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Video Game / EZ2DJ

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EZ2DJ is a South Korean Rhythm Game franchise that is pretty much to beatmania what Pump It Up is to Dance Dance Revolution. It is very much like the original 5-key Beatmania series (or, more specifically, beatmania III), in terms of overall gameplay and controls, with five piano keys, a turntable (positioned on the outside ends of the decks a la IIDX rather than always being to the right of each player's keys), and a foot pedal. However, there is also a row of four effector buttons at the top center of the control deck: a 7-key mode adds a pair of these buttons to each player's keys. Its hardest songs easily rival those of Beatmania IIDX in terms of sheer difficulty.

The franchise was originally developed by AmuseWorld — a studio that had also developed a dance game called EZ2Dancer (which combined a three-panel layout with infrared hand sensors similar to Konami's Dance ManiaX). In 2007, Konami won a patent lawsuit over the game due to its strong similarities to Beatmania — forcing AmuseWorld to halt the production of new EZ2DJ hardware. However, updates to its final version, 7th Trax, would continue to be released, and a studio known as Retro Games developed a now-defunct, multiplayer PC port akin to DJMax Online known as ez2on.

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After its eventual staff tested the waters with a Game Mod of 7th Trax known as Azure Expression, a studio known as Square Pixels would subsequently develop new arcade releases under the title EZ2AC — maintaining the existing EZ2DJ cabinets, but refreshing the engine with a more polished user experience and quality-of-life enhancements, relatively newer PC hardware to replace the Windows 98-powered systems used on previous versions, and new songs.

The most recent version (and the fifth in the EZ2AC continuity), EZ2AC -Final-, was released in late-May 2019. In August 2019, it was revealed that another studio had acquired the rights to ez2on, and planned to re-release it on Steam in 2020.


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EZ2DJ/AC contains examples of

  • Capcom Sequel Stagnation
    • 7th Trax really had this, with version 1.5 (11 new songs) and 2.0 (12 new songs, 6 revivals, and 5 removals), Class R - Codename Violet (which added 12 new songs and a purple-themed version of the UI, but removed 60 songs), Bonus Edition (36 new songs, 56 removals, and a ton of bugs), and Bonus Edition Revision A ("BERA" — a follow-up that fixed the aforementioned bugs, and added back many of the songs removed by Codename Violet).
  • Crossover: There have been revivals from o2Jam (specifically "Cross Time" and "Visual Dream"), and there have also been exchanges of crossovers with Pump It Up (such as "Allegro Piu Mosso", "God Mode", "Prime", and "Yog Sothoth" to EZ2AC, and songs such as "Bedlam", "Gothique Resonance", and now "Your Mind" on Pump). "Dement -After Legend-" is also on Pump it Up XX, but it's not officially billed as an EZ2AC song (it is still, however, listed in the "Xross" channel). An update to XX adds "Your Mind" (which this time, is credited as a crossover).
    • One of said crossovers is "Prime", a song by Tatsh. What makes this notable is that he used to work with Konami, and was the Beatmania producer for several versions.
  • Darker and Edgier: The UI of EZ2AC Evolve does have a noticeably darker, futuristic look than past versions.
    • 7th Trax Bonus Edition is also a lot edgier-looking in comparison to the original release (which had a largely gold/yellow interface), with a mechanized appearance and lots of red, silver, and black.
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  • Distracted by the Sexy: In the BGA of Blue, Gloria, the police woman show her sex appeal in order to distract the escaped bad guy, so she able to take a knockout chance towards him and sent him back to jail.
  • Downer Endings: some BGAs like Rosen Vampir (originally from 3S (Sabin Sound Star)), An Old Story (EZ2ON version), Forget ,Break of Dawn, Tokyo 9PM (however, this BGA more like a Sudden Downer Ending at the end, from epic action stuffs to suddenly and seriously sad), 1950, Doll’s Garden (both EZ2DJ and 3S (Sabin Sound Star) or EZ2AC version), and EZ2AC BGA for O2Jam’s (and Pump It Up Xross collaborations) Wings of Wind (바람의 날개), etc. have pretty much darker, unhappy, sad / bad endings.
  • Driven to Suicide: Forget BGA, even worse, the only two protagonists in the BGA are already Evil All Along, they always rob, until one day, one of them got killed by the police, the other guy was mourning for her death. However he is still doing his dirty job until he was surrounded by the police and one thing he can do: he aimed his gun to his own head.
  • Harder Than Hard: The game may have "EZ" in its title, but much like its Japanese counterpart, it is nowhere near easy at its hardest levels. If a song's SHD difficulty is simply a skull and crossbones, you know you're in for a good time.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Names: The EZ2DJ era was full of these, such as "Ruby Mix" (easy), "Street Mix", "Radio Mix", "Club Mix", etc. EZ2AC cleaned up most of these in favor of more typical difficulty scale and style names.
  • Nintendo Hard: The 7-key modes are naturally trickier due to the design of the deck, the effector keys are diagonally above the main piano keys (much like IIDX cabinets, the turntables are on opposing sides). This is without getting into Double Play modes that require the use of all 10 main keys, all 4 effector keys, and both turntables! (though the 14-key mode takes the foot pedal out of the equation entirely, at least)
  • Minigame Credits: "An Old Story" (7th Trax) and "White Out" (Evolve) both contain the credits rolls for their respective versions in them. "An Old Story" had its background video replaced with a generic video on later versions of 7th, but got a new video when revived on Final, which similarly featured a medley of generic videos, and an ending featuring a "then and now" mix of photos of an EZ2DJ 7th Trax cabinet, and one refurbished with EZ2AC artwork. Meanwhile, "White Out" still has the Evolve credits attached to it.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The "get/ready/start" sounder is taken from the intro of the 1st Tracks song "The Rhythm"
    • The circle note option uses sprites originating from ez2Dancer, particularly from the hand sensor notes.
    • Codename Violet modes have been present as a secret mode since Night Traveler ("2.0", becoming "2.5" on Time Traveler and Final), housing hidden charts.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Dement -After Legend-
  • Retraux: Various gameplay UI themes from older versions are accessible as options on current iterations.
  • Theme Naming: The original EZ2DJ games were titled as Nth Trax (with the first being subtitled "The 1st Tracks"), with some of them having taglines such as "It Rules Once Again", "Resistance", and "Self Evolution". The 5th version was titled Platinum instead. EZ2AC has gone in a more IIDX-like direction for its themes, with "Endless Circulation" (referring to the Continuity Reboot), "Evolve" (a dark and futuristic, steel and magenta-colored motif), "Night Traveler" (which has a nightlife/city theme), and "Time Traveler" (a futuristic green and silver design). The most recent version is simply titled "Final".
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change:
    • Catch mode, where you use the turntable to control a bowl to collect fruit.
    • Turntable is a 5-key style where you have to "strum" the turntable for every note (think Guitar Freaks, Guitar Hero)
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: There's the second-to-best note accuracy rank, "Cool", and then there's the highest possible rank, "KOOL!".
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