Pump It Up is a rhythm game series developed by Andamiro. The gameplay focuses on stepping on panels on the floor that correspond to the four basic diagonal directions and a center panel, all in time to music. If this sounds a lot like Dance Dance Revolution, it is a lot like DDR: in fact, the game's first installment was also released in 1999. Some have speculated that the two games may have been developed at around the same time.However, while they may have similar mechanics, the slight differences between them make them both unique in their own right. First, there's the aforementioned pad layout of 4 diagonal arrows and a center panel. Then, there's the soundtrack. Unlike DDR's greater focus on J-pop and electronica, Pump primarily has Korean hip-hop and pop as its dominant genres. Just like DDR, there's also original music by a few in-house artists, often by Yahpp and his former in-house group Banya, who often perform classical and rock music. Yes, you heard that right. Additionally, the differing pad layout can create a much wider variety of routines, and on higher difficulties, they can get really hard really fast. It is obvious why the highest 5-panel and 10-panel difficulties are named "Crazy" and "Nightmare" respectively.Compared to DDR, Pump isn't as popular in Japan and the United States (DDR is historically more dominant, though recent downfalls for said series in North America is helping to attract people), but it's a big hit in its home country of South Korea, as well as Mexico, Central and South America too. However, this did not stop Andamiro and a few former developers from making a Gaiden Game designed for the "Konami Killed In The Groove And Beston Cabinets Suck" audience, known as Pump It Up Pro.Has nothing to do with the Elvis Costello song, even though it could make a nice Title Drop.
Announcer Chatter: Averted in comparison to DDR, there is no in-game announcer, though there has always been announcers in the menu.
Anti-Frustration Features: If you fail your first stage you'll still get a second one. On stages 2 and 3, by default, you won't get a Game Over if you run out of life, unless you get 50 misses in a row.
Changed with Arcade cabinets for Fiesta or later: If you are using a thumb drive (Pum Bi) to save your data it is possible to fail out of any stage. The song will always play until the end before giving a game over, however! Without the Pum Bi it's impossible to fail out of your first song, however the set will be shortened from three songs to two.
Pump Pro 2's routine mode doesn't seem to fail the players at all, even if the health bar goes to zero. Regardless, you get a Game Over if you get a grade of F even in the first stage - if you accumulate an excessively high number of total misses (Higher level nightmare charts can still be passed with over 100 total misses, depending on the song).
Art Shift: Multiple times throughout the BGA to "Rapper's Delight".
"Get This Party Started" from Premiere EX3 is a very good example of this trope. The Normal, Hard, and Free Style charts are standard for a pop song, but Crazy and Nightmare have not only a max combo of over 660 including long notes, but also patterns that to this day are still very difficult to play through! They're so bad, rumor has it Andamiro fired the guy who made them.
"We Are" from OBG is one of the songs you start the game with. Typically songs you start the game with are easy so newbies won't be so intimidated. Instead, "We Are" is chock full of strange body motions, relentless jump-step-jump combos, and reversing (occasionally randomized) running patterns. Many players dread this song anywhere, especially early in their song set due to how fast it can drain you. Oh, and that's on easy mode: it gets worse from there!
The Full version of Cannon D doesn't seem scary at first glance. Cannon D is not a very hard song in it's regular format and the full version starts out fairly easy. However, all difficulties listed for the full song version of Cannon D are actually average difficulties. The "level 9" version, for example, starts out around level 5 difficulty goes up a little at a time to around level 12. The song is also twice the length of normal which can and does leave players drained to start with and then the Difficulty Spike at the end hits to wipe them out!
The Command Window, Down Left and Down Right three times, in Fiesta, Fiesta EX and Fiesta 2.
Color-Coded Multiplayer: Both World Max two-player missions and Pro 2's routine mode use these. World Max doesn't limit it to just two, though...witness Three Attack. The Double Perfomance Charts from the Fiesta series do this too.
Combos: Keep hitting arrows in a row to increase. Also inverted: you can get combos for missing steps in a row. Missing 51 (30 in Pro) in a row causes a Game Over.
Continuing Is Painful: Fail a mission on Zero or NX1, and you have to pay full price for one more shot at the song. Hope you've recharged your energy within 30 seconds...
Difficulty Spike: In Fiesta 2, there's the T-Rain, a double mode Train. It starts with a really cool and very cheerful song, Shanghai Romance, which isn't at all hard, only a little tiring, but that song alone is enough to cheer you up, then comes Two Guys, another very cool and slightly easier song, way to boost your mood with cool songs and fun routines. This Train will only get better and more fun, right? Good luck. Next is Ignis Fatuus, Fiesta 2's That One Boss. Are you ready to get yout butt kicked REALLY hard? I don't think you expect this one to be easy. Level 24, bitch. Last is Heartbreaker which isn't really hard, either.
