Pop‘n Music VI was the sixth title released for PlayStation 1, and featured one of the largest libraries of songs available at that time. Plus, it includes Key Disc technology which enables it to play Append Disc games.
Pop’n Music features nine buttons and a multi-touch panel to play on-screen notes that drop towards a red line at the bottom of the screen, which must be hit to trigger sound in each song. Similar to beatmania, but without a turntable, Pop’n Music utilizes nine buttons instead.
Pop’n Music is a Bemani-style rhythm game. Unlike most Bemani titles, the gameplay isn’t tied directly to an instrument; instead, 9 colored buttons move down the screen in time with each song’s “notes”, and when clicked by the player it plays a sound.
As with many Bemani games, notes can be hit in several ways: by hitting the buttons themselves, tapping a panel of nine buttons, or dragging an ‘touch’ panel that sits below the buttons on your monitor. The touch panel also serves to control character movement animation.
The interface consists of nine buttons, each three-and-a-half inches across (two rows with five buttons each). The screen displays nine ‘pop notes’ that descend towards the timing bar when players hit one of nine corresponding buttons or tap their touch panel to trigger sound within the song.
Each song has a ‘groove gauge’, a red section on the upper part of the screen that rises when notes are played correctly and falls back down again if not. This can be used to improve accuracy as well as score points if done correctly – which are displayed as numbers between ‘Great’ and ‘Bad’.
To win a song, players must hit as many notes as possible within two minutes – this can be quite challenging! Additionally, these keys sound key-note-like so if one misses a step, all corresponding notes in the composition will not be played at all.
The game is intended for younger players, but if you’re not careful it can get quite challenging. For instance, some songs require hitting 1,000 notes within two minutes!
The music of the game consists of both traditional pop songs and more contemporary tracks, with emphasis on hip-hop, reggae, and techno. Alongside these modern hits, some timeless classics were also included for added enjoyment.
What’s not new?
Pop’n Music Series is a beloved Bemani rhythm game that has been released in Japan for quite some time now. With an expansive library of songs, challenging challenges for experienced gamers, and adorable and colorful characters – pop’n Music is perfect even for younger gamers!
Similar to other Bemani games, notes fall down the screen and players must hit them by pressing a set of nine buttons. Additionally, there are a few extra buttons added in a row which trigger different effects depending on which note is played – giving the title more of an arcade feel.
Many of the song characters come from other Konami games, with a few exceptions (such as Vic Viper in Gradius or Afro in DDR Megamix). They’re sometimes remixed into new songs like Goemon in Ganbare Goemon Medley or Simon Belmondo in Akumajou Dracula Medley Hybrid.
Some songs are arranged in various genres, such as pop, rock and jazz. Aside from the standard “Dance” (dansu) and “Lost” (rosuto) modes, songs can also have a mode called “Fantasia,” which plays only songs selected by the player. This was first introduced in Pop’n Music 9 to provide players with an Expert Course based on their song selection history; later it was reintroduced within normal mode in pop’n Music 20: Fantasia
Another notable addition in this game was the inclusion of “Net Taisen Mode” (NETDui Zhan modo, or “Net Battle Mode”), a network-based mode where you can compete against others over an e-AMUSEMENT system. This concept is relatively new to pop’n music series and also marks the first game to feature CPU emulated version of this mode.
This game’s soundtrack includes songs from popular anime and TV shows. Notable among them are STAR TREK (“Little Friend”), Xi Bu Jing Cha (Gangbare Goemon), and ALPHA (“Crazy Love”).
The game interface is similar to other Bemani titles, except instead of 5-7 rectangular keys it uses nine large and colorful buttons. Each button measures three-and-a-half inches across and is laid out in two rows – five on the bottom row and four at the top.
What’s the story?
If you’re a fan of Bemani games like Beatmania, Guitar Freaks or Drummania, chances are good that you’ve played pop’n music before. This series of light, soft Rhythm Games has an extensive history and has been praised by players around the world for its addictive core gameplay.
Other Bemani titles feature video clips for each song, but pop’n does without them altogether and instead relies on nine large, vibrant buttons to play each tune. Each button represents a note coming down towards the bottom bar; if players press them at precisely the correct time, the correct notes will be played; however, if any are missed it can create an unsettling difference in sound quality.
Each button is accompanied by a colored “pop-kun” falling from the top of the screen to the bottom. Each pop-kun carries with it an associated judgment ranging from COOL (hitting it exactly on beat) to BAD (missing it completely).
Many songs in the series are remixes of other Konami video game soundtracks, including some of its earliest releases. Examples include Vic Viper (“Gradius -Full Speed” and “A Shooting Star” from Gradius II), Afro (“DDR Megamix”), Simon Belmondo (“Akumajou Dracula Medley Hybrid” from Castlevania) and Goemon (Ganbare Goemon Medley).
Most songs in this series have not been composed specifically for it; however, there are a few exceptions. Some remixes feature characters from other Konami games such as Mitsumete Knight (Pop’n Music 15 ADVENTURE) and Mikey (The Goonies).
These remixes have become the series’ signature mode of play. Here, players select a set of songs and then play through them either in NORMAL or HYPER difficulty, where they must hit each note correctly.
One of the most noticeable features of this mode is that it introduces an additional element: obstacles called ‘Ojamas’. These large sprites block your view of descending pop-kuns.
Another mode is EXPERT MODE, which lets players select from various song lists and play them at either NORMAL or HYPER difficulties. In this mode, the life bar changes, starting full and then decreasing after every BAD hit.
What’s the soundtrack?
Pop’n Music, like beatmania, involves striking notes on a colored panel. However, unlike beatmania where you aim at 5-7 rectangular keys, the interface in Pop’n Music is much larger and requires you to use your entire hand rather than just your fingers.
Each button measures three and a half inches wide, divided into two rows of five buttons each (the top row serves as a multitouch panel). As colored notes fall down the screen, they’ll appear on nine different colored columns when hit corresponding buttons. If hit correctly, the note will be played and part of the song will progress; if missed, they’ll sound tinny and incomplete.
Once a note is hit correctly, the groove gauge in the ‘Groove Gauge’ will rise and your character will enter the ‘Clear Zone’ – a red portion representing the top quarter of the bar. If you hit more ‘Great’ notes, however, the groove gauge rises even higher to ‘Fever’ which causes them to perform an entirely new animation if successful.
Most songs in the game are rated from Easy (kantan) to Hard (muzui). Each song has its own gauge, which appears below its genre when selecting a tune.
In this game, there are some songs with unusual time signatures, such as ‘Percussive’ series – 7/4 time at the start and 6/8 throughout with skipping beats that make it impossible to match them up with their correct time signature.
Pop’n Music 6 OST boasts the longest and most extensive soundtrack of any PlayStation release in the franchise, boasting over 100 songs across genres like Reggae, Disco Queen, Spy and Anime Hero.
This game also contains several themes not found in its arcade counterpart; most are unused except for ‘STAR TREK’, which makes its first appearance here and never actually made an appearance before in arcade form.