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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 sixth in the EZ2AC continuity), EZ2AC FINAL EX, was released in August 2020. In August 2019, it was revealed that another studio had acquired the rights to ez2on, and is making a rerelease called ez2on Reboot:R.


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EZ2DJ/AC contains examples of

  • Arrange Mode: In addition to the conventional "push button to hit note" modes, there's also EZ2 Catch where you spin the turntable to try to catch falling fruit, and Turntable where you spin the turntable while hitting the correct notes (similar to Guitar Hero).
  • Belated Happy Ending: The BGA for Dement -After Legend- ends with Eric, the male protagonist who was heavily injured, getting trapped inside a collapsing building together with his sister, Elle, as the result of her pretty much decimating Kreutz (who had previously corrupted her mind). In "Utopia", it is revealed that they survive, the fellow protagonists Karl and Nein are finally married together, and also have children.
  • 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 not officially billed as an EZ2AC song (but is listed in the "Xross" channel as with other songs that have generally appeared on other rhythm games besides Pump — said song is also on the mobile game Arcaea).
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    • 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 has a mechanized appearance and lots of red, silver, and black. It looks a lot edgier than the original release, which had a largely gold and yellow interface.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Exploited. 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.
  • Double Play: The game features this in two flavors. There is 10K mode, which uses both sets of the 5 main keys and turnable, as well as either foot pedal, as well as 14K mode, which also uses the 4 effector buttons but does not use pedals.
  • Downer Ending:

  • 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 style names (i.e. 5K, 7K, 5K Only, 10K, 14K).
  • Minigame Credits:
    • "An Old Story" (7th Trax), "White Out" (Evolve), "The Moments" (NT), and "#BEYOND" (TT) contain the credits rolls for their respective versions as their BGAs. Oddly, the last two were not even added to the game during their respective lifecycles, but in surprise 2020 patches to NT and TT released shortly before Final EX.
    • "An Old Story" had its BGA 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.
  • Mood Dissonance: In the background animation of Common Story in EZ2ON, people are having a club dance party underwater using Artificial Gill gear, right after their airplane crashes into the sea. Some dead bodies of unlucky passengers floating on the sea are shown at the end, making it more dissonant.
  • 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.
  • 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.)
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Dement -After Legend-
  • Retraux: Various gameplay UI themes from older versions are accessible as options on current iterations.
  • Scoring Points: In the arcade games, each note is worth a fixed amount of points, with 300 points earned for getting a "KOOL!" judgement; thus the maximum score possible is the total number of notes times 300.
  • Series Fauxnale: Final appeared to be the final EZ2AC game, but then Final EX was released a year later.
  • 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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