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"Taiko: Drum Master" (English title), also known as "Taiko no Tatsujin" (太鼓の達人; "Taiko Master") is a drumming game for the Sony PlayStation 2 based on the popular Japanese arcade game. A drum simulating the taiko is played in time with music. It is made by Namco. The home version can be played with a TaTaCon, a special controller which looks like the face of a Taiko drum. Players control one of the two main characters - WadaDon, a red-faced and blue body taiko, and WadaKatsu, a blue-faced and red body taiko.
The graphics are 2-D, with cartoon-like feel. Cut scenes show the adventures of the animated taikos and their friends.
Symbols moving horizontally along a timeline show what to hit and when. Home versions distinguish single and double strikes, arcade versions hard and soft strikes.
Successful play builds up a life meter. If the meter is past a certain point by the end of the song, the song is passed.
In the Japanese version, subtitles under the symbols give the pronunciation of the sounds (for example, "do don do don") using a traditional system called kuchi shoga (口唱歌).
Despite the game's cute and childish appearance, many players find the game quite difficult to master. Players need to accomplish 75% of the drum chart to pass, which can be very challenging on harder levels.
Music in the Japanese version includes J-pop, anime music, western classical music and traditional Japanese Festival Music. The North American version removes some of these genres, changing them to American cartoon themes, a few NAMCO originals and mainstream American hits like "Love Shack" by the B-52's and "Toxic" by Britney Spears. The Loco-Motion by Kylie Minogue is also included in Australian versions.
The home version also has two mini-games, the "100 meter dash", played by drumming as quickly as possible, and the "Boston marathon", where the player must keep a regular beat in order not to tire out the taiko athlete.
The home versions include a few more games.
WadaDon and WadaKatsu, the characters of the game, are named after the sounds a taiko drum makes when you strike the surface or the side of the drum respectively. Coincidentally, "katsudon" is also the name of a Japanese pork dish.
- Don: Hit the center of the taiko.
- Kat: Hit the edge of the taiko.
- Yellow: Drum roll to use it.
- Large notes: Use Both sticks.
- Burst note: Drum roll to pop it.
This is the full list of the following songs.
Pop and rock
- "ABC" - by The Jackson 5
- "American Girls" - by Counting Crows
- "Are You Gonna Be My Girl" - by Jet
- "Girls & Boys" - by Good Charlotte
- "I'm a Believer" - by Neil Diamond
- "Killer Queen" - by Queen
- "Lady Marmalade" - by Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mýa and Pink
- "Love Shack" - by The B-52's
- "Material Girl" - by Madonna
- "My Sharona" - by The Knack
- "Rock the Dragon - by Shuki Levy
- "Slide" - by Goo Goo Dolls
- "That's the Way (I Like It)" - by KC and the Sunshine Band
- "The Impression That I Get" - by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones
- "Toxic" - by Britney Spears
- "Tubthumping" - by Chumbawamba
- "Walking on Sunshine" - by Katrina and the Waves.
- "Beethoven's Symphony No. 5" (Beethoven)
- "Carmen Prelude" (Bizet)
- "Foster's Medley"
- "Hungarian Dances No. 5" (Brahms)
- "Symphony No. 25 in G Minor" (Mozart)
- "William Tell Overture" (Rossini)
- "Don Rangers" (10 crowns to unlock)
- "Dragon Spirit"
- "Katamari on the Rocks"
- "Ridge Racer" (15 crowns to unlock)
- "SOULCALIBUR II Brave Sword, Braver Soul"
- "Taiko March" (including music from Sky Kid, The Tower of Druaga, and The Legend of Valkyrie) (5 crowns to unlock)
- "The Genji and the Heike Clans" (KAGEKIYO) (20 crowns to unlock)
- "Saitama 2000"
- "MOJIPITTAN Medley"
The following difficulties are included. Clear all songs in any mode to unlock a happy ending movie.
- Easy - Represented as cherry blossom flowers.
- Normal - Represented as bamboo shoots.
- Hard - Represented as a pine tree bonsai.
- Oni - Represented as a demon, 25 crowns in hard to unlock.
Rather than using an external Taiko drum, the PSP version makes use of the D-pad and action buttons as well as the shoulder buttons which control the rim shots. The analog stick is also get used to perform a tambourine bonus. The PSP version includes the original gaming mode as well as a variety of minigames and a modified AD Hoc mode dubbed, communication mode. While in Communication mode, you can play the game with up to four other PSP gamers. There are currently no plans to bring the original Taiko Drum Master for the PSP outside of Japan.
- The game comes with a Taiko controller with drumsticks and it is plugged into the PS2 console.
- Gamespot review of Japanese version
- Gamespot review of US version
- Namco page (in Japanese)
- Namco Donder Page - more recent version of Namco page in Japanese. Includes 2005 versions of games.
- Table of music tracks by version of the game (in Japanese)