from Dance ManiaX (spelled with an X to differentiate itself with the Dancemania CD series), another dance-based game in the Bemani family. This one uses motion sensors you wave your hands over or under, but the series only lasted for a couple of titles. Dance ManiaX transplants in DDR 5thMIX include "Afronova Primeval" by 8-bit, "Broken My Heart" by Naoki feat. Paula Terry, and "Matsuri Japan" by Re-Venge.
- Also, 5thMIX is the first core series game to use Japanese text in some of the song titles and artists.