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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Song of the Week! 30 July 2011


For the first anniversary of Taiko Time, we have a really hot pick for the song of the week! You've seen songs in this column with 765 total notes (Nam-Combo) before. This one is the hardest one of the lot!

 Metal Hawk BGM1 (メタルホーク BGM1)
Allx5 (168)x6 (219)x8 (439/408/367)x10 (765/667/630)
 Taiko 14, Taiko 0 K, Taiko 0 Mu, Taiko PSP DX, Taiko DS 3, Taiko Wii 5

Revered by many as one of the hardest non-Namco Original songs to full combo in Taiko no Tatsujin, the mad notechart was made by Etou himself and his collaborators. The composer of the song, Shinji Hosoe (細江慎治, aka Sampling Masters MEGA), is also one of the people behind Taiko's most terrifying challenges(Rotter Tarmination and most of the Ridge Racer songs)! But before we talk more about how the notechart frustrates experts and frightens beginners, here's a little backstory of the game it comes from.

The song comes from the multi-directional shooter arcade game Metal Hawk, released by Namco in 1988 only in Japan, under the Namco System 2 hardware. By taking control of a helicopter (the eponymous "Metal Hawk"), players fight various enemies based on the land, in the air and in the sea in order to score a certain amount of points for each area within a set time limit. This 1 player-only adventure is one of the first games to feature voice samples in Japanese, and the third Namco game to allow scores not ending in '0' (the first two were Hopping Mappy and the JP-only Bakutotsu Kijuutei); the last digit is used as a label for how many continues a player used in the game (1 continue, for instance, would make the last digit '1'), a trend seen in many other arcade games by many different publishers. Metal Hawk's soundtrack also won 8th place in "Best Game Music of the Year" in 1989 (incidentially, the winner of that year was another Namco game, Valkyrie no Densetsu)

Now back to Taiko and what made this piece of music so infamous here. Metal Hawk BGM 1 may look easy at first, the majority being made up of easy to follow 1/12 streams with the occasional 1/6 thrown in, and big notes placed in between streams to disorientate players. But then, the path changes and the ante is upped considerably! The crazy long and unending 1/12 streams from the first path change onwards will overwhelm some, and those that still find it manageable will face an even greater obstacle in the middle of the song: several mad 1/24 streams consisting of a bunch of notes so close to each other it would take an absurd amount of skill and coordination to finish! It's one of Taiko's most difficult parts in any song ever made, harder than the 1/24 stream in Ryougen no Mai, harder than the 1/32 clusters in Hataraku 2000.

It's still possible to full combo the song while avoiding the 1/24 streams though, if you try to be deliberately inaccurate and get a lot of white hits. People have FCed Metal Hawk before on arcade and on DS using this method. However, the true FC is getting the Nam-combo in this song, and even if you can pass the 1/24 streams unscathed, you might not get 765 notes at the end either. This is because in order to advance to Master Notes on the first switch involves one of the strictest path changing mechanism in all of Taiko: you have to get a full perfect or at the very least just one white hit on the first 200 or so notes (same deal with the path change in Muzukashii difficulty as well, though it's much easier because the path changes much earlier than on Oni)! From laying down obstacles for beginners (1/12 streams), to hardened players (1/24 streams), to a challenge for even godlike players (full perfect for Master Notes), this is one song that spans all degrees of a player's advancement. Not failing the song is easy, but to truly master Metal Hawk BGM1 is a feat.



    I actually like this song.

  2. Getting master version of chart is not that hard. I'm not so accurate but I still got it. It requires not all perfect, I think 20 or so goods are allowed.

  3. ^I think is only the first switch that requires that.

    Also, thanks, I finally got my request! :D

  4. METAL




    Yes, one of the few 10-stars I have not been able to FC yet. It's more annoying when you consider that I already FC'd Joubutsu, but already destroyed my DS trying to FC this one >_>