Inverted in Fiesta EX, there's the Nintendo Hard Windforce Train, where it begins cruelly beating you with What Happened. A chart which you must actually KNOW how to step correctly to pass it properly, followed by Fiesta's assasin Vacuum, with it's worst chart, a horrifically difficult Single 23 routine. And guess what comes next? La La La. One of NXA's easiest K-Pops with its very same Crazy chart, gotta be easier after this right? At last, we can breath. In fact, it's just a breath of fresh air before the Train's true killer: Cleaner.
Starian and Com'back, in the same difficulty level, are examples too.
Exergaming: The crazy/nightmare charts can easily give a good workout. As with In The Groove, a "multiplayer" version of Pro with wireless pads was produced as well, which is primarily aimed at fitness centers.
NX2 even has a callorie and oxygen intake counter for each song, tallying them up when your game ends.
Most of the charts are designed to be able to use your feet for the whole song. Some have forced hands, where you have to use your hand (or something else) to hit the panels. Prominent examples include Ignition Starts Crazy, Bee Nightmare, Miss's Story Crazy, and Chimera Crazy & Nightmare.
A good number of the mission charts don't always use the same constant BPM as the arcade charts of the same song. Part of playing the chart means to be ready for any gimmick, for you generally aren't told of them before you first play the chart.
"Uprock" has a pretty sick rhythm. The only problem is, on Crazy, the arrows also move to this same rhythm. Literally. And a more recent one as well: "Nobody" in Fiesta 2.
Will-o-The-Wisp has a flashing squiggly blue and red background in parts of the song. This actually is a Magic Eye trick that can cause phantom arrows to appear in those areas! The timing and whether the arrows appear seems to be randomized.
At Amusement Expo 2012 in Las Vegas, a another Gaiden surfaced in the form of "Pump It Up Infinity"; it shares characteristics with Pro (i.e. StepMania engine, etc.), but is more like the "classic" series, and has involvement from Korean staff as well.
Gimmick Level: In spades. Join The Party CZ is the most famous. Bee FS may count too. And at least half the "Another"s.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: Le Code De Bonne Conduite. When translated into English, the lyrics describe a man willing to cheat on his girlfriend with three other women, one of which having a "big ass," only to get drunk and arrested, culminating with the man calling his girlfriend from jail to bail him out!
Fever by Cho PD, just right at the beginning: "You motherfuckers need to know what time it is right now, right here. It's Cho PD time right here."
100% Completion: A possible goal with NX2 and NXA. NXA ups the ante by having the Arcade mode songs count: you have to get an S rank on all of them (A rank if the chart is above 4 skulls).
Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Normal, Hard, and Crazy for single-pad charts, Freestyle and the aptly-named Nightmare for double-pad charts. Averted in World Max (listed in 1-5 bars) and in Fiesta, which uses level numbers only.
Interface Screw: Common when playing mission or course modes. Some missions allow you to avert this trope by paying mileage to make the effects go away.
Pump Pro 2 introduces Fake Notes to the mix. These are notes that look like the normal arrows, but are...well, fake. They were first noticed in this gauntlet course. Fake notes are available in StepMania 5 as well.
Level Editor: Different ones are available for the differing series.
Lost Forever: Some missions on World Max 2 can be this if one is not careful.
A song in Fiesta EX was added in the 1.50 patch. It was very quickly removed in the 1.51 patch.
Love Hurts: The Love is a Danger Zone songs have very difficult charts on the higher difficulties, especially after Exceed 2.
Luck-Based Mission: Hidden Parts is arguably one of the most well known, but there are others.
Mercy Mode: On many arcade versions if you are not using a thumb drive (Pum Bi) to save data and fail out of a song, the final song of your set will be either cut short or removed entirely. This is because the game is assuming you are tired and is making sure you do no injure yourself.
There is also a "Short Cut" Channel on some machines that shortens all songs to about half length. This is for beginner players who do not have the stamina for full songs. Short Cut sets often have two songs instead of three to further assure the player does not harm themself.
Multi-Platform: A home version of Exceed was released for the PS2 and the Xbox, but didn't sell very well.
There was also a PC port complete with expansion packs.
Nintendo Hard: Rivals In The Groove for the most challenging game involving stepping on panels. While the arcade style charts do not have mines in them (except on Pro, where the charts are done in a more In The Groove-like style, and thus can contain mines and rolls), some mission mode charts have them, and can actually require the player to hit the mines in order to pass the mission.
Takes this to a whole new level if the arcade machine's owner has enabled stage break, where the player gets an instant Game Over if the lifebar depletes, and it drains much more quickly than ITG does. In this case anything you pass will have a grade of A or higher. Fortunately stage break does not affect the first song of the credit.
