Music To My Ears posts chronicle a sampling the great music of a particular series, franchise, etc. Posts tend to be skewed towards videogames, but can cover anything with a great soundtrack behind it (TV shows, anime, movies, etc.). If you have a music track from the series discussed that you like, comment and it may be added to this post!
DJMAX is a Korean rhythm action game series – like DDR, but with standard buttons and more recently touchscreens (in the case of the Technika sub-series). Only midway through the series did it start coming to American shores. DJMAX Online, the first game in the series, was released in 2004 for PC. DJMAX Portable 1 and 2 were released for the PSP next.
DJMAX then stepped up its game in the Metro Project, which encompassed Portable: Clazziquai Edition and Portable: Black Square. CE was geared towards more casual players and features several tunes from the popular Korean electronica group Clazziquai, as well as songs specifically made for the game. Black Square was dedicated to more experienced players. BS and CE feature link disc functionality that allows you to unlock extra content if you have both games, as Portable 1 and Portable 2 did before them. DJMAX Trilogy was released for PC later in 2008, which essentially acted as DJMAX Online’s replacement while bringing in over 100 songs from Online and the Portable series (no Clazziquai or Black Square songs at the start, but they were added in nearly a year later through game updates, along with some other popular features).
After that, the series finally made the jump to the US and Europe with DJMAX Fever for the PSP at the beginning of 2009. The game was available in stores and a year later on the Playstation Network with bug fixes (unfortunately) not found on the disc version. The game features a mix of songs from Portable 1 and 2, meaning this is a decent intro to the series.
Only a few days after the Fever release, Technika was released as well. Technika (and the sequels Technika 2 and 3) were arcade titles utilizing touchscreen gameplay. The arcade cabinets haven’t seen too much action in the US unless you are lucky enough to live in California.
In late 2010, DJ MAX Portable 3 for PSP saw release in the US. The print run was limited to about 1,000, I believe (one of which I have, so HA), but it is also available on the Playstation Network.
The most current editions of the series are DJMAX Ray and DJMAX Technika Tune. Technika Tune was released for the PS VITA (both on disc and downloadable) in the US last September, and features touch-screen gameplay similar to the arcade Technika releases. DJMAX Ray is for iOS and Android, and features downloadable song packs.
The series has a few quirks. The older releases all have the option to switch to English language, but the translations are rarely perfect and often lulzy (One of the song descriptions in Trilogy: ‘Second hand experience of getting out of stressful regular lives which once everyone thought of running away from, this hallucinating and fantasy styles of music video will support you of all that.’). This unfortunately carries over to DJMAX Fever, which WAS released in the US. Also, DJMAX has historically had an uncommonly poor QA team. Many of the games release with errors. In Trilogy, it was common to see a patch break as many things as it fixed in completely different areas of the game. Finally, all of the games have a difficult learning curve, but also a ton of replay value to balance that out. Of course, the series games are still great, and you shouldn’t skip them. If you can, I recommend trying to import at least CE/BS and Trilogy (unfortunately, Clazziquai seems to be sold out at Play-Asia, but try finding it elsewhere on the internet. I believe in you.)
NOTE: Some of these videos are of just the music videos, and others are of actual playthroughs. Bear in mind that for playthroughs, some sounds are controlled by the user, and those sounds are louder than usual so the player can get a sense of the beat. If you want to look for plain music videos where playthroughs are given (or vice versa), you can easily look them up on YouTube.
Your Smile – Portable 3
While Portable 3 may not stand up to its predecessors in terms of soundtrack size and quality, that’s not to say it doesn’t have any good songs. Case in point: Your Smile, a nice little synth pop ditty.
For the Ikarus – Trilogy
This song was also simply called Ikarus in Portable 2.
First Kiss – Clazziquai Edition
First Kiss is probably the first song you will play in Clazziquai (if you play Club Tour mode first, at least). It’s a fantastic introduction to the Metro Project – good song, good video (especially since the videos in the series before this looked like people made them in Flash). It is rather easy, though, compared to other songs in this list.
Memory Of Beach – Trilogy
M2U… I like pretty much every track from this artist (three of them follow). I first discovered this song on Fever’s OST mode (it is not used in-game), and then finally got to play it in Trilogy. This Dance Pop song has a rather nice sounds to it.
Blythe – Fever
Another M2U track. Blythe is one of the essential songs, appearing in several games. This catchy DnB song is also extremely fun to play. The BGA is a bit odd, but hey, that’s okay here.
Space of Soul – Black Square
ANOTHER M2U song. This Symphonic House song is one of the harder songs in the series. I love the vocals that seem to waver in volume at the beginning.
Memoirs – Fever
Yet another M2U song. This Ethnic Pop track is also fun to play, but at the end it tends to become way harder. I love the instruments in this one, and they just seem to work well together. Especially with the electronica stuff – unexpectedly great.
The Night Stage – Clazziquai Edition
This song is from the group Clazziquai themselves. A instrumental version of the song’s chorus is used as the ‘song complete’ background music, which is always cool to hear. Are you a ‘star rise’?
My Jealousy – Trilogy
This song has an alternate version, simply named Jealousy, in Black Square, but in my opinion, both the song and video are better in the Trilogy version.
Shoreline – Black Square
ACT LIKE YOU KNOW! The playthrough seen here is of a really high level, so you get to see how rough this game can get. And no, I’m nowhere near close to this.
I’m tending to get a little lazy with the song descriptions… oh well. The songs speak for themselves.