|The subtitle for this ninth Taiko no Tatsujin game released on PS2 in Japan seems to mean something like "Yay Happy! Sixth Generation."|
Hard to say that this isn't the bestest Taiko game yet. There are something like 43 songs to start with, and I hear five more to unlock. After toggling a certain game option, you can set it so that the songs are sorted in order of difficulty, and you also don't have to pick the overall difficulty level each time you choose a different song--this is really handy! It might have been an option somewhere in the earlier games, but this is the first time I've noticed it.
They've added a pretty good number of new backgrounds for the dancers you see while playing a song, and they've also souped up the flashy effects a bit.
The song selection is nice, and varied; I don't think I really came across any real duds in the bunch, although as usual some of the "Namco original" compositions can be a bit shaky. But I really like the inclusion of some Western "folk" songs and even Christmas jingles.
There are four--count 'em, four--minigames this time around, and they're all pretty good, even!
The first one is sort of a simplified badminton game, where you hit the drum to bat the birdie back at your opponent. Hit it at just the right time and it rips back like a fireball, tougher for them to return. The first side to miss three hits loses; if you win, it's on to the next, tougher opponent! I like the snowman in the background. :) This game is a little laid-back, 'cause you only need to use one stick to play it. It's a little nerve-wracking, but could perhaps have been a little more involving. It's funny to see the character reactions, though, especially when they draw amusing things on the loser's face with charcoal.
The second minigame puts you to work chopping wood. This doesn't sound so fun, but here's the deal: your chopping dog pulls his axe back, and you bop the drum to whack the chunk of wood placed on the block before him; larger chunks only get split if you give the doggie time to pull the axe back all the way over his shoulder. The goal is to chop as many chunks as you can before time runs out; so when you see a small chunk come up, you want to smack the drum right away, but you have to be paying attention, and wait patiently to build up enough power when a big chunk comes along. This one's pretty fun.
The third minigame has you frying squid at a concession stand. It's a lot like certain other PlayStation food-grilling games, particularly "Yakiniku Bugyou Bonfire!" (see entry 321) and "Yakitori Musume: Sugo Ude Hanjouki" (see entry 730), where food goes on the grill in front of you, and it's your job to flip it and serve it before it burns. The freaky thing here is that the squid are alive and animating, and actually happy when they get cooked just right! Brrr... Pretty fun little game, though, and it again runs on a timer. Come to think of it, these last two games only require one drum stick to play, too...
The fourth game, though, definitely takes two sticks. You find yourself controlling one of the little Taiko drum creatures, frantically running down alleys trying to escape from an overly amorous, very large female drum. Eep! She likes to throw things at you (pots, lighting bolts), and to throw herself at you, trying to crush you. You have to pound the drum rapidly to keep ahead of her, and tap the sides to dodge the stuff she throws. A frantic pace, evolving action, and amusing animations make this one pretty darn fun.
|The option to list songs in order of difficulty appears to have come up first in the Fifth Generation version, "Go! Go! Godaime" (see entry 969).|
When you play these games two-player, the game sometimes gives different drum beat sequences to the two players for parts of the song, so you're kind of playing a duet. Two player is just fun all around, anyway, as you try to see who can do better at each song. You lose your combo, maybe, and then try to keep up, just hoping that your friend will blow their combo and give you a chance to retake the lead...
The later games, such as this one, also let you unlock optional drum hit sounds--these vary widely from shouted Japanese words, to farting sounds, to different musical beats. They're mostly distracting, and I haven't been really tempted to use them myself, but maybe they'll make for an amusing change of pace.
|This game, and I think some of the other more recent Taiko games, has a tournament mode supporting two to eight players; or, to be more precise, two teams of one to four people each. Everyone chooses a character from the game to represent them on whatever team they want to play for, then the game presents you with a succession of challenges pairing players from opposing sides. These challenges can be the standard minigames, even smaller "mini-mini games" (such things as squishing more dumplings than your foe with a single pan-drop, or being the first to match a character to a profile image), playing a song in vs mode, or maybe one other type of thing that I can't quite remember now. It's a lot of fun, and very competitive, and you never know what challenge is going to come next. At the end there's a super-point challenge that can really swing the balance of victory, plus teams get bonus points for having the player who did the best overall in one type of challenge, or who did just the best overall of any single player ("MVP"). Since the mode is a series of vs pairings, it only requires two controllers.|| ||