The most difficult charts in the game are ball-bustingly hard by DDR standards. In fact, there are doubles charts that require two people to play (even though you're in a 1-player mode), and there are charts that are not intended to be cleared!
NX itself. You like Bemera, right?
Pump Pro 2 actually brings a genuine "2P Doubles" mode, known as Routine Mode, that has both players using all 10 panels, and the charts are specifically designed (and the notes color-coded) for two players. Fiesta, Fiesta EX and Fiesta 2 have borrowed the concept for some of their Double Performance charts.
Public Domain Soundtrack: A staple of rhythm games, really, but Pump takes it to a whole new level. Beethoven Virus, Turkey March, Dr. M, Pump Me Amadeus, Csiko's Post, Winter, Bee, Canon-D, Ugly Dee... nearly every version introduces a new classical remix.
Rank Inflation: From worst to best: F, D, C, B, A, S. Getting an S requires not missing. PIU Fiesta added an SS ranking for getting nothing but Perfects, while the Pro series uses SS for Greats and Perfects.
Rated M for Manly: PIU is mostly manly hip-hop, classical, and remixes of video game music. Background animations typically feature cute/sexy women, manly men, cats or robots. It has five pads instead of four and features special modes just for showing off. It's almost like they took one look at DDR, proclaimed it "girly", then decided to go the other way!
Scoring Points: Most official tournaments use the score you get at the end of the round. Scoring is combo based, but only minimally. Once you get 50 combo, each step is worth only a little more, but it can add up.
Secret Level: Quite a few in World Max. Some can only be found after defeating a Boss Song in a world: Jump on both red arrows while on the Dragon in the volcano world to access one such song. Pro 2 has some secret levels in their courses: one of them has a title of all ?????s until playing far enough reveals that it is Boulafacet.
Self-Imposed Challenge: Playing charts without the arrows appearing at all. The Eraser mission in NX2's World Max acts like said example.
Serial Escalation: Regular "You're supposed to beat this" songs once you get past level 10 regularly demand hitting three or even four arrows at once. The game tops out around level 25-30 without difficulty mods.
Dance Vibrations on "Another Single" difficulty makes you to hold one arrow the entire time while hitting two more arrows in time with the music. The designers want you to use hands instead of feet for all the non-hold arrows if you want the SS score.
In the mainline Pump series, there are World Max/Quest missions that require 2 or more players to complete properly. Until those are beaten, other charts inside the mode may be hidden for quite some time.
The Pro series has Routine mode, which offers charts designed for two players not counting Pink Fuzzy Bunnies anyway to enjoy.
Speedy Techno Remake: Again, BanYa's materials are all (slightly) sped up techno (hard rock actually) remixes of Classical pieces.
May also be a case of I Have Many Names, like Caution, which became Don't Bother Me in later versions.
Spiritual Successor: The Pro series is considered a spiritual sequel to In The Groove, as it has many of the same developers (including Kyle Ward), uses StepMania as its engine, has a course mode with visual distractions, mines, edit mode, etc. It even shares quite a bit of its soundtrack with ITG (some of which allegedly destined for the cancelled ITG 3; including "VVV" by ZiGZaG, the third song in ITG's recurring Vertex series, and "Take Me Back", a vocal version of the name entry music from ITG 2). Since the development team worked with Andamiro, it is quite unlikely the Pro series will fall victim to the same legal action that In The Groove did.
Sports Game: Some countries consider this game as a sport.
Stealth Pun: A Progressive course on Pro only consists of "Turkey March" and "Slam". Turkeyslam is a prominent U.S. player
Unlockable Content: The mainline Pump games with mission charts can have songs unlocked by beating more and more charts. The Pro series has pad codes that are entered on a specific screen.
Unwinnable: A bug in older versions of NXA can prevent players from completing World Max.
Unwinnable by Design: The progressive course "Make Haste!", from Pro 2. For starters, the entire course uses a modifier called Accelerando (the song goes faster when you do well, and slows down when you do poorly). Each song in the course also has a mod that slowly activates throughout the entire song, and if it fully activates, the song is impossible to finish (i.e. Stealth). Therefore, it is more directly up to how well the player is doing that determines if the song will finish in time.
RAW is not really meant to be played however, since its a sort of credits roll.
Bee (Another-Nightmare)'s chart is also impossible to play and also spells out names.
Use Your Head: One such way of hitting quintuple arrows. Or, if you're fast enough, you may fall butt-first on the center pad, while your hands hit the rear arrows and your feet hit the ones at the front. Or if you're small or otherwise have short legs, hit the front arrows with your hands, the back arrows with your feet, and the middle arrow with one knee. Great way to get bruised knees, though.