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Monday, November 15, 2010

Tips and Tricks

<< 3. Advanced rules

Okay, you've reached the top end of Muzukashii and are preparing to go into Oni mode. Be warned that this journey is not going to be easy, because the difficulty difference between the last two difficulties is far higher than any other. Oni is way worse than any Muzukashii song you'll ever play. Also, if you can cope with Oni on the console versions but are going into an arcade Taiko for the first time, be warned that the experience isn't the same. On my first arcade play, even I found myself getting exhausted at songs I could easily clear on the console. Here I can offer some tips on how to play efficiently in the arcade and how to easily make the move from Muzukashii to Oni.

Practice hand-switching

Up to Muzukashii, it's fairly easy to coast through most of the songs by assigning one hand to hit the red notes (usually the dominant hand), and the other to hit the blue notes. This isn't possible in Oni, where note clusters come at you at high speeds, one after the other, or long unending streams of notes.

Hand-switching is important in Oni because it's nearly impossible for one hand to hit more than three notes placed 1/16th of a beat apart in a row at high BPM, and it helps you conserve energy. A lot of it. Both your hands have to be adept at hitting both the center and the rim. From the center going up to the rim, and from the rim going down to the center. It's an invaluable skill.

Check out Autoplay videos on Youtube. One note is hit on the left side, and the next one will always be hit on the right side, then left again, then right, no matter what color it is. This is hand-switching.

Assuming you are right-handed (your dominant hand is right, and your non-dominant is left) and always start hitting notes with your right hand first, and you usually keep your right hand on the center, here's how you do basic note clusters (if you're left-handed, just do this in reverse, starting with your left hand!):

From the first red note: Right hand, then left, then right. Do not hit both red notes with your right hand, then the blue one with your left. It's a waste of energy. Practice doing this many times in a row with your hands, or fingers, at imaginary positions, both methods. Then it's pretty obvious which method leaves your right hand with more energy.

Again, right, left, right. Don't be afraid to start hitting notes with your dominant hand from the rim (instead of your comfort zone in the center). It's less confusing than starting this with your non-dominant hand.

  Right, left, right, left, right, instead of  right, right, left, left, right. The longer the cluster, the more the benefits of hand-switching begin to show.

The above three are the most common patterns you'll see in Oni. Just apply the same rule to all the crazier variants (eg. , ) It's tough trying to let your dominant hand hit the rim while your non-dominant hand handles the center (especially for that last example), but it becomes second nature once you get used to it. Just practice!

Know the limits of your dominant hand

With things like , after you've learned how to switch hands, you know that starting from your right hand is the first move. But what if it was     (see DON'T CUT, last chorus)? One of these clusters means that your right hand hits two notes, left hand one. Three clusters in a row, right hand hits 6 notes, left hand three. And are you going to continue this for the whole song? It's going to tire out sooner or later.

Practice starting the combo from your non-dominant hand as well. Start the whole thing from your right hand, then on the second cluster, start from your left. Watch Autoplay do it as well to get an idea.

Eg,     can be done like this: RLR LRL RLR instead of RLR RLR RLR, to save energy on your right hand. If you absolutely must start from your dominant hand, you can do it, as long as it doesn't confuse you or make you too tired (eg.        can be done like RLR R L instead of full hand switching, RLR L R if doing that single red note with your left hand confuses you, and believe me, it will)

Use Autoplay often

Console Taiko no Tatsujin keeps on reminding us of this, and it's actually a useful trick to at least know what sort of beats will come up in the song, so you won't be caught off-guard (and you can practice with your fingers while Autoplay does the job on-screen). Granted, it's extremely difficult to get it all correct on your first time, but keep on looking at Autoplay and improve. Youtube videos help too.

Break up long chains into smaller parts

If a particular string of notes has you scratching your head wondering how to take it all in one go, look at what color the notes are, write them down somewhere, and break them up so you'll know what to do next time. Eg, the long string of notes at the end of mint tears.

It looks like a nightmare but you can break them up into smaller note clusters and practice from there. For example, I start with my dominant hand for this one and finish all the notes in this way.


By doing this I always start with my left hand for each cluster and end with my right (LR LRLR LRLR LRLR LRLRL), so when the next one starts I can use my left again. You don't necessarily have to imitate me. Just find the patterns which work for you.

Keep to the beat

It's not a rhythm game if you don't understand the beat of the song, and this becomes important on higher difficulty levels. Try to understand the significance of the note patterns in the beat of the song, and you'll have a much easier time knowing when exactly to hit them.

