October 22nd, 2005, 10:37 Posted By: wraggster
News from Lik Sang
While graphics and gameplay usually take the spot light in videogames, music is all too often overlooked. From time to time though, innovations are made, from games like Vib Ribbon, to Parappa the Rapper, Dance Dance Revolution, Space Channel 5 and Rez, music played a vital part. Then there's Tomb Raider which used a unique combination of silence and song to reward and brew up emotions in us, and games such as Lumines and NiGHTS where the music actually reacted and changed as we played.
Each game system usually has a few such titles over its lifetime, but in less than a year the Nintendo DS already has three. Electroplankton, Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan and Dai Gassou! Band Brothers provide hungry DS systems with a fresh taste in games. Considering after Jump Superstars they are #2, #3, #4 and #5 on our best selling Japanese NDS games of all time, it seems there just may be more to these titles than some people realize. So let's see what all the fuss is about...
First up, being developed by Nintendo themselves, Electroplankton has received the most attention. It's described as "Touchable Media Art", and pushing the boundaries of what you'd consider a videogame, the creatures in its water based world will react to your touch and voice and produce different sounds as a result.
There's ten species of Electroplankton, each of which you can play with differently and produce new unique songs. For example Beatnes can have tunes like the Super Mario Bros. theme playing in the background, and by touching their heads or various parts of the tails, you create your own remix of the Nintendo classic. If you'd prefer to drum up your own beats though, other animals create various noises and by manipulating their environment, come together and an original melody comes to life before your eyes and ears. Rec-Rec's for example 'eat' sounds when hungry, and you can 'feed' them what ever you like through the built in microphone.
Then there's Nanocarp, which will group into different formations based on your own sounds, from clapping in various different patterns, to blowing on them, and even singing to them. Singing "Do, Re, Mi" will have them line up in the shape of a musical note, while other things like raising or lowering your voice as you sing, or changing the octave produce new results. There's so many possibilities with all the different Electroplankton, it's easy to loose track of time just playing, even though this isn't a game in the traditional sense of scores, levels etc.
If you'd prefer just to sit back and relax however, you can leave Audience Mode running and let the ever changing Electroplankton perform for your listening pleasure. With English words, this couldn't be more import friendly, and comes with a free set of NDS headphones. So if you haven't yet experienced Electroplankton, give it a go today and see what the importers are raving about!
Everyone needs a little encouragement now and then. Whether you're studying for College, you're a Ramen Shop owner with cat pee up that needs mopping off the floor, or you're a sexually frustrated pottery maker, this team of male cheerleaders is here to help! Using those situations and more, you take care of the background music as the black trench coat wearing trio spring into action and attempt to motivate who ever needs it.
Gameplay uses various glowing circles on the touch screen, and as larger circles timed to the music close in on them, you tap them. Not just having you keep the beat though, each circle produces a sound effect of its own such as a whistle, clash of the cymbals, hit of the drums or others. As the game goes on it'll throw new challenges your way too, such as following a rolling a ball around, or spinning a turn table. The game will keep you busy for a long time, and the later levels will provide a worthy challenge for even the most hardcore of gamers. Along the way there's a wide variety of songs for everyone too, from rock to J-pop, funk and more.
Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan is the type of whacked out insanity that will almost certainly never get picked up for a release outside of Japan, but that you'll be dying to show your friends. If they have an NDS also, you can hook them in by sending a demo over the wireless, and once your buddies get a copy of their own, up to four of you can jam at once. Menus, while in Japanese are quite easy to navigate without knowing Japanese, but there's always a translation to it all a click away never the less.
With a great and in-your-face graphical style, plus the 16 reviews on our product page, an average of a full , every day many import gamers are finding out that Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan is one of the most random and flat out fun purchases they've made all year! And with your help cheering him on, the Japanese business man that needs to transform into a 20 story high giant and battle a huge monster can finally do just that.
Dai Gasso! Band Brothers
Dai Gasso! Band Brothers lets you create your own virtual band through the Nintendo DS. Up on the top screen one of 40 songs play, such as the opening theme to Full Metal Alchemist, or Nintendo tunes from titles like Fire Emblem, Super Mario Sunshine, Dr. Mario, Kirby, Excitebike and more. Then using buttons on the touch screen, you're responsible for playing one part of the band, aiming to hit the right notes, timing and pitch. As you improve, the number of parts you have to play simultaneously increases, and when you reach Professional mode half steps and manual octave changes come into play. Because of the pace and sheer number of things you have to do at once at this point, the touch screen is then completely replaced by buttons.
When it's time for the band to practice, the game's dedicated mode for just that lets you pause, rewind and fast forward songs till you're happy with your results. Custom mode is the best of all however. Here you can create your own tunes, leaving the possibilities wide open, and letting you save 8 at any time onto the cartridge. Each song can also have up to 8 separate tracks, and Nintendo have clearly done their research to create an impressive MIDI composer here. There's the ability to cut, copy and paste, and with an unlimited number of undo and redo’s you can always satisfy your "what if's". If like me and you're a little rusty on the old composing skills though, you could always hum or even sing to your NDS, and it'll try and whip up a song to match.
In addition to the single player mode, you can have up to 8 members of your band play either the game's built in tunes, or your own, even if your friends don't own a copy of the game. All linked via wireless, everyone plays a part, and you can see 8 Japanese office workers try just that to the previously mentioned theme of Full Metal Alchemist here:
Dai Gassou! Band Brothers was, and still is, so popular in Japan that Nintendo actually released an expansion pack. Using the GBA cartridge slot, "Daigasso! Band Brothers Tsuika Kyoku Cartridge" contains over 30 more songs from pop, anime and game music like Super Mario 64, Yoshi's Island, Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, Star Fox 64, Catch! Touch! Yoshi! and more. With a large amount of English words, this game would score a moderate on the import accessibility scale. Some trial and error is needed to figure out the more complex functions, but quickly it'll become instinctive, and that's exactly what you need when pumping out the fast tunes anyway.
Both the full game and expansion pack are in stock now, and if you've ever had an interest in creating music, Dai Gassou! Band Brothers is something not to miss. Or for those that haven't, this game makes a fantastic portable alternative to the likes of Keyboard Mania and Dance Dance Revolution!
For more information and downloads, click here!
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