[Thanks to my good friend keroberrycola for the banner image!]
In 2000, Konami’s Bemani division were the leading names in the rhythm game market. They had basically written the book on arcade rhythm games, developing some of the biggest franchises in the genre including Dance Dance Revolution, Beatmania, and Para Para Paradise. While some of these franchises would eventually find their way into the American market, the English rhythm game selection was rather shallow at the time, mostly made up of NanaOn-Sha games like Parappa the Rapper. A number of Bemani games found additional success with home releases on the PlayStation 2, but it wouldn’t be until 2006 that Western fans would get a chance for the same experience. So in 2000, in an effort to dip their toes into rhythm games and grow an audience out west, Tecmo developed their first and only music game, UNiSON: Rebels of Rhythm & Dance for the PlayStation 2.
The game includes a story mode along with its more typical rhythm game setup. The story takes place 200 years into the future, in the High-Tech Celebrity City of Twin Ships. Its ruler, Emperor Ducker, has outlawed dancing, believing it takes away from the pure expression of music. Most of Twin Ships has accepted this change, but one man by the name of Doctor Dance is prepared to start a revolution. He’s gathered a team of young women to start a guerilla dance troupe called UNiSON to fight back against the tyrannical rule of Ducker and bring the art of dancing back to the people of Twin Ships.
While UNiSON shares many similarities with other rhythm games, its gameplay is a lot less reactive and focuses on the player memorizing and repeating routines shown to them. It makes for a shallow experience in comparison to better games in the genre, which isn’t helped by its alarmingly small tracklist. However, there isn’t a lot of coverage for this game online, and the story is a fun romp with lots of personality and some great twists, so I think it’s at least worth showing off and talking about.
I’m ChorpSaway and I’m the kind of person that takes up the DDR machine in the arcade just to play on Standard. I’ll be going solo for this LP, to let both the story and gameplay mostly speak for themselves. Plus that means no knuckleheads getting the way of what I want to talk about.
I will be completing the story mode on the Very Hard difficulty, as well as playing through the bonus songs on the tracklist and providing clean videos of each of the dance routines. Hopefully you’ll be able to take these moves with you into the real world, for the next time you find yourself at a club.