Arcade flow

There's no 'Back' button in an arcade cabinet, but you know that, right? That's why you have to be careful when trying out a Taiko arcade, so you can play what you wanted to instead of accidentally making wrong choices. After all, it costs money per round! A visual guide on how to navigate the arcade will be provided some time in the future, so stay tuned!

Insert coin - Self-explanatory
Player submit - Hit the center of the drum once your coin is in
Difficulty select - Tutorial on the far left, then the three difficulties from easy to hard next to it. Use the Oni unlock code here, then the game modifier code if you want.
Song select 1- If you can't read Japanese, just listen to the song preview! And make sure you're on the correct genre before you start listening (check the background color)- there's a time limit for song selection.
Play 1
Result screen 1 - Score in the biggest numbers, Tamashii bar, Highest combo, Percentage of notes hit, Number of greats, goods, and misses (and number of drumroll hits, Taiko 11 onwards). If you pass, go straight to choosing your next song.
---Song clear? (Y/N)
Failure - Play Revival Roulette (Taiko 8 to 10), or Revival Drumroll (Taiko 11 onwards). Pass, and you go to the next song. Fail here, and consider your money wasted. The higher your difficulty setting on the song you failed, the harder it is for you to pass the revival.
---Revival clear? (Y/N)
Song select 2
Play 2
Result screen 2
(and so on, depending on the settings of the machine. Some arcades allow you to play 3 or more songs per round, but 2 is the usual standard.)
---Song clear? (Y/N)
Failing the final song doesn't trigger a revival game (your money's not wasted as you've played all the songs you can in one round), but you'll be unable to enter the rankings and high scores if you've gotten any.
Final result and ranking screen - Total score for each song tallied, and you're given a rank. High score and name entry if applicable.
Game over

Note: No matter how many songs you get to play per round, you only get one chance to revive after failing, and that is after the first song. This is different in Taiko no Tatsujin 0, where you are now able to revive after every song.

Arcade tips

Even if you've already conquered Oni mode on consoles, remember that you were playing on the Tatacon/buttons/touch screen. None of that comes close to the experience of playing on the arcade. If you're going for it for your first time, don't get overconfident. The arcade drumsticks are made of solid wood and are quite thick, and really, really heavy. If you're not already an experienced drummer, they can take a while to get used to.

Notes that you could hit in consoles won't necessarily be that easy in the arcade because of how heavy the sticks are. You won't move as quickly as you would at home, and forcing it will tire you and your arm muscles out. Gripping the sticks too tightly and hitting the drum surface too hard is another problem, as you're risking blisters and other injuries to your hands (if you're not used to it).

Taiko is about speed, not power, and in the arcade the focus is more on your stamina, rather than your knowledge of the notes. You may know the correct method to pass Kita Saitama 2000, but it's pointless if you get exhausted midway in the arcade (I found that out the hard way with Koibumi 2000, the first arcade song I ever tried. Big, big mistake)

If you're new, train with higher difficulty Muzukashii songs and lower difficulty Oni songs (Anpanman no March, Oni, is a good starting point, and it's found on all arcade machines ever made), build your stamina, find out how much power you have to exert for one hit to register on the drum, and use as less power as you can. Improve your speed. An optional step is having your own set of drum sticks, which are usually lighter than the heavy logs provided by Namco.

Long story short, the rule of thumb is, choose easier songs than what you're used to in the consoles, and work your way up from there.


  1. Thank you so much for this, I really needed it!

  2. Any tips on how to master doron/stealth?

  3. Thank you for making this guide, but there is a problem when I was practicing: I always get confused when repeating 3-stream with hands alternating like ddk ddk ddk ddk. I always end it getting lost on the third stream. So I am forced to use LRL LRL LRL (or RLR RLR RLR). Is there any way to fix this problem?

    1. just practice i guess.. it took me quite a while to get used to. William tell overture is a nice and slow way to practice ddk and Natsumatsuri oni is good for kkd :P

  4. What happens if my dominant hand is left?

  5. Hi. I'm considering getting a Japanese Wii console so that I can play Taiko no tatsujin...

    Now that there's also Wii U, my question is...
    Can Taiko no Tatsujin Wii games be played on the Wii U Console and tatakon?

  6. I'm left handed as well and it is a tad confusing sometimes as to note order especially for DK DK DK DK strings (I fall into the bad habit of using one hand for the right trigger and circle button) I've recently been playing a few months in on psp and hooked now getting the vita version still haven't been able to clear many Oni level songs any tips?