As this was the first arcade entry to be released in almost four years, SuperNOVA catches up by not only reviving most of the songs from Extreme, but the numerous home games that were released during that interim period, including the Ultramix series. Given the huge song library (303 tracks in all, with 121 arcade debuts), a tradition from 1st and 2ndMIX rears its head once again: the songs are divided into Easy, Medium, and Hard setlists of about a hundred songs each. However, by pressing the Down arrow twice at this screen, you can select all the songs during play, or access the course modes. The "beginner helper" characters that play the steps on-screen on Beginner charts are gone, but have re-appeared in spirit for the Tutorial mode, selectable from the same menu. Replacing the traditional lessons from the home versions, Tutorial Mode While we're on the subject of difficulty, for some reason the main three levels have been renamed to Basic, Difficult, and Expert, presumably to split the difference between the classic (Basic/Another/Maniac) and European (Standard/Difficult/Expert) naming schema.
|Players "attack" each other with modifiers in Battle Mode. (PS2 version.)|
|The new stages and character models. (Arcade version.)|
Notable songs include:
- "AA" by DJ Amuro, a crossover from 2004's Beatmania IIDX 11: Red. A more trance-like remix of "A" from Extreme, you may be surprised to know that this song's title has no official pronunciation.
- "Centerfold (130 BPM Move-It Mix)" by Captain Jack. Their cover of the J. Geils' Band's 1982 hit was the last new song of their used by DDR. Note that this was the first new DDR title to come out after Captain Jack's frontman's death, so despite their unused back catalogue, could this decision have been out of respect...? ...Nah, coincidence as far as I'm concerned.
- "My Only Shining Star" by Naoki feat. Becky Lucinda. The next in the line of Maeda-san's euro-rave songs, this time with a new vocalist.
- "Peace (^^)v" by BeForU. Since we last met BeForU, they had focused less on the Bemani games and started putting out their own albums. That the in-game music video for this is concert footage may be evidence for such.
- "Red Zone" by Naoki & Tatsh, a crossover from Beatmania IIDX 11: Red. Has inspired a number of parody videos on both sides of the Pacific.
- "Tierra Buena" by Wilma de Olivera, a crossover from 2003's Guitar Freaks 9thMIX & DrumMania 8thMIX. An Andean-folk-style song, this gets my pick for one of the worst songs used for DDR, or at least the most ill-fitting.
- "Xepher" by Tatsh, a crossover from Beatmania IIDX. This gothic-rave song is classified by some as an unofficial boss song, since it has a level-10 Challenge chart. And if you ask me, the boss songs should me more like this, relying on technical step patterns alone instead of cheap tempo-related gimmicks (see below).
- "Healing-D-Vision" by De-Strad. Bearing only a slight resemblance to the original "Healing Vision", this one has 12th-note patterns and doubles in speed from 180 to 360 BPM near the end.
- "Max 300 (Super Max-Me Mix)" by Jondi & Spesh. A revival from Ultramix 2, this has more in common with "MaxX Unlimited" than "Max 300", with its multiple BPM changes.
- "Fascination MaxX" by 100-200-400 (Naoki Maeda). As the artist name suggests, this song change tempo, seemingly irrationally, between 100, 200, and 400 BPM.
- "Fascination (Eternal Love Mix)" by 2MB. A remix of "Fascination MaxX", sharing its speed changes and pauses.
- "Chaos" by De-Sire (Naoki Maeda). Features dozens of little pauses which take loads of practice to memorise. In fact, some of the stops on this and "Fascination MaxX" knock the arrows off-beat, rendering them imposisble to make edit steps for.
Apart from the Stellar Master Mode, the home version of SuperNOVA shares the same EyeToy and online functionalities of Extreme 2, or at least it did until the next game came out and the servers were, yet again, shut down. Only this time, the online mode hosted a small number of exclusive songs which were not even playable offline. And when the service went down, there was no workaround to get to the songs within SuperNOVA. But they were put into the sequel, which is what I'll discuss when Dance Dance Retrospective returns next... week? month? two months? with SuperNOVA 2.